1 Timothy 5:3-10
Dearly beloved: Honour widows, that are widows indeed. But if any widow have children, or grandchildren, let her learn first to govern her own house, and to make a return of duty to her parents: for this is acceptable before God. But she that is a widow indeed and desolate, let her trust in God, and continue in prayers and supplications night and day. For she that liveth in pleasures, is dead while she is liv- ing. And this give in charge, that they may be blameless. But if any man have not care of his own, and especially of those of his house, he hath denied the faith, and isworse than an infidel. Let a widow be chosen of no less than threescore years of age, who hath been the wife of one husband, having testimony for her good works, if she have brought up children, if she have received to harbour, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have ministered to them that suffer tribulation, if she have diligently followed every good work.
Verse 3. Honour widows. To honour, here means to relieve and maintain. Wi.
Verse 4. Let her learn first, &c. He gives this as a mark to know if widows deserve to be maintained out of the common stock; if they have been careful of their own family, and to assist their parents, if yet alive. In most Greek copies, and in the Syriac, is read, let them learn; i.e. let the children and grandchildren learn to govern their family, and to assist their parents, when they are widows; that, as it is said v. 16. the Church may not be burthened with maintaining them. Wi. — Let her render to her children the same good services she has received from her parents, that she may also expect from them what is her due as mother. Theodoret.
Verse 5. She that is a widow indeed, and desolate, (destitute of help, as the Greek word implieth) may be maintained; and then let her be constant in prayers and devotions night and day. Wi. — Every Christian soul is a widow of Jesus Christ, who has been forcibly torn from her: and in her communications with heaven she ought to offer up an afflicted and humbled heart—the heart of a widow. It is thus she will avoid the dangers of the world, and secure true life in unchangeable felicity. A.
Verse 6. For she that liveth in pleasure, (i.e. that seeks to live in ease and plenty) is dead while she is living, by the spiritual death of her soul in sin. See S. Chrys. with no less eloquence than piety, expounding this riddle, as he terms it, to wit, what it is to be at the same time alive and dead. Wi.
Verse 8. He hath denied the faith, (not in words, but in his actions) and is worse than an infidel; nay, even than brutes, that take care of their young ones. Wi. — Faith may be renounced either by words or by actions, when our conduct shews that in our hearts we really do not believe what would otherwise influence our lives. Calmet. — We have a horror of the name of apostacy, and fear not its works. Is not this to be a Christian in appearance, and an infidel in heart?
Verse 9. Not under threescore years of age. Some think he speaks only of such a widow as was placed over all the rest: but the common exposition is of all such widows as were maintained in that manner, who made a vow of chastity, who assisted the ministers of the Church in looking to the poor, and in the administering baptism to women. — Who hath been the wife of one husband; i.e. hath never been married but once. Wi.
Verse 11. As for the younger widows, admit them not into that number; for when they have grown wanton in Christ, which may signify in the Church of Christ, or as others translate, against Christ; when they have been nourished in plenty, indulging their appetite in eating and drinking, in company and conversation, in private familiarities, and even sometimes in sacrilegious fornications against Christ and their vows, they are for marrying again. See S. Jerom. Wi.