1 Timothy 5:10 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Timothy 5:10, NIV: and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord's people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.

1 Timothy 5:10, ESV: and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.

1 Timothy 5:10, KJV: Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.

1 Timothy 5:10, NASB: having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work.

1 Timothy 5:10, NLT: She must be well respected by everyone because of the good she has done. Has she brought up her children well? Has she been kind to strangers and served other believers humbly? Has she helped those who are in trouble? Has she always been ready to do good?

1 Timothy 5:10, CSB: and is well known for good works--that is, if she has brought up children, shown hospitality, washed the saints' feet, helped the afflicted, and devoted herself to every good work.

What does 1 Timothy 5:10 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This verse continues Paul's description of the "true widows" who are to be prioritized as the church seeks to provide material support. In addition to the two requirements in verse 9, Paul now gives five specific requirements and a general summary.

First, the woman should have a reputation of Christian conduct. Some see this as a general statement with the remaining attributes as specific examples.

Second is a reference to raising children. As with the reference to husbands, this is not meant to imply that she must have given birth. Rather, it refers to her actually caring for any children she might have had, without abandoning them.

Third is a reputation for hospitality. This trait was also noted as a qualification for overseers in 1 Timothy 3:2.

Fourth, she has "washed the feet of the saints." The literal act of washing feet was a servant's job, yet Jesus washed the feet of His disciples as an example (John 13). Some debate whether the instance in this verse is literal, or a general reference to serving others. More than likely, Paul means this in both ways (John 13:14–16). While foot-washing is not commanded as a literal requirement for Christians, it was probably practiced as a cultural norm in his era. In other words, the command is general, but the reference would have also referred to women in Paul's day who had physically washed the feet of others.

The list concludes with a general summary, indicating that the woman should be known for her commitment to Christ-like behavior. Good works seem to bookend the specific traits in this verse. For this reason, many interpret these traits as an overall representation of the "true widows" a church should help, rather than as a literal list of absolute requirements. In either case, the widow the church assists should be beyond marrying age (1 Timothy 5:9) and known for her godly character and good works.

As with other verses in this section, Paul's intent is to avoid the church wasting resources which could be better used on the truly needy. Those who can provide for themselves, have family to provide for them, or who are simply looking for a lifestyle boost are not those on whom the church should be focused.