1 Timothy 5:13 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Timothy 5:13, NIV: "Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to."

1 Timothy 5:13, ESV: "Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not."

1 Timothy 5:13, KJV: "And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not."

1 Timothy 5:13, NASB: "At the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention."

1 Timothy 5:13, NLT: "And if they are on the list, they will learn to be lazy and will spend their time gossiping from house to house, meddling in other people's business and talking about things they shouldn't."

1 Timothy 5:13, CSB: "At the same time, they also learn to be idle, going from house to house; they are not only idle, but are also gossips and busybodies, saying things they shouldn't say."

What does 1 Timothy 5:13 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Three additional problems with providing for the needs of younger widows are mentioned in this verse. First is that giving charity to those who are capable of providing for themselves breeds apathy and laziness. An "idler," as used here, is someone who is unproductive or does not work. Paul did not want young widows to become unmotivated to work hard and become dependent upon church resources.

The second warning Paul gives is a natural consequence of the first. Young widows supported by the church, rather than being occupied with constructive work, have time and temptation to become "gossips." The Bible is very clear and consistent that gossip is a trait associated with unbelievers, and unfit for those who follow Christ (Romans 1:29; 2 Corinthians 12:20). The Greek term here is phylaroi, referring to those who are babbling, silly, or foolish.

Third, and very similar to gossip, is the risk of young widows becoming "busybodies." The Greek term is periergoi, which is related to the term for "gossip" in that it implies focusing on trivial matters. This word, however, more specifically refers to being overly concerned with the business of others. This means becoming nosy, intrusive, or meddling. This trait is also called out in 2 Thessalonians 3:11: "For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies." The term is a catch-all for those preoccupied with activities which are not productive or are not considered work.