1 Timothy 5:9 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Timothy 5:9, NIV: No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband,

1 Timothy 5:9, ESV: Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband,

1 Timothy 5:9, KJV: Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man,

1 Timothy 5:9, NASB: A widow is to be put on the list only if she is not less than sixty years old, having been the wife of one man,

1 Timothy 5:9, NLT: A widow who is put on the list for support must be a woman who is at least sixty years old and was faithful to her husband.

1 Timothy 5:9, CSB: No widow is to be enrolled on the list for support unless she is at least sixty years old, has been the wife of one husband,

What does 1 Timothy 5:9 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul's first expectation regarding charity is for immediate family members to care for each other, when they are able. In addition, Paul offers a list of expectations describing the kind of widows the church is obligated to support. Though the church is to help people with needs outside of these obligations, these criteria are meant to prioritize the church's ministry efforts.

First, the widow was to be at least aged sixty. In the Jewish culture of that day, sixty was considered the beginning of old age (Leviticus 27:3, 7). Verses 11–12 will further explain why this age requirement was important: younger widows have the ability to remarry. The priority of church charity is to be the greatest need, and this means the oldest and least self-reliant persons first.

The second requirement given in this verse is "having been the wife of one husband." This is phrased in almost exactly the same way as the requirements for overseers and deacons in 1 Timothy chapter 3. The phrase here is henos andros gynē, literally "a one-man woman." This is not an explicit statement regarding whether a widow has ever been divorced or remarried. Instead, just as with the men mentioned in chapter 3, the intent is that of reputation. A widow seeking church support should be one who was committed to her husband (the one who has died and left her alone).