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1 Timothy chapter 5

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New International Version

New American Standard Bible

Christian Standard Bible

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King James Version

3Honor widows that are widows indeed. 4But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to show piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God. 5Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. 6But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. 7And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless. 8But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. 9Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, 10Well 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. 11But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; 12Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. 13And 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. 14I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 15For some are already turned aside after Satan. 16If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.
New King James Version

What does 1 Timothy chapter 5 mean?

Chapter 5 begins a new section giving instructions regarding various groups. Paul provides Timothy with guidance regarding various persons within the Ephesian church. These include both older and younger people (1 Timothy 5:1–2), widows (1 Timothy 5:3–16), and elders (1 Timothy 5:17–25). Chapter 6 will continue this discussion in the context of servants or slaves.

The first section in this chapter (1 Timothy 5:1–2) includes specific information regarding treatment of older and younger men. Timothy is to treat both with respect: older men as fathers, younger men as brothers. Verse two deals with older and younger women, who are to be honored and not treated with lustful or inappropriate attitudes.

Verses 3 through 16 provide a lengthy set of instructions relating to widows in the church. Paul's overall message is to "Honor widows who are truly widows" (1 Timothy 5:3). This means the church should prioritize those who are truly in need. Charity should not be squandered on those who have the ability to help themselves. Family is always the first line of defense against poverty (1 Timothy 5:4). Those who are truly left alone are to be helped by other believers (1 Timothy 5:5–6). Rules for widows helped by the church are given in verses 9 through 16.

The third section of this chapter focuses on proper ways to honor and discipline elders (1 Timothy 5:17–25). Those who rule well are worthy of "double honor" (1 Timothy 5:17). In this context, that means not only the respect of the church members, but financial support to allow them to focus on the needs of the congregation. Accusations against elders are to be handled according to specific instructions (1 Timothy 5:19–21). In particular, Timothy is to avoid wasting time on charges which lack evidence or credibility. However, if an elder is found to be in sin, they are to be publicly rebuked.

In addition, Paul strongly warns Timothy to use much caution in selecting elders (1 Timothy 5:22–25). Both sins and good deeds can be hidden from the eyes of other people. God, however, is well aware of them.
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