Episode #195. Today we’ll read 1 Timothy chapter 5 together. Paul outlines which widows qualify for support from the church, gives Timothy instruction on how his elders and youngers should be treated, and requires special honor for the elders of the church.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #195. Today we’ll read 1 Timothy chapter 5 together: Paul outlines which widows qualify for support from the church; gives Timothy instruction on how his elders and youngers should be treated; and requires special honor for the elders of the church.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
We sang a hymn at church called, I Have Decided to Follow Jesus. I had to do a double-take though, because I thought for a second we were going to rock out to an Amy Grant song also called, I Have Decided. Actually, they both have the same theme. They’re both talking about taking a stand for Christ. They’re both about making a choice. The underlying message implies that the singer is done with being a milk toast Christian…it’s time to take a side. She wants to live according to truth.
Don’t get me wrong, neither song is about being aggressive or unkind. Just standing on and for the truth. I suppose that’s really how walking with Christ plays out. We either believe it or we don’t. We either live it or we don’t. All we have to do is read what Jesus said time and time again to know that He has no tolerance for hypocrites.
Take a Side
Revelation 3:16, in a letter to the Church at Laodicea, Jesus says something that makes my blood run cold. He says, So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth. Take a side.
The hymn we sang says in part, Tho’ none go with me, I still will follow;
No turning back, no turning back. Take a side.
An excerpt from I Have Decided by Amy Grant says, When the world begins to see you change, don’t expect them to applaud. Just keep your eyes on Him and tell yourself, I’ve become the work of God. I have decided, I’m gonna live like a believer, turn my back on the deceiver, I’m gonna live what I believe. Take a side.
I know. None of us likes confrontation. I know. If we’re quiet, everyone will be happy. But as my pastor, Hans Frei, so wisely and compassionately pointed out, Jesus died for everyone. And people who don’t know Christ need to see us living our faith, not being lukewarm. I would love to hear your take on this at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
1 Timothy Chapter 5
Don’t rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters with all purity.
The Support of Widows
Support widows who are genuinely in need. But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them learn to practice godliness toward their own family first and to repay their parents, for this pleases God. The widow who is truly in need and left all alone has put her hope in God and continues night and day in her petitions and prayers; however, she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. Command this also, so that they will be above reproach. But if anyone does not provide for his own family, especially for his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
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, 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. But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when they are drawn away from Christ by desire, they want to marry and will therefore receive condemnation because they have renounced their original pledge. 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.
Therefore, I want younger women to marry, have children, manage their households, and give the adversary no opportunity to accuse us. For some have already turned away to follow Satan. If any believing woman has widows in her family, let her help them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it can help widows in genuine need.
Honoring the Elders
The elders who are good leaders are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says: Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain, and, “The worker is worthy of his wages.”
Don’t accept an accusation against an elder unless it is supported by two or three witnesses. Publicly rebuke those who sin, so that the rest will be afraid. I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels to observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing out of favoritism. Don’t be too quick to appoint anyone as an elder, and don’t share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure. Don’t continue drinking only water, but use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses. Some people’s sins are obvious, preceding them to judgment, but the sins of others surface later. Likewise, good works are obvious, and those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden.
I love how Paul sets forth these parameters for respectful and safe relationships. I’m sure, especially as a young pastor, Timothy could very well have been subject to accusations just like we hear of today. If Paul’s instructions to Timothy are followed today, there would be no question of propriety.
Equally practical is how he outlines an appropriate plan for caring for widows. There are expectations here. He sets an age limit and takes into consideration her past service and lifestyle. He sets an expectation on the family, if there is any. Interesting to me is his tone. I see no rebuke here. It seems like he is equally concerned about the family learning the lessons of caregiving and the family responsibilities, as he is for the widow to receive care.
Yet another lesson is woven in as he assumes the widow who is truly in need has put her hope in God. Which is squarely where it should be – both with her and with us. This will also be an indication as to whether she has even been born again, which I assume in Paul’s economy presents a whole other problem.
Younger women, however, are handled differently by the church. First, it’s important to know, apparently, when a widow requests support, she takes a vow to live a life in service to the Lord. Paul recognized that vow would be very difficult for a younger person who is still desiring all the passions that go along with being married. The temptation to be drawn away is easy to imagine. Paul wisely advises that they remarry and stay busy with the pursuits of taking care of a family. No busybodies! Let’s pray.
Father, thank You so much for this practical advice. Thank You for caring for us. Thank You for loving us and accepting us through Christ, just the way we are. You lovingly give us these boundaries to keep us safe, satisfied, and pleasing to You and others. Forgive us when we see You as a big meanie. It just could not be further from the truth. Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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