Study Guide

The Pastoral Epistles (1-2 Timothy, Titus) 1 Timothy: Chapter 5

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1 Timothy: Chapter 5

The Real Widows of Ancient Rome

  • Okay, time for some more guidelines.
  • Respect your elders! Seriously. Paul wants everyone to treat older men and women with kindness.
  • And widows? Be good to them, too… if they're really widows.
  • A "real widow" is someone who has no husband, kids, grandkids, or family to care for her. Since she has no one else, it's up to the community to care for her.
  • …If she meets a couple criteria. She has to be over 60 years old and married only once, and people have to come forward and say what an awesome lady she is. Oh, and she needs to devote herself to God and pray day and night.
  • If a widow has a family, though, they should be the ones to help her. Otherwise, they're just a bunch of unfaithful jerks.
  • Any widow under 60? Well, she can just fend for herself.
  • Why? These young widows have "sensual desires," which Jesus does not approve of at all. They're also lazy gossips and busybodies.
  • Okay, then.
  • Paul thinks these ladies should just go get married and have some kids. That'll teach 'em. In any case, the community doesn't have to help them out. Sorry, ladies.
  • Okay, what about elders? These guys are leaders in the church as well, and Paul thinks they should be well respected and well paid.
  • He also lets everyone know that anyone who accuses an elder of a crime better have two or three witnesses to back it up. Note to elders: only break laws in front of one person at a time. It's the perfect crime!
  • Paul wraps all this up by telling Timothy to follow all this to the letter. Don't bend the rules just because you like or don't like someone.
  • He also lets Timothy know that it's cool to drink a little wine every now and then…as long as it's medicinal.

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