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    1. an elder--in age; probably not an elder in the ministry; these latter are not mentioned till 1Ti 5:17, "the elders that rule." Compare Ac 2:17, "your old men," literally, "elders." Contrasted with "the younger men." As Timothy was admonished so to conduct himself as to give no man reason to despise his youth (1Ti 4:12); so here he is told to bear in mind his youth, and to behave with the modesty which becomes a young man in relation to his elders.
    - Rebuke not--literally, "Strike not hard upon"; Rebuke not sharply: a different word from "rebuke" in 2Ti 4:2.
    - entreat--exhort.
    - as brethren--and therefore equals; not lording it over them (1Pe 5:1-3).

    2. with all purity--respectful treatment of the other sex will promote "purity."

    3. Honour--by setting on the church roll, as fit objects of charitable sustenance (1Ti 5:9, 17, 18; Ac 6:1). So "honor" is used for support with necessaries (Mt 15:4, 6; Ac 28:10).
    - widows indeed-- (1Ti 5:16). Those really desolate; not like those (1Ti 5:4) having children or relations answerable for their support, nor like those (in 1Ti 5:6) "who live in pleasure"; but such as, from their earthly desolation as to friends, are most likely to trust wholly in God, persevere in continual prayers, and carry out the religious duties assigned to Church widows (1Ti 5:5). Care for widows was transferred from the Jewish economy to the Christian (De 14:29; 16:11; 24:17, 19).

    4. if any widow have children--not "a widow indeed," as having children who ought to support her.
    - nephews--rather, as Greek, "descendants," or "grandchildren" [HESYCHIUS]. "Nephews" in old English meant "grandchildren" [HOOKER, Ecclesiastical Polity, 5.20].
    - let them--the children and descendants.
    - learn first--ere it falls to the Church to support them.
    - to show piety at home--filial piety towards their widowed mother or grandmother, by giving her sustenance. Literally, "to show piety towards their own house." "Piety is applied to the reverential discharge of filial duties; as the parental relation is the earthly representation of God our heavenly Father's relation to us. "Their own" stands in opposition to the Church, in relation to which the widow is comparatively a stranger. She has a claim on her own children, prior to her claim on the Church; let them fulfil this prior claim which she has on them, by sustaining her and not burdening the Church.
    - parents--Greek, (living) "progenitors," that is, their mother or grandmother, as the case may be. "Let them learn," implies that abuses of this kind had crept into the Church, widows claiming Church support though they had children or grandchildren able to support them.
    - good and--The oldest manuscripts omit. The words are probably inserted by a transcriber from 1Ti 2:3.

    5. widow indeed, and desolate--contrasted with her who has children or grandchildren to support her (1Ti 5:4).
    - trusteth in God--perfect tense in Greek, "hath rested, and doth rest her hope in God." 1Ti 5:5 adds another qualification in a widow for Church maintenance, besides her being" desolate" or destitute of children to support her. She must be not one "that liveth in pleasure" (1Ti 5:6), but one making God her main hope (the accusative in Greek expresses that God is the ultimate aim whereto her hope is directed; whereas, 1Ti 4:10, dative expresses hope resting on God as her present stay [WIESINGER]), and continuing constantly in prayers. Her destitution of children and of all ties to earth would leave her more unencumbered for devoting the rest of her days to God and the Church (1Co 7:33, 34). Compare also "Anna a widow," who remained unmarried after her husband's death and "departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers day and night" (Lu 2:36, 37). Such a one, Paul implies, would be the fittest object for the Church's help (1Ti 5:3); for such a one is promoting the cause of Christ's Church by her prayers for it. "Ardor in prayers flows from hoping confidence in God" [LEO].
    - in supplications and prayers--Greek, "in her supplications and prayers"; the former signifies asking under a sense of need, the latter, prayer (see on 1Ti 2:1; Php 4:6).
    - night and day--another coincidence with Luke (Lu 18:7, "cry day and night"); contrast Satan's accusations "day and night" (Re 12:10).

    6. she that liveth in pleasure--the opposite of such a widow as is described in 1Ti 5:5, and therefore one utterly undeserving of Church charity. The Greek expresses wanton prodigality and excess [TITTMANN]. The root expresses weaving at a fast rate, and so lavish excess (see on Jas 5:5).
    - dead while she liveth--dead in the Spirit while alive in the flesh (Mt 8:22; Eph 5:14).

    7. these things--just now spoken (1Ti 5:5, 6).
    - that they may be blameless--namely, the widows supported by the Church.

    8. But--reverting to 1Ti 5:4, "If any (a general proposition; therefore including in its application the widow's children or grandchildren) provide not for his own (relations in general), and especially for those of his own house (in particular), he hath (practically) denied the faith." Faith without love and its works is dead; "for the subject matter of faith is not mere opinion, but the grace and truth of God, to which he that believes gives up his spirit, as he that loves gives up his heart" [MACK]. If in any case a duty of love is plain, it is in relation to one's own relatives; to fail in so plain an obligation is a plain proof of want of love, and therefore of want of faith. "Faith does not set aside natural duties, but strengthens them" [BENGEL].
    - worse than an infidel--because even an infidel (or unbeliever) is taught by nature to provide for his own relatives, and generally recognizes the duty; the Christian who does not so, is worse (Mt 5:46, 47). He has less excuse with his greater light than the infidel who may break the laws of nature.

    9. Translate, "As a widow (that is, of the ecclesiastical order of widowhood; a kind of female presbytery), let none be enrolled (in the catalogue) who is less than sixty years old." These were not deaconesses, who were chosen at a younger age (forty was the age fixed at the Council of Chalcedon), and who had virgins (in a later age called widows) as well as widows among them, but a band of widows set apart, though not yet formally and finally, to the service of God and the Church. Traces of such a class appear in Ac 9:41. Dorcas herself was such a one. As it was expedient (see on 1Ti 3:2; Tit 1:6) that the presbyter or bishop should have been but once married, so also in her case. There is a transition here to a new subject. The reference here cannot be, as in 1Ti 5:3, to providing Church sustenance for them. For the restriction to widows above sixty would then be needless and harsh, since many widows might be in need of help at a much earlier age; as also the rule that the widow must not have been twice married, especially since he himself, below (1Ti 5:14) enjoins the younger widows to marry again; as also that she must have brought up children. Moreover, 1Ti 5:10 presupposes some competence, at least in past times, and so poor widows would be excluded, the very class requiring charity. Also, 1Ti 5:11 would then be senseless, for then their remarrying would be a benefit, not an injury, to the Church, as relieving it of the burden of their sustenance. TERTULLIAN [On the Veiling of Virgins, 9], HERMAS [Shepherd, 1.2], and CHRYSOSTOM [Homily, 31], mention such an order of ecclesiastical widowhood, each one not less than sixty years old, and resembling the presbyters in the respect paid to them, and in some of their duties; they ministered with sympathizing counsel to other widows and to orphans, a ministry to which their own experimental knowledge of the feelings and sufferings of the bereaved adapted them, and had a general supervision of their sex. Age was doubtless a requisite in presbyters, as it is here stated to have been in presbyteresses, with a view to their influence on the younger persons of their sex They were supported by the Church, but not the only widows so supported (1Ti 5:3, 4).
    - wife of one man--in order not to throw a stumbling-block in the way of Jews and heathen, who regarded with disfavor second marriages (see on 1Ti 3:2; Tit 1:6). This is the force of "blameless," giving no offense, even in matters indifferent.

    10. for good works--Greek, "IN honourable (excellent) works"; the sphere or element in which the good report of her had place (Tit 2:7). This answers to 1Ti 3:7, as to the bishop or presbyter, "He must have a good report of them which are without."
    - if--if, in addition to being "well reported of."
    - she . . . brought up children--either her own (1Ti 3:4, 12), or those of others, which is one of the "good works"; a qualification adapting her for ministry to orphan children, and to mothers of families.
    - lodged strangers-- 1Ti 3:2, "given to hospitality" (Tit 1:8); in the case of presbyters.
    - washed . . . saints' feet--after the example of the Lord (Joh 13:14); a specimen of the universal spirit of humbly "by love serving one another," which actuated the early Christians.
    - relieved the afflicted--whether by pecuniary or other relief.
    - followed . . . good-- (1Th 5:15; compare instances in Mt 25:35, 36).

    11. younger--than sixty years old (1Ti 5:9).
    - refuse--to take on the roll of presbyteress widows.
    - wax wanton--literally, "over-strong" (2Ch 26:16).
    - against Christ--rebelling against Christ, their proper Bridegroom [JEROME].
    - they will--Greek, "they wish"; their desire is to marry again.

    12. Having--Bringing on themselves, and so having to bear as a burden (Ga 5:10) judgment from God (compare 1Ti 3:6), weighing like a load on them.
    - cast off their first faith--namely, pledged to Christ and the service of the Church. There could be no hardship at the age of sixty or upwards in not marrying again (end of 1Ti 5:9), for the sake of serving better the cause of Christ as presbyteresses; though, to ordinary widows, no barrier existed against remarriage (1Co 7:39). This is altogether distinct from Rome's unnatural vows of celibacy in the case of young marriageable women. The widow-presbyteresses, moreover, engaged to remain single, not as though single life were holier than married life (according to Rome's teaching), but because the interests of Christ's cause made it desirable (see on 1Ti 3:2). They had pledged "their first faith" to Christ as presbyteress widows; they now wish to transfer their faith to a husband (compare 1Co 7:32, 34).

    13. withal--"at the same time, moreover."
    - learn--usually in a good sense. But these women's "learning" is idleness, trifling, and busybodies' tattle.
    - wandering--Greek, "going about."
    - from house to house--of the members of the Church (2Ti 3:6). "They carry the affairs of this GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - D. J-F-B INDEX & SEARCH

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