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1 Timothy 5:13,14– Useless of useful?

14-06-2024 - Posted by Hans

Yet at the same time they are learning to be idle also, wandering about the homes. Yet not only are they idle, but gossips also and meddlers, speaking what they must not. I am intending, then, that younger widows are to be marrying, bearing children, managing the household, giving an opposer nothing as an incentive favoring reviling.

Paul advises Timothy not to list younger widows as candidates for the “widows ministry” (:11). In Paul’s opinion, older qualified widows over the age of sixty are best suited for this (:9,10). In verses 12 and 13 he refers to bad experiences with younger widows in this regard. They often did not keep their vow to remain unmarried (:12), but their home visits also often turned into idle sitting around. And in practice it was worse even than useless: they spent their time in gossip, meddling and other improper talk.

The positive side of Paul’s advice is: younger widows would do better to marry and have children and manage their own homes. Of course, what Paul writes here is not a universal rule, let alone a law. See, for example, 1Corinthians 7:8 where he advises widows not to marry. Every advice he gives is valuable but tailored to a specific situation. All under the motto: “All is allowed but not all is expedient” (1 Cor. 6:12; 10:23).