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1 Timothy 5:3,4 – First at home

03-04-2024 - Posted by Hans

Widows be honoring, who are really widows. Now if any widow has children or descendants, let them learn to be devoted to their own household first and reciprocate by paying their progenitors, for this is welcome in God’s sight.

From here until verse 16, Paul addresses the subject of ‘widows’. The first distinction he makes is between “who are truly widows” and the widow who “has children or descendants.” This means that by “who are truly widows” Paul refers to women who are completely alone without a family (5:5). That is why they often have to rely on assistance from outside the family. That is what Paul also means here by “honor”: they deserve not only respect but also actual support.

However, such honor is not intended for the widow who does have children or grandchildren. It is Biblically self-evident that children honor their father and mother (cf. Eph.6:2,3). In practice, this also means that one takes care of the parents when they are no longer able to do so themselves. It is a return of favor and service to the ancestors.

The task of the (grand)mother lies primarily in the family where she may lead the (grand)children in reverence (‘godliness’). Elsewhere this is called “the fear of the Lord.” That is welcome in God’s sight!