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1 Timothy 5:9– Selected widows

03-04-2024 - Posted by Hans

Let no widow be listed of less than sixty years, having been the wife of one man.

It is not easy to precisely reconstruct the situation that Paul assumes is known here. It is clear that Timothy had a list that included widows. Paul uses the verb ‘katalego’ here (from which our word ‘catalogue’ is derived), which indicates the mention of a list. Not every random widow was eligible for this, on the contrary. This and the next verse lists six requirements for inclusion on the list. It is not explicitly stated, but from the demands placed on the widows we do get an impression of what their service consists of. They are older women who have qualified to fully dedicate themselves to the task. This probably consisted of sheltering widows, orphans and other needy people.

The fact that these widows had to be at least sixty years old may have to do with the fact that younger women were more likely to drop out of this ministry (see 5:11). They must also have been the wife of one man, by which Paul probably means that she was faithful to her husband. Above all, he wants widows to be a credible example in this service.