Wednesday, January 9, 2008
1 Timothy 5
What is this passage all about?
Paul explains to Timothy how the church can help widows and how it should relate to its elders.
What can I learn from it?
1 Timothy seems to be a letter of lists. In this chapter Paul gives a list of the marks of a good woman, one who, in her old age and without a husband to support her, is worthy of the support and aid of the church. She "has been faithful to her husband, and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds." (vv9b-10.) This is a list of godly priorities to aspire to!
Paul also lists profitable occupations for younger widows, in order that they are not caught up in idleness that, in turn, gives opportunity for sin. Paul writes (v14) "I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander." This is another list which speaks of the broad responsibilities that God has appointed as good deeds for a married woman to work at.
How can I apply this to my own life?
There are elements of this passage which deal specifically with widows. Now I am not a widow, but I may someday be in this position, so it is important that I understand what Paul says. These two lists give me a guideline from which I can order and prioritise my daily activities, and helps me to answer those questions I mentioned before, "Do I have the freedom to do this? Is this the best use of my time?" In particular, I need to focus my energies on
1. being a faithful wife to my husband in all matters
2. bringing up my children
3. managing my home
4. showing hospitality
5. serving my fellow believers
6. ministering to those in trouble; and