Search Bible Outlines and commentaries




(based on age and sex distinctions)

A. Men

1. Older

a. Negative — “Do not sharply rebuke an older man”

“Elder” used here in a nontechnical sense with respect to age.

b. Positive — “But rather appeal to him as a father”

Stedman: “Hidden in that verse is another one of those profound psychological insights so frequently found in Scripture, which says that the way you treat people depends on how you see them. Paul is suggesting that if Timothy sees every older man in the congregation as a father, then he will treat him with a natural deference and respect.”

2. Younger — “to the younger men as brothers”

B. Women

1. Older — “the older women as mothers”

Gromacki: “with kindness, respect, and dignity”

2. Younger — “and the younger women as sisters, in all purity”

Important that we relate to the entire cross-section of ages and types of people in the church. Don’t restrict your fellowship just to those who are most like you.


God has always been concerned with proper care of widows: Deut. 10:18; 24:17; Isa. 1:17; Deut. 14:29; Ps. 94:6; Mal. 3:5 (Wiersbe)

A. (:3) General Principle

1. Stated — “Honor widows”

2. Clarification — “who are widows indeed”

Important distinction in this passage = what does it mean to be a “widow indeed”

B. (:4-8, 16) The Immediate Family Has Primary Responsibility

1. (:4) Children or Grandchildren Must Make Provision

“but if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family, and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God.”

Hiebert: “The children owe their parents a great debt which they can never fully repay for all the love, patience, and self-sacrificing care bestowed upon them during their infancy and childhood. For them to make this requittal ‘is acceptable in the sight of God.'”

2. (:5-6) The Widow Should be Devoted to God Rather Than Pleasure

a. No Immediate Family to Provide for Her

“Now she who is a widow indeed, and who has been left alone”

b. Evidence of Devotion to God

1) “has fixed her hope on God”

2) “and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day”

c. Not Wasting Her Life in Pursuing Pleasure

“But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives”

Hiebert: “‘Her frivolous, selfish, sensual existence is not true life; it fills none of life’s true ends; and, as to any real value to herself or to others, she is practically dead’ (Lipscomb and Shepherd). She is alive in the flesh but is dead spiritually.”

3. (:7) Proper Conduct Requires Authoritative Teaching

a. Method = Authoritative Teaching — “Prescribe these things as well”

b. Goal = Good Reputation — “so that they may be above reproach”

4. (:8) Warning to the Immediate Family

“But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especailly for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever.”

5. (:16) Final Reminder

“If any woman who is a believer has dependent widows, let her assist them, and let not the church be burdened, so that it may assist those who are widows indeed.”

C. (:9-10) Qualifications for Inclusion on the Widow Care List

“Let a widow be put on the list only if”

these are obligatory requirements; not optional

1. Age Requirement — “she is not less than sixty years old”

2. Faithful in Her Marriage — “having been the wife of one man”

Wiersbe: “We have met this same requirement before, for bishops (3:2) and for deacons (3:12). The implication is that the widow was not a divorced woman. Since younger widows were advised to remarry (5:14), this stipulation cannot refer to a woman who had a temporary second marriage after the death of her husband. Faithfulness to one’s marriage vows is very important in the eyes of God.”

3. Reputation for Good Works — “having a reputation for good works”

a. Faithful child-rearing — “if she has brought up children”

Does this mean that these children must have died or not undertaken their responsibility to support this widow?

b. Hospitality — “if she has shown hospitality to strangers”

c. Service — “if she has washed the saints’ feet”

d. Compassion — “if she has assisted those in distress”

e. Summary — “if she has devoted herself to every good work”

D. (:11-15) Younger Widows Should be Excluded from the Widow Care List

1. Clear Statement — “But refuse to put younger widows on the list”

Implies that they will come and make such a request

2. Obvious Temptation — putting them in a Compromising Position where they have made a pledge which they will have trouble fulfilling

“for when they feel sensual desires in disregard of Christ, they want to get married, thus incurring condemnation, because they have set aside their previous pledge”

3. Danger of Becoming Idle and Disruptive

(Opportunities for visitation and ministry could easily be abused by younger widows)

a. Idle

“And at the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house”

b. Disruptive

“and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention”

Hiebert: “His real reason for the restriction is not the conservation of the financial resources of the church but the spiritual welfare of its members. To place these youthful widows on the roll for permanent support would be to expose them to special temptations whose subtle operations Paul had witnessed.

4. Advantages of Remarriage

“Therefore, I want younger widows to get married”

a. Opportunity to “bear children”

b. Opportunity to “keep house”

c. Opportunity to maintain a good reputation

1) Positive — “give the enemy no occasion for reproach”

2) Negative — “for some have already turned aside to follow Satan”

Guthrie: “by which is probably meant ‘given themselves to immoral conduct’.