Awake & Alive: 1 Timothy Reading Plan

Day 22

1 Timothy 5:11-16

11But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry 12and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. 13Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. 14So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. 15For some have already strayed after Satan. 16If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are truly widows. 1 Timothy 5:11-16

The initial reading of this passage can be jarring. Paul, previously emphasizing the church’s role in helping others, seems to restrict support for young widows. However, this apparent contradiction highlights a central theme of the Epistle: the transformative power of the Gospel on both individuals and the church.

Viewed through this lens, the passage becomes an exhortation. Paul encourages the church to guide young widows toward living a Gospel-transformed life. Life’s hardships can expose flaws or refine character. Paul urges the church to help young widows develop Christ-like qualities under pressure.

The church’s role is to lovingly shepherd these women, leading them away from “idle” pursuits towards a more joyful life grounded in godliness. This responsibility extends beyond the church to biological families. The passage reiterates the importance of Christians supporting each other, reflecting God’s character.

Both church and family serve as sources of strength for believers facing adversity, offering hope and joy even to non-believers. Crucially, this support is rooted in lives transformed by the Gospel, not mere religious acts.