Serving Young Widows

1 Timothy 5:9-16 SCC 12/30/12

            The church has a great responsibility with regard to women left alone by the loss of a husband. And just as the Lord is the special protector, and provider and special strength of widows, and bereft women, so the church is to be the channel of that very same compassion. We must be faithful to have the heart of God and show it to women in need, women who need to be protected, women who are as God's design the weaker vessel and in need of male care and protection of a genuine widow (v 3, 5, 16).

First, she is desolate; she has nothing.

Secondly, she has fixed her hope on God.

Thirdly, she continues in supplications and prayers night and day.

            This is the kind of woman the church is to support. She has no other means of support coming from family and friends. She is a Christian who has fixed her hope on God. She is a godly woman who is continually before the Lord petitioning and praising Him in prayer. But the idea is the first line of responsibility, children and grandchildren. The second line of responsibility, male leadership in a family. The third line of responsibility then becomes women in verse 16. And finally, the fourth line of responsibility then falls to the church.



            Let a widow be enrolled  A widow here:

    a. Female survivor of a marriage that the church helped (vv. 3-8)

    b. Special category of female church worker that the church hired (vv. 9-16). These are just a group of women who serve in the church.

            Not less than sixty yrs of age

Here is another qualification for the widows who were part of a list of qualified widows indeed. But these women were assumed to be women who were older. They were not driven by their sexual desires. They would be very unlikely to remarry and are available for ministry.

            Having become a one man wife

A oneman woman is a woman who was totally devoted to the man she was married to.


            being witnessed by good works

She diligently follows every good work. She is good and she does good. These good works reflect a woman's expected role in the local community. There are five specific good deeds listed

            1. If she brought up children

It basically means to nourish children. The children would normally be her own but may have raised some orphans as well. Does not mean that a woman who is not given the privilege of having children because she cannot, or a woman whom God has given the gift of singleness is a lesser woman,

            2. If she entertained strangers

If she has lodged strangers, or literally if she's shown hospitality to strangers. If she's had an open home and maintained hospitality to people, not to people she knew but to people she didn't know.

            3. If she washed saints feet

This was an act of a household servant receiving a guest. Jesus did this for His own disciples to teach them humility. Here it seems to be metaphorical of humble service

            4. If she assisted distressed ones

That simply means if she has assisted people in trouble. Has she helped, aided, and assisted people in trouble under pressure?

            5. If she devoted herself to every good work

If she's devoted herself totally to every good work. Has she actively pursued every good work? The standard for the women on this list then becomes the goal of every woman to be that kind of woman. This is how every Christian woman should seek to live.




The church could put widows on a list if they were over 60. Younger widows were encouraged to go toward marriage.



            refuse younger widows (assume refuse on the list)

Don't let a young woman do that. Young women are eligible for support in the time of their distress if they're widows indeed, true widows. There are two reasons:

(1) To protect them from dishonoring Christ in this way.


            the reason is because

            whenever they feel sensual desires in disregard of Christ

            they wish to marry

They will desire to marry. The verb stresses the desire. What's going to happen, he says, is they're going to make a vow to God of some kind, maybe to serve him. When she begins to feel desire that a normal woman would have to a man, there’s a problem. She's going to want to break out of this rash vow and covenant that she made. The word "wanton" implies without regard for what is right.   


            incurring judgment

Such unfaithfulness to a covenant has consequence. This says actually "carrying about with them condemnation or judgment."


            they set aside their first faith

She could be throwing off the original pledge she made in the moment of her sorrow. She could be throwing off her original commitment at salvation to give her life in service to Christ and obey His will. Either way, she violates her commitment to the Lord. The desire for marriage is so strong, she is in danger of throwing away her original pledge violating the original commitment to the Lord. Her priority was to a commitment of devote to the Lord but marriage places her back in the temporal.


(2) They learn to be idle.

The first problem is a problem of desire for a man. The second problem is immaturity.

But also

            at the same time

                        They learn to be idle

                        Going around house to house

Possibly the widows helped in daily care and weekly distribution of food to the members of all the different house churches. They may have visited house to house to check on believers.


Not only idle

BUT also




It applies to women who make their business tending to other people's business. This is the strong contrast to the true widows indeed. There are opposite outcomes because of the youth and differing needs of the younger widow.

            Speaking things not proper

And it culminates finally at the end of verse 13 in her spreading things around she shouldn't even say. Sins of the tongue are deadly sins because you cannot take them back! They hurt. They sting. They send messages. They stick. Even with apologies.



Paul has a better idea in verse 14 for young women. Therefore "I command," it has the force of a command, "that the younger marry."

            I want younger women to marry

A younger woman who has lost her husband is to marry.

            To bear children

It says the younger women are to marry and bear children. So we might say that the younger could encompass women who are still of childbearing age. Bearing children is God's purpose for a woman and even though a woman had been married, lost her husband and needed to be remarried again, the purpose doesn't change. She is to have babies.

            To keep house

She is to do that and that includes managing the household, raising the children comes in here too.. Titus 2:4 and 5 says she's to be a keeper at home. It means to manage the home with the resources provided.

            Giving the enemy no occasion for reproach

These widows who had become sexually active have opened a door for satanic attack. The term "occasion" is a launching point, a base of operations. It's not only a protection from irresponsible relationships, it's not only a protection from irresponsible behavior and idleness, but it is because God designed her to be in the sphere of the home.



            The reason to give no occasion

            Is because some have already turned aside to follow Satan

Sadly, some have already turned from their vow to Christ. Some have already left the true calling of a woman to the home. Some are out following false teachers. Some are following their own lusts. Some may be the silly women laden down with lusts that he mentions in 2 Timothy chapter 3. Some have already spread lies. Some have already been busy with other people's affairs. Some have broken promises to the Lord.



            any woman a believer has widows

            let her assist them

The first command is women who had the resources to take care of these widows. First, children and grandchildren. Secondly, a man in the family to provide. Thirdly, a woman to provide. So not only were believing men to provide for their extended household, those women who had need, but even women were to do that as well. Let them assist. It says women who have widows in their circle of influence, in their family, in their household, are to relieve them if they can so the church isn't charged.


            let not the church be burdened

You are the church and I am the church. If you or if I have the resources to support them, then we should do it. God is looking at you and God says if a widow comes across your path, and you have the resources to help and you help, I bless you.



1. Christlike compassion cares for the needy and the helpless and the orphan and the widow.

2. Take responsibility for the needs of the needy in your sphere of life.