1 Timothy 5:9

These persons are variously regarded by commentators as simply destitute widows, or as deaconesses, or as presbyteresses. The most simple and natural explanation is that they belonged to the first class, for the directions here given apply to what the Church is to do for such widows, not what duty is required of them in the Church administration.

I. THE ENROLMENT OF WIDOWS IN THE ALMONER'S LIST OF THE CHURCH. "Let none be enrolled as a widow under threescore years old."

1. The existence of such a list is implied in Acts 6:1, where a murmuring is said to have arisen because "the widows were neglected in the dally ministration." There are also traces of such a list in the earlier Christian writers.

2. Such a class would be recruited from the ordinary vicissitudes of life, from the special persecutions that followed the gospel, and perhaps also from the separations from polygamous husbands brought about through the influence of Christianity.


1. As to age. "Not under threescore years old." As this age marks a relatively greater degree of senility in the East than in the West, the widows must be regarded as of the infirm class, and therefore as not in any degree able for the active duties of limb. This one consideration inclines us to believe that they did not belong to the order of deaconesses or presbyteresses. If widows had been enrolled at a much earlier age, they must have become a serious burden for a great length of time upon the Church's liberality. Therefore young widows were not to be enrolled at all.

2. As to her previous married life. "The wife of one man."

(1) This does not mean that she should not have been twice married, because

(a) the apostle counsels the younger women to marry again (ver. 14), and sanctions second marriages (Romans 7:1);

(b) because the ascetic idea of married life, which some would associate with widows holding a certain ecclesiastical rank, received no sanction from the apostle.

(2) It does not mean that she should not have had several husbands at one time, for polyandry was quite unusual.

(3) It signifies that she should never have stood related but to one living husband; not divorced from one husband and then married to another - a chaste and faithful spouse, true to her marriage vow.

3. As to her reputation for good works. "Well reported of in respect to good works." There must not only be no evil spoken of her, but she must have a reputation for good works. This reputation covers live facts of goodness.

(1) "If she hath brought up children." This would imply self-sacrifice, sympathy and zeal for youthful training. She would train her children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, commanding them like Abraham to keep the way of the Lord, from which they would not so easily depart in after-life.

(2) "If she hath lodged strangers." She may have seen better days, and had frequent opportunities of showing hospitality to Christian travelers moving from place to place. The readiness to welcome strangers was most characteristic of the early Christians.

(3) "If she hath washed the saints' feet," in token, not only of conventional hospitality, but of deep humility after the highest of all examples.

(4) "If she hath relieved the afflicted." Not by mere gifts, but by matronly sympathy and encouragement, implying the visitation of the distressed in their homes.

(5) "If she hath diligently followed every good work." She must not have wearied in well-doing, but have followed that which was good with eagerness, constancy, and true fidelity to God and man. - T.C.

But if any provide not for his own.

1. If family religion be a just debt to the supreme Being, upon account of His perfections and the relation He sustains to us as families, then it must be our duty to maintain it according to the law of nature. Now this is the case in fact. God is the most excellent of beings, and therefore worthy of homage in every capacity, from His reasonable creatures. Again, God is the author of our sociable natures, and as such claims social worship from us. Again, God is the proprietor, supporter, and benefactor of our families, as well as of our persons, and therefore our families as such should pay Him homage. He is the owner of your families, and where is the man that dares deny it?

2. If family religion was the principal design of the institution of families, then is family religion our indispensable duty. And that family religion was the principal end of the institution is evident; for can you think that God would unite a member of immortals, heirs of the eternal world, together in the most intimate bonds, in this state of trial, without any reference to their future state? Were your families made for this world only, or for the next?

3. If family religion tends to the greatest advantage of our families, then it is our duty; and to neglect it is wickedly to rob ourselves and ours of the greatest advantage.

4. You are to consider family religion not merely as a duty imposed by authority, but as your greatest privilege granted by Divine grace. I now proceed to some arguments more purely Scriptural, which prove the necessity of family religion in general, or of some particular branch of it.(1) We may argue from the examples of the saints, recorded and commended in Scripture (Genesis 18:16, 18; Genesis 26:25; Genesis 25:1, 3; Genesis 33:20).(2) We may argue from several Scripture precepts, which either directly or consequentially refer to the whole, or to some branch of family religion. The apostle Paul, having given various directions about relative duties in families, subjoins, "Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving" (Colossians 4:2). Peter exhorts "husbands to dwell with their wives according to knowledge, etc., that their prayers might not be hindered" (1 Peter 3:7), which certainly implies that they should pray together. I proceed —

II. TO SHOW IN WHAT SEASONS, OR HOW FREQUENTLY, FAMILY RELIGION SHOULD BE STATEDLY PERFORMED. Now it is more than intimated in Scripture, that it should be performed every day, and particularly morning and evening. Thus the sacrifices under the law, which were attended with prayer, were offered daily, morning and evening. To this the Psalmist alludes: "Let my prayer be set before Thee as incense" which was offered in the morning, "and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice" (Psalm 141:2). He elsewhere resolves, "Every day will I bless Thee" (Psalm 145:2). Yea, his devotion was so extraordinary, that he resolves, "Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray and cry aloud" (Psalm 55:17). So Daniel performed family worship thrice a day.

III. I shall consider, WHAT PARTICULAR OBLIGATION THE HEADS OF FAMILIES LIE UNDER, and what authority they are invested with to maintain religion in their houses. In all societies there must be a subordination, and particularly in families, and it is the place of the head of such societies to rule and direct. Particularly it belongs to the head of a family, when there is no fitter person present, to perform worship in it, to use proper means to cause all his domestics to attend upon it.


1. "I have no time, and my secular business would suffer by family religion."

2. "I have no ability to pray; I am too ignorant."

3. "I am ashamed."

4. "But, alas! I know not how to begin it."

5. "But my family will not join with me."

6. "But I shall be ridiculed and laughed at."

(S. Davies, M. A.)

If any one provide not for his own kindred, and for those of his own house, as parents or children, he lives in a manner so contrary to the Christian faith, that he, in fact, denies it, and is worse than an infidel. "Indeed," says Archbishop Seeker, "Nature as well as Christianity enjoins this domestic duty so strongly, that the whole world cries out shame where it is neglected." That man, therefore, deserves censure, who, intent on the interests of others, disregards his own. The astrologer who was looking at the stars, and telling the fortunes of his neighbours, did not see the pit which lay at his feet, and into which he fell. It is well to do a good turn to a stranger, or even to an enemy, but "not to bulge our own vessel in attempting to raise that of our neighbour," as the following story from AEsop may show. "A wolf that lay licking his wounds, and extremely faint and ill from the bite of a dog, called out to a sheep passing by, 'Hark' ye, friend, if you would but help me to a sup of water out of yonder brook, I would manage myself to get something to eat.' 'Yes,' said the sheep, 'I make no doubt of it; but when I bring you drink, my carcase shall serve you for meat.'"

Paul, Timothy
Age, Enrolled, Faithful, Husband, Less, List, None, Numbered, Roll, Sixty, Threescore, Unless, Widow, Widows, Wife
1. Rules to be observed in reproving.
3. Of widows.
17. Of elders.
23. A precept for Timothy's health.
24. Some men's sins go before unto judgment, and some men's follow after.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
1 Timothy 5:9

     5448   poverty, attitudes to

1 Timothy 5:1-16

     5745   women

1 Timothy 5:3-16

     5310   exploitation
     5743   widows

1 Timothy 5:8-9

     8252   faithfulness, relationships

1 Timothy 5:8-10

     5449   poverty, remedies

1 Timothy 5:9-10

     5765   attitudes, to people
     5963   sympathy
     7342   cleanliness
     8446   hospitality, duty of

Of Confirmation.
It is surprising that it should have entered any one's mind to make a Sacrament of Confirmation out of that laying on of hands which Christ applied to little children, and by which the apostles bestowed the Holy Spirit, ordained presbyters, and healed the sick; as the Apostle writes to Timothy: "Lay hands suddenly on no man." (1 Tim. v. 22.) Why not also make a confirmation out of the sacrament of bread, because it is written: "And when he had received meat, he was strengthened" (Acts ix. 19); or
Martin Luther—First Principles of the Reformation

Whereas, Then, all Christians have to Guard Humility...
33. Whereas, then, all Christians have to guard humility, forasmuch as it is from Christ that they are called Christians, Whose Gospel no one considers with care, but that he discovers Him to be a Teacher of humility; specially is it becoming that they be followers and keepers of this virtue, who excel the rest of men in any great good, in order that they may have a great care of that, which I set down in the beginning, "By how much thou art great, by so much humble thyself in all things, and thou
St. Augustine—Of Holy Virginity.

That, Namely, Befalleth them which in Undisciplined Younger Widows...
26. That, namely, befalleth them which in undisciplined younger widows, the same Apostle saith must be avoided: "And withal they learn to be idle; and not only idle, but also busy bodies and full of words, speaking what they ought not." [2562] This very thing said he concerning evil women, which we also in evil men do mourn and bewail, who against him, the very man in whose Epistles we read these things, do, being idle and full of words, speak what they ought not. And if there be any among them who
St. Augustine—Of the Work of Monks.

Truly we must Consider, that God Gives us Some Goods...
9. Truly we must consider, that God gives us some goods, which are to be sought for their own sake, such as wisdom, health, friendship: but others, which are necessary for the sake of somewhat, such as learning, meat, drink, sleep, marriage, sexual intercourse. For of these certain are necessary for the sake of wisdom, as learning: certain for the sake of health, as meat and drink and sleep: certain for the sake of friendship, as marriage or sexual intercourse: for hence subsists the propagation
St. Augustine—On the Good of Marriage

This HomilyWas Delivered in the Old Church of Antioch
The Argument. This Homily was delivered in the Old Church [997] of Antioch, while St. Chrysostom was yet a Presbyter, upon that saying of the Apostle, 1 Tim. v. 23, "Drink a little wine for thy stomach's sake, and thy often infirmities." 1. Ye have heard the Apostolic voice, that trumpet from heaven, that spiritual lyre! For even as a trumpet sounding a fearful and warlike note, it both dismays the enemy, and arouses the dejected spirits on its own side, and filling them with great boldness, renders
St. Chrysostom—On the Priesthood

Book ix. Epistle i. To Januarius, Bishop of Caralis (Cagliari).
To Januarius, Bishop of Caralis (Cagliari). Gregory to Januarius, &c. The preacher of Almighty God, Paul the apostle, says, Rebuke not an elder (1 Tim. v. 1). But this rule of his is to be observed in cases where the fault of an elder does not draw through his example the hearts of the younger into ruin. But, when an elder sets an example to the young for their ruin, he is to be smitten with severe rebuke. For it is written, Ye are all a snare to the young (Isai. xlii. 22). And again the prophet
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

Sundry Exhortations.
HEBREWS xiii. Let love of the brethren continue. Forget not to shew love unto strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; them that are evil entreated, as being yourselves also in the body. Let marriage be had in honour among all, and let the bed be undefiled: for fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Be ye free from the love of money; content with such things as ye have: for Himself hath said, I will in no wise fail thee,
Thomas Charles Edwards—The Expositor's Bible: The Epistle to the Hebrews

Excursus on the Deaconess of the Early Church.
It has been supposed by many that the deaconess of the Early Church had an Apostolic institution and that its existence may be referred to by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans (xvi. 1) where he speaks of Phoebe as being a diakonos of the Church of Cenchrea. It moreover has been suggested that the "widows" of 1 Tim. v. 9 may have been deaconesses, and this seems not unlikely from the fact that the age for the admission of women to this ministry was fixed by Tertullian at sixty years (De Vel.
Philip Schaff—The Seven Ecumenical Councils

What Diversity There Ought to be in the Art of Preaching.
Differently to be admonished are these that follow:-- Men and women. The poor and the rich. The joyful and the sad. Prelates and subordinates. Servants and masters. The wise of this world and the dull. The impudent and the bashful. The forward and the fainthearted. The impatient and the patient. The kindly disposed and the envious. The simple and the insincere. The whole and the sick. Those who fear scourges, and therefore live innocently; and those who have grown so hard in iniquity as not to be
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

Thoughts Upon Worldly-Riches. Sect. Ii.
TIMOTHY after his Conversion to the Christian Faith, being found to be a Man of great Parts, Learning, and Piety, and so every way qualified for the work of the Ministry, St. Paul who had planted a Church at Ephesus the Metropolis or chief City of all Asia, left him to dress and propagate it, after his departure from it, giving him Power to ordain Elders or Priests, and to visit and exercise Jurisdiction over them, to see they did not teach false Doctrines, 1 Tim. i. 3. That they be unblameable in
William Beveridge—Private Thoughts Upon a Christian Life

The Third Word from the Cross
In the life of our Lord from first to last there is a strange blending of the majestic and the lowly. When a beam of His divine dignity is allowed to shine out and dazzle us, it is never long before there ensues some incident which reminds us that He is bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh; and, contrariwise, when He does anything which impressively brings home to us His humanity, there always follows something to remind us that He was greater than the sons of men. Thus at His birth He was laid
James Stalker—The Trial and Death of Jesus Christ

And not Without Just Cause a Doubt is Raised...
14. And not without just cause a doubt is raised, whether he said this of all married women, or of such as so many are, as that nearly all may be thought so to be. For neither doth that, which he saith of unmarried women, "She, that is unmarried, thinkest of the things of the Lord, to be holy both in body and spirit:" [1973] pertain unto all unmarried women: whereas there are certain widows who are dead, who live in delights. However, so far as regards a certain distinction and, as it were, character
St. Augustine—On the Good of Marriage

Marriage, I Say, is a Good, and May Be...
24. Marriage, I say, is a good, and may be, by sound reason, defended against all calumnies. But with the marriage of the holy fathers, I inquire not what marriage, but what continence, is on a level: or rather not marriage with marriage; for it is an equal gift in all cases given to the mortal nature of men; but men who use marriage, forasmuch as I find not, to compare with other men who used marriage in a far other spirit, we must require what continent persons admit of being compared with those
St. Augustine—On the Good of Marriage

But Since, as the Lord Saith, "Not all Receive this Word...
12. But since, as the Lord saith, "Not all receive this word;" [2249] therefore let her who can receive it, receive it; and let her, who containeth not, marry; let her, who hath not begun, deliberate; let her, who hath undertaken it, persevere; let there be no occasion given unto the adversary, let there be no oblation withdrawn from Christ. Forsooth in the marriage bond if chastity be preserved, condemnation is not feared; but in widowed and virginal continence, the excellence of a greater gift
St. Augustine—On the Good of Widowhood.

For that Also is no Foolish Question which is Wont to be Proposed...
16. For that also is no foolish question which is wont to be proposed, that whoso can may say, which widow is to be preferred in desert; whether one who hath had one husband, who, after having lived a considerable time with her husband, being left a widow with sons born to her and alive, hath made profession of continence; or she who as a young woman having lost two husbands within two years, having no children left alive to console her, hath vowed to God continence, and in it hath grown old with
St. Augustine—On the Good of Widowhood.

Epistle xxxi. To Cyriacus, Bishop.
To Cyriacus, Bishop. Gregory to Cyriacus, Bishop of Constantinople. We have received the letters of your Blessedness, which speak to us in words not of the tongue but of the soul. For they open to me your mind, which, however, was not closed to me, since of myself I retain experience of the same sweetness. Wherefore I return thanks continually to Almighty God, since, if charity the mother of virtues abides in your heart towards us, you will never lose the branches of good works, seeing that you
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

Preaching (I. ).
Earthen vessels, frail and slight, Yet the golden Lamp we bear; Master, break us, that the light So may fire the murky air; Skill and wisdom none we claim, Only seek to lift Thy Name. I have on purpose reserved the subject of Preaching for our closing pages. Preaching is, from many points of view, the goal and summing up of all other parts and works of the Ministry. What we have said already about the Clergyman's life and labour, in secret, in society, in the parish; what we have said about his
Handley C. G. Moule—To My Younger Brethren

The Praise of Men.
"They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God."--John xii. 43. This is spoken of the chief rulers of the Jews, who, though they believed in Christ's Divine mission, were afraid to confess Him, lest they should incur temporal loss and shame from the Pharisees. The censure passed by St. John on these persons is too often applicable to Christians at the present day; perhaps, indeed, there is no one among us who has not at some time or other fallen under it. We love the good opinion
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VII

An Essay on the Mosaic Account of the Creation and Fall of Man
THERE are not a few difficulties in the account, which Moses has given of the creation of the world, and of the formation, and temptation, and fall of our first parents. Some by the six days of the creation have understood as many years. Whilst others have thought the creation of the world instantaneous: and that the number of days mentioned by Moses is only intended to assist our conception, who are best able to think of things in order of succession. No one part of this account is fuller of difficulties,
Nathaniel Lardner—An Essay on the Mosaic Account of the Creation and Fall of Man

The Past Day Returns not Hereafter, and after Yesterday Proceeds To-Day...
25. The past day returns not hereafter, and after yesterday proceeds to-day, and after to-day will proceed to-morrow; and, lo, all times and the things of time pass away, that there may come the promise that shall abide; and "whoso shall have persevered even unto the end, this one shall be saved." [2287] If the world is now perishing, the married woman, for whom beareth she? Or in heart about to bear, and in flesh not about to bear, why doth she marry? But if the world is still about to last, why
St. Augustine—On the Good of Widowhood.

A Discourse of the Building, Nature, Excellency, and Government of the House of God; with Counsels and Directions to the Inhabitants Thereof.
BY JOHN BUNYAN, OF BEDFORD. 'Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.'--Psalm 26:8 ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. Beautiful in its simplicity is this treatise on the Church of Christ, by John Bunyan. He opens, with profound knowledge and eminent skill, all those portions of sacred writ which illustrate the nature, excellency, and government of the house of God, with the personal and relative duties of its inhabitants. It was originally published in
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Twenty-Fourth Day for the Spirit on Your Own Congregation
WHAT TO PRAY.--For the Spirit on your own Congregation "Beginning at Jerusalem."--LUKE xxiv. 47. Each one of us is connected with some congregation or circle of believers, who are to us the part of Christ's body with which we come into most direct contact. They have a special claim on our intercession. Let it be a settled matter between God and you that you are to labour in prayer on its behalf. Pray for the minister and all leaders or workers in it. Pray for the believers according to their needs.
Andrew Murray—The Ministry of Intercession

For He Himself Also, with an Eye to the Like Necessities of Saints...
16. For he himself also, with an eye to the like necessities of saints, who, although they obey his precepts, "that with silence they work and eat their own bread," may yet from many causes stand in need of somewhat by way of supplement to the like sustenance, therefore, after he had thus said, teaching and premonishing, "Now them which are such we command and beseech in our Lord Jesus Christ, that with silence they work and eat their own bread;" [2521] yet, lest they which had whereof they might
St. Augustine—Of the Work of Monks.

But Thou who Both Hast Sons, and Livest in that End of the World...
11. But thou who both hast sons, and livest in that end of the world, wherein now is the time not of casting stones, but of gathering; not of embracing, but of abstaining from embracing; [2244] when the Apostle cries out, "But this I say, brethren, the time is short; it remains, that both they who have wives be as not having;" [2245] assuredly if thou hadst sought a second marriage, it would have been no obedience of prophecy or law, no carnal desire even of family, but a mark of incontinence alone.
St. Augustine—On the Good of Widowhood.

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