1 Timothy 5:3-16 (Instructions About Widows)

1Ti 5:3-8     From the context of the verses that follow, what does Paul mean to “honor” widows?  See also 1Ti 5:17-18.  What does he mean by those who are “widows indeed”?  See 1Ti 5:4-5, 16.  What example do we have in Scripture of a “widow indeed” who continued “in entreaties and prayers”?  See Luke 2:37.  Note: “practice piety” in 1Ti 5:4 is the verbal form of the word Paul used for “godliness” in 1Ti 3:16 and 4:7-8; what do his words in 1Ti 5:4 teach us about the practical manifestation of godliness in our lives?  See also James 2:14-18, 1 Jn 3:17-19.  What do his words in 1Ti 5:4 and 8 teach us about the primary importance of caring for one’s own family, and especially one’s elderly parents?  See also Mark 7:9-13.  Where must true godliness always begin?  See 1Ti 5:4.  Is it only by one’s words that a person may deny the Christian faith?  See 1Ti 5:8 and Tit 1:16.  In what sense is such a person “worse” than an unbeliever?  See 1Ti 4:2, 2 Pet 2:20-22.  Contrast the woman who is a “widow indeed” with the widow Paul describes in 1Ti 5:6.  In what ways might a woman “give herself to wanton pleasure”?  See James 5:5, Ez 16:49.  Would Paul have the Church support this latter type of widow?  How would prescribing such things tend towards a congregation that is “above reproach” (1Ti 5:7)?

1Ti 5:9-10   What was the primary purpose of the “list” Paul mentions in 1Ti 5:9, and why was such a list necessary?  Cf. Acts 6:1.  What is the very first qualification Paul gives in these verses for the widows to be put on the list of persons the Church would support, and why was it important?  See again 1Ti 5:3.  Given that the resources available to a church are not unlimited, what principle is behind the guidance Paul gives for how a church’s charitable gifts are to be dispersed?  See Gal 6:10.  Would the qualification of “having been the wife of one man” disqualify a woman widowed early in life who remarried and was later widowed again?  Cf. 1Ti 5:14, and note that the formula used is literally “a woman of one man” that denotes covenant faithfulness and is the exact counterpart for women as that given for overseers and deacons in 1Ti 3:2,12; see also Rom 7:3.  What do the qualifications in 1Ti 5:10 teach us about the roles fulfilled in life by a godly woman?  What example do we have in Scripture of a godly woman with a “reputation for good works” who “devoted herself to every good work”?  See Acts 9:36.   Who among those who are in distress would Paul include for a godly woman to assist?  See 1Ti 5:16.

1Ti 5:11-16 For what several reasons did Paul say younger widows should not be put on the list of those the church would support?  See 1Ti 5:11-13.  What do his words in 1Ti 5:11 and 12 indicate about the “till-death-do-us-part” commitment expected by the early church of those widows put on the list?  Note: NASB “set aside their previous pledge” = KJV “cast off their first faith” = NIV “broken their first pledge”; “set aside” means literally to nullify or declare invalid, as in a vow or covenant; see Gal 3:15.  Instead of expecting the church to care for younger widows, what does Paul direct?  See 1Ti 5:14.  What does 1Ti 5:14 teach us about the role of a godly young woman?  Notice that raising children is mentioned prominently in both 1Ti 5:10 and 14; what does this teach us about the primary importance God places upon motherhood for a woman?  Note: NASB “keep house” means literally to manage or rule over a house; does this indicate she is only a passive servant to her husband?  What does it indicate about the importance of her central role to a household?  What does Paul say in 1Ti 5:14 is occasioned by a woman’s behavior when it is contrary to her traditional role?  Who does he say that a woman turns aside to follow when she turns away from her traditional role?  See 1Ti 5:15.  Note: “idle” in 1Ti 5:13 can also be translated “lazy”; what do Paul’s words in these verses indicate about the importance of diligent labor, not only for men but also for women?  See also 1 Thess 4:11-12, 2 Thess 3:6-12.

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