1 Timothy 5:6-10
1 Tim 5:6 (KJB)
But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.
Liveth in pleasure - Live in wantonness, indulgence, or self-gratification
Here Paul is making a distinction between those widows who remain godly and look to the Lord for their daily sustenance and fellowship and those who chose to support themselves in an immoral fashion. It was not uncommon in the first century for widows to sell their bodies to live. In the city of Ephesus where there were many prostitutes connected with the cult of Diana, a widow could join this cult and make a good living selling herself. This is why the Scripture states that the widow who is living in pleasure is dead while she lives. The word “dead” carries with it the meaning of “the ending of one’s life” in addition to the other meanings listed above. When someone begins a life like that, they are literally ending their life and living in death. Living in sin does not constitute life but death, because the end of that life is judgment and death.
1 Tim 5:7 (KJB)
And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.
Paul charges Timothy to make this fact known, that if anyone becomes a widow in the church, they are to make that fact known to the elders so they may help in the situation, whether it be with the church itself or their families. Paul wants them to know that if they panic and take up a life of sin, then they too will be as good as the walking dead. Paul wants them to look to Christ and not to the world for their sustenance. As they walked with Christ while they were still married, they need to maintain that walk in their present status. This way the world will see that there is a great difference between the women of the world and the daughters of God plus they will be blameless before the church and the Lord.
1 Tim 5:8 (KJB)
But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
Infidel - Unbeliever
While this letter was written to the church at Ephesus, it is a universal principle in Christianity. When a family member has a need, the other members of the family are to come to their assistance. If they refuse, it is like they have renounced or denied the true faith they claim to be walking in and they are worse than an infidel or unbeliever. Even unbelievers will take care of their families and Paul does not want that type of testimony being spoken of about these Christians that they won’t even care for their own. This situation is all to prevalent today where many parents do not have a place so stay and their children will not take them in and give them a place to stay. Jesus spoke of this in Mark 7 when He was chiding the leaders of Israel for exchanging the teachings of God for the teachings of man.
(Mark 7:10-12 KJV) For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: {11} But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. {12} And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;
In Mark 7, Jesus brought up this very situation that when the parents have a need and their children want to keep all their money for themselves, they would claim it was Corban. Corban was a gift or something else devoted to God so the person would claim that they cannot help their parents because that would take the money away from the gift. Now, Jesus was chiding them because He knew they were using that method to hoard their money. The commandment was to honor their parents but their greed would not let them relinquish any funds for their use. Once a man claims Corban then the leaders absolved the man from any further help for his parents. The reason is that the leaders absolved the man from further obligation is because if it was a monetary gift to God, it would go into the temple treasury and then into the personal treasuries of the leaders. This is why Paul spoke of this kind of attitude as one who is an unbeliever because unbelievers look to material things for their security. The believer is to look to Christ for his security.
1 Tim 5:9 (KJB)
Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man,
Since Paul has already defined what a true widow is, here he gives further instruction concerning the age when a widow is to be accepted by the church. The widow who was under the age of sixty years was not to be numbered among the widows which were to be cared for by the church. Then the second qualification that Paul places on them is that they must be the wife of one man. They are not to be divorced and remarried. If they had one husband from their youth, then this shows that there was fidelity and longevity in the marriage. One who is divorced and remarried has two husbands, if her first husband is still living. Godly people do not divorce and remarry, since remarriage is adultery when the first spouse is still living. The words “of one” is in the cardinal form and not the ordinal which means she is to have only one husband. If the word was in the ordinal form, it would mean she could have multiple husbands, but only married to one at a time. This is why God was very meticulous in placing those words in the cardinal form so there is no misunderstanding that she was to have only one husband in her life.
1 Tim 5:10 (KJB)
Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.
Paul continues his qualifications for “official church widows” as follows. The words “well reported” may also be understood as having a good testimony for doing good works as a result of her salvation and not to earn salvation. These works can be of any kind which is of benefit to the Kingdom of God and to others. The widow may also have children which are not close at hand and unable to help her or it was common in ancient times that when a woman became a widow, she would take in children that have been orphaned. So even if she had no children of her own, she may have adopted street children or maybe children of a friend who died and raised them properly. Lodging strangers would indicate that she had a spirit of hospitality. Hospitality in ancient times was a part of almost everyone’s life because people were raised to be hospitable.
Washing the feet of the saints would show a spirit of willing humble service. It was normally the slave in a household who did that chore but here she is shown not to be so proud she would not do the work of a servant. To relieve the afflicted would point to a spirit of benevolence, maybe to stay with one who is sick or to bring one into their own home who needs attention but it shows she is willing to attend to the physical needs of someone. Then Paul summarizes the list by stating that she followed after every good work which would mean she had a willing spirit to be used in any situation that would arise. Then within the context of all these earthly tasks, the greatest good work which she can do is to bring the gospel to everyone she comes in contact with. It is good to help people on a secular basis but their greatest need is for salvation.