CARING FOR WIDOWS (The Series… Pt 4… The finale)

FROM THE PASTOR’S DESK

The Overseer of the Bride Assembly Lagos Church, Bro. Moses Alu

 

TOPIC: CARING FOR WIDOWS (The Series… Pt 4… The finale)

In PREVIOUS SERIES, we considered the biblical interpretation of 1Timothy 5:8 and clearly saw the connection to the care for widows rather than the usual interpretation of it referring to a man’s incapability to take care of his nuclear family. In this series, we seek to know how the early church took care of the widows in their midst and this will take us further  and deeper into the study of the bible as scriptures plainly give answers to more BIG QUESTIONS.

WHY MUST WE (THE BELIEVERS) TAKE CARE OF THE WIDOWS?

But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety

at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before

God.” (KJV)1Timothy 5:4

Let’s consider other bible versions as regards this verse so as to get a clear picture:

“But if a widow has children or grandchildren [who are adults], see to it that

these first learn to show great respect to their own family [as their religious

duty and natural obligation], and to compensate their parents or grandparents

[for their upbringing]; for this is acceptable and pleasing in the sight of God.”

(Amplified)

 

But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to

put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so

repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.” (NIV)

 

“But if she has children or grandchildren, their first responsibility is to show

godliness at home and repay their parents by taking care of them. This is

something that pleases God.” (NLT)

 

WAIT O! BUT I THOUGHT THE CHURCH IS SUPPOSED TO TAKE CARE OF THE WIDOWS?

1Timothy 5:16 plainly says that they that believe in Christ Jesus are to relieve them that are widows indeed and in so doing take off the burden from the church. For sake of emphasis, see as it is placed:

If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and

let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows

indeed.” (KJV)

 

DOES THIS MEAN THE CHURCH IS NOT TO TAKE CARE OF THE WIDOWS?

No, the church still plays a part.

 

SO, WHAT IS THE PART OF THE CHURCH IN RESPECT TO TAKING CARE OF WIDOWS?

1Timothy 5:9-10 gives us the answer as it points out that the church is to MAINLY take care of widows who are aged 60years and above. It also gives further criteria for accepting a woman as a widow that the church should or should not take care of:

 

THOSE THE CHURCH SHOULD ACCEPT AS WIDOWS UNDER ITS CARE

1Timothy 5:9-10 (KJV)

9 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man.

10 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.

 

Highlighted list of these qualifications

*60 years and above.

*Must have had only one deceased husband.

*Be of good report as regards the following; children upbringing, relationship with strangers, fellowship with the brethren, care for the afflicted and so on.

 

Other versions of the Bible put it this way:

9-10 Do not add any widow to the list of widows unless she is over sixty years of age. In addition, she must have been married only once and have a reputation for good deeds: a woman who brought up her children well, received strangers in her home, performed humble duties for other Christians, helped people in trouble, and devoted herself to doing good. (GNT)

9-10 Sign some widows up for the special ministry of offering assistance. They will in turn receive support from the church. They must be over sixty, married only once, and have a reputation for helping out with children, strangers, tired Christians, the hurt and troubled. (MSG)

9-10 Widows for your church list should be at least sixty years of age, should have had only one husband and have a well-founded reputation for having lived a good life. Some such questions as these should be asked:—has she brought up her children well, has she been hospitable to strangers, has she been willing to serve fellow-Christians in menial ways, has she relieved those in distress, has she, in a word conscientiously done all the good she can? (Philips)

 

THOSE THE CHURCH SHOULD NOT ACCEPT AS WIDOWS UNDER ITS CARE 1Timothy 5:11 (KJV)

11 But the younger widows (59 years and below) refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;

 

AND WHY SHOULD THE CHURCH NOT CATER FOR THE YOUNGER WIDOWS?

1Timothy 5:11-13&15 (KJV)

11 But the younger widows (59 years and below) refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;

12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.

13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.

15 For some are already turned aside after Satan.

 

WHAT THEN SHOULD THE YOUNGER WIDOWS DO?

14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. – 1Timothy 5:14 (KJV)

 

BUT IT IS NOT ALL OF THEM THAT WILL WANT TO RE-MARRY AND FOR SUCH INDIVIDUALS THAT HAVE CHOSEN NOT TO RE-MARRY, WHAT THEN CAN BE DONE TO HELP THEM?

16 If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed. – 1Timothy 5:16 (KJV)

The word of God admonishes that the Christians; believing men and women, connected to such widows should take responsibility of them till they re-marry or till they clock 60years old and then the church can join in support, but the church’s help is subject to the widow meeting the criteria in 1Timothy 5:9-10 else they are to remain under the care of brethren who are believers.

This is the norm as it was in the time of old; the days of the first church age and the days of Apostle Paul.

 

WHAT THEN HAPPENS TO THOSE WIDOWS WHO CLOCK 60 YEARS AND ABOVE BUT HAVE BEEN MARRIED MORE THAN ONCE AND HAVE NO CHILD OR RELATIVE TO TAKE CARE OF HER?

Certainly, the church still has an obligation to take care of them in the exceptional case where such a person is abandoned by all, but we know that this is a rare case for anybody in this age who is truly a Christian. All Apostle Paul is saying is that the Church is to pay utmost attention to the welfare of those that meet the criteria in 1Timothy 5:9-10 (KJV). As for everyone else that do not fall under the qualified list, any Christian Brother or Sister close to that widow is to cater for the need of such a person.

 

OK! SO WHAT THEN HAPPENS TO THOSE WHO ARE 60 YEARS AND ABOVE, MARRIED ONCE BUT DO NOT MEET THE OTHER QUALIFICATIONS OF 1Timothy 5:9-10 (KJV)?

Same answer applies to them as the answer given to those who clock 60 years and above but have been married more than once.

 

SO THEN

“WHAT REALLY IS THE CORRECT INTERPRETATION FOR 1TIMOTHY 5:8?”

“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.” 1TIMOTHY 5:8 (KJV)

 

From all that has be studied so far from part 1 till now,  we can now see that this scripture (1Timothy 5:8), if picked alone, will fit into the general understanding and the general or most common understanding is that every man who cannot provide for his family is worse than an infidel (worse than an unbeliever).

However, when we look at that same Scripture in regards to its contextual (real) interpretation and we take a bible reading through 1TIMOTHY 5:1-16, it is obvious that the verse is saying,

“Any believer (that is whether it be man or woman) that is not able to provide for the widows within the network of the people he/she knows, and especially those connected to him/her by a biological or spiritual relationship has denied the faith and such a person is worse than an infidel (an unbeliever).”

With this understanding, THE BIG QUESTION IS:

“WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CHECKED ON THE WIDOW AROUND YOU?”

“WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SHOWED CARE TO THE WOMAN AROUND YOU WHOM YOU KNOW IS A WIDOW INDEED?”

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 More is yet to come for the Holy Spirit is still speaking to His church. Let Him that hath ears, hear what the spirit is saying unto the churches…. Shalom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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