My daily exploration of the Bible, taking it one chapter at a time. If I do it everyday, it'll take 1189 days.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

1 Timothy 5

Fathers be good to your daughters; daughters will love like you do. Girls become lovers who turn into mothers, so mothers be good to your daughters too.

Treat all people of all ages as family. Don't feel you need to support all widows. Only do it if they're old don't have a family to support them, and only if they're known for doing good things. Young widows can often become lazy gossips, and forget their dedication to Jesus, so I encourage them to remarry.

Families should look after their widows, and not just simply assume the church will do it.

Have respect for your leaders and teachers. Don't let a single complain cause a fuss. If people have serious accusations, then there should be lots of witnesses. Don't ordain or anoint people willy-nilly. Drink a bit of wine to settle your stomach. Realise that the sin of some is instantly obvious, but the sin of others takes a while to become clear.

Key verse:
1-2. Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

My thoughts:
So in early churches there was a list of widows that the church supported. Even after Constantine we have records of such lists maintained by churches. A lot of this chapter is clarifying that women don't make the list just because their husband died. They may not really need support.

Paul seems to be big on generalisations... He seems to imply here that all young women who are widows become gossips. I find it hard to see that Paul genuinely believed the apparent full absolute meaning of what he's saying here, which perhaps sheds some light on Paul's other absolute statements. It's clear that he's not meaning something absolute here because he contradicts it in verse 14. Verse 14 also seems to contradict the sense of verses 11-12, which imply that by marrying after widowhood, women are sinning. I think that the overall reality is that widows should be free to remarry, but it's wrong for them to expect to be put on a list of continued support if they're just going to go and get remarried.

In some ways I think the heart of this all is summed up in the key verses. We're all supposed to be a big happy family!

The idea that a widow must prove herself by being known for good deeds seems to go against the notion of grace. Is it wrong to give nappies to a modern solo mother? I wouldn't've thought so. Maybe this is another areas where there are different standards for believers and non-believers. The implication seems to be that this chapter is referring only to believers, and that the list contains only believers, which raises other questions!

I hope verse 23 makes it clear to people that abstaining from alcohol is not the Biblical norm and is only done by people who have gone under a special oath or who are in special circumstances.

It'd be fair to say that 1 Timothy isn't my favourite book in the New Testament. It's challenging. I want things to be easy.


Blogger Huggies said...

Did you just quote John Mayer? Interesting...

12:04 am

Blogger Pete W said...

Oh John. You had me at "No Such Thing"

5:45 pm


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