Sharon Wilharm Bible Storyteller

Widows in the Church

In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he gave instruction for the care of widows in the church. He begins by pointing out the importance of taking care of widows, but he differentiates between widows who are alone and those who have family to take care of them.

In chapter 5 verses 5-6 he explains, “She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.”

He clarifies even more who should be cared for when he advises that they should not be taking care of widows under the age of sixty unless they’d been faithful to their husbands, respected in the community, and known for their good deeds.

He explains why they should not care for the younger widows. He says that young widows get caught up in their physical desires and lose sight of their faith. If they have nothing to do with themselves, they grow idle, going from house to house spreading gossip and interfering in other people’s business.

It is for this reason, he says, that young widows should remarry, so that they will keep busy and not fall into sin.

He closes his widow discussion by telling everyone that if they have a widow in their family, they need to be taking care of her so that the church’s resources can be used to help those who have no one.

Whatever our age or marital status, we need to spend our time caring for others rather than living for ourselves. 

Read about widows in the church: 1 Timothy 5:3-16

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