Thursday, 25 January 2018
Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 1 Timothy 5:14
Paul now continues to refer to the widows he has been speaking of. Some versions incorrectly state “younger women,” as if the verse is referring to all young women. This is incorrect. He has been speaking of the widows, and the conjunction translated as “therefore” continues to identify these widows now. Understanding this, he says “Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry.” In order to avoid the serious pitfalls which he has identified, Paul gives his will for them to consider. He does not state this as a command, but rather, as an apostle of Christ, guided by the Spirit, and with a detailed understanding of human nature, he explains what path he feels is best for the younger widow.
If they were to pursue a life of asceticism, and to openly renounce marriage in order to serve the Lord, and then if they failed at that high and noble calling, they would only bring discredit upon themselves, and upon the Lord, to whom they had made their vow. In order to keep from such a thing occurring, he would have them “marry, bear children, manage the house” according to the natural way of the world, fulfilling the role of a spouse and mother in a new family. In this, Paul definitively shows that a second marriage is in no way to be considered inappropriate or ungodly. Instead, remarriage in this case is to be considered the right and proper course. The natural state for a younger woman is to have children and to manage a home, and this is what Paul would recommend for the younger widows as well.
In doing these things, the widow will “give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” The word translated as “adversary” is one which is used for the last of eight times in Scripture, all by Luke or Paul. It means to “lie opposite” and thus to be adverse, contrary, or in opposition. Therefore, Paul is referring to those who would find a cause to slander the Christian faith because of the woman who made a vow to dedicate herself to Christ, and then who later took a path contrary to that vow. This would be one who fits the words of verses 11-13. In her specific actions, there has been a chance to bring accusation against the faith in general. The next verse will show where such an attitude is derived from, and why it is such an effective means of discrediting the faith.
Life application: Although Paul’s words are not a command, they reflect both the intent of God, and a right understanding of human nature. A widow may feel she is somehow betraying her dead husband by remarrying, but this is not the case. Instead, after her time of mourning is past, she is following the correct and proper path to pursue a reestablished family life, and to fulfill the role of wife, mother, and manager of the house as is right and proper for the woman of God.
How necessary it is, O God, to read Your word continuously. There are so many precepts in it that we can easily forget what is right and proper for the conduct of our lives. But by reading Your word daily, reflecting on it always, and applying it to our lives properly, we will continue on as rightly-established and faithful followers of You. Help us in this Lord. Give us a hunger and a desire to pursue you at all times through Your magnificent and superior word. Amen.