1 Timothy 4-6: Widows, slaves, false teachers

The Spirit says that some will renounce the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and demons.  The false teachers forbid marriage, demand abstinence from foods, and spread profane myths.  Don’t be taken in by this!  Give attention to public reading of scripture, to exhorting, to teaching.  Do not speak harshly to an older man.  Honor widows and take care of them if they have no relatives; if they do, the relatives should take care of her.  Put widows on the list if they are older than 60, married only once, well attested, and has brought up children.  Younger widows can’t control their sexual passions and tend to be idle gossips and busybodies.  Elders deserve a double honor.  Slaves should honor and respect their masters, especially if the masters are believers.

Teach and urge these duties; those who teach otherwise are conceited and understand nothing.  You, a man of God, should pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, and love.  Keep the commandment without blame until the coming of Christ.  The rich should not be haughty; they are to do good works and be generous, storing for themselves treasure in heaven.

Commentary:

  • Putting widows “on the list” means allowing them to live on the support of the church, in exchange for dedicating their time to continual prayer
  • The author’s low view of women continues here, where younger widows are portrayed as inevitably lustful, busybodies, and prone to gossip
  • The author clearly has a low view of slaves as well.  In Ephesians and Colossians, slaves are told to obey their masters, but masters are told to be kind towards slaves.  Here, pseudo-Paul gives no such instruction to slave masters.
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