by Wendell Ward
“But if any widow have children or nephews (grandchildren), let them learn first to shew piety (godliness) at home, and to requite (repay) their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.” (1 Tim 5:4)
Again, “If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve (care for) them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.” (1 Tim 5:16)
The duty of the church is to support; that is to say, take into its care, only widows indeed. A widow indeed is one who is destitute; helpless; without children; or other relatives on whom she can depend for support. She has no one to look to but God. (1 Tim. 5:5-6)
Widows indeed are to be “put on the list;” or “taken into the number” of those who are under the continual or lasting care of the local church. (1 Tim 5:9-10) “Let not a widow be taken into the number (1) under threescore years old, (2) having been the wife of one man, (3) Well reported of for good works; (4) if she have brought up children, (5) if she have lodged strangers, (6) if she have washed the saints’ feet, (7) if she have relieved the afflicted, (8) if she have diligently followed every good work.” To be a widow indeed she must meet these eight qualifications; so says the Holy Spirit; so says Paul. Let’s identify them in the order Paul gave them.
1) Simply put a widow indeed must not be younger than sixty years old.
2) She must not be a bigamist; an adulteress; or one who had indulged in the custom of divorce; but had been faithful and true to her marriage vow.
3) She is one who has gained a reputation of doing good works such as feeding the hungry; clothing the naked; and visiting the sick.
4) The widow indeed has brought up children who were faithful to the Lord.
5) She has shown hospitality to strangers. (Heb 13:2)
6) She is a Godly woman following the example of Jesus by washing the feet of others as an act of hospitality. It was her custom.
7) She would visit the sick; not just to say hello; but with intention to aid; assist; encourage and generally be of help unto them. She reminds me of Dorcas. (Acts 9:36-43)
8) She has followed good works as much as she is able to do.