TEXT: 1 TIMOTHY 5:8
But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel.
Many husbands have been subjected to ridicule because of the wrong interpretation of this good verse. It has caused troubles in homes and many ruined.
In this verse, Paul started by instructing Timothy to teach the congregation how to treat elders and widows in the church. This verse is not independent, it has roots in the previous verses before and after but when used alone, it causes harm.
Paul was not addressing how husband and wife should share responsibility at home in this verse in any way. In fact, it has nothing to do with it.
Let’s study this entire chapter together
1. 1 Timothy 5:1-2, Paul started this chapter by telling Timothy how to deal with the elders and widows in the church. It is a warning not to talk to elders harshly and also to give due to reference to elders that are in the church. He warned Timothy that he should treat elderly women as his own mother and elderly men as his own father.
If that be the beginning of the chapter or subject of discussion, I would like you to follow it and not to digress from the topic of discussion. In biblical interpretation, you read the entire text to know the context of the discussion.
2. In verse 3, Paul told Timothy to give proper recognition to all widows in the church; Paul started with elders generally and now focused on the windows in the church.
You can see that the emphasis of Paul was on the WIDOWS, not on the husband or wife.
3. In verse 4, Paul explains further that “If the widow (in church) has children or grandchildren, they should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own widows and so repaying their parents and grandparents for this is pleasing to God.”
King James put it this way: 1 Timothy 5:4
*But if any widow (in church) have children or nephews, let them(those believers) learn first to shew piety at home, and to REQUITE their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.*
The word “requite” in the verse is from the Greek word: apodidōmi that is, to give back, to repay, recompense, restore, reward. That is, pay back their parents.
I have preached this always that if you have a window that needs your support to live well, it is God’s will to be a blessing to them. If they don’t need it, that is fine, you don’t have to bother. This has saved many destinies. You cannot be sowing seed without sowing to widows who need it. That’s the biblical way.
Paul was saying that if there is any believer in the church who has a widow at home; maybe the son or grandson of the widow, they should prove their spirituality, religion, that they are holy and those works that they say they are doing by first caring for their windows at home.
Note that Paul never said that the husband should take responsibility for the widows: either a male or female, if you have parents most especially if they are widows, it is your responsibility to take care of them if they need it and IF YOU HAVE ABILITY. Some parents don’t need it.
NOTE: *The subject under discussion is about widows, taking care of the widows, how to relate with the widows*.
4. In verse 5, Paul said, “The widow who is really in need and left all alone unattended to puts her hope in God.” It means if you have such a widow and you don’t care for them, their hope is in God.
5. In verses 6 and 7, Paul talked about the different kinds of windows we have in the church; those who are committed widows and those who are not committed.
6. In verse 8, which is our main context. Paul said, “If any provide not for his own”.
Paul did not say if any husband provides not for his own family neither does he says if any wife provides not for her own family. It says *IF ANY* provide not for his own.
The word “if any” in the Greek means “whosoever”, so Paul was saying that “but whosoever provide not for his own”.
Based on our discussion from verse 1, I want you to tell me; the word “his own” there, is it talking about wife and children or talking about widows? Meaning that Paul was saying “if any provide not for his own widows, and especially for a widow of his own house i.e your own widow.
Even as a Church, it is the responsibility of the church to support the widows, that is why Paul said if any provide not for his own especially for those of his own house i.e the widows that belong to his own household, such person has denied the faith and he’s worse than an infidel.
When you look at this verse contextually, you will understand that Paul wasn’t talking to maybe only the husband, that the husband should provide for the wife and for the children. I am not exonerating husbands from their responsibility at home but we must interpret the Bible contextually not to make the Bible say what it is not trying to say.
Many women have used this to put guilt and to condemn their husbands. People go about saying the Bible said that if any man could not provide for his own house or family. Oh no, the Bible never said so, it says “if any” that is, whosoever.
This passage is not laying any burden on any man that he must take responsibility for everything at home. But there is one particular area I would want us to look at: Paul was saying that such a person has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel. Many people have preached that once you cannot provide for your home, that is, your immediate family then you are worse than an infidel but that was not what the Bible is saying.
The word “Deny” in Greek means “to contradicts” that is, whoever has to give but provide not for his own widow, such a person has contradicted his faith. The word “Deny” does not mean he has renounced the faith, it does not mean he has lost his salvation, it does not mean he has lost his relationship with God; the Bible says he has contradicted the faith. When you say you believe the Bible and the Bible says you should take care of your window and you refused to take care of your window, that means you have contradicted what you said you believe; the Bible is not saying that he has renounced his faith or has lost salvation.
The Bible says such is worse than an infidel. What does that mean? It simply means if you know the scripture and refuses to keep the scripture, then an infidel who doesn’t know the scripture is better than you because you know the scripture and refused to keep to it but the infidel doesn’t know.
Finally, in verse 16 still talking about widows, the Bible says “If any woman who is a believer has widows in her family, she should keep them and not let the church be burdened with them”, Now it is clear that Paul was talking to the whole church, male and female to take care of their widow.
The Bible did not shift from the context, Paul started with widows and ended it with widows. That shows that the context of the discussion in this particular chapter is all about taking care of the widows. I pray that God should bless you as you understand this passage in Jesus’ name.
Oluwaseun Isaac Agbenla