|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:9-16 Every one brought into any office in the church, should be free from just censure; and many are proper objects of charity, yet ought not to be employed in public services. Those who would find mercy when they are in distress, must show mercy when they are in prosperity; and those who show most readiness for every good work, are most likely to be faithful in whatever is trusted to them. Those who are idle, very seldom are only idle, they make mischief among neighbours, and sow discord among brethren. All believers are required to relieve those belonging to their families who are destitute, that the church may not be prevented from relieving such as are entirely destitute and friendless.
Verse 12. - Condemnation for dare, ration, A.V,; rejected for cast off, A.V. Condemnation; κρίμα, variously translated in the A.V. "damnation," "condemnation," and "judgment." The word means a "judgment," "decision," or "sentence," but generally an adverse sentence, a "condemnation." And this is the meaning of the English word "damnation," which has only recently acquired the signification of "eternal damnation." Rejected (ἠθέτησαν); literally, have set aside, or displaced, and hence disregarded, an oath, treaty, promise, or the like. In the A.V. variously rendered "reject," "despise," "bring to nothing," "frustrate," "disannul," "east off." The κρίμα which these widows Brought upon themselves was that, whereas they had devoted themselves to a life of prayer and special service of the Church, they had now set aside this their first faith, and returned to the ordinary pleasures and avocations of the world.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And withal they learn to be idle,.... Being at ease, and without labour, living at the expense of the church: "wandering about from house to house"; having nothing else to do: such an one is what the Jews (z) call , "the gadding widow"; who, as the gloss says,
"goes about and visits her neighbours continually; and these are they that corrupt the world.''
Of this sort of women must the Jews be understood, when they say (a), it is one of the properties of them to be "going out", or gadding abroad, as Dinah did; and that it is another to be "talkative", which agrees with what follows:
and not only idle, but tattlers also; full of talk, who have always some news to tell, or report to make of the affairs of this, or the other person, or family:
and busy bodies; in the matters of other persons, which do not concern them:
speaking things which they ought not; which either are not true, and, if they are, are not to be spoken of, and carried from place to place: this is a very great inconvenience, the apostle observes, arising from the admission of such young widows to be relieved and maintained at the church's charge.
(z) T. Bab. Sota, fol. 22. 1.((a) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 45. fol. 40. 3.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. Having—Bringing on themselves, and so having to bear as a burden (Ga 5:10) judgment from God (compare 1Ti 3:6), weighing like a load on them.
cast off their first faith—namely, pledged to Christ and the service of the Church. There could be no hardship at the age of sixty or upwards in not marrying again (end of 1Ti 5:9), for the sake of serving better the cause of Christ as presbyteresses; though, to ordinary widows, no barrier existed against remarriage (1Co 7:39). This is altogether distinct from Rome's unnatural vows of celibacy in the case of young marriageable women. The widow-presbyteresses, moreover, engaged to remain single, not as though single life were holier than married life (according to Rome's teaching), but because the interests of Christ's cause made it desirable (see on 1Ti 3:2). They had pledged "their first faith" to Christ as presbyteress widows; they now wish to transfer their faith to a husband (compare 1Co 7:32, 34).
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