1 Timothy 5:14
I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.
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(14) I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house.—Here the Apostle deliberately expresses his will that in these Christian communities the younger widows should not, in the first fervour of their zeal, when borne down by sorrow, attempt anything like an ascetic life, which they would probably tire of after a season; they would thus, in the long run, instead of benefiting, positively injure the cause of Christ. St. Paul’s practical mind, guided by the Spirit of God, has left us no impossible rules of perfection, no exaggerated praises of asceticism, of lofty self-denial, no passionate exhortings to a life made up entirely of self-sacrifice and of self-surrender.

He knew the ordinary man or woman was incapable of such exalted heroism, and therefore was too wise, too loving, even to recommend a life which few could live. It was not that the Master, Christ, and the greatest of his servants, St. Paul, did not themselves prize and admire the higher ideal and the nobler life—for was it not their own? Did not one attain to it, and the other die in his hero-efforts to reach it? But Master and scholar in their gospel of the world have left commands that all, not the few, can obey—have enjoined a life which all, not the few, may live.

Give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.—The reference here is not to the devil—as would at first appear probable from the direct reference in the next verse—but to the enemy of Christ—the sneering worldly man, who, jealous of a faith which he declines to receive, and envious of a life in which he will not share, is always on the look-out to discover flaws and failings in the avowed professors of a religion which he hates. (Comp. Titus 2:8.)

1 Timothy 5:14-16. I will therefore that the younger women — Or widows rather, (concerning whom only the apostle is here speaking,) marry — Instead of thinking to intrude themselves into a situation for which they are generally so unfit. From this command it is evident, that under the gospel second marriages are lawful both to men and women, and that abstaining from them is no mark of superior piety. It is true the apostle, in his first epistle to the Corinthians, advised all who had the gift of continency to remain unmarried; not, however, because celibacy is a more holy state than marriage, but because in the then persecuted state of the church, a single life was more free from trouble and temptation. See 1 Corinthians 7:9; 1 Corinthians 7:26; 1 Corinthians 7:32-39. Give no occasion to the adversary, &c. — To reproach the gospel on account of the bad behaviour of those who profess it. For some widows have already turned aside after Satan — Who has drawn them from Christ. He means that some of the widows employed by the church as teachers, had, through the temptations of Satan, deserted their station in the church, and, by marrying, incapacitated themselves for continuing in the excellent office they had engaged in. If any man or woman that believeth have poor widows — Nearly related to them; let them relieve them — If they are able; and let not the church be charged — Or burdened, with maintaining them; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed — That have no friends able to support them, and who, if the church did not grant them aid, would be entirely destitute.

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.I will therefore - I give it as my opinion; or this is my counsel; compare notes, 1 Corinthians 7:6, 1 Corinthians 7:10, 1 Corinthians 7:40.

That the younger women marry - The word "women" is not expressed or necessarily implied in the original - neooteras - - and it is evident that the apostle here had particular reference to "widows," and that the injunction should be understood as relating to them. We are not to suppose that he gives this as an absolute and universal command, for it might not always be at the option of the widow to marry again, and it cannot be doubted that there may be cases where it would be unadvisable. But he speaks of this as a general rule. It is better for such persons to have domestic concerns that require their attention, than it is to be exposed to the evils of an idle life. We may learn from this:

(1) that second marriages are not improper or unlawful, but that in some circumstances they may be preferable to widowhood;

(2) that marriage itself is in a high degree honorable. How different are the views of the inspired apostle Paul about marriage from those of the Papists!

Bear children, guide the house - These words signify, says Bloomfield, to "exercise and occupy themselves in the duties of a wife." It is better to be employed in the duties growing out of the cares of a family, than to lead a life of celibacy.

Give none occasion to the adversary - The enemy of religion - the pagan or the infidel.

To speak reproachfully - Margin, "for their railing." That is, on account of a life which would do no honor to religion. In the performance of domestic duties, when fully employed, they would avoid the evils specified in 1 Timothy 5:13. Every one who professes religion should so live as to give no occasion to an infidel or a man of the world to speak reproachfully of the cause of the Redeemer.

14. younger women—rather, as ellipsis ought to be supplied, "the younger widows," namely younger widows in general, as distinguished from the older widows taken on the roll of presbyteresses (1Ti 5:9). The "therefore" means seeing that young widows are exposed to such temptations, "I will," or "desire," &c. (1Ti 5:11-13). The precept here that they should marry again is not inconsistent with 1Co 7:40; for the circumstances of the two cases were distinct (compare 1Co 7:26). Here remarriage is recommended as an antidote to sexual passion, idleness, and the other evils noted in 1Ti 5:11-13. Of course, where there was no tendency to these evils, marriage again would not be so requisite; Paul speaks of what is generally desirable, and supposing there should be danger of such evils, as was likely. "He does not impose a law, but points out a remedy, to younger widows" [Chrysostom].

bear children—(1Ti 2:15); thus gaining one of the qualifications (1Ti 5:10) for being afterwards a presbyteress widow, should Providence so ordain it.

guide—Greek, "rule the house" in the woman's due place; not usurping authority over the man (1Ti 2:12).

give none occasion—literally, "starting-point": handle of reproach through the loose conduct of nominal Christians.

the adversary—of Christianity, Jew or Gentile. Php 1:28; Tit 2:8, "He that is of the contrary part." Not Satan, who is introduced in a different relation (1Ti 5:15).

to speak reproachfully—literally, "for the sake of reproach" (1Ti 3:7; 6:1; Tit 2:5, 10). If the handle were given, the adversary would use it for the sake of reproach. The adversary is eager to exaggerate the faults of a few, and to lay the blame on the whole Church and its doctrines [Bengel].

I will therefore that the younger women marry: I will, here, must not be interpreted into an absolute precept, (for the apostle would never have made that necessary by his precept which God had left indifferent), but in a limited sense, viz. if they have not the gift of continency, if they cannot restrain themselves from such scandalous courses, let them marry;

bear children, and not only bring forth children, but take care of their education;

guide the house, and take care of the government of families within doors (which is the woman’s proper province);

give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully; and give no occasion to Jews or pagans (the adversaries of Christian religion) to speak of the church, or any particular members of it, reproachfully, as living beneath the rules of morality and decency.

I will therefore that the younger women marry,.... Or "the younger" widows rather; and so some copies read; for this is not the apostle's advice to young women in general, though it will suit with them, but with younger widows in particular, of whom he is speaking:

bear children; and bring them forth, and feed, and nourish them, and bring them up in a religious way:

guide the house; manage domestic affairs, direct, order, or do what is proper to be done for the good of the family; which is much more commendable than to throw themselves upon the church, and live an idle and wanton life, and after that marry: and so

give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully; that is, either that Satan, the grand adversary of the saints, might have no opportunity to reproach them, and cast in their teeth their unbecoming walk, or accuse them before the throne; or that any enemy of the Christian religion might have no room nor reason to speak evilly of Christ, his Gospel, truths, and ordinances, on account of the disorderly conversation of any that profess his name; or that the , the great opposer of Christ, the man of sin, and son of perdition, even antichrist, 2 Thessalonians 2:4, might have no handle from hence to speak reproachfully of marriage, and forbid it, under a pretence of sanctity, as 1 Timothy 4:3.

{12} I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

(12) The fifth rule: let younger widows marry and govern their houses in a godly way.

1 Timothy 5:14. Positive instructions regarding young widows.

βούλομαι οὖν] βούλομαι, does not express a wish merely (de Wette: “I hold it to be advisable, desirable.”), but a definite command; comp. 1 Timothy 2:8.

οὖν shows that this thought is a deduction from the one previous; Leo: quae quum ita sint.

νεωτέρας, sc. χήρας, not the virgins, as Baur thinks.

γαμεῖν] used also in 1 Corinthians 7:39 of the re-marriage of widows.

τεκνογονεῖν (ἅπ. λεγ., the substantive in 1 Timothy 2:15) does not include, according to the notion peculiar to himself, the rearing of children (van Oosterzee). The apostle mentions single points; every one can supply the appropriate details for himself. Leo rightly says that the idea of rearing children is included rather in the next word.

οἰκοδεσποτεῖν (ἅπ. λεγ.; the substantive often occurs in the N. T.) denotes properly the work of the husband, and is equivalent to τοῦ οἴκου προΐστασθαι, 1 Timothy 3:4; 1 Timothy 3:12; here it is used of the wife, who necessarily has her share in ruling the household.

μηδεμίαν ἀφορμὴν διδόναι τῷ ἀντικειμένῳ λοιδορίας χάριν] The last words: λοιδορίας χάριν, are not to be taken with βούλομαι, (Mack: “I will … for the sake of the reproach which would otherwise be cast upon the church;” the meaning is obviously the reverse of this, so soon as these words are placed in thought after γαμεῖν, since χάριν never loses the sense of “for the sake of”), nor with τῷ ἀντικειμένῳ (Leo: “inimico ad calumniandum parato”). They are to be connected with ἀφορμὴν διδόναι, but not in such a way as to form a supplement to that phrase (de Wette, with the remark that this is indeed a strange construction; also Wiesinger); the supplement should have been in the genitive, see 2 Corinthians 5:12. In short, λοιδορ. χαρ. only defines ἀφορμὴν διδόναι more precisely. A definite object is not to be supplied (Leo: occasionem sc. ipsas seducendi praebere; so, too, van Oosterzee, and in this commentary), but the interpretation is: “they are to afford the enemy no opportunity for slandering,” i.e. they are to abstain from everything which the enemy may use for slandering the church (not merely the widows); so, too, Hofmann on the whole. By the ἀντικείμενος is meant either the devil (so most of the older commentators,[185] also Leo and Matthies; van Oosterzee uncertain) or the human enemy, the Jew and Gentile (so de Wette, Wiesinger, Plitt, Hofmann). Hofmann is wrong, however, in asserting that τοῦ σατανᾶ in 1 Timothy 5:15 is decisive against the first explanation, for αὐτοῦ would have been used.

De Wette joins the last part of the clause to what precedes, in such a way as to supply: “and in this way.” But there is no hint of this limitation. If we add it simply to what precedes, it is more natural to refer it to the whole conduct of the widows.

[185] Comp. Constit. Apost. iii. 2 : νεωτέραις (χήραις) δὲ μετὰ τὴν τοῦ πρώτου τελευτὴν συγκεχωρήσθω καὶ ὁ δεύτερος, ἵνα μὴ εἰς κρίμα τοῦ διαβόλου ἐπέσωσι, καὶ παγίδας πολλὰς, καὶ ἐπιθυμίας νοήτους.

1 Timothy 5:14. βούλομαι οὖν: See note on 1 Timothy 2:8.

νεωτέρας: The insertion of χήρας before νεωτέρας in about 30 cursives, Chrys. Theodoret, John Damasc., Jerome, is a correct gloss (so R.V.). The whole context deals with widows, not with women in general, as A.V. and von Soden.

γαμεῖν: There is nothing really inconsistent between this deliberate injunction that young widows should marry again, and the counsel in 1 Corinthians 7:8, that widows should remain unmarried. The widows here spoken of would come under the class of those who “have not continency”; not to mention that the whole world-position of the Church had altered considerably since St. Paul had written 1 Cor.

οἰκοδεσποτεῖν: well rendered in Vulg., matres-familias esse. The verb is only found here in the Greek Bible, but οἰκοδεσπότης frequently occurs in the Synoptists. It is the equivalent of οἰκουργούς, Titus 2:5.

τῷ ἀντικειμένῳ: The singular (see ref.) does not refer to Satan, but is used generically for human adversaries. The plural is more usual, as in the other reff. Cf. ὁ ἐξ ἐναντίας, Titus 2:8.

λοιδορίας χάριν is connected of course with ἀφορμήν, not with βούλομαι, as Mack suggests, “I will … on account of the reproach which might otherwise come on the Church”.

For the sentiment cf. 1 Timothy 6:1, Titus 2:5; Titus 2:8, 1 Peter 2:12; 1 Peter 3:16. In all these places the responsibility of guarding against scandal is laid on the members of the Church generally, not specially on the Church rulers. The construction of χάριν here is not quite the same as in Galatians 3:19, Titus 1:11, Judges 1:16. Here it is an appendage to the sentence, explanatory of ἀφορμὴν διδόναι.

14. I will therefore] Rather, with R.V. ‘I desire;’ the stronger verb, as in 1 Timothy 2:8, 1 Timothy 6:9; Titus 3:8 : and four other passages of St Paul’s Epistles: while the weaker verb is used by him more than sixty times, of which four only are in the Pastoral Epistles.

younger women] The passage implies a limitation to widows, as R.V. ‘Do not lead the younger widows to expect such help at all as a matter of course. Then those who marry “in the Lord” again will find scope for an active irreproachable Christian life; while,’ as he said before, ‘those who have been misled, in their trouble, by the world and the flesh, and seek a worldly heathen re-marriage, will not compromise the Church by having had a place on the roll of godly almswomen.’

bear children, guide the house] Compound verbs again, as in 1 Timothy 5:10, used only here in N. T., the substantives connected with them however occurring ch. 1 Timothy 2:15 and Matthew 10:25, &c.

to the adversary] The word occurs in three stages in N. T., (1) still retaining its participial force; in Luke 13:17 governing its pronoun, ‘those who opposed him,’ and 1 Corinthians 16:9, ‘and many (are) opposing,’ 2 Thessalonians 2:4, ‘he that opposeth and exalteth himself.’ (2) As abstract adjective in the plural, Php 1:28, ‘in nothing affrighted by the adversaries,’ (3) as abstract adjective in the singular, in this passage. With the use here in the singular, compare Titus 2:8, ‘That he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed,’ and the fifth question in the Order for the Consecration of Bishops apparently echoing both, ‘an example of good works unto others, that the adversary may be ashamed.’ ‘The hostile party, ready to catch hold of anything in the life of Christians, are personified as one,’ Fairbairn. St John, in his still later Greek, adopts this singular, John 11:22, where cf. Bp Westcott: ‘the liar, who offers in his own person the sum of all that is false; and not simply a liar who is guilty of a particular sin.’

to speak reproachfully] Lit. ‘on account of,’ ‘to serve the purpose of abuse,’ so tersely R.V. for reviling. Compare the similar use, Judges 16, ‘shewing respect of persons for the sake of advantage.’

1 Timothy 5:14. Νεωτέρας, the younger women) He does not acid, widows, for the widow in this passage is properly she who remains a widow. And this arrangement (mode of acting), which the apostle mentions, equally applies to the unmarried and to widows under sixty years. The monastic system regarding nuns is quite inconsistent with the whole meaning of the apostle; and Paul does not write to Timothy about the government of any company of monks, for there were none such in existence.—γαμεῖν, τεκνογονεῖν, οἰκοδεσποτεῖν, to marry, to bear children, rule their family [guide the house]) Three successive steps in domestic society. So they shall have full employment, without idleness or curiosity.—τῷ ἀντικειμένῳ, to the adversary) The word שטן, Symmachus, in Psalms 38 :(20) 21, has translated by the word ἀντίκειμαι, and in the following verse mention is made of Satan: yet the word ἀντικείμενος, adversary, may be in this place understood of wicked men; comp. ch 1 Timothy 6:1; Titus 2:8; Titus 2:10.—λοιδορίας χάριν, for the sake of calumny [by way of reproach]) which is eager to exaggerate the vices of a few, and to impute them to the whole Church and its doctrines.

Verse 14. - Desire for will, A.V.; widows (in italics) for women A.V.; rule the household for guide the house, A.V.; for reviling for to speak reproachfully, A.V. Widows. As the whole discourse is about widows, it is better to supply this as the substantive understood in νεωτέρας. In ver. 11 we have νεωτέρας χήρας. The οῦν which precedes is a further proof that this direction or command of the apostle's springs from what he had just been saying about the young widows, and therefore that what follows relates to them, and not to women generally. In order to avoid the scandal mentioned in ver. 11 of the young widows first dedicating their widowhood to Christ, and then drawing back and marrying, he directs that they should follow the natural course and marry, in doing which they would be blameless. Bear children (τεκνογονεῖν): here only in the New Testament or LXX.; but τεκνογονία occurs in 1 Timothy 2:15 (where see note). Rule the household (οἰκοδεσποτεῖν; here only in this sense); act the part of οἰκοδέσποινα, the mistress of a family (Plutarch and elsewhere). οἱκοδεσπότης frequent in the New Testament, and kindred words are used in classical Greek. For reviling (λοιδορίας χάριν). The adversary (ὁ ἀντικείμενος), the opponent of Christianity, was always seeking some occasion to speak reproachfully of Christians and revile them. Any misconduct on the part of Christian widows would give him the occasion he was looking for. They must be doubly careful, therefore, lest they should bring reproach upon the Name of Christ (camp. James 2:7; 1 Peter 2:12; 1 Peter 4:4, 14, 15). "Λοιδορίας χάριν is added... to ἀφορμὴν διδόναι to specify the manner in which the occasion would be used" Ellicott). Do not give the adversary a starting-point from which he may be able to carry out his desire to revile the people of God. 1 Timothy 5:14That the younger women marry (νεωτέρας γαμεῖν)

Better, the younger widows. This seems to be required by οὖν therefore, connecting the subject of the verb with the class just described. They are enjoined to marry, rather than to assume a position in the church which they might disgrace by the conduct described in 1 Timothy 5:11-13. Comp. 1 Corinthians 7:8, 1 Corinthians 7:9.

Bear children (τεκνογονεῖν)

N.T.o. olxx, oClass. Comp. τεκνογονία childbearing, 1 Timothy 2:15.

Guide the house (οἰκοδεσποτεῖν)

Better, rule the house. N.T.o. olxx, oClass. Ὁικοδεσπότης master of the house is quite common in the Synoptic Gospels.

Occasion (ἀφορμὴν)

See on Romans 7:8.

To the adversary (τῷ ἀντικειμένῳ)

The one who is set over against. Not Satan, but the human enemy of Christianity. Comp. Philippians 1:28, and ὁ ἐξ ἐναντίας he that is of the contrary part, Titus 2:8.

To speak reproachfully (λοιδορίας χάριν)

Lit. in the interest of reviling. Const. with give on occasion. Λοιδορία reviling only here and 1 Peter 3:9. For the verb λοιδορεῖν to revile see John 9:28; Acts 23:4; 1 Corinthians 4:12; and note on John 9:28.

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