1 Timothy 5:6
But she that lives in pleasure is dead while she lives.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.—This is a thoroughly Pauline thought, set forth in other language in the Roman Epistle, Romans 8:13 : “For if ye live after the flesh ye shall die.” The word in the Greek rendered “she that liveth in pleasure” is very remarkable, and in the New Testament is found only in one other place (James 5:5). The widow-woman who could so forget her sorrow and her duty is spoken of as a living corpse, and sharply contrasted with her far happier sister, who, dead to the pleasures of the flesh, living a life of prayer and of self-denial, in the true sense of the word, may be spoken of as living. A very different estimate of life was held by the greatest of Greek poets, who writes thus of men giving up pleasures: “I do not consider that such a one lives, but I regard him as a living corpse” (Antigone of Sophocles, 1166-7, Dindorf). Comp., too, Revelation 3:1.

5:3-8 Honour widows that are widows indeed, relieve them, and maintain them. It is the duty of children, if their parents are in need, and they are able to relieve them, to do it to the utmost of their power. Widowhood is a desolate state; but let widows trust in the Lord, and continue in prayer. All who live in pleasure, are dead while they live, spiritually dead, dead in trespasses and sins. Alas, what numbers there are of this description among nominal Christians, even to the latest period of life! If any men or women do not maintain their poor relations, they in effect deny the faith. If they spend upon their lusts and pleasures, what should maintain their families, they have denied the faith, and are worse than infidels. If professors of the gospel give way to any corrupt principle or conduct, they are worse than those who do not profess to believe the doctrines of grace.But she that liveth in pleasure - Margin, "delicately." The Greek word (σπαταλάω spatalaō) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, except in James 5:5, "Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth." It properly means to live in luxury, voluptuously; to indulge freely in eating and drinking; to yield to the indulgence of the appetites. It does not indicate grossly criminal pleasures; but the kind of pleasure connected with luxurious living, and with pampering the appetites. It is probable that in the time of the apostle, there were professedly Christian widows who lived in this manner - as there are such professing Christians of all kinds in every age of the world.

Is dead while she liveth - To all the proper purposes of life she is as if she were dead. There is great emphasis in this expression, and nothing could convey more forcibly the idea that true happiness is not to be found in the pleasure of sense. There is nothing in them that answers the purposes of life. They are not the objects for which life was given, and as to the great and proper designs of existence, such persons might as well be dead.

6. she that liveth in pleasure—the opposite of such a widow as is described in 1Ti 5:5, and therefore one utterly undeserving of Church charity. The Greek expresses wanton prodigality and excess [Tittmann]. The root expresses weaving at a fast rate, and so lavish excess (see on [2477]Jas 5:5).

dead while she liveth—dead in the Spirit while alive in the flesh (Mt 8:22; Eph 5:14).

H de sqatalwsa, she that is wanton, Jam 5:5, she that spends her money in needless costs, as to meat, drink, or apparel, is spiritually dead, dead in sin, while she liveth a temporary voluptuous life, in vanity, and luxury, and impurity of flesh and spirit. But she that liveth in pleasure,.... Voluptuously, and deliciously; lives a wanton, loose, and licentious life, serving divers lusts and pleasures:,

is dead while she liveth; is dead in trespasses and sins, while she lives in them; is dead morally or spiritually, while she lives a natural or corporeal life. There is a likeness between a moral and a corporeal death. In a corporeal death, the soul is separated from the body; and in a moral death, souls are separated from God, and are alienated from the life of God; and are without Christ, who is the author and giver of spiritual life; and have not the Spirit, which is the Spirit of life: death defaces and deforms the man, and a moral death lies in the defacing of the image of God, first stamped on man, and in a loss of original righteousness; for as death strips a man naked of all, as he was when he came into the world, so sin, which brings on this moral death, has stripped man of his moral righteousness, whereby he is become dead in law, as well as in sin: and as in death there is a privation of all sense, so such who are dead, morally or spiritually, have no true sense of sin, and of their state and condition; are not concerned about sin, nor troubled for it, but rejoice in it, boast of it, plead for it, and declare it: between such persons and dead men there is a great similitude; as dead men are helpless to themselves, so are they; they can do nothing of, nor for themselves, in matters of a spiritual nature; and as dead men are unprofitable unto others, so are they to God, and man; and as dead men are hurtful and infectious to others, so they by their evil communications corrupt good manners; and as dead bodies are nauseous and disagreeable, so are such persons, especially to a pure and holy Being; and as dead men are deprived of their senses, so are these: they are blind, and cannot see and discern the things of the Spirit of God; they have not ears to hear the joyful sound of the Gospel, so as to understand it, approve of it, and delight in it; they have no feeling, nor are they burdened with the weight of sin; nor have they any taste and savour of the things of God, but only of the things of men; so that in a spiritual sense they are dead, while they are alive. It is a common, saying to be met with in Jewish writers, , "the wicked while alive are said to be dead" (s). And they say (t) also, that men are called "dead", from the time they sin; and that he that sins is accounted "as a dead man" (u).

(s) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 18. 2. & Hieros. Beracot, fol. 4. 4. Midrash Kohelet, fol. 78. 2. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 58. 3. Caphtor, fol. 79. 1, 2. & 84. 1. Jarchi in Gen. xi. 32. & Baal Hatturim in Deuteronomy 17.6. (t) Tzeror Hammer, fol. 5. 9. (u) lb. fol. 6. 2. & 127. 2.

{8} But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.

(8) The third rule: let widows that live in pleasure, and neglect the care of their own family, be held and considered as fallers away from God and his religion, and worse than the unfaithful themselves.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Timothy 5:6. Ἡ δὲ σπαταλῶσα] The opposite of the ὄντως χήρα who has dedicated her life to piety. Σπαταλᾷν, “revel, be wanton,” occurs elsewhere only in Jam 5:5 (Wisd. 21:15). There is nothing to show that the apostle was here thinking of the squandering of the support received.

ζῶσα τέθνηκε] These words have been taken as exhorting Timothy to consider the wanton widow as dead, and not to support her; but this takes away all point from the words. The right meaning is obtained by comparing such passages as Ephesians 4:18, Revelation 3:1, and others similar. While the widow who conducts herself as a widow should, lives in God, the wanton widow leads a life given up to the desires of the world, a life only in appearance, the very opposite of the true life. Theophylact: κἂν δοκεῖ ζῆν κατὰ τὴν αἰσθητὴν, τέθνηκε κατὰ πνεῦμα.1 Timothy 5:6. σπαταλῶσα: The modern term fast, in which the notion of prodigality and wastefulness is more prominent than that of sensual indulgence, exactly expresses the significance of this word. The R.V., she that giveth herself to pleasure, is stronger than the A.V. A somewhat darker force is given to it here by the associated verb in 1 Timothy 5:11, καταστρηνιάσωσιν. The Vulg. is felicitous, Quae in deliciis est, vivens mortua est. The expression is more terse than in Revelation 3:1, “Thou hast a name that thou livest and thou art dead”. Cf. Romans 7:10; Romans 7:24, Ephesians 4:18. Wetstein quotes in illustration from Stobaeus (238), as descriptive of a poor man’s life of anxiety, πένης ἀποθανὼν φροντίδων ἀπηλλάγη, ζῶν γὰρ τέθνηκε.6. liveth in pleasure] The word occurs only once besides in N.T., James 5:5; where it is coupled with ‘living delicately,’ and is translated by R.V. ‘have taken your pleasure,’ consistently with its rendering here ‘giveth herself to pleasure.’ But surely all the connexion and derivation of the word points to a worse meaning, the rioting of a prodigal; as e.g. its use by the LXX. (as Bp Ellicott points out) in Ezekiel 16:49, ‘this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters.’ It is reproduced in the cognate ‘wax wanton’ of 1 Timothy 5:11. Render perhaps she that liveth a prodigal’s life. Stress is laid on this being brought out, because St Paul is painting the two pictures, for contrast, in the strongest colours, one all saint, one all sinner.

is dead while she liveth] Has no ‘hold on the life which is life indeed,’ as urged 1 Timothy 6:19.1 Timothy 5:6. Σπαταλῶσα) She that liveth in pleasure (luxuriously). Jam 5:5, ἐτρυφήσατε καὶ ἐσπαταλήσατε. Hesychius explains σπαταλᾷ, as τρυφᾷ.—ζῶσα τέθνηκε, though living, she is dead) This remark may be applied to any ungodly man, although he may be actively engaged in the business of life, but especially to a widow devoted to pleasure. Although she seems to her own self still to enjoy life, yet she is dead while she lives, because she is now no longer of benefit (profitable or serviceable), either naturally or spiritually, and therefore she deserves no honour (1 Timothy 5:3, i.e. no share in the public maintenance).Verse 6. - Giveth herself to for liveth in, A.V. Giveth herself to pleasure ( σπαταλῶσα); only here and James 5:5 (ἐσπαταλήσατε "taken your pleasure," R.V., "been wanton," A.V.) in the New Testament, but found (as well as σπατάλη and σπάταλος) in Ecclus. 21:15, and in Polybius (Liddell and Scott). Trench ('Synonyms of New Testament,' p. 191) compares and contrasts στρηνιάω τρυφάω, and σπαταλάω, and says that the latter includes the idea of prodigality. The word brings into the strongest possible contrast the widow who was like Anna, and those whom St. Paul here denounces. Is dead while she liveth; or, has died (is dead) in her lifetime. She is dead to God, and, as Alford suggests, is no longer a living member of the Church of Christ. Compare St. Jude's expression "twice dead" (ver. 12). The expression in Revelation 3:1 is different, unless ζῶσα here can have the same meaning as ὄνομα ἔχει ὅτι ζῇ, "though nominally alive as a Christian," etc. Liveth in pleasure (σπαταλῶσα)

Only here and James 5:5. See note. Twice in lxx, Sir. 21:15; Ezekiel 16:49.

Is dead while she liveth (ζῶσα τέθνηκεν)

Comp. Revelation 3:1; Ephesians 4:18. "Life in worldly pleasure is only life in appearance" (Holtzmann).

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