1 Timothy 5:8
But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
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(8) But if any provide not for his own.—This repeated warning was necessary in the now rapidly widening circle of believers. Then, in those early days, as now, men and women were attempting to persuade themselves that the hopes and promises of Christians could be attained and won by a mere profession of faith, by an assent to the historical truths, by a barren reception of the doctrine of the atonement, without any practice of stern self-denial, apart from any loving consideration for others; there were evidently in that great Church of Ephesus, which St. Paul knew so well not a few professed believers in the Crucified who, while possessed themselves of a competence, perhaps even of wealth, could calmly look on while their relations and friends languished in the deepest poverty.

And specially for those of his own house.—The circle of those for whose support and sustenance a Christian was responsible is here enlarged: not merely is the fairly prosperous man who professes to love Christ, bound to do his best for his nearest relations, such as his mother and grandmother, but St. Paul says “he must assist those of his own house,” in which term relatives who are much more distant are included, and even dependents connected with the family who had fallen into poverty and distress.

He hath denied the faith.—Faith, considered as a rule of life, is practically denied by one who neglects these kindly duties and responsibilities, for “faith worketh by love” (Galatians 5:6). Faith here is considered by St. Paul, not as mere belief in the doctrine, or even in a person, but as a rule of life.

And is worse than an infidel.—The rules even of the nobler Pagan moralists forbid such heartless selfishness. For a Christian, then, deliberately to neglect such plain duties would bring shame and disgrace on the religion of the loving Christ, and, notwithstanding the name he bore, and the company in which he was enrolled, such a denier of the faith would be really worse than a heathen.

1 Timothy 5:8. If any provide not — Food and raiment; for his own — Poor relations; and especially those of his own house Των οικειων, his own domestics, those relations who live in his own family, and consequently are under his eye; he hath denied the faith — Namely, by such a practice, which is utterly inconsistent with Christianity, which does not destroy, but perfects natural duties. Here we see, to disobey the precepts of the gospel, is to deny or renounce the faith of the gospel; from whence we infer, that the faith of the gospel includes obedience to its precepts; and is worse than an infidel — Dr. Whitby shows here, by very apposite citations, that the heathen were sensible of the reasonableness and necessity of taking care of their near relations, and especially of their parents, when reduced to poverty and want. But “what has this to do with heaping up money for our children, for which it is often so impertinently alleged? But all men have their reasons for laying up money; one will go to hell for fear of want, another acts like a heathen, lest he should be worse than an infidel!” — Wesley.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 if any provide not for his own - The apostle was speaking 1 Timothy 5:4 particularly of the duty of children toward a widowed mother. In enforcing that duty, he gives the subject, as he often does in similar cases, a general direction, and says that all ought to provide for those who were dependent on them, and that if they did not do this, they had a less impressive sense of the obligations of duty than even the pagan had. On the duty here referred to, compare Romans 12:17 note; 2 Corinthians 8:21 note. The meaning is, that the person referred to is to think beforehand (προνοεἶ pronoei) of the probable needs of his own family, and make arrangements to meet them. God thus provides for our needs; that is, he sees beforehand what we shall need, and makes arrangements for those needs by long preparation. The food that we eat, and the raiment that we wear, he foresaw that we should need, and the arrangement for the supply was made years since, and to meet these needs he has been carrying forward the plans of his providence in the seasons; in the growth of animals; in the formation of fruit; in the bountiful harvest. So, according to our measure, we are to anticipate what will be the probable needs of our families, and to make arrangements to meet them. The words "his own," refer to those who are naturally dependent on him, whether living in his own immediate family or not. There may be many distant relatives naturally dependent on our aid, besides those who live in our own house.

And specially for those of his own house - Margin, "kindred." The word "house," or "household," better expresses the sense than the word "kindred." The meaning is, those who live in his own family. They would naturally have higher claims on him than those who did not. They would commonly be his nearer relatives, and the fact, from whatever cause, that they constituted his own family, would lay the foundation for a strong claim upon him. He who neglected his own immediate family would be more guilty than he who neglected a more remote relative.

He hath denied the faith - By his conduct, perhaps, not openly. He may be still a professor of religion and do this; but he will show that he is imbued with none of the spirit of religion, and is a stranger to its real nature. The meaning is, that he would, by such an act, have practically renounced Christianity, since it enjoins this duty on all. We may hence learn that it is possible to deny the faith by conduct as well as by words; and that a neglect of doing our duty is as real a denial of Christianity as it would be openly to renounce it. Peter denied his Lord in one way, and thousands do the same thing in another. He did it in words; they by neglecting their duty to their families, or their duty in their closets, or their duty in attempting to send salvation to their fellow-men, or by an openly irreligious life. A neglect of any duty is so far a denial of the faith.

And is worse than an infidel - The word here does not mean an infidel, technically so called, or one who openly professes to disbelieve Christianity, but anyone who does not believe; that is, anyone who is not a sincere Christian. The word, therefore, would include the pagan, and it is to them, doubtless, that the apostle particularly refers. They acknowledged the obligation to provide for their relatives. This was one of the great laws of nature written on their hearts, and a law which they felt bound to obey. Few things were inculcated more constantly by pagan moralists than this duty. Gelgacus, in Tacitus, says, "Nature dictates that to every one, his own children and relatives should be most dear." Cicero says, "Every man should take care of his own family " - suos quisque debet tueri; see Rosenmuller, in loc., and also numerous examples of the same kind quoted from Apuleius, Cicero, Plutarch, Homer, Terence, Virgil, and Servius, in Pricaeus, in loc. The doctrine here is:

(1) that a Christian ought not to be inferior to an unbeliever in respect to any virtue;

(2) that in all that constitutes true virtue he ought to surpass him;

(3) that the duties which are taught by nature ought to be regarded as the more sacred and obligatory from the fact that God has given us a better religion; and,

(4) that a Christian ought never to give occasion to an enemy of the gospel to point to a man of the world and say, "there is one who surpasses you in any virtue."

8. But—reverting to 1Ti 5:4, "If any (a general proposition; therefore including in its application the widow's children or grandchildren) provide not for his own (relations in general), and especially for those of his own house (in particular), he hath (practically) denied the faith." Faith without love and its works is dead; "for the subject matter of faith is not mere opinion, but the grace and truth of God, to which he that believes gives up his spirit, as he that loves gives up his heart" [Mack]. If in any case a duty of love is plain, it is in relation to one's own relatives; to fail in so plain an obligation is a plain proof of want of love, and therefore of want of faith. "Faith does not set aside natural duties, but strengthens them" [Bengel].

worse than an infidel—because even an infidel (or unbeliever) is taught by nature to provide for his own relatives, and generally recognizes the duty; the Christian who does not so, is worse (Mt 5:46, 47). He has less excuse with his greater light than the infidel who may break the laws of nature.

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house: here is a manifest distinction between his own, idiwn, and his own household, oikeiwn, they are distinguished by terms in the Greek, and as to the care which men and women ought to extend to them. By his own he means his relations, all of a man’s family or stock; by his own household, he seemeth to mean those who cohabit with him. The apostle saith that he who is careless of providing for the former, (so far as he is able), but especially for the latter,

hath denied the Christian faith, that is, in the practice of it, though in words he professeth it; he liveth not up to the rule of the gospel, which directeth other things.

And is worse than an infidel; and is worse than a heathen, that believeth not; because many good-natured heathens do this by the light of nature, and those who do it not, yet are more excusable, being strangers to the obligation of the revealed law of God in the case. But if any provide not for his own,.... Not only for his wife and children, but for his parents, when grown old, and cannot help themselves:

and specially for those of his own house; that is, who are of the same household of faith with him; see Galatians 6:10, and so the Syriac version renders it, "and especially those who are the children of the house of faith"; for though the tie of nature obliges him to take care of them, yet that of grace makes the obligation still more strong and binding; and he must act both the inhuman and the unchristian part, that does not take care of his pious parents: wherefore it follows,

he hath denied the faith; the doctrine of faith, though not in words, yet in works; and is to be considered in the same light, and to be dealt with as an apostate from the Christian religion.

And is worse than an infidel; for the very Heathens are taught and directed by the light of nature to take care of their poor and aged parents. The daughter of Cimon gave her ancient father the breast, and suckled him when in prison. Aeneas snatched his aged father out of the burning of Troy, and brought him out of the destruction of that city on his back; yea, these are worse than the brute creatures, and may be truly said to be without natural affections; such should go to the storks and learn of them, of whom it is reported, that the younger ones will feed the old ones, when they cannot feed themselves; and when weary, and not able to fly, will carry them on their backs. The Jews (w) have a rule or canon, which obliged men to take care of their families, which runs thus:

"as a man is bound to provide for his wife, so he is hound to provide for his sons and daughters, the little ones, until they are six years old; and from thenceforward he gives them food till they are grown up, according to the order of the wise men; if he will not, they reprove him, and make him ashamed, and oblige him; yea, if he will not, they publish him in the congregation, and say such an one is cruel, and will not provide for his children; and lo, he is worse than an unclean fowl, which feeds her young.''

(w) Maimon. Hilchot Ishot, c. 12. sect. 14.

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
1 Timothy 5:8. Εἰ δέ τις τῶν ἰδίων καὶ μάλιστα [τῶν] οἰκείων οὐ προνοεῖ] “But if any one does not take care for his relatives, and especially for those of his household;” τις is here quite general in meaning, and this generality must in the first place be maintained.

τῶν ἰδίων and [τῶν] οἰκείων are not neuters, but masculines. In the N. T., as a rule, οἱ ἴδιοι are those in close fellowship and community with another. For instance, in John 13:1 the relation of Christ to His disciples is thus named. Οἱ ἴδιοι is here wider in meaning than οἱ οἰκεῖοι, which is “those properly of the household.” Hofmann thinks that, if the reading without the article be adopted, μάλιστα does not belong to the verb, but to οἰκείων = οἰκειοτάτων. It is well known that in classic Greek the superlative is sometimes expressed by μάλιστα before the positive. But this usage is never found in the N. T.; and besides, here, where οἰκεῖος refers to τὸν ἴδιον οἶκον (1 Timothy 5:4), and is therefore equivalent to “member of the household or family,” the superlative οἰκείοτατος is meaningless. To paraphrase it into “nearest kinsman of all” is purely arbitrary. At any rate, the article is by no means necessary before οἰκείων, since the ἴδιοι and the οἰκεῖοι belong to one class; the intervening μάλιστα makes no difference, although it lays special emphasis on the latter.

τὴν πίστιν ἤρνηται] inasmuch as he does not do that to which faith, if it be a living faith, incites him; fides enim non tollit officia naturalia, sed perficit et firmat, Bengel.

καὶ ἔστιν ἀπίστου χείρων] Ἄπιστος here is not (as at 2 Corinthians 4:4; Titus 1:15) “an enemy of Christ,” but “one who is not a Christian,” one who as such is incited by natural law to love his own children (comp. Matthew 5:46-47).

Calvin says on this: quod duabus de causis verum est, nam quo plus quisque in cognitione Dei profecit, eo minus habet excusationis; … deinde hoc genus officii est, quod natura ipsa dictat, sunt enim στοργαὶ φυσικαί.

The reference of this general thought varies according to the various interpretations of 1 Timothy 5:4. If τέκνα καὶ ἔκγονα be taken there as the subject of μανθανέτωσαν, then it refers to the relation of these to the widowed mother or grandmother; if the proper subject be αἱ χῆραι, it refers naturally to the conduct of the widows. There is nothing to show that the apostle here was thinking of the mutual relation between the widows and their dependants (Matthies). Still less correct is it, with Hofmann, to wrench 1 Timothy 5:8 away from 1 Timothy 5:4, and to understand by τιςthe father of a family,” “who at his death leaves wife and child unprovided for, when he might well have provided for them.” Such a sudden transition from what hitherto has been the subject of discussion would be exceedingly strange; nor is there any hint of it given by the verb προνοεῖν, which denotes care in general terms, not “care for those left behind at death.” Paul has hitherto been speaking of the conduct of widows, and only to that same subject can this verse be referred.1 Timothy 5:8. The Christian faith includes the law of love. The moral teaching of Christianity recognises the divine origin of all natural and innocent human affections. The unbeliever, i.e., the born heathen, possesses natural family affection; and though these feelings may be stunted by savagery, the heathen are not likely to be sophisticated by human perversions of religion, such as those denounced by Jesus in Mark 7. Ell. says. “It is worthy of notice that the Essenes were not permitted to give relief to their relatives without leave from their ἐπίτροποι, though they might freely do so to others in need; see Joseph. Bell. Jud. ii. 8, 6.”

The Christian who falls below the best heathen standard of family affection is the more blameworthy, since he has, what the heathen has not, the supreme example of love in Jesus Christ. We may add that Jesus Himself gave an example of providing for one’s own, when He provided a home for His mother with the beloved disciple.

οἱ ἴδιοι are near relatives: οἱ οἰκεῖοι, members of one’s household. One of the most subtle temptations of the Devil is his suggestion that we can best comply with the demands of duty in some place far away from our home. Jesus always says, Do the next thing; “Begin from Jerusalem”. The path of duty begins from within our own house, and we must walk it on our own feet.

οἰκείων: The omission of the article in the true text before οἰκείων precludes the possibility of taking the word here in the allegorical sense in which it is used in Gal. and Eph.: “the household of the faith”; “the household of God”.

προνοεῖ: This verb is only found elsewhere in N.T. in the phrase προνοεῖσθαι καλά, Romans 12:17, 2 Corinthians 8:21 (from Proverbs 3:4, προνοοῦ καλὰ ἐνώπιον Κυρίου καὶ ἀνθρώπων).8. But if any provide not] The warning is general in form, but taken up 1 Timothy 5:4 and is again taken up 1 Timothy 5:16. The negative must be taken closely with the verb fail to provide, see note on 1 Timothy 3:5.

for his own] His own relatives and connexions.

According to the best reading there is only one article for the two adjectives, so that it is one phrase rather than two. The R.V. indicates this by omitting the ‘for’ after ‘specially’. By rendering also his own household it indicates the full meaning ‘relatives and dependents dwelling in the same house.’

he hath denied the faith] The Christian religion based on ‘faith that worketh by love,’ and so here the Christian’s ‘rule of life,’ briefly described in the earliest days as ‘the way,’ Acts 22:4, &c. There is the same close identification of ‘creed’ and ‘life’ in 1 Timothy 5:12, where see note.

worse than an infidel] Better, as throughout its use so characteristic of the Epistles to the Corinthians (14 times), an unbeliever. It was the technical word for the heathen who had not yet ‘professed the faith,’ just as its opposite ‘faithful’ or ‘believer’ is the term used of all who had been admitted into the Christian body; e.g. Ephesians 1:1, and here, 1 Timothy 5:16. The clause has no sting therefore such as attaches to ‘infidel,’ implying the deliberate rejection of religion. They who refuse to minister to the comfort and sustenance of those belonging to them ‘are not true to the moral instincts of their own nature and fall beneath the standard which has been recognised and acted on by the better class of heathens.’ Fairbairn.1 Timothy 5:8. Ἰδίων, his own) even out of his house.—τῶν οἰκείων, those of his own house) Such even especially as the mother or lonely (helpless) widow, at home, 1 Timothy 5:4. Many parents make this an excuse for their avarice; but this passage chiefly treats of the duty of grandchildren, which ought to flow from love, not to be opposed to faith.—οὐ προνοεῖ, does not provide) with food and necessary clothing.—τὴν πίστιν ἤρνηται, has denied the faith) Paul hopes that there will be no one among Christians who does not provide for his mother. Faith does not set aside natural duties, but perfects and strengthens them.—ἀπίστου, an infidel) whom even nature teaches this, although he has never embraced the faith.Verse 8. - Provideth for provide, A.V.; his own household for those of his own house, A.V. and T.R.; unbeliever for infidel, A.V. Provideth (προνοεῖ). Elsewhere in the New Testament only in Romans 12:17 and 2 Corinthians 8:21, where it has an accusative of the thing provided; here, as in classical Greek, with a genitive of the person; frequent in the LXX., and still more so in classical Greek. The substantive προνοία occurs in Acts 24:2 and Romans 13:14. His own household; because in many cases the widow would be actually living in the house of her child or grandchild. But even if she were not, filial duty would prompt a proper provision for her wants He hath denied the faith; viz. by repudiating these duties which the Christian faith required of him (see Ephesians 6:1-3). Provide (προνοεῖ)

See on Romans 12:17.

His own - those of his own house (τῶν ἰδίων - οἰκείων)

His own relations, see on John 1:11. Those who form part of his family, see on Galatians 6:10.

He hath denied the faith (τὴν πίστιν ἤρνηται)

The verb not in Paul, but Quite often in Pastorals. The phrase only here and Revelation 2:13. Faith demands works and fruits. By refusing the natural duties which Christian faith implies, one practically denies his possession of faith. Faith does not abolish natural duties, but perfects and strengthens them" (Bengel). Comp. James 2:14-17.

Infidel (ἀπίστου)

Better, unbeliever. One who is not a Christian, as 1 Corinthians 6:6; 1 Corinthians 7:12, 1 Corinthians 7:13, etc. Even an unbeliever will perform these duties from natural promptings.

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