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1 Timothy 5:3 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Honor widows that are widows indeed.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Honour widows that are widows indeed.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Honor widows who are widows indeed;
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Honor widows that are widows indeed.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Honour widows who are really widows;
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Widows, honour thou—who indeed are widows:—
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— honour widows who are really widows;
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Honour widows that are widows indeed.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Honour widowes that are widowes indeed.
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— The widows honour them who are widows in truth.
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— Honor widows, who are truly widows.

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Honour 5091
{5091} Prime
From G5093; to prize, that is, fix a valuation upon; by implication to revere.
<5720> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Imperative (See G5794)
Count - 592
widows 5503
{5503} Prime
Feminine of a presumed derivation apparently from the base of G5490 through the idea of deficiency; a widow (as lacking a husband), literally or figuratively.
that are widows 5503
{5503} Prime
Feminine of a presumed derivation apparently from the base of G5490 through the idea of deficiency; a widow (as lacking a husband), literally or figuratively.
indeed. 3689
{3689} Prime
Adverb of the oblique cases of G5607; really.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

1 Timothy 5:3

_ _ Honour — by setting on the church roll, as fit objects of charitable sustenance (1 Timothy 5:9, 1 Timothy 5:17, 1 Timothy 5:18; Acts 6:1). So “honor” is used for support with necessaries (Matthew 15:4, Matthew 15:6; Acts 28:10).

_ _ widows indeed — (1 Timothy 5:16). Those really desolate; not like those (1 Timothy 5:4) having children or relations answerable for their support, nor like those (in 1 Timothy 5:6) “who live in pleasure”; but such as, from their earthly desolation as to friends, are most likely to trust wholly in God, persevere in continual prayers, and carry out the religious duties assigned to Church widows (1 Timothy 5:5). Care for widows was transferred from the Jewish economy to the Christian (Deuteronomy 14:29; Deuteronomy 16:11; Deuteronomy 24:17, Deuteronomy 24:19).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

1 Timothy 5:3-16

_ _ Directions are here given concerning the taking of widows into the number of those who were employed by the church and had maintenance from the church: Honour widows that are widows indeed. Honour them, that is, maintain them, admit them into office. There was in those times an office in the church in which widows were employed, and that was to tend the sick and the aged, to look to them by the direction of the deacons. We read of the care taken of widows immediately upon the first forming of the Christian church (Acts 6:1), where the Grecians thought their widows were neglected in the daily ministration and provision made for poor widows. The general rule is to honour widows that are widows indeed, to maintain them, to relieve them with respect and tenderness.

_ _ I. It is appointed that those widows only should be relieved by the charity of the church who were pious and devout, and not wanton widows that lived in pleasure, 1 Timothy 5:5, 1 Timothy 5:6. She is to be reckoned a widow indeed, and it to be maintained at the church's charge, who, being desolate, trusteth in God. Observe, It is the duty and comfort of those who are desolate to trust in God. Therefore God sometimes brings his people into such straits that they have nothing else to trust to, that they may with more confidence trust in him. Widowhood is a desolate estate; but let the widows trust in me (Jeremiah 49:11), and rejoice that they have a God to trust to. Again, Those who trust in God must continue in prayer. If by faith we confide in God, by prayer we must give glory to God and commit ourselves to his guidance. Anna was a widow indeed, who departed not from the temple (Luke 2:37), but served God with fasting and prayer night and day. But she is not a widow indeed that lives in pleasure (1 Timothy 5:6), or who lives licentiously. A jovial widow is not a widow indeed, not fit to be taken under the care of the church. She that lives in pleasure is dead while she lives, is no living member of the church, but as a carcase in it, or a mortified member. We may apply it more generally; those who live in pleasure are dead while they live, spiritually dead, dead in trespasses and sins; they are in the world to no purpose, buried alive as to the great ends of living.

_ _ II. Another rule he gives is that the church should not be charged with the maintenance of those widows who had relations of their own that were able to maintain them. This is mentioned several times (1 Timothy 5:4): If any widow have children or nephews, that is grandchildren or near relations, let them maintain them, and let not the church be burdened. So 1 Timothy 5:16. This is called showing piety at home (1 Timothy 5:4), or showing piety towards their own families. Observe, The respect of children to their parents, with their care of them, is fitly called piety. This is requiting their parents. Children can never sufficiently requite their parents for the care they have taken of them, and the pains they have taken with them; but they must endeavour to do it. It is the indispensable duty of children, if their parents be in necessity, and they in ability to relieve them, to do it to the utmost of their power, for this is good and acceptable before God. The Pharisees taught that a gift to the altar was more acceptable to God than relieving a poor parent, Matthew 15:5. But here we are told that this is better than all burnt-offerings and sacrifices; this is good and acceptable, etc. He speaks of this again (1 Timothy 5:8), If any provide not for his own, etc. If any men or women do not maintain their own poor relations who belong to them, they do in effect deny the faith; for the design of Christ was to confirm the law of Moses, and particularly the law of the fifth commandment, which is, Honour thy father and mother; so that those deny the faith who disobey that law, much more if they provide not for their wives and children, who are parts of themselves; if they spend that upon their lusts which should maintain their families, they have denied the faith and are worse than infidels. One reason why this care must be taken that those who are rich should maintain their poor relations, and not burden the church with them is (1 Timothy 5:16) that it may relieve those who are widows indeed. Observe, Charity misplaced is a great hindrance to true charity; there should be prudence in the choice of the objects of charity, that it may not be thrown away upon those who are not properly so, that there may be the more for those who are real objects of charity.

_ _ III. He gives directions concerning the characters of the widows that were to be taken into the number to receive the church's charity: not under sixty years old, nor any who have divorced their husbands or been divorced from them and have married again; she must have been the wife of one man, such as had been a housekeeper, had a good name for hospitality and charity, well reported of for good works. Observe, Particular care ought to be taken to relieve those, when they fall into decay, who, when they had wherewithal, were ready to every good work. Here are instances of such good works as are proper to be done by good wives: If she have brought up children: he does not say, If she have borne children (children are a heritage of the Lord), that depends on the will of God; but, if she had not children of her own, yet if she had brought up children. If she have lodged strangers, and washed the saints' feet; if she have been ready to give entertainment to good Christians and good ministers, when they were in their travels for the spreading of the gospel. Washing of the feet o their friends was a part of their entertainments. If she have relieved the afflicted when she had ability, let her be relieved now. Observe, Those who would find mercy when they are in distress must show mercy when they are in prosperity.

_ _ IV. He cautions them to take heed of admitting into the number those who are likely to be no credit to them (1 Timothy 5:11): The younger widows refuse: they will be weary of their employments in the church, and of living by rule, as they must do; so they will marry, and cast off their first faith. You read of a first love (Revelation 2:4), and here of a first faith, that is, the engagements they gave to the church to behave well, and as became the trust reposed in them: it does not appear that by their first faith is meant their vow not to marry, for the scripture is very silent on that head; besides the apostle here advises the younger widows to marry (1 Timothy 5:14), which he would not if hereby they must have broken their vows. Dr. Whitby well observes, “If this faith referred to a promise made to the church not to marry, it could not be called their first faith.” Withal they learn to be idle, and not only idle, but tattlers, etc., 1 Timothy 5:13. Observe, It is seldom that those who are idle are idle only, they learn to be tattlers and busy-bodies, and to make mischief among neighbours, and sow discord among brethren. Those who had not attained to such a gravity of mind as was fit for the deaconesses (or the widows who were taken among the church's poor), let them marry, bear children, etc., 1 Timothy 5:14. Observe, If housekeepers do not mind their business, but are tattlers, they give occasion to the adversaries of Christianity to reproach the Christian name, which, it seems, there were some instances of, 1 Timothy 5:15. We learn hence, 1. In the primitive church there was care taken of poor widows, and provision made for them; and the churches of Christ in these days should follow so good an example, as far as they are able. 2. In the distribution of the church's charity, or alms, great care is to be taken that those share in the public bounty who most want it and best deserve it. A widow was not to be taken into the primitive church that had relations who were able to maintain her, or who was not well reported of for good works, but lived in pleasure: But the younger widows refuse, for, when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry. 3. The credit of religion, and the reputation of Christian churches, are very much concerned in the character and behaviour of those that are taken into any employment in the church, though of a lower nature (such as the business of deaconesses), or that receive alms of the church; if they do not behave well, but are tatlers and busy-bodies, they will give occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 4. Christianity obliges its professors to relieve their indigent friends, particularly poor widows, that the church may not be charged with them, that it may relieve those that are widows indeed: rich people should be ashamed to burden the church with their poor relations, when it is with difficulty that those are supplied who have no children or nephews, that is, grand-children, who are in a capacity to relieve them.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

1 Timothy 5:3

Honour — That is, maintain out of the public stock.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

1 Timothy 5:3

(2) (a) Honour widows that are widows indeed.

(2) The apostle gives these rules concerning the care of widows.

(a) Have care of those widows who have need of help.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

1 Timothy 5:2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.
1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Matthew 15:6 And honour not his father or his mother, [he shall be free]. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
1 Thessalonians 2:6 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor [yet] of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.
1 Peter 2:17 Honour all [men]. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.


1 Timothy 5:9 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man,
Deuteronomy 10:18 He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.
Deuteronomy 14:29 And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which [are] within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.
Deuteronomy 16:11 And thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that [is] within thy gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that [are] among you, in the place which the LORD thy God hath chosen to place his name there.
Deuteronomy 16:14 And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that [are] within thy gates.
Deuteronomy 27:19 Cursed [be] he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Job 29:13 The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.
Job 31:16 If I have withheld the poor from [their] desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail;
Psalms 68:5 A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, [is] God in his holy habitation.
Psalms 94:6 They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless.
Psalms 146:9 The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.
Jeremiah 49:11 Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve [them] alive; and let thy widows trust in me.
Matthew 23:14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
Luke 7:12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.
Acts 6:1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
Acts 9:39 Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.
James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.


1 Timothy 5:4-5 But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God. ... Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.
1 Timothy 5:9-11 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, ... But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;
1 Timothy 5:16 If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.
Luke 2:37 And she [was] a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served [God] with fastings and prayers night and day.
John 1:47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!
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Chain-Reference Bible Search

Ex 20:12. Dt 10:18; 14:29; 16:11, 14; 27:19. Jb 29:13; 31:16. Ps 68:5; 94:6; 146:9. Jr 49:11. Mt 15:6; 23:14. Lk 2:37; 7:12. Jn 1:47. Ac 6:1; 9:39. 1Th 2:6. 1Ti 5:2, 4, 9, 16, 17. Jm 1:27. 1P 2:17; 3:7.

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