1Ti 5:13-16  “And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some are already turned aside after Satan. 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.”

In the verses immediately prior to this, Paul has pointed out some likely behaviors of those who are not “widows indeed.” He speaks of them growing wanton against Christ and throwing aside their “first faith.” These actions lead us to the admonishment that Paul is now giving. When our attitude toward Christ become wanton and we cast aside our faith, idleness (useless activity) readily follows.

Notice that Paul says, “they learn to be idle.” When our attention is on Jesus, we desire to be productive in the things of God. If we are walking by faith, we are going to seek good things. Useless behavior is a learned response to abandoning our walk with Jesus.

When we are idle, our carnal nature employs itself by wandering from house to house. This is not necessarily a literal going from one home to another, but rather points to our penchant for going from one person to another gathering up gossip. The literal interpretation for the word translated as tattler is “bubbling.” In other words, we begin to engage in things that agitate in the same manner as water beginning to boil.

We begin to meddle (busybody) in things that are not our concern. We begin to spread rumors and gossip to the hurt of others and ourselves. Our conversations are about things that we should not even be speaking of. Any time we begin a sentence with “I probably shouldn’t say this” is a suitable time to stop talking.

What is the remedy for this situation? Paul says it is to make a commitment (marry). While there is certainly a literal aspect to this, in our daily lives we must make a commitment to walking by faith. Our commitment should be fruitful (bear children).

While the bishops and deacons were admonished to rule their own house well, the “younger women” here were advised to “guide the house.” Strong’s gives the sense of this to mean “be the head of a family.” At first glance, we might be tempted to say we have found a contradiction in God’s word. Instead, I believe we have found the sense of balance between the man who rules (stands before, protects, sets an example) his house well and the woman who guides the house (gives instruction at home, raises up children, trusts her husband).

Being employed in this manner does not leave any room for our adversary to be able to slander the home. The truth of what Paul has said is evident in those who have turned away from Jesus and gone in pursuit of Satan. Before we bring any situation (widows) to the church for their care, we are to determine if it is we who need to shoulder that responsibility. Not only is it godly for us to do so, but it gives the church a greater liberty to see to the “widows indeed.”

May we avail ourselves of God’s grace in a manner that we are never found idle, but willingly engaging in the work of a believer!

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