by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 2 Study # 9 Lincolnton, NC December 11, 2005
13 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.
14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.
15 For some are already turned aside after Satan.
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.
1901 ASV Translation:
13 And withal they learn also to be idle, going about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
14 I desire therefore that the younger widows marry, bear children, rule the household, give no occasion to the adversary for reviling:
15 for already some are turned aside after Satan.
16 If any woman that believeth hath widows, let her relieve them, and let not the church be burdened; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.
I. Paul Has a Two-Fold Burden.
A. First, he is concerned that younger widows will develop improperly.
1. He senses that being "idle" is not a good thing.
a. The primary issue in being "idle" is not doing productive work. This is the force of the word in Matthew 20:3, 6 and, probably, in Titus 1:12 (if we translate "...idle gluttons..." in the place of the ambiguous "...slow bellies...").
b. The problem with being "idle" is that it does not really mean "doing nothing", but, rather, that it leads to "doing" the wrong kinds of things. There are a few folks who can do "nothing" for hours; but the vast majority of people are driven by "boredom" to "do" something -- but the "something" is very often unproductive in terms of both character development and true contribution to the best interests of others. The issue here is "age" and the level of energy involved and the kinds of efforts that are "productive". The "older widow" is willing to "pray" night and day; the "younger widow" is extremely unlikely to find that a sufficient course of satisfying activity.
c. If not providing for one's own household makes one "worse than an unbeliever", what does being "idle" make one?
2. He indicates that "idle" women will fill their time with "something"...
a. They will "go house to house".
b. They will engage in filling their time with "conversation" -- about things with which they have no legitimate involvement.
1) They will become "tattlers" -- people who talk about things of no significance.
2) They will become "busybodies" -- folks who attempt to circumvent legitimate labor by inserting "magic" (behavior that has no genuine connection to the processes of cause/effect -- in our day, this is "The Price is Right" and "Winning the Lottery" and other short-cuts to the "end" that omit the "means").
3) They will fill the air with "sound" that addresses unnecessary issues.
3. He commands a different "course of action".
a. He uses the term for a "determined intent" -- "I will, therefore...", not "I desire...".
b. The insistence upon "marriage" is relatively easy in a culture that arranges marriage. It is not so easy in a culture that has adopted a completely different approach to getting married. One has to wonder what "drove" the move to "dating" as the approach.
c. The issue of "bearing children" is also somewhat out of the hands of the woman.
d. Being the "despot of the home" is a worthy task whether one has children or not.
e. Having the ultimate objective of living in such a way that the gainsayers have nothing to fault is behind all of Paul's practical instruction. The problem is that people are turning aside after Satan and using the behavior of "believers" as their excuse.
4. He also brings the issue of "widows who really need help" into the picture as something that the younger women ought to include in their "despotism over the house".
B. Second, he is concerned that the church may be burdened unnecessarily and kept from its necessary task.
1. It is a perennial problem that people will heavily involve themselves in the secondary stuff so that the important stuff goes begging.
2. The church is simply an association of people who have this tendency. It needs to be kept on track by those who understand the true value of activities.