Paul expects all believers to listen to all his “team” instructions or “commands,” but too many believers choose to disregard the New Testament commands.
The commands in this context direct believers to reach out to those in need, especially within their own households, while maintaining the priority of spreading the gospel message throughout every community.
Paul emphatically states, “Continually and habitually reinforce these commands.” In the previous chapter, he urged specific obedience: “Command these things and teach them” (1 Tim 4:11). Leaders and parents must make sure the commands are carefully followed.
In the Old Testament, God is described as a “Father to the fatherless” and a “protector of widows” (Psa 68:5). God told Israel, “Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry” (Ex 22:22–-23NIV). James defined true religion as taking care of widows “in their distress” (James 1:27).
The Ephesian church obeyed the command to care for their widows and organized financial support for them. However, the younger widows, who really did not need such help, abused this command. Good intentions can go astray when selfish people take advantage of generous people, but such problems should not quench the desire to do right.
Paul clarified that “a widow under sixty” should not be supported (1 Tim 5:9, 11, 13, 14). “Widows who were really in need” (5:3) were those who had no children or grandchildren (5:4) who could be responsible for them. Taking care of your elderly parents is “pleasing in the sight of God” (5:4–-8).
We must make difficult decisions about how to allocate our time and resources, keeping the priority on spreading the gospel, while not ignoring those in need around us. Wisdom and planning ahead can keep us “beyond reproach,” or “unrebukable, unaccused,” so that the lost do not disregard the value of the gospel. The key is constant reiteration of His commands.
“Heavenly Father, I pray for our pastors and teachers of the word. Please give them the wisdom they need to continually teach us Your precepts. May we always remember to teach Your precepts to our children and grandchildren and thus keep Your desires alive in all our lives.”