There are a lot of verses in the bible that majorly talk about widows. This is because God has a special affection when it comes to them as well as the orphans. Many of those verses set laws on how they should be handled in society as well as per the church doctrines. In the Bible, we come across several widows who God had a unique grand design to look after them. We come across the widow of Nain whose only son had passed on. We see Jesus in the company of His disciples performing a miracle and raising the young man from the dead. We also come across the widow of Zeraphath whose only son dies but as a result of Elijah's fervent prayers to God the son is again raised from the dead. These are examples of widows in the Bible that we see God performing a particular miracle for them through His servants. By this, we realize that God cares for the widows and as Christians he expects us to practice how to show concern for them at individual levels as well as at church level.
In the book of Psalms 68:5, the Bible clearly states that God is the father to the fatherless as well as a judge for the widows in his Holy habitation. This is only but an example of a verse in the bible that shows how God stands up for the widows. In the book of Deuteronomy 27: 19, the Bible says that "Cursed is the man who spoils justice due an alien, orphan and widow." The text of 1st Timothy 5:1-16 gives us insight on how widows ought to be treated by the church in particular. It tells us that we should respect the widows who are indeed in need. It again tells us that a widow should is one who is at least sixty years old (Croft and Walker, 2015). Younger widows may tend to be driven by their passions away from Christ and desire to marry. As a church, we are supposed to help the widows, but again we should not be burdened so that we can be able to help the widows in need. As we look at this passage; we see that in verses 3-8 the author who was Apostle Paul teaches about supporting the widows. He, however, focuses on the widows who have devoted themselves to serving the church in verses 9-16. In 1st Timothy 5: 3-16, we can acquire principles the church should apply to show care and concern for the widows.
The church must respect and honor widows and women in need (1st Timothy 5:3). According to John MacArthur, the Greek word for widow " Chera" means bereft, left alone or having suffered a loss but does not speak about how the woman was left alone. It encompasses those who probably lost their partners through death, imprisonment, divorce or desertion (MacArthur, 2015). Honoring widows means that the church should treat them with respect when it comes to them. This can happen by ensuring that they meet their spiritual needs. Examples may include encouraging their faith in God, praying with them and bringing the gospel to the ones who maybe know little about Christ. The church can as well honor them by meeting their practical needs such as food, shelter and supporting them emotionally.
The church must also play a role in encouraging its members to care for their widows as well as the aging family members (1st Timothy 5: 4, 8, 16). It is a vital and necessary principle that as Christians we ought to take care of our parents and the elderly. It is, therefore, the duty of a Christian and the church as a whole to care for the aging, widowed relatives. According to Kent Hughes, he explains to us why we ought to care for the old. He says that it is a dramatic reversal process (Hughes and Chapell, 2016) The same way we hold the aged in our arms is the same way we are going to get treatment at one point in our lives. It all starts with individual church members obeying and honoring their parents that they can be able to honor aging widows as well as the needy.
The church also needs to evaluate the needs of the widows (1st Timothy 5:4-8). The widows who are supposed to receive support should be entirely on their own. John MacArthur again says that being a widow is a permanent state of being without resources. He terms a widow as one who has no support from the family and that the church should come in and evaluate her needs (MacArthur, 2015). Therefore individual members from the church should visit the widows should visit the widows and know their state.
Finally, the church should use the ministry of widows who know about God (1st Timothy 5:9-10). These are the widows who are believed to have been serving in some official capacity. John MacArthur adds by saying that a formal order of widows serving in the church obtains extra-biblical support (MacArthur, 2015). Therefore the church at large needs to encourage the widows to be closer to the altar and also use the ministry of such widows as a church asset. By so doing the widows will feel much relieved and will enjoy doing evangelical work and as a result they will be at peace with themselves and God.
In conclusion, it is the responsibility of the church to care for the widows. This is through honoring and respecting the widows, encouraging members to recognize their widows, evaluating their needs and using their ministry. Drawing the widows closer to the church will build them up and enable them has a sense of belonging in society.
Croft, B., & Walker, A. (2015). Caring for Widows: Ministering God's Grace. Crossway.Hughes, R. K., & Chapell, B. (2016). 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus: to guard the deposit (p. 125). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2015). 1 Timothy (p. 195). Chicago: Moody Press
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