Materials: Bible, scrap paper or spiral notebook, colored pencils (optional); A Woman After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George
1) Please read 1 Timothy 5:1-10. If you would like to mark the key words and phrases in your Bible here is a list: teach, faith, doctrine, godliness, money/riches, all references to the devil, all references to prayer.
2) Paul divides the church into 4 groups. What are they and what advice does he give Timothy about each group? We need to respect and exhort the people in the church just as we would our own family members. Older men we are to treat as we would our fathers; older women we are to treat as we would our mothers. Young men should be treated as brothers, and young women as sisters. When dealing with young people of the opposite sex, we are to be blameless and pure in our motives, “with the intention and purpose of strengthening them.”
3) How is your heart when it comes to caring for others? Do you love one another? Pray for one another? Respect one another? Comfort one another? Edify one another? Serve one another?
4) Paul identifies 2 groups of widows. What are they? Who is to care for widows first? The word for “provide” in verse 8 is pronoei, meaning “to think ahead, to provide by seeing needs in advance.” Paul uses some very strong words towards families in these verses. Children are to provide and care for their aging parents. Paul is basically telling adult children to “put their religion to practice.” It is acceptable to the Lord. We need to think ahead and plan for it.
5) What scathing summation does Paul have for children who neglect to care for their widowed parents and grandparents? Many nonbelievers fulfill their responsibilities and care for their aging parents. How much worse then, if Christians do not. In my family it is a “given” that we children take care of our parents and in-laws. In fact, right now my father-in-law is bedridden with Alzheimers. My husband spends every third evening helping his mom care for his dad. I tell you this not to make us look like we are doing well, but to explain that taking care of our loved ones takes time, effort, and money. But we are commanded to do it.
6) What are the 6 qualifications for a “real widow?” When others think of you, would they describe you as a person of good works and noble deeds? So many moms and dads get down in the dumps when it comes to raising children, but here God is telling us that “to raise children well is worthy of highest praise!”
Conclusion: We must be about good works and noble deeds. How do we do that? Raise godly kids to the best of our ability. Practice hospitality. Humbly serve others. Give relief and help to those in need. Be devoted to searching for how you can minister to others. “Whenever you see a person in need, be direct. Walk straight up to the wounded sheep and see what [he or] she needs and what you can do. Don’t hope someone else comes along. Don’t run looking for the pastor. God has allowed you to find this person in need. Now allow your heart to overflow with care.” ~ Elizabeth George
Homework for next week: Read 1 Timothy 5:11-25 and mark any key words that you see.