(Vs. 1) Do not sharply and harshly rebuke an OLDER BELIEVER. Paul recommends gentleness and kindness in correcting faults. Besides, Timothy was a young man; and while older believers are not to be spared and indulged in error or sin, they are to be reproved and corrected as parents. They are to be in-treated, which is a kinder approach than a rebuke. It is to make an earnest appeal with respect.
Even toward young men, the preacher is to use moderation and kindness in correction and deal with them as brothers (II Tim. 2:24; I Thess. 2:7). Erring believers are not strangers and enemies but brothers, whose age, office, and relationship are not to be forgotten in times of offense.
(Vs. 2) When older women offend and err, they are to be reasoned and pleaded with as children should with their mothers; for these older women are mothers in Israel and are to be treated with great tenderness and respect.
The young women, using the freedom as a brother would with a sister, are to be told their faults freely but privately or in such a manner as to preserve their purity in the eyes of the congregation. Let none, old nor young, be held up for ridicule or shame; but let their failures be handled as one would the infirmities of a beloved father, brother, mother, or sister. All of us are careful to protect the reputation, character, and feelings of our parents, brothers, and sisters. We are slow to expose, reluctant to offend, and refuse to inform others of their failures; but we rather deal with them tenderly and privately. This should be even more true of our spiritual family.
(Vs. 3) "HONOR WIDOWS THAT ARE WIDOWS INDEED." By the word "honor" Paul does not mean an expression of respect; for all believers are to be respected, honored, and held in high regard. But this is the special care, maintenance, and support given from the church fund to those in need. If widows are taken under the protection, support, and care of the church, it should be clearly established that they are without support, that they are indeed widows without children nor family to provide for them.
(Vs. 4) If a woman's husband is dead and she has children or grandchildren, see to it that these are first made to understand that it is their duty and natural obligation to show kindness to their parents and provide for them, as their parents provided for them when they were children. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God. No believer will shift to the church his own responsibility to care for his mother.
(Vs. 5-7) Paul expresses his meaning more clearly. If a woman is really alone, has no children, no support, and has fixed her hope in Christ, if she continues in faith and in the fellowship of the believers, not departing from the church and the gospel, she is to be enrolled with those supported fully from the church funds.
But those ought not be received for support who are self-indulgent, indifferent, and living careless lives. If one lives like an unbeliever, it is usually safe to assume that she IS an unbeliever and is not the responsibility of the church.
It is the duty of the pastor to inform the church and those who petition for help of these matters so that proper action may be taken, that none who are worthy be neglected, and that none abuse the privilege.
(Vs. 8) If anyone fails to provide for his own relatives in need, and especially for his own parents and children, he has disowned the faith of Christ by failing to accompany that profession of faith with works and is worse than an unbeliever who performs his obligations in these matters (James 2:17-19).
(Vs. 9-10) Let no widow be put on full support by the church who is under sixty years of age. Those who are still young and in good health should be able to support themselves. "Having been the wife of one man" has to do with divorces, since remarriage after the death of one's mate is encouraged!
The widows over sixty who are enrolled for full support by the church are to be dedicated believers who have proved that dedication and faith by consecration, good works, and loyalty through the years.
(Vs. 11-13) Do not hastily enroll the younger widows in this program of support and care; for when they become restless and their natural desires grow strong, they may marry again outside the faith, which will cause problems for them and discouragement and difficulty for those who have supported them. They incur condemnation for leaving and denying the faith and their pledge to Christ. Also, younger widows who are idle are tempted to spend their idle hours visiting among other women and talking about things they should not talk about. When the hands are idle, the tongue is usually very active.