by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 2 Study # 7 Lincolnton, NC November 27, 2005
11 But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;
12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.
1901 ASV Translation:
11 But younger widows refuse: for when they have waxed wanton against Christ, they desire to marry;
12 having condemnation, because they have rejected their first pledge.
I. The "Rejection" of the Younger Widows.
A. The command is to "refuse" to put them into the group that is to be supported by the church.
1. The command is not arbitrary.
2. The command is not subject to violation.
B. The reason for the command: they are liable to turn away from their "first faith".
1. They live under this probability because of the "problem" of misplaced "desire".
a. Younger widows have two things going against them...
1) They have "desires" that arise out of their physical youthfulness that they have little power to control.
2) They have "loyalty" problems that arise out of their youthful ignorance that they have little power to overcome.
b. Younger widows are seriously unsuited to the lifestyle of loyalty.
1) Women, in general, do not "think straight": thus, Paul's refusal to permit them to be teachers over men (and those women who are offended by this are simply illustrating the fact -- one who "thinks straight" is never "offended" by God's statements about them in respect to the way He created them and the way they have developed).
2) Women, in general, have enormous difficulties with "loyalty" because it is "respect" driven. Most women have little difficulty seeing the flaws in their husbands and, consequently, have a fairly large reservoir of "excuses" for "disrespect".
a) There is a reason for this: women tend to be "fixated" upon "being loved". Their "natural" strength tends to be in the direction of nurturing, so they see no "problem" with demanding that they be nurtured (they tend to think they "deserve" it since they "do" it).
b) Husbands are not known for "nurturing"; so women tend in the direction of disrespect because they are not getting what they think they deserve. This is simply the "female" version of the "I am not going to 'give' if I am not going to 'get'."
3) That the first requirement upon the widow that is to be supported by the church (beyond her age) is that she be a demonstration of the "one-man-woman" is indicative of the enormous importance of the learning of the lesson of "respect" when the only basis for it is God's desire. That Paul insists that Timothy refuse all widows under the age of 60 because the potential is enormous for disloyalty to Christ is indication of how well Paul understood the problems of spiritual maturity. These problems are not "gender" problems; but they do have "gender specific" implications.
2. The "probability" is so "probable" that Paul simply refuses to make any "exceptions".
a. Paul had few "illusions" about "spiritual maturity". It is a hard-fought accomplishment that few "accomplish". Note Paul's lament in 2 Timothy 4:16 as well as his final cry of victory in 2 Timothy 4:7.
b. Paul knew that the greatest hindrance to that accomplishment is the egotism of thinking one has already achieved it.