1 Timothy 5

1 Timothy 5:3 Honour widows that are widows indeed

Paul distinguishes widows who are "widows indeed" meaning that after the loss of their husband, they have turned unto the Lord for emotional and spiritual support. They are those who "trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day" instead of trusting in her riches and living "in pleasure" (v. 5). The Lord and his priesthood leaders have always had the responsibility to honor and care for those who have lost the priesthood leader in their home, "pure religion and undefiled is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction." (James 1:27)
 

1 Timothy 5:5 children...let them learn first to shew piety at home

David O. McKay
Parents who fail to teach obedience to their children, if [their] homes do not develop obedience society will demand it and get it. It is therefore better for the home, with its kindliness, sympathy and understanding to train the child in obedience rather than callously to leave him to the brutal and unsympathetic discipline that society will impose if the home has not already fulfilled its obligation. (The Responsibility of Parents to Their Children, p. 3.)
 

1 Timothy 5:8 if any provide not for his own... he hath denied the faith

Ezra Taft Benson
Early in the history of the restored Church, the Lord specifically charged men with the obligation to provide for their wives and family. In January of 1832 He said, "Verily I say unto you, that every man who is obliged to provide for his own family, let him provide, and he shall in nowise lose his crown" (D&C 75:28). Three months later the Lord said again, "Women have claim on their husbands for their maintenance, until their husbands are taken" (D&C 83:2). This is the divine right of a wife and mother. While she cares for and nourishes her children at home, her husband earns the living for the family, which makes this nourishing possible.
 
In a home where there is an able-bodied husband, he is expected to be the breadwinner. Sometimes we hear of husbands who, because of economic conditions, have lost their jobs and expect the wives to go out of the home and work, even though the husband is still capable of providing for his family. In these cases, we urge the husband to do all in his power to allow his wife to remain in the home caring for the children while he continues to provide for his family the best he can, even though the job he is able to secure may not be ideal and family budgeting may have to be tighter.
 
Also, the need for education or material things does not justify the postponing of children in order to keep the wife working as the breadwinner of the family. ("To the Fathers in Israel," Ensign, Nov. 1987, 49)
 
Howard W. Hunter
You who hold the priesthood have the responsibility, unless disabled, to provide temporal support for your wife and children. No man can shift the burden of responsibility to another, not even to his wife. The Lord has commanded that women and children have claim on their husbands and fathers for their maintenance (see D&C 83; 1 Tim. 5:8). President Ezra Taft Benson has stated that when a husband encourages or insists that his wife work out of the home for their convenience, "not only will the family suffer in such instances, ... but [his] own spiritual growth and progression will be hampered" (Ensign, Nov. 1987, p. 49).
 
We urge you to do all in your power to allow your wife to remain in the home, caring for the children while you provide for the family the best you can. We further emphasize that men who abandon their family and fail to meet their responsibility to care for those they have fathered may find their eligibility for a temple recommend and their standing in the Church in jeopardy. ("Being a Righteous Husband and Father," Ensign, Nov. 1994, 51)
 
Gordon B. Hinckley
Many years ago President Stephen L. Richards, then a Counselor in the First Presidency, speaking from this pulpit made an eloquent plea to put father back at the head of the family (see Conference Report, Apr. 1958, p. 94). I repeat that plea to all fathers. Yours is the basic and inescapable responsibility to stand as the head of the family. That does not carry with it any implication of dictatorship or unrighteous dominion. It carries with it a mandate that fathers provide for the needs of their families. Those needs are more than food, clothing, and shelter. Those needs include righteous direction and the teaching, by example as well as precept, of basic principles of honesty, integrity, service, respect for the rights of others, and an understanding that we are accountable for that which we do in this life, not only to one another but also to the God of heaven, who is our Eternal Father. ("Bring Up a Child in the Way He Should Go," Ensign, Nov. 1993, 59-60)
 

1 Timothy 5:9-15 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old

This passage is curious and difficult to understand. It reflects a doctrine understood by Paul and Timothy but which is more elusive in our generation. The following commentary is given to aid the student in his understanding but would not be appropriate for Sunday School or Seminary instruction.
 
Herein, Paul is referring to an elect group of saints. Those "taken into the number" would have been those who had demonstrated complete and unending faithfulness. In only one other instance does Paul refer to this select group, and he does so only in passing (see 2 Cor. 10:12). These would be those who were "sealed up unto eternal life" in the days of Paul and Timothy. This principle is taught in the scriptures and in the history of the Restoration. "Joseph Smith, Jr. said that the order of the High-priesthood is that they have power given them to seal up the Saints unto eternal life." (Donald Q. Cannon and Lyndon W. Cook, eds., Far West Record: Minutes of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-1844 [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 20 - 21.)
 
What does this have to do with widows who are under 60 years of age? It would seem that those sealed up by the Holy Priesthood would be under a more strict law than the general church membership. In our generation, as well as Paul's, divorce, even temple divorce, is allowed and rather frequent. From the beginning, it was not meant to be so. Thus, the Savior taught, "Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery." (Mark 10:11-12) This doctrine is reinforced in the 132nd section of the Doctrine and Covenants, "verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant, and if she be with another man, and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing, she hath committed adultery and shall be destroyed." (D&C 132:41) This strict law does not allow a divorced or widowed woman to remarry. To do so would be an act of infidelity.
 
When the Twelve were taught this doctrine, they were amazed and declared, "If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry." The Lord responded, "All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given." (Matt. 19:10-11) The Lord's response means that not all individuals are to be held to this standard. It would seem that those included in "the number" were required to live by this higher law. Therefore Paul counsels that the widows who are over 60 years-those who had a good reputation, having relieved the afflicted and followed every good work-because they are not likely to remarry, could be included in "the number" without condemning themselves by breaking this commandment. The younger widows, if they were sealed up unto eternal life, might not be able to "receive this saying." By remarrying, they would be guilty of adultery and would bring upon themselves a condemnation, "Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith,"-meaning they have been unfaithful to their first husband. Paul's solution to this problem is to have the younger widows, and young women in general, "marry, bear children and guide the house." Thereby, they would not be held to the higher standard and would not come under condemnation for remarrying.
 

1 Timothy 5:13 tattlers...and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not

Richard L. Evans
Among the many human faults and failings there is one that seems peculiarly persistent, and that is, gossiping-whispering; spreading rumors that travel like a windswept fire from ear to ear and sometimes destroy, without conscience, the good name of a man, the reputation of an institution, or even the pride and confidence of a country. To speak abusive words in public, to put libelous statements in print, and to bear false witness in court are offenses that can be traced to their source. But to let words loose on a whisper that sweeps from ear to ear and from lip to lip, and that suggests more than it says, is in some ways among the worst forms of bearing false witness. And because of our receptiveness to gossip and our eagerness to be the first to tell something, we perhaps involve ourselves in the spread of what is false and unfounded oftener than we would wish to admit. "There is nothing that can't be made worse by telling," said Terence. "That which passes out of one mouth passes into a hundred ears." And Paul spoke of "tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not." As Juvenal in his Satires said:
 
"And there's a lust in man no charm can tame
Of loudly publishing his neighbor's shame;
On eagles' wings immortal scandals fly,
While virtuous actions are but born and die."
 
May heaven keep us from the blight of those who spread rumors and gossip, like spores and seeds on a whispering wind, widely carried beyond recall. ("The Spoken Word," Ensign, Sept. 1971, 43)
 
Harold B. Lee
The spread of rumor and gossip (we have mentioned this before) which, when once started, gains momentum as each telling becomes more fanciful, until unwittingly those who wish to dwell on the sensational repeat them in firesides, in classes, in Relief Society gatherings and priesthood quorum classes without first verifying the source before becoming a party to causing speculation and discussions that steal time away from the things that would be profitable and beneficial and enlightening to their souls.
 
Just an example: I understand that there is a widely circulated story that I was alleged to have had a patriarchal blessing (I don't know whether any of you have heard about that) that had to do with the coming of the Savior and the ten tribes of Israel.
 
In the first place, a patriarchal blessing is a sacred document to the person who has received it and is never given for publication and, as all patriarchal blessings, should be kept as a private possession to the one who has received it.
 
And second, with reference to that which I was alleged to have had, suffice it to say that such a quotation is incorrect and without foundation in fact.
 
There is one thing that shocks me: I have learned, in some instances, that those who have heard of these rumors are disappointed when I tell them they are not so. They seem to have enjoyed believing a rumor without substance of fact. I would earnestly urge that no such idle gossip be spread abroad without making certain as to whether or not it is true. (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 433.)
 
Joseph Smith
There is no salvation in believing an evil report against our neighbor. (History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 Vols. 6:363)
 

1 Timothy 5:16 if any... have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged

Ezra Taft Benson
Remember, parents and grandparents are our responsibility, and we are to care for them to the very best of our ability. When the elderly have no families to care for them, priesthood and Relief Society leaders should make every effort to meet their needs in the same loving way. We submit a few suggestions to families of the elderly.
 
Ever since the Lord etched the Ten Commandments into the tablets of stone, His words from Sinai have echoed down through the centuries to "honour thy father and thy mother." (Ex. 20:12.)
 
To honor and respect our parents means that we have a high regard for them. We love and appreciate them and are concerned about their happiness and well-being. We treat them with courtesy and thoughtful consideration. We seek to understand their point of view. Certainly obedience to parents' righteous desires and wishes is a part of honoring.
 
Furthermore, our parents deserve our honor and respect for giving us life itself. Beyond this they almost always made countless sacrifices as they cared for and nurtured us through our infancy and childhood, provided us with the necessities of life, and nursed us through physical illnesses and the emotional stresses of growing up. In many instances, they provided us with the opportunity to receive an education, and, in a measure, they educated us. Much of what we know and do we learned from their example. May we ever be grateful to them and show that gratitude.
 
...If they become less able to live independently, then family, Church, and community resources may be needed to help them. When the elderly become unable to care for themselves, even with supplemental aid, care can be provided in the home of a family member when possible. Church and community resources may also be needed in this situation. ("To the Elderly in the Church," Ensign, Nov. 1989, 6)
 
H. Burke Peterson
The story is told of a family who had a grandmother who had to live in a home for the elderly. Once each year they would visit her. On that occasion, they would take her a new blanket. As they were returning home from one such visit, one of the father's young sons asked, "Daddy, why do we visit grandmother every year?"
 
The father answered, "So she will know that we love her."
 
Another question: "Daddy, why do we bring her a new blanket every time?"
 
The father answered, "So she will remember that we've been here and that we have not forgotten her."
 
Then a pause. "Daddy, what color blanket would you like when I come to visit you?"
 
There is no righteous way to avoid the commandment "Honour thy father and thy mother." (Ex. 20:12.) No family that hopes to endure eternally can exclude grandmother and grandfather, brothers and sisters, or other relatives. ("Our Responsibility to Care for Our Own," Ensign, May 1981, 82-83)
 
Stephen L. Richards
I think my food would choke me if I knew that while I could procure bread my aged father or mother or near kin were on public relief. (Conference Report, October 1944, Church of the Air Broadcast 138 - 139.)
 
Thomas S. Monson
It is our sacred duty to care for our families, including our extended families. Often we see what might be called parent neglect. Too frequently, the emotional, social, and, in some instances, even the material essentials are not provided by children for their aged parents. This is displeasing to the Lord. It is difficult to understand how one mother can take care of seven children more easily than seven children can take care of one mother. President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., gave clear direction on this matter: "The prime responsibility for supporting an aged parent rests upon [the] family, not upon society. ... The family which refuses to keep its own is not meeting its duty." (Conference Report, April 1938, p. 107.)
 

1 Timothy 5: 18 Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn

A muzzle was a covering made for the mouth of an animal to prevent eating or vicious biting. In this particular context, Paul is reminding Timothy not to be too oppressive to the other leaders and workers in the church. They are doing their best and should not be treated too severely.
 
"In ancient times the Israelites were told they should not muzzle the ox that treadeth the corn (Deut. 25:4), a recognition that fair and humane treatment for all creatures is a divine expectation. President David O. McKay spoke often of his concern for animals. In an address in the October 1951 general conference, he said: 'A true Latter-day Saint is kind to animals, is kind to every created thing, for God has created all.'" (LDS Church News, 1996, 02/17/96)
 
Hugh Nibley
Everyone knows the law that "thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn" (Deuteronomy 25:4). The beast is working for you-give him a break. (Approaching Zion, edited by Don E. Norton [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1989], 194 - 195.)
 

1 Timothy 5:20 Them that sin rebuke before all that others may fear

Currently, the Church does not rebuke members in public. It is a very rare thing to hear a public announcement of any indiscretion. However, when a dispensation is given, whether in Moses', Paul's, or Joseph Smith's day, an example must be made of the transgressors. It is important to establish the law even if the punishment seems strict by our standards.
 
Perhaps this is the reason that the Lord commanded that Moses to have the children of Israel stone the man who picked up sticks on the Sabbath day. (Num. 15:30-36) Perhaps this is the reason that Ananias and Sapphira were destroyed when they failed to properly live the law of consecration, attempting to cheat the Lord by retaining some of their money from Peter. (Acts 5:1-11) Perhaps this is the reason that Paul counsels Timothy to make a show of the sinners, that the members of the young church may learn what is acceptable and what is not. Perhaps this is the reason that church disciplinary councils in the days of Joseph Smith frequently excommunicated members for lesser indiscretions-sins that would not bring such a heavy penalty today. Early on, the membership needs to learn to fear the judgments of God. However, once the groundwork is laid and the standards are set, mercy and confidentiality may prevail.
 

1 Timothy 5:23 use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities

Ours is the only dispensation in which alcoholic consumption has been strictly forbidden. Excessive alcohol consumption has always been discouraged, but Noah, the ancient Jews, the Nephites, the Savior and his disciples all drank a little wine. In Paul's day of very little medicine, we should not be surprised that the apostle extols the medicinal value of a little wine.
 
Charles W. Penrose
Some people want us to do today everything that the ancient apostles pointed out for their day. You know Paul wrote to Timothy and told him to "use a little wine for [his] stomach's sake and [his] often infirmities." He said, "use no longer water." Now, we don't say that. We use water; use it in the sacrament; use it for our meals; it is the best kind of element you can have for drink. Well, shall we use a little wine for our stomach's sake, and our often infirmities? There was an old lady I used to see abroad quite often. and she used to keep a little wine-perhaps it was something a little stronger, I don't know. She used to take a little nip every now and then. "Why," I said, "Sister, what makes you do that?" "Why, Brother," she said, "I does it because Paul taught it, I does it for my 'fummities.'" She had thought she had all the infirmities and she called them her "fummities." She took a little wine for those "fummities." Now, we are not obliged to do that because Paul advised Timothy to do it. (Conference Report, October 1917, First Day-Morning Session 24.)
 

1 Timothy 5:22 keep thyself pure

Gordon B. Hinckley
"Keep thyself pure." Paul put it just that plainly and just that simply. "Keep thyself pure." Every one of you knows what that means. I remember thirty years ago being in Taiwan when a missionary destroyed himself because he became involved in immorality. He was excommunicated from the Church. I have been trying to find him ever since. I don't know what's happened to him. I guess he's out of the Church. I guess his children are out of the Church. He's old enough to have grandchildren; I suppose probably they are out of the Church because of the foolish thing which he did. "Keep thyself pure." There is no substitute for purity. What was it that Sir Galahad said? "My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure." What was it the Lord said? "Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly." That's the commandment of the Lord through modern revelation. (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 359.)
 
Gordon B. Hinckley
Those are simple words. But they are ever so important. Paul is saying, in effect, stay away from those things which will tear you down and destroy you spiritually. Stay away from television shows which lead to unclean thoughts and unclean language. Stay away from videos which will lead to evil thoughts. They won't help you. They will only hurt you. Stay away from books and magazines which are sleazy and filthy in what they say and portray. Keep thyself pure. ("Converts and Young Men," Ensign, May 1997, 49)