- εἰ δέ τις τῶν ἰδίων
καὶ μάλιστα οἰκείων οὐ προνοεῖ,
τὴν πίστιν ἤρνηται καὶ ἔστιν ἀπίστου χείρων.
If anyone does not provide for his relatives,
and especially for his immediate family,
he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
But I have listened to two sermons lately where the preacher just assumed that the original Greek was addressed to men.
First, Mark Driscoll says that this is the perfect memory verse for men. And here is what he said in his sermon on 1 Tim. 5:1-16 at minutes 36-38,
- If you men don’t take care of your family you are worse than a pagan. … We don’t have any member in the church who is married and is a mother who works outside of the home.
So, what did Calvin write about this verse?
- Erasmus has translated it, “If any woman do not provide for her own,” making it apply exclusively to females. But I prefer to view it as a general statement; for it is customary with Paul, even when he is treating of some particular subject, to deduce arguments from general principles, and, on the other hand, to draw from particular statements a universal doctrine. And certainly it will have greater weight, if it apply both to men and to women.
Where do people come up with these ideas? The context is very clearly not focused on males! It is about caring for widows, which is first and foremost a family obligation, not the church's. The church steps in when family cannot. Proof-texting goes awry yet again. Context is so important.
Both preachers were clear on this,
It is about caring for widows, which is first and foremost a family obligation, not the church's. The church steps in when family cannot.
But they thought that the verse was addressed specifically to the man of the family, and not to either man or woman.
Verse 16 says, "if any man or woman has dependent widows, let them first provide for them, that the church may not be burdened."
This gives a pretty clear indication that the context is about the able-bodied providing for their elderly family members-- not about men having to be the sole breadwinners for their wives and children.
"We don’t have any member in the church who is married and is a mother who works outside of the home."
I've heard of families living under the burden of not 'allowing' wives to work, who are struggling horribly to make ends meet.
It reminds me of similar struggles when Christians are told they have to give 10% of their gross income to their home church, and if they do that God will cover their needs. Many poorer families barely have enough to cover family expenses without giving. If my recollection is correct, under the Levitical Priesthood the poor were not expected to tithe. Rather part of the tithe was dispensed to them under the direction of the Levites.
Does Driscoll's church excommunicate families where the women want outside employment?
I doubt that very much. No doubt he just said what I have quoted here in passing without actually checking on the facts. But I am dismayed that a preacher would express an attitude that is so likely to cause a decline in the birthrate, if not in this generation, then in the next one.
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