Today's Christian Marriage
3/11/12 at 11:10 AM 0 Comments

Marry Or Not To Marry: What's a Poor Widow to Do?

text size A A A

In my previous article "BIBLICAL MARRIAGE? Dear Lord I Messed Up!" I proclaimed a confidence that my theological perceptions/applications toward Biblical marriage "possess a significantly more thorough, contextual, and cohesive rendering...than does any other."

I also stated "If one makes an honest effort to incorporate the marital theology of others into Scripture, it doesn't take long to determine that its application either fosters a confusing outcome or is contradicted by Scripture itself...This is why many trained scholars and revisionists explain and rewrite Scripture as they do, because based on their theology it makes no sense to them, as it is written. So, they change it to fit their theology. They have to...And yet, in spite of their inapplicable re-creations and embellishments, confusion and contradiction remain."

In my article "BIBLICAL MARRIAGE: An Honorable Acquisition, and Knowing It," I explained thoroughly how revisionists changed the wording in Hebrews 13:4 rendering the true meaning in this verse "erroneous and incorrect." Another incorrect rendering of Scripture by them was emphasized in my article "Better To Marry Than To Burn."

Now I want to expound on some verses by the Apostle Paul that: 1) Once again, speaks to my theology of Biblical marriage. 2) Is not understood by most, if not all, because of a secular marital mindset, which makes them appear to be contradictive as it is written in the KJV. 3) Again, are incorrectly rewritten in revisions, with a falsely fabricated and indefensible implication, which still doesn't resolve the presumed discrepancy.

Here are the verses I allude to. They are found in 1Timothy 5:11-15, which states "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. (13) And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. (14) I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. (15) For some are already turned aside unto Satan" (KJV).

When someone reads these verses without knowledge of Biblical marriage, they appear confusing and contradictive. In one breath Paul seems to declare that for an under sixty year-old widow to marry, having been relieved by the church, would be the result of a wantonness against Christ and a departure of her "first faith," worthy of "damnation" (I must apologize for the writers of the KJV for using this word, they were so unenlightened and out of touch – NOT!). And, yet, in another breath he declares that his will is for them to marry. How can this be?

Well, Paul new exactly what he was instructing with no confusion or contradiction, because Paul spoke of marriage as it was designed and defined by God and not the way men have devised it. Therefore, the main reason for this confusion and seemingly contradiction is attributed to the application of the unbiblical secular concept to the word "marry" in each referenced situation.

Now, because of their inability to understand it as it is written, due to their wrong perception of the word marry, certain revisionists desperately attempt to alleviate their confusion by rewriting and implanting a false and unsubstantiated condition within the text. This false condition is basically the same in a number of revisions, though expressed differently through different word usage. And so, if enough revisionists say it, it is assumed by readers to be factual, even though it is not.

Where their ignorance begins to reveal itself is in verse 12, where revisionists declare that by the young widow marrying, she would be breaking her so-called "pledge" of celibacy – "devoting herself to Christ/church after becoming a widow and then abandoning her vow." This, by their account, is the same as her "rejecting the Christian faith" bringing condemnation of conscience (not soul) upon her - Is this all that rejecting the Christian faith produces?

By marrying, they say, she would be "less faithful, have a love of the world, have guilt for violating her promise, and would have put away her first fidelity, bringing about a continuous reproach." Of course, if this applied to the young widows who married, then, it had to most certainly apply to the older ones as well, if by chance they married.

This of course is patently wrong, which I find abhorring when they take the liberty to insert their unsubstantiated idea of such a pledge and its violation as an absolute in God's word, when in fact it is nothing more than reckless non-substantive speculation. They have nothing in their defense to imply such an idea, other than their assumptions. Even with their assumed idea implemented, it becomes suspect for being outlandish and out of context. I will attempt to show you shortly how this is the case.

The truth of the matter is, many of these revisions are commentaries of the suppositions of men intermingled with Greek word translations. In the name of making it easier to understand the KJV, they insert human commentary for definition, which may or may not be correct, and claim it as "The New Testament" Scripture.

If you go to this website you will see different revisions and the commentaries to which they acquire their assumed renderings and pawn it off as Scripture.

To me, it is a blatant unethical disrespect to God's Word, all for the purpose of acquiring a copyright to financially profit from it. The bottom line is these revisions incorporate commentator's speculative ideas, based only on what they suppose to be apparent or a popular belief, to give an answer to Scripture that they have no understanding toward. In other words, in this instance particularly, they are ignorant to Biblical marriage. They would be better off leaving it as it is in the KJV and just adding their assumed commentary. In my view, their motives and inventions are dangerous and injurious to the church, and have proven to be so. Of course, Christ will be the ultimate judge of this.

Okay, so how are the revisionist's commentaries on this Scripture outlandish or out of context?

They are outlandish because:

It is unsubstantiated and imaginary to infer that there had been any binding celibate pledge made by any widow for the exercising of church work or ministry, exclusively. Widows "that were widows indeed" were destitute and in need of the church to provide their basic provisions, because they had no family to do so. And, by all accounts, the church would have preferred a family to attend to her – even those widows over sixty years of age (1Timothy 5:4, 8 & 16).

To wildly insinuate with no hint from Scripture that if a widow taken in by the church were to marry (take a husband) and violate such a celibate pledge, she would be guilty of "waxing wanton against Christ, casting off her Christian faith" - "deserting her trust in God, forsaking her duties, and acting contrary to her first conviction to Christ and the service of the church as a Presbyteress widow (Biblically, there is no such term) resulting in damnation or judgment or condemnation of guilt, or reproach'' is absurd.

Does this not sound like a "doctrine of devils, forbidding to marry" that Paul warned against in 1Timothy 4:1-3? The church's duty was to "relieve them" not bind them to celibacy and employment.

The Apostle Paul himself who had completely devoted his self to Christ and the church stated unequivocally that "he or Barnabas could lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other Apostles" if they so desired (1Corinthians 9:5).

They are out of context because:

1) The Apostle Paul or any other Apostle never advocated permanent celibacy on anyone, especially women, regardless of their age (yes, I'm aware of 1 Cor. 7:7&8 and other Scripture used in conjunction with these verses to wrongly insinuate Biblical advocacy for celibacy).

He made it very clear in v.14 that he willed for the younger widow to marry, fulfilling her female calling entrusted to her from creation, because they were more susceptible than the older widows of evolving into that damnable disposition he warned against in verses 11, 12, 13, &15. And, by all means, if you want widows to marry, then, you need men to marry those widows, right? And just because Paul is addressing younger widows doesn't mean that his preference was different for the older widows, if they could find a husband. It was less likely they could.

2) Pay close attention to see the discrepancy and confusion they create:

In verse 11 and 12, according to our revisionist speculators, if the church "relieved" widow found a husband and marry, she would incur condemnation for violating her "pledge." So, I ask...who is guilty, then, of the deeds of verse 13?

Is it that all under age sixty widows who break their celibate pledge and marry are cursed and become verse 13 women? According to the text, the deeds of verse 13 are connected to and in addition to verses 11&12 by the words "And withal" (in conjunction with). Commentators say, these widows will "not love work, or be under an insatiable curiosity?" Well, if she wasn't this way before her husband died, why will she likely be that way if she marries again?

Verse 13 says she will "learn to be idle...," which one commentator says she will "have nothing to do of her own." I ask these questions:

1) How can marrying create a verse 13 woman when Paul advocates marriage for them in verse 14 as the remedy?

2) If it is not referencing the so-called unfaithful widow that marries, how could the faithful celibate widow learn to be idle if she was busy being employed by the church? What would have been the benefit or purpose of being celibate, then?

Does the pledge just consist of celibacy and the only way to break it is marriage, exclusively?

Could not married women under age of sixty or older minister to the younger women of the church as well? Can this important ministry only consist of older celibately pledged widowed women? Are they implying that some sort of commune existed within the early church?

Why does Paul seem to only condemn (damnation) those who marry in verse11 & 12 and says nothing about the deeds of verse 13? Was Paul insinuating that the widow who found a husband and broke the so-called celibate pledge, be worse than the widow who kept her pledge, yet displayed the deeds in verse 13?

If you'll note, the Apostle states in verse 15 "For some have already turned aside unto Satan." Now, which was Paul referring to... the poor widow who breaks her celibacy pledge by getting married or the widow who keeps the pledge, but is guilty of the actions in verse 13? Or could it be the one who does it all?

I ask? How did they acquire their criteria to declare that Paul was insinuating such an idea of a celibate pledge to the church, other than their own assumptions stemming from their failed understanding? They have to conjure up something, because, otherwise, they would have to admit that they don't know what the Scripture means.

Contextually, these exegetical speculators detrimentally distort the Apostle Paul's anointed and sound instructional message to the church regarding Christian widows, engendering confusion and false perceptions, which help fuel wrong doctrines of celibacy and marriage. They would do better to just say "I don't know its meaning" and go on their way.

And all this misinformation from a modern church, which doesn't "relieve" its widows nor have any such celibately pledged ministries by widows to younger women.

Alright, I think you get my point. Now I will clarify clearly what the intended meaning is for 1Timothy 5:11-15. It won't take much, because the key is in understanding Biblical marriage. When you understand Biblical marriage, the verses speak for themselves in the KJV with no confusion or the need of unsubstantiated fabricated ideas injected.

I will now write these verses out with explanation, so those who find them confusing, because they don't understand Biblical marriage, as I teach it, will no longer be unsure of Paul's meaning and intent.

"(11) But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry [sexually fornicate themselves through adulterous living, which is wantonness against Christ];

(12) Having damnation [their fornicated lifestyle (adultery) is worthy of death. Hence, the declaration by Paul in 1Timothy 5:6 saying "But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth" and 1Corinthians 7:9 "...for it is better to marry than to burn (not in lust, but in hell)"], because they have cast off their first faith [fornication is idolatry; idolatry is departing from faith in Christ].

(13) And withal [what will be included with and is much of the cause of this adulterous lifestyle] they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.

(14) I will therefore [to avoid susceptibility to this ungodly, damning, and reproachful lifestyle] that the younger women marry [be sexually intimate and joined to one man, 1Corinthians 7:2 "...have her own husband."], bear children [no birth control], guide the house, [full time employment] give non occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully [because a lifestyle such as this is holy, clean, un-meddling, and un-reproachful].

(15) For some have already turned aside after Satan [The sum conclusion of the damnable position of the younger widow, relieved by the church, who succumbed to what is pointed out in verses 11-13, because of receiving relief at her age]."

There you have it. There should now be no confusion. No speculative ideas have to be fabricated to understand Paul's intent. Nothing is contradictive.

The word "marry" in the text is the same Greek word in verse 11 and verse 14. So how do I know that I am right?

Well, it is because the word here means to be sexually intimate, as it is in most cases in the KJV. Therefore, when put in context with what is declared in the surrounding verses or the chapter, its meaning can be deduced whether the sexual intimacy is holy or unholy - adulterous or legitimate.

Also, the word "marry" in the KJV Bible is always a joining between a man and a woman who become "one flesh" even when it is adulterous. Jesus made this point clear in Matthew, Mark, and Luke when He declared that any women put away by her husband except for fornication would commit adultery if she "marry" another, as well as the husband. Paul made this point clear in Romans 7:3 saying that if a woman be "married" to another while her husband was alive, she would be an adulteress. He revealed this truth of "one flesh," also, when he described the Christian man taking a harlot in 1Corinthians 6:16. Is this not true?

The word marry is never used when a sexually intimate engagement is conducted between two of the same gender or of some other disordered sexual act, which I have clarified before.

So, what we see is, there are no pledges, no "presbyteress" possessing some holy devoted vowed commitment to the church or Christ to teach the younger woman, and no condemnation or reproach for breaking a celibate pledge by getting married. None of these exist in this text. There is no celibacy advocated whatsoever. In fact, it advocates just the opposite.

Of course, if readers of the Bible care not that what they read is true, then, nothing of what I have delineated here or elsewhere matters.

Attention: Recommended initial article reading order for a Biblical marriage foundation:

The Honor of Biblical Marriage

Fornication: Sinning Against Your Body – Part 1&2


Premarital Cohabitation: A Christian Mythology

Biblical Marriage and the Erroneous Marriage Covenant

Putting Biblical Marriage Asunder


Divorce: It’s All About Being Married

CP Blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of The Christian Post. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).