John Calvin Complete Commentary - 1 Timothy 5:9 - 5:9

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John Calvin Complete Commentary - 1 Timothy 5:9 - 5:9


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9Let a widow be chosen. He again points out what kind of widows should be taken under the care of the Church; (91) and more clearly than he had formerly done.

Not under sixty years of age First, he describes the age, sixty years; for, being supported at the public expense, it was proper that they should have already reached old age. Besides, there was another and stronger reason; for they consecrated themselves to the ministry of the Church, which would have been altogether intolerable, if there were still a likelihood of their being married. They were received on the condition that the Church should relieve their poverty, and that, on their part, they should be employed in ministering to the poor, as far as the state of their health allowed. Thus there was a mutual obligation between them and the Church. It was unreasonable that those who were under that age, and who were still in the vigor of life, should be a burden to others. Besides, there was reason to fear that they would change their mind and think of being married again. These are two reasons why he does not wish any to be admitted “ sixty years of age.”

Who hath been the wife of one man As to the desire of marrying, that danger had been sufficiently guarded against, when a woman was more than sixty years old; especially if, during her whole life, she had not been married to more than one husband. It may be regarded as a sort of pledge of continence and chastity, when a woman has arrived at that age, satisfied with having had but one husband. Not that he disapproves of a second marriage, or affixes a mark of ignominy to those who have been twice married; (for, on the contrary, he advises younger widows to marry;) but because he wished carefully to guard against laying any females under a necessity of remaining unmarried, who felt it to be necessary to have husbands. On this subject we shall afterwards speak more fully.



(91) “Quelles vefues on doit recevoir a estre entretenues aux depens de l’.” — “ widows ought to be received, to be supported at the expense of the Church.”