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. 1 Timothy 5:8 (NIV)
Paul makes it clear that God’s first provision for a person in need is through the family:
- If a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family (5:4).
- 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 (5:8). People who are not Christians care for their own. How much more should we who know Christ?
- If any woman who is a believer has widows in her family, she should help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need (5:16).
Financial support for a woman and her children (during this time in history) often came from a dowry—the money that followed a woman into her marriage. The dowry was kept, and if a husband died, the dowry became the widow’s means of support. But if the dowry had been spent, the woman could be in genuine need.
John Stott says, “[This verse] tells us that it is a fundamental Christian duty to provide for our relatives. This is plain biblical warrant for a life insurance policy, which is only a self-imposed savings plan for the benefit for our dependents.”
Some do not have this kind of provision, and if there is someone in need in your family circle, then together with other relatives, consider what you might be able to do to help.
Is there someone in your family circle who has financial needs you are aware of?