3 Respect those widows in the church who are really alone. 4 If a widow has children or grandchildren, then they should take care of her. The children must help their parents or grandparents because they belong to the same family. Their parents helped them, so they need to give them something in return. The children need to learn that important lesson. It is what God's message teaches them to do and it makes God happy. 5 Some widows are really alone and they have nobody to take care of them. A widow like that trusts God that he will help her. As a result, she prays a lot, at night and during the day, and she asks God to help her. 6 But some widows only want to enjoy themselves. For a widow like that, her spirit is already dead, even while she is still alive.
7 Teach everyone clearly to do these things. Then nobody can say that the believers are doing anything wrong. 8 Every believer must take care of his own family. Certainly, he must do that for the people who live with him in his home. If anyone does not do that, it shows that he has refused God's true message. That person is worse than someone who does not believe in Christ.
9 If you want to put a widow's name on the list of widows, this is what she must be like. She must be more than 60 years old. She must have been the wife of one husband. 10 People should know that she has done good things. For example, she must have been a good mother to her children. She must have received visitors into her home. She must have helped God's people as their servant. She must have taken care of people who had problems. She must have continued to do all kinds of good things like that.
11 But do not put the names of younger widows on the list. They may decide to marry again, because they strongly want to have sex. Then they will no longer choose to serve Christ. 12 As a result, they will stop doing what they had earlier promised to do for the church. That will make them guilty.
5:12The church had a list of widows who needed help. These were widows who could serve God's people in a good way. The church would help them with food or money. Probably those widows had to promise to serve the church in some way. They may have promised to serve Christ and not to marry again.
13 Young widows may learn to be lazy. They may go around from house to house. Not only do they become lazy, but they talk too much about silly things. They talk wrongly about other people and what they are doing. They say things that they ought not to say. 14 So I think that widows who are still young women should marry again. Then they can have children and they can take care of their own homes. If they live well like that, the enemy of God's people will not have a chance to say bad things against us. 15 Some of the younger widows have already turned away from Christ, so that they can obey Satan.
16 A woman who believes in Christ should take care of any widows in her own family. Then the church will not have to do that work. Instead, the church will be able to help those widows who are really alone.