Instructions for the Church

(A)Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, (B)younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.

Honor widows (C)who are truly widows. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn (D)to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for (E)this is pleasing in the sight of God. She (F)who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and (G)continues in supplications and prayers night and day, but (H)she who is self-indulgent is (I)dead even while she lives. (J)Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for (K)members of his household, he has (L)denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been (M)the wife of one husband,[a] 10 and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has (N)shown hospitality, (O)has washed the feet of the saints, has (P)cared for the afflicted, and has (Q)devoted herself to every good work. 11 But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when (R)their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry 12 and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. 13 Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also (S)gossips and (T)busybodies, saying what they should not. 14 So I would have (U)younger widows marry, bear children, (V)manage their households, and (W)give the adversary no occasion for slander. 15 (X)For some have already strayed after Satan.

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Footnotes

  1. 1 Timothy 5:9 Or a woman of one man

Ezra Prays About Intermarriage

After these things had been done, the officials approached me and said, “The people of Israel and the priests and the (A)Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands (B)with their abominations, from the (C)Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. (D)For they have taken some of their daughters to be wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the (E)holy race[a] has (F)mixed itself with the peoples of the lands. And in this faithlessness the hand of the officials and chief men has been foremost.” As soon as I heard this, I (G)tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and (H)sat appalled. Then all who (I)trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, gathered around me while I sat (J)appalled until the evening sacrifice. And at the (K)evening sacrifice I rose from my fasting, with my garment (L)and my cloak torn, and fell upon my knees (M)and spread out my hands to the Lord my God, saying:

“O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities (N)have risen higher than our heads, and our (O)guilt has (P)mounted up to the heavens. (Q)From the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great (R)guilt. And for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, (S)and to utter shame, as it is today. But now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the Lord our God, to leave us a (T)remnant and to give us a (U)secure hold[b] within his holy place, that our God may (V)brighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our slavery. (W)For we are slaves. Yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, (X)but has extended to us his steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to grant us some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us protection[c] in Judea and Jerusalem.

10 “And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken your commandments, 11 which you commanded by your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land that you are entering, to take possession of it, is a land impure with the impurity of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations that have filled it from end to end with (Y)their uncleanness. 12 (Z)Therefore do not give your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters for your sons, and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land (AA)and leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.’ 13 And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for (AB)our great guilt, seeing that you, our (AC)God, have punished us less than our iniquities deserved and have given us such a (AD)remnant as this, 14 shall we break your commandments again and (AE)intermarry with the peoples who practice these abominations? Would you not be angry with us (AF)until you consumed us, so that there should be no (AG)remnant, nor any to escape? 15 O Lord, the God of Israel, you are just, for we are left a (AH)remnant that has escaped, as it is today. Behold, we are before you in our (AI)guilt, (AJ)for none can stand before you because of this.”

Footnotes

  1. Ezra 9:2 Hebrew offspring
  2. Ezra 9:8 Hebrew nail, or tent-pin
  3. Ezra 9:9 Hebrew a wall

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