What Paul has just laid down as reasons for excluding young widows from church support now leads to the logical conclusion: So they should marry. A comparison with the approved credentials of the older widow (vv. 9-10) shows that he calls young widows to pursue that same domestic lifestyle. The three phrases to marry, to have children, to manage their homes describe the responsible and socially normative role of the homemaker, which the apostle elsewhere endorses (2:11-15; Eph 5:22-23; Col 3:18; Tit 2:5; compare also 1 Pet 3:1-7).
That the critic outside is again in mind emerges in the fourth phrase, to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. The enemy is probably the non-Christian and not Satan in this instance (3:7). It is because the wanton behavior of verse 11 and the foolish talk of verse 13 occur where the church meets with the world that the outside critic is a concern. It is doubly of concern if this disrespectful behavior be seen as financially subsidized by the church.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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