1 Timothy 5:8

8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for 1members of his household, he has 2denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

1 Timothy 5:8 Meaning and Commentary

1 Timothy 5:8

But if any provide not for his own
Not only for his wife and children, but for his parents, when grown old, and cannot help themselves:

and specially for those of his own house;
that is, who are of the same household of faith with him; see ( Galatians 6:10 ) , and so the Syriac version renders it, "and especially those who are the children of the house of faith"; for though the tie of nature obliges him to take care of them, yet that of grace makes the obligation still more strong and binding; and he must act both the inhuman and the unchristian part, that does not take care of his pious parents: wherefore it follows,

he hath denied the faith;
the doctrine of faith, though not in words, yet in works; and is to be considered in the same light, and to be dealt with as an apostate from the Christian religion.

And is worse than an infidel;
for the very Heathens are taught and directed by the light of nature to take care of their poor and aged parents. The daughter of Cimon gave her ancient father the breast, and suckled him when in prison. Aeneas snatched his aged father out of the burning of Troy, and brought him out of the destruction of that city on his back; yea, these are worse than the brute creatures, and may be truly said to be without natural affections; such should go to the storks and learn of them, of whom it is reported, that the younger ones will feed the old ones, when they cannot feed themselves; and when weary, and not able to fly, will carry them on their backs. The Jews F23 have a rule or canon, which obliged men to take care of their families, which runs thus:

``as a man is bound to provide for his wife, so he is hound to provide for his sons and daughters, the little ones, until they are six years old; and from thenceforward he gives them food till they are grown up, according to the order of the wise men; if he will not, they reprove him, and make him ashamed, and oblige him; yea, if he will not, they publish him in the congregation, and say such an one is cruel, and will not provide for his children; and lo, he is worse than an unclean fowl, which feeds her young.''


F23 Maimon. Hilchot Ishot, c. 12. sect. 14.

1 Timothy 5:8 In-Context

6 but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.
7 Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach.
8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
9 Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband,
10 and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.

Cross References 2

  • 1. See Galatians 6:10
  • 2. Revelation 2:13; [2 Timothy 3:5; Titus 1:16; 2 Peter 2:1; Revelation 3:8]
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.