3 Honor widows who are really widows.
4 But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God.
5 Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day.
6 But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives.
7 And these things command, that they may be blameless.
honor (v.3) = fix the value, estimate, venerate — properly appreciate — (here) includes financial support
really widows (v.3) = absolutely, truly — without financial means, indigent and without children or other relations — There may have been a lot of women in these circumstances due to persecution in the church or perhaps because they had been saved out of an untenable pagan lifestyle.
first (v.4) — shows that this obligation is primary
piety (v.4) = reverence, regard — in a practical sense
at home (v.4) = in one’s household, family
repay (v.4) = recompense, repay what is due for the care of them when young, discharge an obligation
parents (v.4) = lit. “to come before” — older relatives
good and (v.4) — not in the original manuscripts
acceptable (v.4) = well-pleasing
before (v.4) = in the sight of
now (v.5) — in contrast to those who have someone to support them
trusts (v.5) — should be “hopes” — tense is “has her hope settled permanently on God”
supplications (v5) — expressions of personal needs — It could be that these widows who received financial support from the church were, in return, involved in the ministry of praying and caring for the needs of others in the church.
prayers (v.5) = devotions
continues (v.5) = remains, abides
lives in pleasure (v.6) = lives with extravagant self-indulgence, luxuriously (used elsewhere in Scripture only in James 5:5)
dead (v.6) — spiritually dead. Verse 6 literally reads “But the one who lives luxuriously, lives while she is in the state of having died, with the result that she is dead.”
blameless (v.7) = with no grounds for blame
The conditions for receiving welfare from the church are, and should be, much stricter than they are for receiving welfare from the state.