Yesterday I began studying 1 Timothy chapter 5 and I felt like it was really what I was supposed to be reading. Have you ever had that feeling? It's a very good feeling. And I felt like I was being fed spiritual nourishment from God. I then began concentrating on verse 8, which reads,
"But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." (KJV)
This is obviously a severe warning. God's Word says that this person has "denied (repudiates, contradicts) the faith" and is "Worse than" (English translation of cheirón G5501 "more severe than") "an infidel" (apistos - properly "not faithful" because unpersuaded, i.e. not convinced (persuaded by God). ("faithless, unpersuaded") 571 (ápistos).
To better understand this passage we need to study this important Greek verb. And in this very time we are living in, we all have important tools "provided for" us at our finger tips. If we know where to look!
“The eyes of all look to You, And You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing.” ~Psalm 145:15, 16
“Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be conceited and not to put their hope in the uncertainty of wealth, but in God, who richly provides (Different Greek word than 1 Tim 5:8) all things for us to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, and to be generous and ready to share.” — 1 Timothy 6:17, 18
“And my God will supply (Different Greek word than 1 Tim 5:8) your every need according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:19
The big question is; What does it mean to "provide for"? Here's where this verse gets interesting. To "provide for" is the English translation of the Greek word, "pronoeó" (G4306). Pronoeo is made up of two Greek words, 1. "Pró" (from 4253 / "before") and 2. "noiéō" (from 3539 / "think").
Put these two words together and you have; "to think (plan) before, showing necessary forethought to act properly (in God's will)."
Interesting is the etymology of "provide". It comes from the Latin and almost means the same thing as pro-noieo. Pro, again means "before", just like the Greek. But "vide" from provide comes from the Latin word "VIDEO" which means to "see." Thus you end up with something like "look ahead" or "foresee"! Both of these words do NOT mean "provide" as we know it! And less so "provide for"!
From the Strong's Concordance: G4306, 3 Occurrences (Ro 12:17; 2 Co 8:21; 1 Ti 5:8)
From pro and noieo; to consider in advance, i.e. Look out for beforehand (middle voice by way of circumspection for oneself).
Let's take a closer look at the second part of the word pro-noeo, which again, is "noeó" (Strong's G3539).
HELPS Word Studies: 3539 noiéō (from 3563 /noús, "mind") – properly, to apply mental effort needed to reach "bottom-line" conclusions. 3539 (noiéō) underlines the moral culpability we all have before God – for every decision (value-judgment) we make. This follows from each of us being created in the divine image – hence, possessing the inherent capacity by the Lord to exercise moral reasoning.
As you can see, this word "pronoeo" isn't so easy to translate into English. Translators traditionally put it as "provide for" (in 1 Tim 5:8), but its much bigger than that. The verse itself tells us that as people who act in this way are described as worse than unbelievers. Let's look at 1 Timothy again:
"But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." (NASB)
Why this verse is made confusing is unfortunate. Because the understanding of it is actually quite "simple" (2 Cor 11:3) and "logical" (Rom 12:1) and circles back around to the first and greatest commandment and the one connected to it. Namely;
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Jesus said to him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” ~Matthew 22:36-39
Being poor, being injured, being sick (often these are connected - not always). Or being uneducated doesn't put anyone under the title of "denying the faith" or "worse than an unbeliever".
Who is it that provides? Is it not the LORD?
"Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:31-34 (NASB)
"and who brought you through the great, fearful desert of venomous serpents and scorpions, an arid place with no water. He made water flow from a flint rock and fed you in the desert with manna (which your ancestors had never before known) so that he might by humbling you test you and eventually bring good to you. Be careful not to say, “My own ability and skill have gotten me this wealth.” You must remember the Lord your God, for he is the one who gives ability to get wealth; if you do this he will confirm his covenant that he made by oath to your ancestors, even as he has to this day." Deuteronomy 8:15-18
Being poor certainly doesn't nullify anyone in God's eyes. Quite the opposite actually.
"Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?" ~James 2:5
Paul says to the Galatians;
"And recognizing the grace I had been given, James, Cephas, and John—those reputed to be pillars—gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the Jews. They only asked us to be mindful of the poor, the very thing I was eager to do." Galatians 2:9, 10
And spoken of the Lord Jesus the Christ Himself:
"For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich." 2 Corinthians 8:9
And again, Paul speaks of true riches,
"As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." 2 Corinthians 6:10
Paul refers to the saints (hagios, holy) who were poor;
"For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem." Romans 15:26
So we see, "provide for" is much more than financially. But providing for yourself and your neighbor, loved ones, household, family and enemies, the true riches in MESSIAH, by keeping our minds stayed on the Lord and being ready to do what God says when the opportunity arises!
The context of 1 Timothy 5:8 is very important too. Paul was giving instructions to Timothy about how to run a church, and more specifically, the duty of the widows. He suddenly made a general statement about "providing for your own." 5:7 reads, "Give these instructions to the believers, so that they will be above reproach." He was telling us (believers) that we are ALL responsible to carry out his very important instructions. He was doing what he always did so well, and that is to goad his listeners into obedience to God. Give God all your heart (through prayer, study of His Word, and obedience). Give God all your mind (all your thoughts; Psalm 10:4; 2 Cor 10:5). With all your strength (Deuteronomy 6:5; Luke 10:27; 1 Cor 9:23-27). And loving your neighbor as yourself will naturally accompany that first and greatest commandment. If you have God's Spirit within you.
"You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to Him." ~Romans 8:9
"Test your own selves, whether you are in the faith. Test your own selves. Or don't you know as to your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you are disqualified." ~2 Corinthians 13:5
The wicked in this world know how to provide financially their own household, and spoil them quite well. "So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children,...." (Luke 11:13a)
But we need the second part of this verse in Luke so that God will enable us to "provide for" our own household;
Those who have been baptized in the Holy Spirit and do NOT "think ahead" in all diligence, seeking God with all their heart. THEY are the ones "denying the faith" and are "worse than" unbelievers!
You have to know the faith in order to deny it. You have to be actively rejecting the knowledge God has given you in order to be "worse than an infidel". So those who have the Holy Spirit need to cleave, with all your heart to the execution of God's Word. Those who haven't received the Spirit of God in their hearts need to seek eternal life from God. The Word of God says His hand is outstretched to everyone and wants to grant us salvation through His Son Christ Jesus. Simply call upon Him and say the prayer below if you are truly ready to turn your life over the God and be joined to Him through His Holy Covenant in the blood of Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit within us.
"Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who obtains understanding. For her benefit is more profitable than silver, and her gain is better than gold. She is more precious than rubies, and none of the things you desire can compare with her." ~Proverbs 3:13-15
Seek wisdom, find wisdom, put wisdom into practice and you will never deny the faith, you will never be worse than an infidel. Loving the Lord with all our heart, THAT is providing for our own households. Because God promises to take care of us if we do that. By God's grace, by His Spirit within us we can do this. It is God who makes us able ministers of the New Covenant. It is God who gives us the ability to do ANYTHING for Him. All we have to do is seek Him, walk with Him, strive along with Him with all our heart. And God will take care of the rest.
His yoke is easy (crestos pleasant) and His burden is light and you shall find rest unto your souls. Go to Him today. And stay connected to Him. And learn of Him.
~Yours in the Faith of Jesus the Christos, Tommy Richards. Amen.
You can be saved!
God loves the people in the world so much that He came down to die for us. If God is opening your heart to His message and you feel convicted for your sins which have separated you from a holy God and you feel the need to be forgiven, then say this prayer. This is how I was powerfully converted to the Christ in 1997!
Say, "My Lord and my God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I believe Jesus the Christ died on the cross and shed His precious blood for the forgiveness of all my sins. I believe Jesus raised from the dead and ascended into heaven and is now on the right-hand side of God listening to this prayer. I open up the door of my heart and I invite You in, Lord Jesus. Thank you, God, for saving my soul and I vow to serve you with all my heart which is the first and greatest commandment. Amen."