A good friend shared a video from Mark Driscoll on Facebook yesterday.
I saw it a while back and it got me worked up then… and when I saw it again yesterday (I need to work on that).
In it Driscoll and his wife discuss the role of a husband in “providing for” his family. He points to 1 Timothy 5:8 in saying that a man who does not provide for his family has lost the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
But I think we’re missing something when we read the verse in that manner.
I tend to believe there’s a lot more going on than the point Driscoll is trying to make.
1st, I don’t believe 1 Tim. 5:8 has to be read as gender specific as Driscoll wants us to believe. The ESV, KJV, NIV and other translations begin with “anyone” or “if any.” Our modern translations use “his” later in the verse but I don’t think we have to read this text as gender specific, simply because it’s been translated with “his” – which can also be used as gender neutral.
2nd, I don’t believe “provide for” has to mean working a paying job every day. Provide can simply mean “to make preparation to meet a need.” And I think a better explanation of provide in this use would be “care for” which is what several translations have opted for instead. When I read this verse I see a picture of a family working together to be sure all needs are met. If a husband has a journalism degree and doesn’t make much money – and his wife has a doctorate and makes loads of money – it might make a lot more sense for the wife to work while the husband stays home with the child — and vice versa.
Providing for and caring for a family can mean any number of things and I don’t believe we should be limiting ourselves (or others) in what it should look like in one another’s family.
3rd, I also think Driscoll is playing a game of proof-texting here. This verse takes on an entirely new meaning for me when you read it with the verses before and after it. When you read from verse 1, Paul tells Timothy to care for the elderly men in the community as fathers (or as family) and then he instructs Timothy to be sure to care for the widows as well. But… he adds, if there’s a widow in my family — I should be certain I’m caring for her and not expecting the church or anyone else to do that. “But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God.”
It’s after he makes these points that Paul says not caring for/providing for your family shows someone has denied the faith.
After all, our faith is the outer expression of God’s love in us. We are to show love to the world — but it’s really hard to show love to the world if we don’t first learn to show love to those at home.
But this is just how I read it… how do you read it?