The NT church, the household of God, lays out clearly the roles its members are to play in the different stages of life in the life of the church. Whether married, single, widowed, older, younger, men, or women, the NT has framed principles to live by in the life of the church, with each specifically suited to these life-stage roles. Of course, these are in addition to the general principles that apply to all members of the household of God.
That the aged men be sober, grave [dignified], temperate [self-controlled], sound in faith, in charity, in patience [steadfastness].
Our older men are to be a solid model of steady faithfulness to the forming of Christ-like character by the Word and the Body.
Rebuke not an elder, but intreat [exhort] him as a father;
Our older men are to live within the household of God as a respected father who will receive exhortation from sons in the faith.
The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness [reverent], not false accusers [slanderers], not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
Our older women are to be a model of respectable life among the household of God and in their own individual households, particularly in the areas of the tongue and self-control.
They are to work in having a relationship with the younger women in the church to impart their wisdom of godly living within the home.
1 Timothy 5:9b-10
…having been the wife of one man, well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.
Our older women are to have a reputation of faithfulness to their husbands and of using their resources, including their home, to meet needs that arise in the church and the world around them.
Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded [self-controlled]. 7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern [model] of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness [integrity], gravity [dignity], sincerity, 8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
Our younger men need to labor at being self-controlled by fleeing from youthful lusts and modelling a life and speech that is built in genuine integrity that flows from being established in the faith.
That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet [self-controlled], chaste [pure], keepers at home, good, obedient [submissive] to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
Our younger women are to be passionate about making their homes a beacon of light that reflects the glory of God in their marriage and children.
1 Corinthians 7:32-35
But I would have you without carefulness [worries]. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: 33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. 34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.
Our singles are to leverage their advantage of not being tied down by the responsibilities of marriage and family to serve the Lord diligently with fewer distractions.
1 Timothy 5:11-16
But the younger widows refuse [refuse to enroll in the church welfare assistance]: for when they have begun to wax wanton [governed by their lusts] against Christ, they will marry; 12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. 13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers [gossips] also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. 14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 15 For some are already turned aside after Satan. 16 If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.
Our younger widows should remarry to pursue making their homes a beacon of light that reflects the glory of God in their marriage and children.
1 Timothy 5:3-10
Honour widows that are widows indeed. 4 But if any widow have children or nephews [grandchildren], let them learn first to shew piety [godliness] at home, and to requite [repay] their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God. 5 Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate [left alone], trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. 6 But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. 7 And these things give in charge [command], that they may be blameless. 8 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 [unbeliever]. 9 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, 10 well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.
Our older widows are to be dedicated to the service of the church and depend on their children and grandchildren’s responsibility for their support; if that support is unavailable, the church is to support them if they are faithful to serve the Lord.