Kicking while down!

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.

-I Timothy 5:8, KJV

Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

-I Timothy 5:8, NIV

(Former?) Pastor Mark Driscoll loved to use this verse to shame men.

He would use it as a proof-text to define Christian manhood as a matter of provision. If you did not provide, then you weren’t considered a real man according to Mark Driscoll (simply stated).

The problem with using this verse this way is that the original Greek has ZERO male pronouns in it:

The male pronoun is supplied–aka added by some (not all) interpreters!

Plus, the verse is implanted in teaching regarding widows–rich and otherwise–leaving one with the impression that Paul was talking to children–male and female–unwilling to use their wealth to support their own widowed mothers, etc.

It is not a gendered teaching.

Rather, the verse is a teaching about caring for one’s own family as able instead of dumping them on the rest of the church–i.e. to put them on the widow’s roll.

I Timothy 5:8 isn’t a verse about marriage or gender relationships. You literally have to add a specific gender into the original texts to make that verse “useful” for such purposes!

My strong negative feelings about the misuse of this text come from very painful and personal attacks from my former in-laws, “friends,” and ex-wife.

Like attacking a woman over her fitness to be a wife (and woman) for having a miscarriage, these people attacked me while I was struggling to launch my career full-time in the ministry.

They kicked me while I was down.

In my opinion, teachings–like those promoted by Pastor Mark Driscoll–that misuse I Timothy 5:8 to shame men are simply reinforcing a pagan culture that worships money and power.

As long as men are treated only as financial providers and woman solely as “hot” mamas, we run the danger of turning humans merely into commodities. Such thinking turns marriages into contractual relationships based on what one gender expects to get from the other.

In other words, this sort of relationship is one where the parties are buying and selling themselves based on what the pagan culture says is valuable per their respective gender.

I find it disgusting.

Such pagan thinking has no place in the House of God!

What does Jesus get out of His relationship–i.e. marriage covenant–with the Church? Did he die paying the blood-bride price so that he could use his bride to obtain something other than eternity with her and her alone?

No. He did not.

A godly Christian spouse gets this:

He or she understands that the prize of the marriage is having the exclusive romantic attention of the other spouse.

And don’t get me wrong.

Having children and having comfortable wealth are wonderful gifts that often–or may–come along with being married; however, one’s priorities are askew if one prioritizes these gifts over the well-being of the other spouse and the marriage.

So, please, do not kick your spouse when he or she is down attacking them where culture makes them most vulnerable gender-wise. Instead, encourage them and cheer them on towards their full potential in Christ.