How gracious is our Lord that He provided us with loving instructions as to how we, as the church, should help take care of the believing widows in our midst.  Let’s take a look at each of these verses you asked about.

Verse 3, “Honour widows that are widows indeed.”  Widows ‘indeed’ refers to those widows that have no source of support or have no family members to help take care of them.  To ‘honor’ those widows speaks of the local church taking the widows under their care to help make sure they are provided for.  We read in verse 9, “Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man.”  To be “taken into the number” refers to being added to those being supported by the church.  So, to be taken under the support of the church, a widow would need to be a ‘widow indeed’ and be at least 60 years old.

Verse 4, “But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.”  If a woman who is a widow has children or close relatives, they should take the responsibility of supporting her.  This widow’s family should show respect to her and requite, or repay, her for all she had done for them in their lifetime.  It would be a shame for a widow’s family to refuse to help support her.  We are instructed in verse 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.”  So seriously does the Lord take this responsibility that He tells us in verse 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.” 

Verse 5, “Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.”  This ‘widow indeed’ who has no one to support her and is desolate (all alone) will put her trust in the Lord to meet all her needs.  She is a woman of prayer who prays constantly, giving all her cares to the Lord.  Her dependence is not upon any man, but upon the God from Whom comes “every good gift and every perfect gift.” (James 1:17).  She depends upon that One who “shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19).  These characteristics show that she has lived a life of faithfulness and dependence on the Lord and now continues to look to the Lord for all her needs.

Verse 6, “But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.”  The Greek word for pleasure here is ‘spataláō’ and is defined as being ‘voluptuous: to live in pleasure, be wanton.’  This widow is quite opposite of the one mentioned in verse 5.  This widow is not living her life in dependence upon the Lord.  She is living to fulfill her fleshly pleasures.  Some suppose this woman is not a believer at all.  Some suppose she is a believer, but is living her life in a worthless fashion, being profitable to no one.  Either way, we can readily see how useless this woman’s life is when she should be living for the Lord and not for her own lusts.

Such good lessons here for us as to how the local church should behave towards those among us who have experienced the loss of their husband and is now in the need of help.  The Lord provides help in the form of her family.  If there is no family, the Lord would have the assembly minister to her needs.  However, the widow’s dependence is not upon man, but is upon the Lord.  (CC)  (516.4)