N.T.o. Often in lxx. Nephews, in the now obsolete sense of grandsons or other lineal descendants. Derived from Lat. nepos. Trench (Select Glossary) remarks that nephew was undergone exactly the same change of meaning that nepos underwent, which, in the Augustan age, meaning grandson, in the post-Augustan age acquired the signification of nephew in our present acceptation of that word. Chaucer:
"How that my nevew shall my bane be."
Legend of Good Women, 2659.
'His (Jove's) blind nevew Cupido."
House of Fame, 67.
Jeremy Taylor: "Nephews are very often liken to their grandfathers than to their fathers."
Let them learn
The subject is the children and grandchildren. Holtzmann thinks the subject is any widow, used collectively. But the writer is treating of what should be done to the widow, not of what she is to do. The admonition is connected with widows indeed. They, as being utterly bereft, and without natural supporters, are to be cared for by the church; but if they have children or grandchildren, these should assume their maintenance.
In the first place: as their first and natural obligation.
To show piety at home (τὸν ἴδιον οἶκον εὐσεβεῖν)
More correctly, to show piety toward their own family. Piety in the sense of filial respect, though not to the exclusion of the religious sense. The Lat. pietas includes alike love and duty to the gods and to parents. Thus Virgil's familiar designation of Aeneas, "pius Aeneas," as describing at once his reverence for the gods and his filial devotion. The verb εὐσεβεῖν (only here and Acts 17:23) represents filial respect as an element of godliness (εὐσέβεια). For τὸν ἴδιον their own, see on Acts 1:7. It emphasizes their private, personal belonging, and contrasts the assistance given by them with that furnished by the church. It has been suggested that οἶκον household or family may mark the duty as an act of family feeling and honor.
To requite (ἀμοιβὰς ἀποδιδόναι)
An entirely unique expression. Ἁμοιβή requital, recompense is a familiar classical word, used with διδόναι to give, ἀποτιθέναι to lay down, τίνειν to pay, ποιεῖσθαι to make. N.T.o. Paul uses instead ἀντιμισθία (Romans 1:27; 2 Corinthians 6:13), or ἀνταπόδομα, (Romans 11:9), or ἀνταπόδοσις (Colossians 3:24). The last two are lxx words.
Their parents (τοῖς προγόνοις)
N.T.o. Parents is too limited. The word comprehends mothers and grandmothers and living ancestors generally. The word for parents is γονεῖς, see 2 Timothy 3:2; Romans 1:30; 2 Corinthians 12:14; Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20. Πρόγονοι for living ancestors is contrary to usage. One instance is cited from Plato, Laws, xi. 932. The word is probably selected to correspond in form with ἔκγονα children.
Good and acceptable (καλὸν καὶ ἀποδεκτὸν)
Frequent in N.T., especially Luke and Revelation. It occurs 31 times in the phrases ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ in the sight of God, and ἐνώπιον κυρίου in the sight of the Lord. olxx. Comp. ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ Θεοῦ before God. Acts 10:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2:19; 3:9, 13. Not in Pastorals, and by Paul only 1 Thessalonians the difference is trifling. Comp. 1 John 3:19 and 22.
—Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament
Well reported of (μαρτυρουμένη)
For good works (ἐν ἔργοις καλοῖς)
Lit. in good works; in the matter of. Comp. 1 Timothy 6:18; Titus 2:7; 3:8, 14. In the Gospels, ἔργον work appears with καλὸς and never with ἀγαθὸς. In Paul, always with ἀγαθὸς and never with καλὸς Kings In the Pastorals, with both. The phrase includes good deeds of all kinds, and not merely special works of beneficence. Comp. Acts 9:36.
Introducing the details of the general expression good works.
Have brought up children (ἐτεκνοτρόφησεν)
N.T.o. olxx; very rare in Class. The children may have been her own or others'.
Lodged strangers (ἐξενοδόχησεν)
Washed the feet
A mark of Oriental hospitality bestowed on the stranger arriving from a journey, and therefore closely associated with lodged strangers.
Of the saints (ἁγίων)
Ἅγιος is rare in Class. In lxx, the standard word for holy. Its fundamental idea is setting apart, as in Class., devoted to the gods. In O.T., set apart to God, as priests; as the Israelites consecrated to God. In N.T., applied to Christians. Ideally, it implies personal holiness. It is used of God, Christ, John the Baptist, God's law, the Spirit of God. Paul often uses οἱ ἅγιοι as a common designation of Christians belonging to a certain region or community, as Philippians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Colossians 1:2. In such cases it does not imply actual holiness, but holiness obligatory upon those addressed, as consecrated persons, and appropriate to them. What ought to be is assumed as being. In this sense not in the Gospels (unless, possibly, Matthew 27:52) or in the Epistles of Peter and John. Rare in Acts.
Only here and v. 16. Comp. 1 Macc. 8:26; 11:35. Common in Class. Originally, to suffice for, to be strong enough for, as in Homer, where it is always used in connection with danger or injury. See Il. ii. 873; Od. xvii. 568. Hence, to ward off, help, assist.
The afflicted (θλιβομένοις)
Diligently followed (ἐπακο ουθησεν)
Comp. v. 24. Ἑπὶ after or close upon. oP. Once in the disputed verses at the end of Mark (16:20), and 1 Peter 2:21. Comp. the use of διώκειν pursue, Romans 9:30; 12:13; 1 Corinthians 14:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:15.
—Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament