It says elsewhere that widows are free to marry, so in First Timothy 5:12 why are they condemned for desiring to marry?
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As I interpret the passage in question, Paul was saying that younger widows (under age 60) should not be allowed to make a vow of service to the church (in return for agreeing to remain unmarried, and receiving the necessities of life from the church). Younger widows were more likely to be unable to live up to this vow, and to want to break it by re-marrying. (It was not the act of re-marrying or the institution of marriage that was being condemned, but the breaking of the original vow.) Younger widows who had not yet re-married were instead to be supported by their female relatives, so as not to consume the resources of the church (1 Timothy 5:16). Paul also indicated that younger widows (in addition to wanting to re-marry) were also more likely than older widows to adopt habits and practices that conflicted with dedicated service to God, including (according to Paul) being idle and gossiping.
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