Is It a Sin for Married Couples to Split the Bills?
I know you are busy laboring for the Lord so I don't want to take up too much of your time. I just want to thank you for your years of labor for the Lord and your website which is such a blessing to me as I study God's word.
To get straight to the point, many of my friends often argue about whether or not it is a sin for the husband to split household bills with the wife. They often refer to I Timothy 5:8 as a proof text. "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever"
My reading of this passage and the preceding verses or context led me to believe that Paul was talking about taking care of widows and the general responsibility of any family member, male or female, to take care of other family members who are unable to provide for themselves. In other passages where he gives instructions on marriage, he specifically addresses husbands and wives by those terms, whereas he doesn't in I Timothy 5:8.
My question is I Timothy 5:8 even talking about marriage? If so, does that verse make it a sin for a married couple to split bills?
"Honor widows who are widows indeed; but if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God. Now she who is a widow indeed and who has been left alone, has fixed her hope on God and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day. But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives. Prescribe these things as well, so that they may be above reproach. But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever" (I Timothy 5:3-8).
You are correct that the passage deals with the responsibility of families to care for members of the family. The pronouns in the Greek text of I Timothy 5:8 are in the indefinite tense and, thus, can be applied to males or females. In English, the male tense is used when either male or female is implied.
This passage does not discuss how the responsibility is met, only that the responsibility exists.
When I teach couples about marriage, I point out that in marriage the two become one. It is no longer proper to think in terms of my money versus your money -- there is only our money. Thus, I encourage couples to have joint accounts and learn together to budget their expenses. It is a part of the process of learning to think as a family and not as individuals. However, if a couple has extenuating circumstances that require separate accounts, that doesn't mean they are sinning.
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I wanted to teach this point but wavered since I know God holds you accountable for incorrect teaching. This gives me more confidence in my biblical exegesis skills and a deeper appreciation for men like you who preach and teach the word on a regular basis. Thank you again and I hope God continues to bless you!