October 14th 1 Timothy 5
F. The Duties of Officers in the Church
1: Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; 2: The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity. 3: Honour widows that are widows indeed. 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. 5: Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. 6: But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. 7: And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless. 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. 9: Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, 10: Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work. 11: But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; 12: Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. 13: And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. 14: I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 15: For some are already turned aside after Satan. 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. 17: Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. 18: For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. 19: Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. 20: Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. 21: I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. 22: Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure. 23: Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities. 24: Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after. 25: Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.
This passage is interesting because Paul says to Timothy rebuke not an elder. Elders in Israel and in the church were probably above the age of 50 and Timothy was probably just under that age. Sometimes an elder needs to be rebuked but it’s not the place of Timothy to do it. Paul is saying he might be wrong - but respect his office. And he says plead with the elder who is wrong as you would your own father and treat those younger men as brothers. Treat the older women as your own mother and the younger women as your sister in pure relationships. Give not only respect but as a church give finical assistance to those widows that are very poor indeed. However if they have family then they should provide for their needs. Godliness should be seen first in these practical matters at home giving sustenance to parents in need because this is good and God accepts this as godliness. Paul defines widows who need help, he says, the widow that has no help at all trusts in God for her daily food and is constantly in prayer night and day. But the younger widow who lives for pleasure is spiritually dead while she lives. Paul says teach these things so that they will not be charged with ungodliness by the world. And tell them says Paul that if a man does not provide by honest daily work for his own family then he has denied ‘the faith’ and he is worse than an unbeliever. Faith in Christ does not abolish our ordinary family duties but strengthens them. Godliness is not just what a man thinks but what he does. Do not let a widow be taken into the financial care of the congregation under 60 years of age and she must have lived an honourable life in marriage and godly christian living. This will be seen in the way she brought up her children, in acts of hospitality, in service to Gods people, in her kindness to those in distress and in her consistent life of good works. But do not allow financial help to the younger widows because when they begin to grow in sexual desire and desire after excess and luxury they will be in opposition to Christ and they are determined to marry and they will come into discipline because they have forsaken their pledge to serve Christ. And so they become curious about other people and they wander about from home to home not just in idleness but they talk about silly things and are very busy interfering in other people’s affairs and saying things that are inappropriate. These younger widows should marry again, have children, rule their own houses and give no opportunity to the Devil to speak accusations about them. Some have already turned away to do Satan’s work. If any believer has a mother that is a widow then they should provide for their needs so that the church is not responsible and this will enable the church to look after those widows who are very poor indeed. Let those elders who do their work well be given double the financial support, especially those who work very hard in teaching the scriptures. The Law said that, ‘the Ox that treads the corn is not to be prevented from eating the fruit of his labour’. All labourers are worthy of their hire. Do not listen to any accusation against an elder unless it is based on two or three reliable witnesses. Those elders that sin are to be rebuked before the whole congregation so that the fear of the Lord might come on all who hear it. I give you Timothy a solemn responsibility before God, Christ and his holy angels, that you do these things with complete impartiality. Do ordain a man in impulse because you must not join in ministry with those who are ungodly. You will be tainted by their reputation. Paul says on a personal note - Timothy, do not drink only water but take a small amount of wine for your digestion and general health. Lastly he says, things are not always what they appear. Take care because some men’s sins are obvious to all but others are hidden and in the same way some men’s good works are plain to see but others only come out later.
- How should believers treat the Elders that God has given to the church?
- What sorts of difficult people does Paul describe in the Church?
- What solemn duty does Paul give to Timothy?