Advice About Widows, Elders and Slaves. 1 Timothy 5:1-25

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1 1 Commentary by Ron Thomas. Questions by John C. Sewell. Advice About Widows, Elders and Slaves 1 Timothy 5:1-25

2 2 Advice About Widows, Elders, and Slaves Text: 1 Timothy 5:1-25, 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.

3 3 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. Commentary: 1 Timothy 5:1, 2, Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity. I. The phrase older man is also rendered elder in other translations. A. Some have confused this with the elders (bishops) of the church. B. It does not appear that Paul has that in mind.

4 Timothy 5:19, 20, Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. II. There is a demeanor that the preacher is to exhibit and that is respect toward others. A. Those older than the preacher should be respected for their experience and wisdom. B. Those of a contemporary age should be treated as one s siblings. III. The approach here is to foster a family relationship, not an adversarial one. 1 Timothy 5:3, Honour widows that are widows indeed. I. The word honor comes from a Greek word that is used in a number of places, one of which is Ephesians 6:2. A. Ephesians 6:2, Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; B. Exodus 20:12, Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. 1. Here we are told that the children are to honor their parents. 2. This is not a respectful demeanor, but a disposition to care for their needs. 3. As parents are to take care of the children, children are to return this responsibility toward those who are widows. II. In this verse, Paul says the church has an obligation to honor (take care of the needs of) those who are widows.

5 5 1 Timothy 5:4, 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. I. Before, however, the church takes care of widows, the responsibility rests upon the children (grandchildren) of the widow to do this. A. By doing this they exhibit godliness, an understanding of the obligations shown to them (when they were young and in need), and they can be sure the Lord is pleased with this activity. B. But, it is not just an activity the Lord is pleased with as much as it is a heart s desire to serve another and, thereby, be pleasing to the Lord. 1 Timothy 5:5-10, Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless. 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. Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man. 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. I. In this context Paul speaks about those who are truly widows, that is, women who have lost their spouses and have no means of support. A. These sisters in the Lord (for that is who is being talked about) put their trust in God night and day and since they have no means of support, it is only proper that the church provide some assistance. B. However, there is a criterian that must be met first, viz.,

6 6 1. Her hope is to be set on God. 2. She is to have no relatives who can provide for her. 3. She is to be not less than 60 years of age. 4. Married only once. 5. A positive reputation for good works. 6. Having reared children (the assumption is that they are deceased). 7. She has been hospitable, washed the saints feet, and devoted herself to all kinds of good works. II. Those who refuse to provide for their loved ones receive a rebuke from the Lord. A. This rebuke is no mild remark, but a serious exhortation to understand that they have denied the faith! B. Think about for a moment. C. A person can obey from the heart that form of teaching that will deliver them from bondage and then totally deny the faith by refusing to care for one s parent this person is worse than an unbeliever (no doubt because even unbelievers care for their own). 1 Timothy 5:11-16, But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. 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. I will therefore that the younger women marry,

7 7 bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some are already turned aside after Satan. 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. I. Widowhood is not exclusive to those over 60 years of age; Paul understands this. A. Much younger women have also experienced such tragedies in their lives with the loss of a husband. B. When that occurs, what about them? Should the church provide for them as they do for the older women who are widows? C. The Holy Spirit says no. II. Younger widows (no age is given) are to marry, bear children, and manage the household (cf. Proverbs 31 is a good illustration of what this entails). III. Why is it that younger widows are refused enrollment into church supported status? A. Because their passions can still be aroused. B. Because they can turn back on a commitment given to the Lord and His body. C. Because they may learn to be idlers, gossips, and busybodies. D. All this is straying after Satan. IV. Not all younger widows do these things, but the inclination is certainly stronger with younger women (widows) than with older

8 8 women (widows). Paul wants no occasion given to adversarial people to speak critically about the failings of Christian women. 1 Timothy 5:17, 18, Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. I. At this point in the chapter Paul shifts directions away from the topic of responsibility toward widows to the responsibility of the church toward elders and of the minister toward elders. A. Elders who rule well are counted worthy of double honor. 1. That means they are doing a work worthy of an honorarium, a wage. 2. There is difficulty in assigning a significance to the word double. 3. Perhaps there is a connection to the preaching and teaching Paul mentions. 4. By virtue of the context we know that, in this case, an elder who rules well can be paid. 5. The option of being paid or not resides with the elder and the church he serves. 6. We also learn that the Old Testament reference. (Deuteronomy 25:4) can be used in a New Testament setting (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:9). II. The key, though, is a proper understanding within the context.

9 9 1 Timothy 5:19, 20, Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. I. Every now and again there are disgruntled brethren who seek to levy charges of wrongdoing against an elder. A. A disgruntled brother might be very correct in his (her) accusation. B. In either case, without evidence no accusation can stick. II. Yet, on occasion, the accused elder is guilty. A. When that occurs, the preacher is to rebuke the elder who is persisting in that sin. B. The key word here is persist. C. Men and women of God struggle every now and again and sin enters into one s life. D. There seems to be a difference in things of this sort and that which Paul says here. III. Elders can be just as guilty of persisting in sin as any non-elder. A. Since he is in a position of leadership and this sin is known by few or many, the ramifications are greater. B. Paul tells Timothy to correct this elder. C. The point of emphasis is not the act of rebuking, but the correction.

10 Timothy 4:16, Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. 2. There is some public aspect associated in this correcting procedure. IV. Is this a public assembly or a smaller gathering? A. We don t know, but what we do know is that the correction and the act of correction will make a positive impression upon those gathered. B. Positive? C. Yes, indeed! That which will encourage one to mould his life more in line with the life of Jesus is positive! 1 Timothy 5:21-22, 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. Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure. I. This is still in the context of discussion of the elders. A. Paul is giving Timothy a charge to do just as the Holy Spirit wants done. 1. There is no room for compromise and negotiation. 2. The inclination of man is to be partial in his dealings even when he tries to be even handed there is a degree of partiality that may be exhibited.

11 11 II. It takes a concerted effort by God s minister to do nothing from partiality. A. He cannot show favoritism because the Lord God will show no favoritism either. B. If a man is obedient to the Lord, that man will be blessed. C. If a man is confused in his loyalty, the Lord will not be! III. This is why when Timothy appoints elders in the church he must not do so in a hasty manner. A. He must take his time and be sure the men who would be elders are qualified and that they exhibit the attributes of a devoted child of God. B. If Timothy does not exercise the necessary judgment, then perhaps he will be culpable for some of the problems that will surely come (we want to exercise caution in this area of association). IV. In any case, Timothy is to be a diligent and devoted servant of God. A. By doing this he will keep himself pure of defilement. 1 Timothy 5:23, Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities. I. At this point Paul deviates from his discussion to address a continuing malady of Timothy s. A. As you can see, this is a parenthetical sentence; in other words, it is an interruption of his main thought (resumed in the next two verses).

12 12 II. It has been suggested by some that the water supply had contaminants and whatever ailment Timothy had was not overcome because of this. A. Paul tells Timothy to drink a little wine for this ailment. B. Here we see a judicial use of wine for medicinal purposes. C. Unfortunately, some will interpret Paul s words in a self-serving manner and say there is adequate justification for our enjoying adult (intoxicating) beverages. D. This would be a misuse of the passage. E. Paul s point is to drink something that will contribute to your healing. 1 Timothy 5:24, 25, Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after. Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid. I. Resuming his discussion on the topic of elders, Paul tells Timothy to not be hasty in recognizing men to be elders. A. Some men (who would be elders) live a life that is not as pure as it ought to be and this is apparent to others. B. Timothy, you don t want to be associated with that. C. On the other hand, some live their lives in such a way that all will have the impression that God s favor is upon that person. 1. Yet, on the Day of Judgment, the Lord will reckon His judgment upon that person for living a life of lies.

13 13 D. This may not be apparent to any of us, but it certainly is to the Lord. The same thing can be said about the Christian who lives a life of good. 1. Perhaps it is not apparent to any of us, but to the Lord it is (and that is all that matters).

14 14 Questions 1 Timothy 5: In this chapter Paul gives Timothy advice regarding, and. 2. To what groups in the New Testament does the word elders refer? 3. Should all senior citizens be respected? Why or why not? Are senior citizens respected in America? Explain your answer. 4. In what ways are Christian children to honor their parents?

15 15 5. Is it wrong for churches to help younger widows with rent, utilities, and food? See 1 Timothy 5: What are the qualifications of widows who are to be enrolled? 7. What is the meaning of the word enrolled? 8. Is it permissible to enroll a widow in the church s benevolent program who has been married twice and widowed twice? Why or why not?

16 16 9. What can be worse than being an infidel, unbeliever? 10. Would a failure to have washed feet disqualify a widow from being enrolled? 11. How many widows in today s church have washed feet? 12. Is it permissible to enroll a widow who is fifty-nine years old or must the church wait until the widow is sixty years old before she is enrolled? What if the fifty-nine year old widow is truly destitute? Explain your answer.

17 What is the responsibility of churches to widows whose children cannot or will not provide care for their mothers? 14. Why should younger widows not be enrolled by the church? 15. Are there exceptions to the prohibitions to enroll younger widows? 16. What does being worthy of double honor mean? 17. The elders who rule well are worthy of double honor. What about elders whose rule can at best be classified as ordinary, mediocre?

18 How is the church to respond to accusations against elders. What is the procedure for removing an elder from office? 19. Are prejudging and acting from partiality prevalent sins in today s church? How serious is this? 20. How can a person take part in the sins of others? 21. Why is it unwise to lay hands hastily on a person?

19 Does the church of which you are a member lay hands on people who are to be appointed to offices in the church? If not, why not? 23. What is the meaning of the expression, In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels? 24. Is it permissible for Christians to use wine for medicinal purposes? 25. What sins are conspicuous? What sins appear later? What good works are conspicuous? What good works cannot be hidden?

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