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1 Timothy 5

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Paul instructing Timothy

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Introduction**

Sometime around 66AD or a little after, a faithful believer that we know little about named Jude (or Yehudah) wrote a letter to a group of Christians that we also know little about.

We don’t know who they were.

We don’t know where they were.

What we do know from his letter is that false teachers were plaguing the church.
And Jude opens up that letter with a bit of a confession.
He says:
Jude 3–4 NKJV
Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jude 3–4 NKJV
Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jude
Jude 3–4 ESV
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Jude wanted to write about the wonderful things of salvation.

Jude wanted to write about the wonderful things of salvation.

Jude wanted to write about the wonderful things of salvation.

But because false teachers were so plaguing the church, the Holy Spirit required that he write about apostates who turned from the faith and wanted to turn others.

Jude had to contend earnestly for the faith against the false teachings and their false doctrines.
I bring this up because over the past month as we’ve been studying through 1 Timothy, I’ve kind of felt how Jude might have felt.
I’ve wanted to talk about all the wonderful things of, as Jude said, “Our common salvation!”
I would love to talk about justification by faith, redemption, and sanctification … glorification … happy thoughts and so forth.
But the text of God’s Word has required that I spend time contending for the faith.
----

We are committed to studying God’s Word verse by verse and chapter by chapter.

So we don’t read the Word and then change the subject to suit what we want to talk about.

That being said, I’m a bit relieved that chapter 5 deviates from false teachers and directs us toward another subject … the proper treatment of church members.

That’s not to say that I have a problem with taking a stand for true biblical doctrine.
Because it’s incredibly important that we are doctrinally sound … meaning that the doctrine we hold to is in agreement with the doctrines of the Bible.
As Jude says, “The faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”
It’s often insinuated these days that sound doctrine and theology are actually detrimental to faith.
Or that holding firmly to the doctrines of scripture is divisive and will only scare off the unchurched.
Rick Warren, the author of Purpose Driven Life says that we need to “Change the message to accommodate the unsaved.”
That believers need to set down theology and think and speak like unbelievers … so we may reach the lost.
As Mr. Warren recently posted on twitter, “Jesus never let His theology get in the way of His ministry.”
I hope you recognize that all those things are very wrong and misguided.

In fact, they are stepping stones not to the salvation of the lost, but of the apostasy of the believer.

We cannot think like the lost and call unbelievers to repent and believe in the Gospel.
----

So then, what’s the problem?

If it’s not doctrine and theology that are pushing people away from the Gospel … what is?

Why are so many people rejecting the Gospel, and why are Christians falling away from the faith, “Exchanging the truth of God for the lie?”
While it will be summarily rejected by most – after all, the road is wide that leads to destruction () –  the Gospel is the only mechanism by which God saves. ()  The proper goal for the believer – and for the church – is never numerical growth.  The proper, biblical goal is faithfulness. ()
Well, the Gospel as it is given in scripture will be rejected by most people.
Jesus said that the road is wide that leads to destruction ().
Matthew 7:13–14 NKJV
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Jesus illustrated the Gospel as a narrow gate.
Jesus said that, “The light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

People reject the Gospel because of the hardness of their hearts because they love sin.

But the Gospel is the only mechanism by which God saves.
But the Gospel is the only mechanism by which God saves.
As Paul wrote: 
Romans 1:16 NKJV
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

The proper goal for the believer – and for the church – is never numerical growth.  

The proper, biblical goal is faithfulness.

The Holy Spirit tells us:
2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV
For we walk by faith, not by sight.

And yes … Faith is not doctrine.

But doctrine is absolutely critical to the expression of faith.

Without sound doctrine, faith becomes more about feelings, emotions, and opinions than about the clear teaching of scripture.
That’s when you end up in a church or small group where people are more concerned with “What you ‘feel’ a verse means” than what the verse actually means as it was originally written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
OR believing that God is okay with making some alterations to the Gospel in order to have more people respond at an altar call.
OR teaching name it and claim it or modelism or aesceticism or any number of other unscriptural things.
----

False teachers and false doctrines were a problem in the early church … they are a HUGE problem today.

And over the past few weeks we’ve dealt with quite a few of them, and I’m glad we have.

But apostasy was not the only problem in the church then, just as it’s not the only problem we find in the church today.

If we go back even further in church history to the very first church, we find their very first problem (outside of persecution, of course.)

That problem was that a group of church members felt neglected by those who were ministering in the church.
In that earliest version of the church, there were a couple of cultural groups.
There were the Hellenists and there were Hebrews.
The Hellenists spoken of here were probably Jews who grew up outside of Israel and were educated in Greek ways of thought.
A few times a year, faithful Jews who lived outside of the land would make the pilgrimage home for Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot.
It was during Shavuot (which we know as Pentecost) when the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples and they preached the Gospel to the crowds, miraculously being heard in many different languages.
Because it was at a Jewish festival, those who were there would have mostly been Jewish, many of whom were Hellenistic Jews in town for the feast.
The church was born that day and many of those who were saved decided to remain in Jerusalem.

Because many of those who remained did so at the forfeit of livelihoods and homesteads in the lands they were from, this first church “Shared in all things.”

Acts 2:44 NKJV
Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common,
Acts 2:44–45 NKJV
Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
Acts 2
The book of Acts records that this first church of about 3,000 souls, “Continued steadfastly in the Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
Acts 2:42 NKJV
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Acts

So, in the very first days of the church, apostasy was not an issue … they continued in the apostles doctrine.

But … the church was made up of sinners saved by grace, from various walks of life … and as such, needs arose.
But … the church was made up of sinners saved by grace, from various walks of life … and as such, needs arose.
This first church sought to care for the widows in the church … in that day and age it was difficult for an older woman who had lost her husband to earn a living wage.

So the church sought to help to fill in the gaps with a daily distribution of food … possibly in the form of a meal being served.

Perhaps they were right or maybe it was just a matter of perception …
… but the hellenistic widows (those of Greek culture) felt that they were receiving less than the Hebrew widows (those of Jewish culture).
So, records that deacons were selected so that the Apostles’ would not be juggling the responsibilities of prayer and ministry of the Word and trying to meet the physical needs of the church.
----

Well, 30 or so years later, the church had grown dramatically and was no longer only in Jerusalem.

There were individual churches throughout the towns and cities of Asia Minor, Greece, Macedonia, Phoenicia, Samaria, Judea, Europe … possibly as far west as Spain and even up into England.

Many different people from many different backgrounds were now joined together in this called out group that is the Body of Christ.
And many people not just from varying cultures, but in different walks of their lives … some old, some young, married, unmarried, widowed, rich, poor, free, and even slaves.

Paul had already given Timothy instruction on securing correct doctrine in the church, dealing with false teachers, gender roles in the church, and leadership roles.

He now moves on to give Timothy practical advice on how church members of different walks of life should be treated.
----

So, Paul will focus on several important social relationships in this chapter … and also in the first part of chapter 6.

I’m not sure how far we’ll get this morning, but there’s not really a good stopping point in the chapter … we’ll see.
He is also to oversee the development of “widows’ corps.” While any woman without relatives to care for her is the responsibility of the church, widows who have earned a good reputation are to be given an official position and an important family-oriented ministry (vv. 3–16).
Paul now moves on to give Timothy practical advice on many aspects of local church life. In this chapter he focuses on several important interpersonal relationships. Timothy, although a leader, is to show great respect to all members of the church—both older and younger men and women (5:1–2). He is also to oversee the development of “widows’ corps.” While any woman without relatives to care for her is the responsibility of the church, widows who have earned a good reputation are to be given an official position and an important family-oriented ministry (vv. 3–16).
Timothy, although a leader, is to show great respect to all members of the church—both older and younger men and women (5:1–2). He is also to oversee the development of “widows’ corps.” While any woman without relatives to care for her is the responsibility of the church, widows who have earned a good reputation are to be given an official position and an important family-oriented ministry (vv. 3–16).
Paul also discusses relationships with elders and the care with which they are to be selected and ordained (vv. 17–25).

It is a body comprised of authentic believers, “Given to Him by the Father,” as Jesus said in
John 17:24 NKJV
“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
a body comprised of authentic believers given Him by the Father ()
Let’s pray and dig in.
It is meant to praise and worship its Lord and Head, Jesus Christ.
It is meant to be a place of learning Biblical doctrine so that we can be firmly rooted and able to mature in the faith.
It is to be a place where we fellowship and break bread together, sharing in our blessings and observing the Lord’s Supper, remembering Christ’s shed blood.
It is a place where
It is also meant to build up and to encourage its individual members.
God desires to be glorified by His church, and to that end He has given us the church to help our individual growth.
More Here
Prayer: Lord, we come to You this morning, I hope, with open ears .... if not, then we ask You to open our ears. We want to hear Your word, know Your voice, and follow You. Speak to our hearts and strengthen us that we may serve You today. Through the written word, may we know Your Living Word, Jesus Christ our Savior. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
Open our ears, O Lord,
to hear your word and know your voice.
Speak to our hearts and strengthen our wills,
that we may serve you today
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Through the written word,
be acceptable in your sight,
and the spoken word,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
may we know your Living Word
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.Amen
Jesus Christ our Savour. Amen

V1-2

The NKJV simply uses the word “rebuke” here … “Do not rebuke an older man …”

But the NASB, NIV, and some others use, “Rebuke harshly” or “Sharply rebuke.”

Normally, I would lean more towards the NKJV or the ESV, but there is a very good reason that I find the better translation to be, “Do not sharply rebuke an older man.”
The Greek word for “rebuke” that is used here is ἐπιπλήσσω Epiplēssō (ehpee-play-soh), the root of which is plēssō, meaning “Strike” … add Epi and it means “Strike at.”
Epiplēssō is not the ordinary word for “rebuke.”
It is used only here … and it means to “Strike at.”
Elsewhere, other Greek words are used to mean “warn,” “caution,” “criticize,” or “reprove.”
But Paul uses this word here to give the sense of “Words that wound.”
The NIV actually does a very good job capturing the sense of this verse:
1 Timothy 5:1–2 NIV
Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

The next pertinent word is one we’ve seen many times now in our study of the NT.

It is παρακαλέω Parakaleō and it means “Urge, implore, and exhort.”

Timothy was a relatively young man, and it was probably difficult for him to reprimand someone older than himself.

Now, remember that when Timothy is called a youth earlier in this letter, it means someone up to the age of 40.
Perception of age is sometimes tricky … to the kids of our congregation, everyone in this room is old.
And to those of us who are over 40, those who are in their 20’s are kids.

Some have read this and concluded that Paul is not necessarily speaking of age, but rather speaking of people in leadership positions.

The word that is translated “older man” and “older woman” (in the last part of the verse) is πρεσύτερος Presbyteros (prez-BEE-ter-ohs).
This COULD refer to the office of an elder in the church.
But Paul deals with the office of the elder LATER ... starting with verse 17.
The fact that Paul also mentions young men and young women in this same verse tells us that he is not speaking of the office, but of individuals …
Almost the whole of the remainder of the Epistle contains specific directions to Timothy to assist him in dealing with various classes of people within the church. It may seem surprising that so much attention is given to the problem of widows, but no doubt this was a constant source of anxiety in the early church as shows. Since some were recipients of the church’s bounty it was fitting that careful regulations should govern their selection. It must be remembered that in those days there were few ways in which a widow could earn her living.
νεώτερος Neōteros
… older men, younger men, older women and younger women.
----
John Chrysostom, the church father of the fourth-century wrote: ‘Rebuke is in its own nature offensive particularly when it is addressed to an old man; and when it proceeds from a young man too, there is a threefold show of forwardness. By the manner and mildness of it, therefore, he would soften it. For it is possible to reprove without offence, if one will only make a point of this; it requires great discretion, but it may be done.’
The fourth-century Church father John Chrysostom writes: ‘Rebuke is in its own nature offensive particularly when it is addressed to an old man; and when it proceeds from a young man too, there is a threefold show of forwardness. By the manner and mildness of it, therefore, he would soften it. For it is possible to reprove without offence, if one will only make a point of this; it requires great discretion, but it may be done.’

Rebuke is always tricky.

In fact, it can be so tricky, that we avoid doing it altogether.

However, many people would have been saved from difficulty and disaster if someone had just spoken a word of warning.
What a tragedy for someone to say: “I wouldn’t have this problem, if you had only spoken to me.”

It is always wrong to hold back the word that needs to be heard.

How terrible for a Pastor to have access to the fulness of God’s Word, but only deliver jokes and stories, with a few out of context Bible verses!
But also how about ANY OF US … any Christian holding back the Gospel that might so affect a person as to repent and call on the name of the Lord Jesus to be saved because sharing is uncomfortable.
How much more the Words of Life … the Gospel that might so affect a person as to repent and call on the name of the Lord Jesus to be saved.
Paul is speaking of relationships within the church, that means between believers.
We may reprimand a person in such a way that there is clearly nothing but anger in our voice and nothing but bitterness in our minds and hearts.
A sharp, wounding rebuke will almost always result in resentment.
In fact, a wounding rebuke may drive someone deeper into their mistaken ways.
Instead of a sharp word, Timothy is to exhort … to appeal to them with wisdom and truth … that is, God’s Word.
Proverbs 12:18 NKJV
There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, But the tongue of the wise promotes health.

Paul says to exhort elders in such a way as to honor them, and exhort younger men and women as family.

The Dead Sea Scrolls as well as the teaching of rabbis echoed this “concern for one’s neighbor by offering and accepting correction,” while recommending that some situations called for a private conversation.
In fact, much ancient literature called for similar tact … not just in Jewish but also in Gentile culture.
So, this would not have been a new word for Timothy, but sometimes we need to re-hear things we know, don’t we?
Jesus in called for similar actions when confronting another who has offended you.
Jesus instructed a private word first and an escalating more public word with witnesses if the private exhortation is not received.
That could result in cutting fellowship with the person if the word continues to be rejected.
The hope being that after a season of being outside the church, there would be repentance and a return to fellowship.
Everyone is important in the church … and age does not always equate to spiritual maturity, … so no age group should be exempt from correction.
But correction should be done in love and honor.

v3

The Greek word for widow is χήρα Chēra (hair-AH) and refers to a woman who has lost her husband and has not remarried.

In that time, this was often a dangerous state for a woman, because there was such dependence on a husband’s income and work.

In fact, the Bible in the Old Testament often classed widows with the fatherless and orphans.

And God included specific laws in the Torah to protect them, such as Levirate marriage such as in the book of Ruth.
God’s special care for the widows is a recurring theme in Scripture (; ; ).
So, it was only right that the local church show compassion to these women who were in need.
----

Now, Paul says something very interesting here … “Honor widows who are really widows.”

Not all widows are bereaved, having no children or family to care for them.
Now, Paul says something very interesting here … “Honor widows who are really widows.”
So then, care should be taken that the church’s care is not abused by the unscrupulous or those just looking for a handout.

The word “honor” in v. 3 means “to fix the value,” as in our word “honorarium,” an amount paid to a speaker for services. Timothy had to be careful not to misuse the church funds by giving money to unworthy widows. In his day, as today, there were deceivers who preyed on people under the masquerade of religion. Such people usually visited churches because they knew that soft-hearted saints would give them a handout “for Jesus’ sake.”

Not
The word τιμάω Timaō (tee-MAH-oh) “honor” in v. 3 means “to fix the value,” as in our word “honorarium,” an amount paid to a speaker for services.

Timothy had to be careful not to misuse the church funds by giving money to widows who were not truly in need.

In his day, as it is today, there were deceivers who preyed on the compassion of others.

Such people would often visit churches because they knew that compassionate Christians would give them a handout “for Jesus’ sake.”

v4-8

Adult children or other close relatives were expected to care for widows, who couldn't make a living themselves.

Adult children or other close relatives were expected to care for destitute widows, who had no opportunity to earn wages in ancient society.

But if her own children were dead, then her grandchildren should accept the responsibility.

In that day, they did not have the kind of institutions that we have today.

Adult children or other close relatives were expected to care for destitute widows, who had no opportunity to earn wages in ancient society.

If her own children were dead, then her grandchildren (the kjv translates them “nephews” in ) should accept the responsibility. When you recall that society in that day did not have the kind of institutions we have today—pensions, Social Security, retirement homes, etc.—you can see how important family care really was. Of course, the presence of such institutions today does not relieve any family of its loving obligations. “Honor thy father and thy mother” is still in the Bible (; ).
The church could not care for all the widows in the city, but it should care for believers who are a part of the fellowship. We should “do good unto all … especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (). A widow the church helps should not be a self-indulgent person, seeking pleasure, but a godly woman who hopes in God and has a ministry of intercession and prayer. See for an example of a godly widow.
They didn’t have pensions.
They didn’t have Social Security, or retirement homes.
And Florida was a long way to go.
So, you can see how important family care really was.

What if a son or grandson was unwilling to care for his widowed mother or grandmother?

Paul says in verse 8 that, “He … is worse than an unbeliever!”

I’m reminded how Jesus said:
Luke 6:32 NKJV
“But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
Luke 6:32

A Christian who refuses to care for his widowed mother or grandmother falls beneath what even unbelievers do naturally.

And that is a shame, since the Christian has a Lord and Savior Who is the supreme example of love.

We love God by loving His people; and He has a special concern for the elderly, the widows, and the orphans.
----

A widow the church helps should not be a self-indulgent person, seeking pleasure, … but a godly woman who hopes in God.

She can in turn minister to the church body.

A great example of a godly widow is Anna, found in .
A widow the church helps should not be a self-indulgent person, seeking pleasure, but a godly woman who hopes in God and has a ministry of intercession and prayer. See for an example of a godly widow.
Do not read below:
Luke 2:37 NKJV
and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
Luke records that she served God in the temple, with a ministry of intercession and prayer.
A godly widow can be a “spiritual powerhouse” in the church.
Luke records that she served God in the temple, with a ministry of intercession and prayer.

A godly widow can be a “spiritual powerhouse” in the church.

They have fewer ties and can devote themselves to serving God and the church.

They can give themselves to visitation, and they often excel as teachers to the children and younger women of the congregation.

But, Paul also notes that not every widow should be helped by the church.

It has also been my experience that, if a widow is not godly, she can be a great problem to the church. She will demand attention, complain about what the younger people do, and often “hang on the telephone” and gossip. (Of course, it is not really “gossip.” She only wants her friends to be able to “pray more intelligently” about these matters!) Paul made it clear () that church-helped widows must be “blameless”—irreproachable.
Those who should be helped by the church must have godly lives.
It is appropriate to say, "You're not living a godly life, so you won't receive financial assistance from the church."
As someone who has led benevolence ministries, I can tell you that not everyone who comes to the church asking for the help should receive it.
Many who come to the church for assistance are in need because they have lived their lives for the pleasures of alcohol, drugs, or whatever.
Now they are in need and they want the church to help.
It's legitimate to say, "No."

v9

A woman of this age was not likely to get remarried in that day, though 60 is not considered that “old” today.

I think the bigger question is the phrase, “Taken into the number.”

A woman of this age was not likely to get remarried in that day, though sixty is not considered that “old” today. Perhaps the verb “taken into the number” gives us a clue. It literally means “to be enrolled and put on the list.” The word was used for the enrollment of soldiers. The early church had an official list of the names of qualified widows, and we get the impression that these “enlisted” women ministered to the congregation in various ways. (Remember Dorcas and her widow friends, ?) Paul probably would have told us if they had been officially ordained as deaconesses.
The long phrase is because instead of going with a word for word translation, the translators tried to convey the thought of the text.
But that doesn’t work so well in this case.
The Greek word is καταλέγω Katalegō which means “enrolled.”
Interestingly, this word was used for the enrollment of soldiers.

The early church had an official list of the names of qualified widows … a kind of “support list.”

If they were young, they were likely able to support themselves or had living children who could help to support her.

We get the impression that these “enlisted” women ministered to the congregation in various ways, such as in the list given in :
Titus 2:3–5 ESV
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
(ESV) Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
Now, the Bible also lays out some other requirements for being “enrolled”:
3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
Such as being the wife of one man: We have met this same requirement before, for bishops () and for deacons ().
A good marriage record: We have met this same requirement before, for bishops () and for deacons (). The implication is that the widow was not a divorced woman. Since younger widows were advised to remarry (), this stipulation cannot refer to a woman who had a temporary second marriage after the death of her husband. Faithfulness to one’s marriage vows is very important in the eyes of God.
Younger widows were advised to remarry … not if they were divorced, but specifically if they were widowed.
In the 1st century there were few if any jobs offering employment for women, much less for widows.
As we will see in verse 14, Paul encourages the younger widows to remarry—in part to meet physical needs, and in part because idleness tends to create temptation.
In the 1st century there were few if any jobs offering employment for women, much less for widows. Paul encourages the younger widows to remarry—in part because they still have strong sexual drives, in part because idleness tends to create busybodies and gossips.
We have met this same requirement before, for bishops () and for deacons (). The implication is that the widow was not a divorced woman. Since younger widows were advised to remarry (), this stipulation cannot refer to a woman who had a temporary second marriage after the death of her husband. Faithfulness to one’s marriage vows is very important in the eyes of God.

In the 1st century there were few if any jobs offering employment for women, much less for widows. Paul encourages the younger widows to remarry—in part because they still have strong sexual drives, in part because idleness tends to create busybodies and gossips.

Faithfulness to one’s marriage vows is very important in the eyes of God.

v10

v10

Those widows who were enrolled into the support of the church must not only be true widows … they must also have godly character.

Paul is reminding Timothy that it is good to consider what kind of person the widow has been in the past.

Has she been faithful in the calling of a wife … has she been hospitable … has she cared for those who are in her position now?
They were called to a service, not merely to a free meal.

And the godly example of ladies in the church, married, widowed, or unmarried, has a huge impact on the testimony of the church.

If a person is faithfully serving God, the light will shine and others will see that light and glorify God.
Jesus commanded:
Matthew 5:16 NKJV
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Verse 10 says, “If she has brought up children.”

The Greek word here speaks of “nurturing children.”
Was she a good mother to her children (who have presumably died or abandoned her if she is being considered for church benevolence.)
Another angle of this is … has she used her time to teach and mentor children?
It could even refer to taking in abandoned children, as that was common in that day.
If it refers to her own children, then they would have to have died; otherwise the church would not support her. It is likely that the reference here is to the practice of rescuing abandoned children and raising them to know the Lord.
----

Hospitality is another factor.

Hospitality is another factor, for this was an important ministry in those days when travel was dangerous and safe places to sleep were scarce. The washing of feet does not refer to a special ritual, but to the common practice of washing a guest’s feet when he arrived in the home (). It was not beneath this woman’s dignity to take the place of a humble servant.

This was an important ministry in those days when travel was dangerous and safe places to sleep were scarce.

In fact, the Torah equates hospitality with righteousness or Tzedikah, and it was considered incredibly important in the Jewish community.
Now, the washing of feet does not refer to some special ritual, but to the common practice of washing a guest’s feet when he arrived in the home.
In , one great sin of the Pharisee was that he did not wash Jesus’ feet when He entered his house as a guest.
Instead, a street woman washed Jesus’ feet with expensive oil, tears and her hair.
The Pharisee called the woman a sinner in his own mind, but it was he that was the greater sinner … because the Lord of glory was a guest in his home and He rendered no worship … and not even hospitality.
Most roads and paths were dirt in those days and most footwear was open to the elements, mainly protecting the sole of the foot.
It was the job of the lowest servant to wash feet … but not all homes had servants.
Jesus humbled Himself on the same night that He would be arrested and the disciples would flee from Him and washed their feet as a picture of His washing them clean of the dirt of the world.

So, in regards to the widow being considered for enrollment for help and ministry, is she willing to serve?

t was not beneath this woman’s dignity to take the place of a humble servant.
I’ve seen a lot of people turn down benevolent help when presented with the idea of committing to attend church much less serve somehow.

It’s not about a handout … it’s about providing care.

Those who are being cared for should care more.
----

Next we have “Relieved the afflicted.”

“Relieved the afflicted” could cover many kinds of ministry to the needy: feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, encouraging the sorrowing, etc. Every pastor gives thanks for godly women who minister to the material and physical needs in the church. These widows were cared for by the church, but they, in turn, helped to care for the church.

That could cover many kinds of ministry to the needy: feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, encouraging the sorrowful, and so forth.

Godly women who minister to the material and physical needs in the church are a great blessing to everyone.
These widows were cared for by the church, but they, in turn, helped to care for the church.
----

So that’s the older widows.

Next Paul deals with younger widows.

The younger widows would technically be women under 60 years of age.
But I’m sure Paul had much younger women in mind.
It was not likely that a fifty-nine-year-old woman would “bear children” if she remarried! ()
In those days, the dangers of travel, diseases that had no cure, working with large animals, soldiers in war, and a host of other things could rob a young wife of her husband.
We even find some examples of totally unexpected ways one might die back then given in the Bible.
Gored by livestock
Making fun of a prophet … Mauled by a bear
Struck by a flying axe head
Crushed by a collapsing tower
Being eaten from the inside out by parasites
Lion’s dens
Fiery furnaces
In our day of medicine and technology and safety mindedness, people still die in seeming random accidents … how much more so back then?
But Paul forbade Timothy to enroll the younger widows and put them under the care of the church.
Why is that?
Let’s read on.

v11-15

In the church today we tend to think of signing up to serve as being a matter of convenience.

If I’ve got something better to do, that’s okay.

So we think of it as a convenience more than a commitment to be there despite difficulties.

Let’s not forget that here we are talking about “enrollment” or “signing up” yes to receive care from the church but also to render service.

Rabbinic writings and the writings of the Essenes (like the Dead Sea Scrolls) speak of the great importance that was placed on following through with commitments.
If a widow being cared for by the church went back on her commitments, it would be a source of scandal.
There’s always a few church members who want to question every decision the pastor and leadership make.
Committing funds to a widow who then goes back on her commitments could fuel the naysayers and cause arguments and disunity which is a bad testimony to the world.

And so Paul says that younger widows are not to be included in the rolls of widows.

That is for several reasons.
For one thing, because of their age, younger widows are naturally attracted to men and want to marry again.

What is so bad about that?

Because of their age, younger widows are naturally attracted to men and want to marry again. What is so bad about that? Paul seems to imply () that each of the widows enrolled pledged herself to remain a widow and serve the Lord in the church. This pledge must not be interpreted as a “vow of celibacy,” nor should we look on this group of ministering widows as a “special monastic order.” There seemed to be an agreement between the widows and the church that they would remain widows and serve the Lord.
Well, the implication of Paul’s earlier instruction is that each of the older widows pledged herself to remain a widow and instead be as if married to the Lord in the church.
This did not make them nuns in a monastery.
Rather, it was an agreement between the widows and the church that they would remain widows and serve the Lord.
Sounds pretty extreme doesn’t it?
Yet, something has been lost in serving the Lord in church today with the idea that we are volunteers and not servants.
There is another possible interpretation: These younger widows, if supported by the church, would have opportunities to “live it up” and find other husbands, most likely unbelievers. By marrying unbelievers, they would be casting off their first faith. However, I prefer the first explanation.

Another reason, Paul says is that younger widows, if cared for by the church, would have time on their hands and get involved in sinful activities.

They would get in the habit of being idle instead of being useful.
This would bring about temptation … There is a definite connection between idleness and sin.
So, Paul warned Timothy against using the “charity” ministry of the church to encourage people to be idle.
The church certainly ought to assist those who really need help, but it must not subsidize sin. As a pastor, I have had to make decisions in these matters, and sometimes it is not easy.

v15-16

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In verse 14, Paul lists positive things he wanted the younger widows to do.

He says that the younger widows should marry and have families.

Moving from the negative, Paul listed the positive things he wanted the younger widows to do to be accepted and approved in the church. He wanted the younger widows to marry and have families. While not every person is supposed to get married, marriage is natural for most people who have been married before. Why remain in lonely widowhood if there was yet opportunity for a husband and a family? Of course, all of this would have to be “in the Lord” ().
Not every person is supposed to get married.
But marriage is natural for most people who have been married before.
If one is a young widow, why remain alone if there is the opportunity for a husband and a family?
Of course, as points out, she should not look outside of the Body of Christ for a husband.
It says the one she marries should be, “Only in the Lord.
1 Corinthians all of this would have to be “in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 7:39 NKJV
A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.
AND, Paul says, build a family.
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Speaking of her role in the house, “Manage the house” in verse 14 literally means “rule the house.”

(The word used here is a conglomeration of oikos meaning “house” and despotēs meaning “master.”)

The wife should manage all the affairs of the household, and her husband should trust her to do so.

This is the description given of the “excellent wife” of … many responsibilities performed faithfully … to love, care for, defend, and even provide for her family.
Of course, marriage is a partnership; but each partner has a special sphere of responsibility.
Few men can do in a home what a woman can do.
The result of all this is a good testimony that silences any who would raise an accusation.
Satan (the adversary) is always alert to an opportunity to invade and destroy a Christian home. The word occasion is a military term that means “a base of operations.” A Christian wife who is not doing her job at home gives Satan a beachhead for his operations, and the results are tragic. While there are times when a Christian wife and mother may have to work outside the home, it must not destroy her ministry in the home. The wife who works simply to get luxuries may discover too late that she has lost some necessities. It may be all right to have what money can buy if you do not lose what money cannot buy.
How Christian wives and mothers manage their homes can be a testimony to those outside the church.
Just as a pastor is to have a good reputation with outsiders (), and the servants are not to bring reproach on God’s Word (), so the wives are to have a good witness.

v16

Here Paul summarizes the principle of each family caring for the needs of its own members.

Paul did not tell them how these widows should be relieved—giving them a regular dole, taking them into a home, giving them employment, etc.

Each local assembly would have to decide this according to the needs of individual cases.
But of course we have to wonder how this principle applies to Christians today?

Certainly we must honor our family and seek to provide for them if they have needs.

But not every Christian family is able to take in another family member, and not every widow wants to live with her children.

Where there is sickness or handicap, professional care is often necessary, and perhaps this cannot be given in a home.
Each family must decide what God’s will is in the matter, and no decision is easy.

The important thing is that believers show love and concern and do all they can to help each other.

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The instructions in this section deal primarily with the elders, but the principles also apply to a pastor’s relationship with any officer in his church. It is a wonderful thing when the elders and deacons (and other officers) work together in harmony and love. It is tragic when a pastor tries to become a spiritual dictator (), or when an officer tries to be a preeminent “big shot” ().
Apparently Timothy was having some problems with the elders of the church at Ephesus. He was a young man and still had much to learn. Ephesus was not an easy place to minister. Furthermore, Timothy had followed Paul as overseer of the church, and Paul would not be an easy man to follow! Paul’s farewell address to the Ephesian elders () shows how hard he had worked and how faithful he had been, and how much the elders loved Paul (). In spite of the fact that Paul had personally sent Timothy to Ephesus, the young man was having a hard time.
This situation may be the reason for Paul’s instruction about wine (). Did Timothy have stomach trouble? Was he ill because of his many responsibilities and problems? Or had he tried to follow the ideas of some ascetics (), only to discover that his diet was making him worse instead of better? We do not know the answers to all these questions; we can only read between the lines. It is worth noting that Paul’s mention of wine here is not an endorsement of the entire alcohol industry. Using wine for medicinal reasons is not an encouragement for social drinking. As we have seen, though the Bible does not demand total abstinence, it does denounce drunkenness.
Paul counseled Timothy in his relationship to the elders by discussing three topics:

v17-18

v17-
Amen.

In the early church, while there were overseers or pastors, there were also elders who ministered to the people.

Men who devoted themselves full-time to the work of the Lord deserved some kind of compensation.

In most congregations today, the elders are laymen who have other vocations, but who assist in the work of the church. Usually the pastoral staff are the only full-time workers in the church. (Of course, there are also secretaries, custodians, etc., but Paul was not writing about them.)
The Greek word here for honor is τιμή Timē and speaks of value.
Paul places value on those who devote themselves to laboring in the word and doctrine.
Honor” sometimes included payment, and this is the case here (5:18). “Double pay” (so TEV here) was sometimes given to worthy soldiers and is probably in view here.
In that time, “Double pay” was given to soldiers who did double duty.
There were two kinds of elders in the church: ruling elders who supervised the work of the congregation; and teaching elders who taught the Word of God.
There were two kinds of elders in the church: ruling elders who supervised the work of the congregation; and teaching elders who taught the Word of God.
These elders were chosen from the congregation on the basis of God’s call, the Spirit’s equipping, and the witness and work of the men themselves.
The local church needs both ruling and teaching.
The Spirit gives the gifts of “helps” and “governments” to the church (). If a church is not organized, there will be wasted effort, money, and opportunities. If spiritually minded leaders do not supervise the various ministries of the local church, there will be chaos instead of order. However, this supervision must not be dictatorial. You do not manage the work of a local church in the same manner as you do a grocery store or a manufacturing plant. While a church should follow good business principles, it is not a business. The ruthless way some church leaders have pushed people around is a disgrace to the Gospel.
But ruling without teaching would accomplish very little. The local church grows through the ministry of the Word of God (). You cannot rule over babies! Unless the believers are fed, cleansed, and strengthened by the Word, they will be weak and useless and will only create problems.
Paul told Timothy to be sure that the leaders were paid adequately, on the basis of their ministries.
And he quoted an Old Testament law from to prove his point.
Deuteronomy 25:4 NKJV
“You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.
In , Paul explains this verse saying, “Is it oxen God is concerned about? Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more?”
Do not read below:
The New King James Version. (1982). (). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
1 Corinthians 9:9–12 NKJV
For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” Is it oxen God is concerned about? Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ.
1 Corinthians
Paul also quoted our Lord Jesus Christ: “The laborer is worthy of his wages” ().
Do not read below:
Luke 10:7 NKJV
And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house.
Paul also quoted our Lord Jesus Christ: “The laborer deserves his wages” (, niv).

If pastors are faithful in feeding the people “The Word and Doctrine,” then the church ought to be faithful and pay them adequately.

If pastors are faithful in feeding and leading the people, then the church ought to be faithful and pay them adequately. “Double honor” () can be translated “generous pay.” (The word honor is used as in “honorarium.”) It is God’s plan that the needs of His servants be met by their local churches; and He will bless churches that are faithful to His servants. If a church is not faithful, and its pastor’s needs are not met, it is a poor testimony; and God has ways of dealing with the situation. He can provide through other means, but then the church misses the blessing; or He may move His servant elsewhere.

If a congregation is not faithful in this, and its pastor’s needs are not met, it is a poor testimony; … and God has ways of dealing with the situation.

God can provide through other means, but then the church misses the blessing.
Or God may chastise the congregation in some way.
The other side of the coin is this: A pastor must never minister simply to earn money (see ). To “negotiate” with churches, or to canvass around looking for a place with a bigger salary is not in the will of God. Nor is it right for a pastor to bring into his sermons his own financial needs, hoping to arouse some support from the finance committee!

v19-25

Pastors have a pretty big target on their backs.

Especially those who, “Labor in Word and Doctrine.”

Those pastors are dangerous to Satan because they are feeding the flock steak and not starving them on salad.
And Satan will try to accuse them any way he can to stop them.
Church discipline usually goes to one of two extremes. Either there is no discipline at all, and the church languishes because of disobedience and sin. Or the church officers become evangelical policemen who hold a kangaroo court and violate many of the Bible’s spiritual principles.
Now, don’t get that confused with false teachers who teach false doctrines, distorting and twisting God’s Word … people pleasers who have no regard for sound doctrine.
Those pastors are dangerous to the church and Satan loves them because they leave their congregations weak and ignorant of God’s Word.
Contending for the faith as it has been handed down to us by the Apostles … Calling them out on it, as Paul does, is important
Perhaps there would not be so much of it if church discipline was as important today as it was in the early church.
----

Church discipline usually goes to one of two extremes.

Church discipline usually goes to one of two extremes. Either there is no discipline at all, and the church languishes because of disobedience and sin. Or the church officers become evangelical policemen who hold a kangaroo court and violate many of the Bible’s spiritual principles.
Either there is no discipline at all, and the church languishes because of disobedience and sin.
Or the church officers become evangelical policemen who hold a kangaroo court and violate many of the Bible’s spiritual principles.
The disciplining of church members is explained in ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; and .

Paul here is addressing the disciplining of church leaders.

It is sad when a church member must be disciplined, but it is even sadder when a spiritual leader fails and must be disciplined.

That’s because shepherds, by the time their failings have been discovered, have probably already lead many people away.

As opposed to the older men, younger men, older women, and younger women of verse 1, Paul says that if an accusation has been verified by 2 or 3 witnesses, an ELDER (Shepherd, Overseer) must be rebuked in the presence of all.
This is not the Greek Word from verse 1 … instead it’s ἐλέγχω Elenchō, meaning “Expose.”
That can sound kind of harsh … and it would certainly be incredibly difficult for Pastor and congregation.
But the purpose of discipline is restoration in spirit of love, not revenge, or hatred.
It’s not to drive him away, but to begin a process of restoration.
Galatians 6:1 NKJV
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.

The verb restore that Paul used in describes setting a broken bone.

That is a procedure that requires patience and tenderness, but is pretty sharp and jolting when it actually happens.
There has been a dangerous precedent in recent years with pastors who are being disciplined having a letter from them read to the congregation rather than being brought before them to be exposed.
Then a few weeks later they are back in the pulpit there or somewhere else, having forgone any process of restoration.
----

Paul’s first caution to Timothy was to be sure of his facts, and the way to do that is to have witnesses.

Think of the patience and tenderness involved in that procedure!
Paul’s first caution to Timothy was to be sure of his facts, and the way to do that is to have witnesses (). This principle is also stated in ; ; and . I think a dual application of the principle is suggested here. First, those who make any accusation against a pastor must be able to support it with witnesses. Rumor and suspicion are not adequate grounds for discipline. Second, when an accusation is made, witnesses ought to be present. In other words, the accused has the right to face his accuser in the presence of witnesses.

This is a principle stated several places in scripture, such as ; ; and .

Rumor, gossip, and suspicion are not adequate grounds for discipline.
And this is why several witnesses are required.
No accusation against a pastor should be heard that comes from the mouth of only one witness … an accusation must be FROM two or three witnesses.
It is sad when churches disobey the Word and listen to rumors, lies, and gossip.
Many a godly pastor has been discouraged and even defeated in his life and ministry in this way, and some have even resigned from the ministry.
“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire” may be a good slogan for a volunteer fire department, but it does not apply to local churches.
“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire” could possibly mean that somebody’s gossiping tongue wants to start a fire.
----
The under-the-counter politics of city hall have no place in a church.

The final caution of this chapter was that Timothy do these things without prejudgement or playing favorites and that nobody should be ordained without first being tested.

“In secret have I said nothing,” said Jesus ().
If an officer is guilty, then he should be rebuked before all the other leaders ().
He should be given opportunity to repent, and if he does he should be forgiven (). Once he is forgiven, the matter is settled and should never be brought up again.

It is dangerous to quickly place a new Christian or a new church member in a place of spiritual responsibility.

Finally, Paul says that nobody should be ordained without first being tested.
He should act without prejudice against or partiality for the accused officer.
There are no seniority rights in a local church; each member has the same standing before God and His Word.
To show either prejudice or partiality is to make the situation even worse.
Only God knows the hearts of everyone ().
Some people’s sins are clearly seen.
Acts 1:24 NKJV
And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen
Others are able to hide their sins, but verse 24 says, their sins pursue them.
If those who are visibly sinning are not confronted, but rather given positions of responsibility, it is a bad testimony to the church and will become a bad testimony to the world.
If a person who has hidden sins is given spiritual responsibility, eventually what is hidden comes to light and the impact is even greater.
To ordain elders with sin in their lives is to partake of those sins.
The church needs spiritual wisdom and guidance in selecting its officers.
It is dangerous to impulsively place a new Christian or a new church member in a place of spiritual responsibility. Some people’s sins are clearly seen; others are able to cover their sins, though their sins pursue them (). The good works of dedicated believers ought to be evident, even though they do not serve in order to be seen by people ().
To ordain elders with sin in their lives is to partake of those sins.
If simply saying “Good-bye” (God be with you) to a heretic makes us partakers of his evil deeds (), then how much guiltier are we if we ordain people whose lives are not right with God?
No pastor or church member is perfect, but that should not hinder us from striving for perfection.
Prayer: Fear not little flock it is God’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. So, go forth into the world in peace; be of good courage; hold fast that which is good; render to no one evil for evil; strengthen the fainthearted; support the weak; help the afflicted; honor elders; speak God’s Word; love and serve the Lord; rejoice in the power of the Holy Spirit; and rejoice in the blessing of God almighty. May the Lord bless you and keep you; may He make His face and His light to shine upon you; may He lift up His countenance upon you and give you His peace.
be of good courage;
hold fast that which is good;
render to no one evil for evil;
strengthen the fainthearted;
support the weak; help the afflicted; honor elders; speak God’s Word; love and serve the Lord; rejoice in the power of the Holy Spirit; and rejoice in the blessing of God almighty.
help the afflicted;
honour everyone;
love and serve the Lord,
rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen.
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