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I Timothy Chapter 5

Memory verses for this week:  Psa 37:28  For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. 

Introduction:  In chapter 4, Paul warned of the time of Apostasy which is certainly upon us today.   Many are turning from the truth to believe lies and follow doctrines of Satan rather than the true doctrines of God.  We spoke of what God considered a good pastor,  and discussed how that bodily exercise had little to offer us, whereas spiritual growth and exercise has much to offer.   This week as we begin our study on how to deal with both older and young Christians.

I.  How to Deal with Men and Women

1 Tim 5:1  Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;

1 Tim 5:2  The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.

Paul gives young Timothy some good advice.   Some misunderstand this verse to refer to just pastors (elders), but I think this is addressing the older men of the church along with the pastors.  With age should come respect, and Paul urges young Timothy to use wisdom in dealing with this age group.   We should look up to our older members, particularly those who have years of service to the Lord and have truly matured in their Christian walk.   It takes a wise man or woman to know how to deal with people of all age groups.  With years of service behind them, the older men and women have seen so much, and that wealth of information can help a young pastor in making decisions.  I am not saying the young pastor should be overseen by these older members, but simply saying that these older ones should be given some special care and not rebuked as Paul states in verse one. (as long as they follow the commands laid down in God’s Word.)   Paul says to treat the older men as ‘fathers’ and the elderly women as ‘mothers.’   Those that are younger are to be dealt with as brothers and sisters in Christ.   And whatever we do, we should do it all in purity.  God desires that all our dealings be done perfectly and purely, the same way that God desires us to serve Him.

John 4:23  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

John 4:24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 

J. Vernon McGee had this to say about verse 1. 

“An elder”—the first relationship discussed is Timothy’s relationship to elders. There has been some difference of opinion as to whether Paul is referring to the office of elder or to an elder person, someone who was older than Timothy. In the early church the “elder” was an office, but the word used here refers to the individual. I think Paul had both aspects in mind: he is speaking of a mature child of God, and a man who occupied a certain office. Paul means both for the simple fact that an elder was an elder—an older man.

“Rebuke not an elder, but entreat [exhort] him as a father.” Timothy was not to rebuke an elder publicly, but he was to entreat him privately. Timothy was a young man, and he needed to be very tactful in his relationship with these older men in the church. In other words, he was not to take the position of a know-it-all or of a dictator over these older men. He was to encourage them and have a word privately with them if he thought it was necessary.

“And the younger men as brethren.” A sweet relationship should exist between Timothy and the older men and also with those of his own age. [1]


II.  The Church’s Responsibilities to Widows

1 Tim 5:3  Honour widows that are widows indeed.

1 Tim 5:4  But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to show piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.

1 Tim 5:5  Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.

God seems to show a special love to those that are poor in the scriptures.  And another group are given a special position in the church, and those are widows.   The church is commanded to honor widows.   And the term “widows indeed” most likely refers to the widows who are basically on their own with no family to provide for them.  If you skip down in the chapter to verse 16, you see a direct command that the church is to help take care of the widows.

1 Tim 5:16  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.

In the early days of the church, we saw that they specifically called out some to help to minister unto the widows who were members of the church there in Jerusalem.

Acts 6:1-4  And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. 2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. 3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. 4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.

Verse 4 backs up the contention that only those that are truly widows without support should be cared for by the church.  Those that have children or grandchildren should have support from the immediate family.  It says the family is lacking in piety if they look to the church to take care of the elderly of the family.   Verse 5 commands that the widow should continue in supplications and prayers night and day.

1 Tim 5:6  But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.

1 Tim 5:7  And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.

1 Tim 5:8  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.

1 Tim 5:9  Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man,

Verse 9 says that a widow that is to be cared for by the church should be at least sixty years old.   She should have only been married one time, and have a good record about her.   Verse 8 commands all men to provide for their own families first.  It says that if we don’t take care of our own house, we have denied the faith and became worse than an infidel.  A man has the responsibility to provide for the spiritual need of his family.  This involves several things, but it certainly means bringing them to church where they can receive spiritual training.

The Believers Study Bible said this about verse 8:

5:8 Becoming a follower of Christ significantly increases responsibility in the social area also. Paul directs this admonition to the care of widows (cf. vv. 3, 4), although he states it in terms of overall family responsibility. A Christian must labor in order to provide for those of his family. To fail in this obligation is to deny the faith and to be worse than one with no faith at all. To the sin of slothfulness is added hypocrisy because the man is claiming to be a follower of Christ .[2]

1 Tim 5:10  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.

The widow that the church is to give special attention to is a woman with a good report and one that has brought up children.  Verse 10 goes on to say that she will have been one who has been active in service to the Lord.  Washing the feet of the saints was a common practice in that day, since most travel was done by foot and dust accumulated on the feet.  It says that she would have a record of relieving the afflicted.   It says in verse 6 that if one lives in pleasure, they she is dead while alive and the church is not obligated to take care of her.

1 Tim 5:11  But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;

1 Tim 5:12  Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.

1 Tim 5:13  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.

1 Tim 5:14  I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

1 Tim 5:15  For some are already turned aside after Satan.

1 Tim 5:16  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.

If you just glance at verses 11-15, you would think that there are no good young widows in the church.  That is not what Paul is saying at all.  He is warning that if the church was to take care of the younger widows, these things might happen.   And we know that if we turn from Christ, negative things will happen, both to men and women.  Those that turn from God and their first faith will become idle and become busybodies.  God is not pleased with anyone who can not control the tongue.  It says speaking things which they ought not.  Some in the church had already turned aside and were serving Satan.   I want to restate that this is not saying all young widows will not serve the Lord, but points to the fact that if our eyes do not stay focused on the Lord, we can certainly fall away.   Paul’s recommendation is for the younger widows to remarry and to take on the normal responsibilities of a good wife.   When they do this, Satan has no way to speak evil of them.

III.  The Church’s Attitude Toward  the Pastor

1 Tim 5:17  Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

1 Tim 5:18  For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

The bible tells us that a pastor that rules well is to be counted worthy of double honour.  A true man of god labours in the word and doctrine every day.   God is teaching us that the pastor is worthy of what the church pays him for a salary.   The verse about not muzzling the ox that treadeth out the corn (From 1 Cor. 9:7-10), is relational to the pastor.  Few jobs have a more demanding requirement than a pastor.   You are virtually on call 24 hours a day, and some church member is going to have a problem almost every day.  There are so many who are sick and we all have family members who die.   These times put extra burdens upon the pastor.  And while most of us are off to rest on Sundays, this is the day the Pastor has to truly put forth added work and effort.   We should certainly honor our pastor and count it a blessing to have someone dedicated totally and wholly to the work of the Lord.

1 Tim 5:19  Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

1 Tim 5:20  Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

If every church member would abide by verse 19, many problems in the churches could be avoided.   It says we are not to accept ANY accusation about the pastor unless it is before two or three witnesses.  This is an important command, and we should realize the seriousness of finding fault and speaking evil of the man of God.  If a man is teaching false doctrine or living in sin, then the two or three witnesses should then speak up.  But when a man is doing his best to serve God, we should turn a deaf ear to gossip and negative thinking.  Rather, we should pray for the pastor and for those who might be trying to cause problems.

Verse 20 says that we should rebuke those who sin before all that others may also fear.   I think the greater meaning of this has to do with church discipline, and we covered how that should be done in our study of Corinthians.

1 Tim 5:21  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.

1 Tim 5:22  Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure.

Paul charges young Timothy to observe these things without show partiality.  Sometimes this is difficult, but we should do our very best to treat everyone equally and not to show favoritism.   Laying on of the hands probably speaks of ordaining a minister.  This would mean to really know the man you are helping to ordain and be sure he is qualified.   He further warns to not be a partaker of other men’s sins, but do his best to stay pure.

James 2:2  For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;

James 2:3  And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:

James 2:4  Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

James 2:5  Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

James 2:6  But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?

James 2:7  Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?

James 2:8  If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:

James 2:9  But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

1 Tim 5:23  Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.

1 Tim 5:24  Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.

1 Tim 5:25  Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.

I personally do not think that he is recommending fermented wine here, since we have so many commands to stay away from alcohol and the evils it brings.  But if it were to mean that, it would certainly mean to use it for the purpose of medicine to get over an illness.   Paul says in verse 24 that some men’s sins are found out before the judgment, while others will be shown at the judgment.   But all sin will be ultimately revealed.   The same is true of good works.    Many of them give an immediate reward, but others will not be rewarded until later on.  But God is not unfaithful to our labors of love.

Gal 6:7  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Num 32:23  But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.

1 Cor 15:57  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Cor 15:58  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. 


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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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