1 Timothy 5
-Paul gives further instructions on a variety of issues in the church for the young pastor in this chapter. First, he give instructions on how to correct, or rebuke people. Older men are to encouraged and respected as a father when correcting. Younger men are to be rebuked as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, in all purity (1 Timothy 5:1-2). *Application* The prepositional phrase “in all purity” is key for helping those in the church know how to treat members of the opposite sex. If we will take Paul’s advice and treat these like we would a sister or a brother, it will lead to the proper relationship without flirtatious and enticing come ons that lead to impurity and even immorality. God expects His church to be pure and without the stains of the world (James 1:27).
-The next order of business is with the handling of widows. Paul tells the young disciple, and the church, to honor widows that are truly widows. He lays out some general qualifications for being a true widow including: has been left all alone has her hope set on God, is a prayer warrior night and day, over 60 years of age, the wife of one husband, a reputation for good works, has raised children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, has been devoted (1 Timothy 5:3-10). He also lists some things that may exclude these widows from receiving support so as to not be a burden on the church and keep the church pure and untainted. These things include: having relatives who can and should care for them, self-indulgence, younger women with a desire to remarry (1 Timothy 5:4, 6-7, 11-12). These that are not truly widows will have a tendency and temptation to be idlers, gossips, and busybodies saying things that they shouldn’t (1 Timothy 5:13). This is why Paul encourages them to marry in this instance, bear children, and manage their own households with dignity and proper focus. This, the apostle says, will give the adversary (the devil) no occasion for slander (1 Timothy 5:14). Some apparently had already strayed from the faith in this area and gone after Satan (1 Timothy 5:15). *Application* True and undefiled religion before the Lord includes caring for the widows as we see here in this passage (James 1:27 again). However, as we also see here, there may need be some qualifications to this benevolence. The church has a responsibility to do what is right in a case by case analysis when it comes to these types of decisions. Making decisions like this is not always easy and may at times not be well received in a self-indulgent society like the one in which we live. Paul’s admonition is that we be prudent and evaluate all the different angles to make sure that the church is helping true widows, and not be unnecessarily burdened when others within the family unit should be providing.
-Now Paul talks briefly about elders and their worthiness to be compensated in the body of believers for their work if they rule well (1 Timothy 5:17-18). When an elder is charged with wrongdoing, it should have a consensus of at least two or three witnesses (1 Timothy 5:19). As for those elders who persist in sin, they should be rebuked in the corporate gathering so that accountability and the fear of God may preside over the congregation (1 Timothy 5:20). This is to be administered in total impartiality under the Headship of Christ without prejudging (1 Timothy 5:21). *Application* This is an interesting section when we consider the unquestioned power and authority in the modern church as it pertains to leadership. Have we become so respectful and honoring of our spiritual leaders that we never question or challenge things that may be unbiblical and contrary to the cause of the Kingdom within the local church? When elders rule well, they should be honored with double portions. When they do wrong, they too should be corrected with respect and dignity with reconciliation and restoration the goal. Sadly, we often do not address sin in the church the proper way and have become weakened as a result. Standing up in these types of situations will require courage, but the ungodly things in the church will prosper if we don’t do anything. Resist blind obedience and seek the truth in love for a healthy and Spirit-filled church. The key point here that Paul is promoting is accountability, which the American church desperately needs. We usually don’t confront enough because we don’t care enough, and are probably not listening to God’s voice enough. If we are not careful, the leaders in our churches can rule and domineer with pride and contempt over their flock, which are also priests and filled with discernment (1 Thessalonians 5:20, 1 Peter 2:9, Revelation 1:6). This accentuates the decline of the prophetic ministry in the modern church, which is an essential check and balance system that the Lord has ordained.
-The final instruction deals with not being too quick to lay hands on others to bless them when you really don’t know their spirit (1 Timothy 5:22a). Paul implores his young leader to not take part in the sins of others, but to keep himself pure (1 Timothy 5:22b). He warns against asceticism more than likely in commanding that he take a little wine for his stomach and frequent ailments. He warns that some sins are conspicuous (easy to notice), but some are hidden and will come out later. This applies to good works as well, but one day all will come to light (1 Corinthians 4:5). *Application* The intentions of the heart God will judge. We need to be careful not to pass judgment quickly or in haste. Assess situations that you are unsure of and be careful of your blessings and partnerships. Ask the Lord for discernment and wisdom (James 1:5).
Verse to Memorize- 1 Timothy 5:17