1 TIMOTHY 5 – INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS
Presented by Marvin Griffin
July 15, 2020
Chapter 5 of 1st Timothy seems to flow out of the preceding verse. For this reason I will read ch. 4:16 before reading chapter 5.
We can assume that Timothy has taken heed to himself and unto the doctrine pertaining to himself. Thus he is saved from going astray and should now apply the doctrine to the rest of the flock to save them from error and sin.
What Paul is concerned about is that Timothy will do this shepherd work in a proper manner. Matthew Henry sees the work of a ‘minister’ to include reproving and he sees each person in verse 1 as being in need of reproof and gives his thoughts on how Timothy should do this. Somewhat differently, I perceive Paul instructing Timothy in the attitude he should take as he cares for the flock in whatever need they may have.
An older man should be treated with respect, not berated with words, but intreated or exhorted gently, as one would honor a father.
A younger man should be treated as an equal, one you would like to see succeed in life even as a brother in your family.
An older woman should be honored as one who herself has cared for others. This has been her life-bent or spent.
A younger woman should be as a sister in your family who you wish to see thrive and be happy.
HONOR TRUE WIDOWS
Verses 3 – 16 concern widows and the length of this passage would indicate the importance of such to God. Of first note, the church should not only treat widows with respect but should give them financial help as needed. However, children or grandchildren should repay their mother or grandmother for the care she has given them over many years, thus meeting her financial needs. We do realize that in first world countries, pensions and gov’t benefits provide for the bulk of need.
In verse 5 we seed defined, ‘a widow indeed’. She is one who has no family and must look to God alone for her sustenance. She is not a backslider with desires only for pleasure rather than pleasing God.
Timothy is to come on strong about this family support of a widow. Even most unbelievers provide for their mothers so for a believer not to do this is worse than them.
There are qualifications for financial aid from the church. No sister should be on the list for help until they are at least 60 years of age. She should be noted for faithfulness to her husband and for good works. She should also have been hospitable and served the saints and cared for the sick. In other words, every good work.
Don’t put younger widows on the list for financial help. They might say that they wish to stay single to better serve the Lord, but Paul seems to claim a knowledge of the heart of younger women. He thinks that in time they will want to marry so much that they might even marry an unbeliever, thus casting off their biblical convictions and fall into the condemnation of their fellow saints. This condemnation is not to hell.
Verse 13 seems to flesh out the old adage “The devil finds work for idle hands” These negative deeds are a temptation for those who don’t have to be busy at work or busy in their own home.
In Verse 14 Paul desires the younger widows to marry with all the duties that would follow. There is nothing wrong with a believing widow marrying a believing single man . We do realize that generally the man would need to take the formal initiative but women do have their ways!
In verse 16 Paul for the 3rd time, states that family should take care of widows so that the church can better care for widows that have no family.
HONOR THE ELDERS
The rest of this chapter deals with elders. The elders who ‘rule’ well should be counted worthy of double honor. Let’s clarify the word ‘rule’ first. Darby would rather the phrase ‘take the lead’ instead of rule. Strongs gives the idea of ‘those that stand before and go before, preside and practice’. MacD. says “ It is not a question of control but of example”.
Now as to ‘double honor’ scripture tells us to esteem elders very highly in love for their work’s sake. This should be doubled up with financial reimbursement, especially for those who are so busy in the word and doctrine that they aren’t free for regular employment. Paul now gives two scriptural reasons for this and note, one is from the OT and one from the NT, both equal in authority.
In brief, they state that the working ox gets to eat and the working man gets wages.
Since elders occupy a position of responsibility in the assembly they become a special target for Satan’s attack. To protect from such, any accusation against them must be verified beyond a doubt by 2 or 3 witnesses. A sinning elder must be rebuked publicly, as a deterrent to others and as to the seriousness of sin. Paul now charges Timothy, with God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels as witnesses, that he observe these things without prejudice or favoritism.
While it is easy to see in v. 23, Paul’s personal care for Timothy, I think it is quite evident in v. 22 as well. If Timothy is to support the eldership of a newcomer and the new elder negatively affects the whole church, Timothy himself will be devastated. He would be seen as sharing the new elder’s sins and not keeping himself pure so Paul gives a fair warning indeed with a concern for Timothy’s testimony.
Paul is also concerned about Timothy’s physical well-being and so prescribes a little medicinal wine. Water can contain contaminants which if unmitigated could cause much discomfort. It would seem that Timothy suffered from this.
Vs. 24 & 25 takes us back to the business of elders and those who would take such a responsibility. Some men’s sins are more open and easily disqualify them from becoming elders. Other men’s sins are done in private and don’t come to light until time has passed. In the meantime, these men could be wrongly judged as good and welcomed into overseership too early.
In a similar way, some good works can’t help but be very evident and some may be more retiring and modest and it may take time to prove them good. Be assured, that time will prove them good.