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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary
1 Timothy 5

 

 

Verses 1-16

5:1-6:21 VARIOUS KINDS OF PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH

The young, the old and the widows (5:1-16)

It may at times have been difficult for Timothy to deal with those who were older or those who were of the opposite sex. Paul therefore reminds him to be careful how he treats people, and always to show fitting courtesy and to act with moral uprightness (5:1-2).

The church must care for those of its members who are in need. But the church does not have a duty to support financially those elderly people who have children and grandchildren who can look after them. The church should support only the widows who are very poor and who have no one to whom they can turn for help except God (3-5). Other widows, who have found a means of support by turning to a life of pleasure, should be sternly warned, for they are killing their spiritual lives (6-7). Paul repeats that, wherever possible, the widows in the church should be looked after by their own families. Even unbelievers acknowledge they have a responsibility towards elderly parents (8).

Because of its limited finances, the church should limit the number of widows on its welfare list. It should include only those who are over the age of sixty, have been married only once, have promoted Christian standards in their families and households, have demonstrated the servant attitude in their manner of living and have a reputation for good deeds (9-10).

Younger widows should not be included on the church's welfare list. In past cases some have shown a tendency to remarry hastily and the results have been disastrous. Others have become gossips and busybodies. They would do better to remarry (to those who share their faith; cf. 1 Corinthians 7:39) and so have the responsibility of bringing up children and looking after the home (11-15). In summary, people should look for ways to provide for widows privately rather than to let them become a burden to the church (16).


Verses 17-25

Church elders and Timothy himself (5:17-25)

The church members should recognize the valuable service that the elders give and should reward them generously (17-18). Any accusation of wrongdoing against elders must be supported by witnesses. If they are shown to be guilty, they should be rebuked publicly, since their position as leaders in the church makes their sin the more serious (19-20).

Timothy is reminded not to show favouritism nor to act hastily in appointing people to positions of leadership in the church. Others will doubt his own purity if he appoints a person who is later shown to be a wrongdoer (21-22). The reminder to Timothy to keep himself pure does not mean he must no longer drink wine, for if he takes it in reasonable amounts it may help him enjoy better health (23). But (to return to the matter of appointing officers in the church) he must remember that not all the good or all the bad in a person can be seen at first. Sooner or later, however, it will become obvious. Therefore, it is wise not to accept or reject anyone too hastily (24-25).

 


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Bibliography Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 5:4". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/1-timothy-5.html. 2005.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, November 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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