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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

1 Timothy 5

Verse 1

Rebuke not an elder (πρεσβυτερω μη επιπληξηις). Dative case πρεσβυτερω used in the usual sense of an older man, not a minister (bishop as in 1 Timothy 3:2) as is shown by "as a father." First aorist (ingressive) active subjunctive with negative μη (prohibition against committing the act) of επιπλησσω, to strike upon, old verb, but here only in N.T. and in figurative sense with words rather than with fists. Respect for age is what is here commanded, an item appropriate to the present time.

The younger men as brethren (νεωτερους ως αδελφους). Comparative adjective νεωτερος from νεος (young). No article, "younger men." Wise words for the young minister to know how to conduct himself with old men (reverence) and young men (fellowship, but not stooping to folly with them).

Verse 2

The elder women as mothers (πρεσβυτερας ως μητερας). Anarthrous again, "older women as mothers." Respect and reverence once more.

The younger as sisters, in all purity (νεωτερας ως αδελφας εν παση αγνια). Anarthrous also and comparative form as in verse 1 Timothy 5:1. See 1 Timothy 4:12 for αγνια. No sort of behavior will so easily make or mar the young preacher as his conduct with young women.

Verse 3

That are widows indeed (τας οντως χηρας). For οντως (actually, really), see Luke 23:47; 1 Corinthians 14:25; and verse 1 Timothy 5:5. For widows (χηρα) see Mark 12:40; Mark 12:42; Acts 6:1; 1 Corinthians 7:8. Parry notes that in verses 1 Timothy 5:3-8 Paul discusses widows who are in distress and 1 Timothy 5:9-16 those who are in the employment of the local church for certain work. Evidently, as in Acts 1 Timothy 6:1-6, so here in Ephesus there had arisen some trouble over the widows in the church. Both for individual cases of need and as a class Timothy is to show proper respect (τιμα, keep on honouring) the widows.

Verse 4

Grandchildren (εκγονα). Old word from εκγινομα, here only in N.T.

Let them learn (μανθανετωσαν). The children and grandchildren of a widow. Present active imperative third person plural of μανθανω. "Let them keep on learning."

First (πρωτον). Adverb, first before anything else. No "corban" business here. No acts of "piety" toward God will make up for impiety towards parents.

To shew piety (ευσεβειν). Present active infinitive with μανθανετωσαν and old verb, in N.T. only here and Acts 17:23. From ευσεβης (ευ, σεβομα), pious, dutiful.

Their own family (τον ιδιον οικον). "Their own household." Filial piety is primary unless parents interfere with duty to Christ (Luke 14:26).

To requite (αμοιβας αποδιδονα). Present active infinitive of αποδιδωμ, to give back, old and common verb (Romans 2:6), to keep on giving back. Αμοιβας (from αμειβομα, to requite like for like) is old and common word, but here only in N.T.

Their parents (τοις προγονοις). Dative case of old and common word προγονος (from προγινομα, to come before), "ancestor." In N.T. only here and 2 Timothy 1:3. See 1 Timothy 2:3 for "acceptable" (αποδεκτον).

Verse 5

Desolate (μεμονωμενη). Perfect passive participle of μονοω (from μονος), "left alone," old verb, here alone in N.T. Without husband, children, or other close kin.

Hath her hope set on God (ηλπικεν επ θεον). Perfect active indicative of ελπιζω, "hath placed her hope (and keeps it) on God." Text doubtful whether God (θεον) or Lord (Κυριον).

Continues (προσμενε). See on 1 Timothy 1:3. With dative case here.

Night and day (νυκτος κα ημερας). "By night and by day" (genitive, not accusative). Paul does not say that she should pray "all night and day."

Verse 6

She that giveth herself to pleasure (η σπαταλωσα). Present active participle of σπλαταλαω, late verb (Polybius) from σπαταλη (riotous, luxurious living). In N.T. only here and James 5:5.

Verse 7

That they may be without reproach (ινα ανεπιλημπτο ωσιν). See 1 Timothy 3:2 for ανεπιλημπτος. Final clause with ινα and present subjunctive.

Verse 8

Provideth not for his own (των ιδιων ου προνοε). Condition of first class with ε and present active (or middle προνοειτα) indicative of προνοεω, old verb, to think beforehand. Pauline word in N.T. only here, 2 Corinthians 8:21; Romans 12:7. With genitive case.

He hath denied the faith (την πιστιν ηρνητα). Perfect middle indicative of old verb αρνεομα. His act of impiety belies (Titus 1:16) his claim to the faith (Revelation 2:13).

Worse than an unbeliever (απιστου χειρων). Ablative case of απιστου after the comparative χειρων. Who makes no profession of piety.

Verse 9

Let none be enrolled as a widow (χηρα καταλεγεσθω). Present passive imperative of καταλεγω, old verb, to set down in an official list, only here in N.T. "Let a widow be enrolled," the negative coming later, "having become of no less than sixty years" (μη ελαττον ετων εξηκοντα γεγονυια). Second perfect active participle of γινομα. For the case of ετων, see Luke 2:42. This list of genuine widows (verses 1 Timothy 5:3; 1 Timothy 5:5) apparently had some kind of church work to do (care for the sick, the orphans, etc.).

The wife of one man (ενος ανδρος γυνη). Widows on this list must not be married a second time. This interpretation is not so clear for 1 Timothy 3:2; 1 Timothy 3:12; Titus 1:6.

Verse 10

If she hath brought up children (ε ετεκνοτροφησεν). Condition of first class. Late and rare word (Aristotle, Epictetus), first aorist active indicative of τεκνοτροφεω (τεκνοτροφος, from τεκνον, τρεφω), here only in N.T. Qualification for her work as leader.

If she hath used hospitality to strangers (ε εξενοδοχησεν). First aorist again and same condition. Late form (Dio Cassius) of old verb ξενοδοκεω (Herodotus), to welcome strangers (ξενους δεχομα). Only here in N.T. Hospitality another qualification for such leadership (1 Timothy 3:2).

If she hath washed the saints' feet (ε αγιων ποδας ενιψεν). Same condition and tense of νιπτω (old form νιζω), common in N.T. (John 13:5). Proof of her hospitality, not of its being a church ordinance.

If she hath relieved the afflicted (ε θλιβομενοις επηρκεσεν). Same condition and tense of επαρκεω, to give sufficient aid, old word, in N.T. only here and verse 1 Timothy 5:16. Experience that qualified her for eleemosynary work.

If she hath diligently followed (ε επηκολουθησεν). Same condition and tense of επακολουθεω, old verb, to follow close upon (επ). So here, verse 1 Timothy 5:24; 1 Peter 2:21. In a word such a widow must show her qualifications for leadership as with bishops and deacons.

Verse 11

But younger widows refuse (νεωτερας δε χηρας παραιτου). Present middle imperative as in 1 Timothy 4:7. "Beg off from." They lack experience as above and they have other ambitions.

When they have waxed wanton (οταν καταστρηνιασωσιν). First aorist (ingressive) active subjunctive of καταστρηνιαω, late compound (only here and Ignatius), to feel the impulse of sexual desire, but simplex στρηνιαω (Revelation 18:7; Revelation 18:9). Souter renders it here "exercise youthful vigour against Christ" (του Χριστου, genitive case after κατα in composition).

Verse 12

Condemnation (κριμα). See 1 Timothy 3:6.

They have rejected (ηθετησαν). First aorist passive of αθετεω, late verb (first in LXX and Polybius), to reject, set aside (from αθετος). See 1 Thessalonians 4:8; Galatians 2:21.

Their first faith (την πρωτην πιστιν). "Their first pledge" (promise, contract) to Christ. It is like breaking the marriage contract. Evidently one of the pledges on joining the order of widows was not to marry. Parry suggests a kind of ordination as with deacons and bishops (technical use of κριμα and πιστις).

Verse 13

And withal (αμα δε κα). See Philemon 1:22 for this very phrase, "and at the same time also." Such young enrolled widows have other perils also.

They learn to be idle (αργα μανθανουσιν). There is no εινα (to be) in the Greek. This very idiom without εινα after μανθανω occurs in Plato and Dio Chrysostom, though unusual. Αργα (idle) is old adjective (α privative and εργον, without work). See Matthew 20:3; Titus 1:12.

Going about (περιερχομενα). Present middle participle of περιερχομα, old compound verb. See Acts 19:13 of strollers.

From house to house (τας οικιας). Literally "the houses," "wandering around the houses." Vivid picture of idle tattlers and gossipers.

But tattlers also (αλλα κα φλυαρο). Old word from φλυω (to boil up, to throw up bubbles, like blowing soap bubbles). Only here in N.T. Φλυαρεω in 3 John 1:10 only in N.T.

And busybodies (κα περιεργο). Old word (from περι, εργον), busy about trifles to the neglect of important matters. In N.T. only here and Acts 19:19. See 2 Thessalonians 3:11 for περιεργαζομα.

Things which they ought not (τα μη δεοντα). "The not necessary things," and, as a result, often harmful. See Titus 1:11 α μη δε (which things are not necessary).

Verse 14

I desire (βουλομα). See 1 Timothy 2:8.

The younger widows (νεωτερας). No article and no word for widows, though that is clearly the idea. Νεωτερας is accusative of general reference with γαμειν (to marry) the object (present infinitive active) of βουλομα.

Bear children (τεκνογονειν). A compound verb here only in N.T. and nowhere else save in Anthol. See τεκνογονια in 1 Timothy 2:15.

Rule the household (οικοδεσποτειν). Late verb from οικοδεσποτης (Mark 14:14), twice in the papyri, only here in N.T. Note that the wife is here put as ruler of the household, proper recognition of her influence, "new and improved position" (Liddon) .

Occasion (αφορμην). Old word (απο, ορμη), a base to rush from, Pauline use in 2 Corinthians 5:12; 2 Corinthians 11:12; Galatians 5:13.

To the adversary (τω αντικειμενω). Dative case of the articular participle of αντικειμα, a Pauline idiom (Philippians 1:28).

Reviling (λοιδοριας). Old word (from λοιδορεω), in N.T. only here and 1 Peter 3:9. Genitive case with χαριν.

Verse 15

Are turned aside (εξετραπησαν). Second aorist (effective) passive indicative of εκτρεπω. See 1 Timothy 1:6.

After Satan (οπισω του Σατανα). "Behind Satan." Late use of οπισω (behind) as a preposition. Used by Jesus of disciples coming behind (after) him (Matthew 16:24).

Verse 16

That believeth (πιστη). "Believing woman."

Hath widows (εχε χηρας). The "any believing woman" is one of the household-rulers of verse 1 Timothy 5:14. The "widows" here are the widows dependent on her and who are considered as candidates to be enrolled in the list.

Let her relieve them (επαρκειτω αυταις). For this verb (imperative present active) see verse 1 Timothy 5:10.

Let not be burdened (μη βαρεισθω). Present passive imperative (in prohibition μη) of βαρεω, old verb (βαρος, burden), Pauline word (2 Corinthians 1:8).

That are widows indeed (ταις οντως χηραις). Dative case with επαρκεση (first aorist active subjunctive with ινα, final clause). See verse 1 Timothy 5:3 for this use of οντως with χηραις "the qualified and enrolled widows." Cf. verse 1 Timothy 5:9.

Verse 17

The elders that rule well (ο καλως προεστωτες πρεσβυτερο). See verse 1 Timothy 5:1 for ordinary sense of πρεσβυτερος for "older man." But here of position in same sense as επισκοπος (1 Timothy 3:2) as in Titus 1:5 = επισκοπος in verse 1 Timothy 5:7. Cf. Luke's use of πρεσβυτερος (Acts 20:17) = Paul's επισκοπους (Acts 20:28). Προεστωτες is second perfect active participle of προιστημ (intransitive use) for which see 1 Timothy 3:4.

Let be counted worthy (αξιουσθωσαν). Present passive imperative of αξιοω, to deem worthy (2 Thessalonians 1:11). With genitive case here.

Of double honour (διπλης τιμης). Old and common contract adjective (διπλοος, two-fold, in opposition to απλοος, single fold). But why "of double honour"? See 1 Timothy 6:1 for "of all honour." White suggests "remuneration" rather than "honour" for τιμης (a common use for price or pay). Liddon proposes "honorarium" (both honour and pay and so "double"). Wetstein gives numerous examples of soldiers receiving double pay for unusual services. Some suggest twice the pay given the enrolled widows.

Especially those who labour in word and teaching (μαλιστα ο κοπιωντες εν λογω κα διδασκαλια). Either those who work hard or toil (usual meaning of κοπιαω, 2 Timothy 2:6) in preaching and teaching (most probable meaning. See verse 1 Timothy 5:18) or those who teach and preach and not merely preside (a doubtful distinction in "elders" at this time). See Titus 1:8. See both κοπιαω and προισταμα used for same men (elders) in 1 Thessalonians 5:12 and the use of κοπιαω in 1 Corinthians 15:10; 1 Corinthians 16:16.

Verse 18

Thou shalt not muzzle (ου φιμωσεις). Prohibition by ου and future (volitive) indicative of φιμοω (from φιμος, muzzle), old word, quoted also in 1 Corinthians 9:9 as here from Deuteronomy 25:4, and for the same purpose, to show the preacher's right to pay for his work. See 1 Corinthians 9:9 for αλοωντα ( when he treadeth out the corn ).

The labourer is worthy of his hire (αξιος ο εργατης του μισθου αυτου). These words occur in precisely this form in Luke 10:7. It appears also in Matthew 10:10 with της τροφης (food) instead of του μισθου. In 1 Corinthians 9:14 Paul has the sense of it and says: "so also the Lord ordained," clearly meaning that Jesus had so said. It only remains to tell whether Paul here is quoting an unwritten saying of Jesus as he did in Acts 20:35 or even the Gospel of Luke or Q (the Logia of Jesus). There is no way to decide this question. If Luke wrote his Gospel before A.D. 62 as is quite possible and Acts by A.D. 63, he could refer to the Gospel. It is not clear whether Scripture is here meant to apply to this quotation from the Lord Jesus. For εργατης (labourer) see Philippians 3:2.

Verse 19

Against an elder (κατα πρεσβυτερου). In the official sense of verses 1 Timothy 5:17.

Receive not (μη παραδεχου). Present middle imperative with μη (prohibition) of παραδεχομα, to receive, to entertain. Old verb. See Acts 22:18.

Accusation (κατηγοριαν). Old word (from κατηγορος). In N.T. only here, Titus 1:6; John 18:29 in critical text.

Except (εκτος ε μη). For this double construction see 1 Corinthians 14:5; 1 Corinthians 15:2.

At the mouth of (επ). Idiomatic use of επ (upon the basis of) as in 2 Corinthians 13:1.

Verse 20

Them that sin (τους αμαρτανοντας). The elders who continue to sin (present active participle).

In the sight of all (ενωπιον παντων). "In the eye of (ο εν οπ ων, the one who is in the eye of, then combined = ενωπιον) all" the elders (or even of the church). See next verse 1 Timothy 5:21 and Galatians 1:20. Public rebuke when a clear case, not promiscuous gossip.

May be in fear (φοβον εχωσιν). Present active subjunctive with ινα (final clause), "may keep on having fear" (of exposure). Possibly, "the rest of the elders."

Verse 21

The elect angels (των εκλεκτων αγγελων). For this triad of God, Christ, angels, see Luke 9:26. "Elect" in the sense of the "holy" angels who kept their own principality (Jude 1:6) and who did not sin (2 Peter 2:4). Paul shows his interest in angels in 1 Corinthians 4:9; 1 Corinthians 11:10.

Observe (φυλαξηις). First aorist active subjunctive of φυλασσω, to guard, to keep (Romans 2:26). Subfinal use of ινα.

Without prejudice (χωρις προκριματος). Late and rare word (from προκινω, to judge beforehand), three times in the papyri, here only in N.T. "Without prejudgment."

By partiality (κατα προσκλισιν). Late word from προσκλινω, to incline towards one (Acts 5:36), only here in N.T.

Verse 22

Lay hands hastily (χειρας ταχεως επιτιθε). Present active imperative of επιτιθημ in the sense of approval (ordination) as in Acts 6:6; Acts 13:3. But it is not clear whether it is the case of ministers just ordained as in 1 Timothy 4:14 (επιθεσις), or of warning against hasty ordination of untried men, or the recognition and restoration of deposed ministers (verse 1 Timothy 5:20) as suits the context. The prohibition suits either situation, or both.

Be partakers of other men's sins (κοινωνε αμαρτιαις αλλοτριαις). Present active imperative of κοινωνεω (from κοινωνος, partner) with μη in prohibition with associative instrumental case as in 2 John 1:11; Romans 12:13. On αλλοτριος (belonging to another) see Romans 14:4.

Keep thyself pure (σεαυτον αγνον τηρε). "Keep on keeping thyself pure." Present active imperative of τηρεω.

Verse 23

Be no longer a drinker of water (μηκετ υδροποτε). Present active imperative (prohibition) of υδροποτεω, old verb (from υδροποτης, water drinker, υδωρ, πινω), here only in N.T. Not complete asceticism, but only the need of some wine urged in Timothy's peculiar physical condition (a sort of medical prescription for this case).

But use a little wine (αλλα αινω ολιγω χρω). Present middle imperative of χραομα with instrumental case. The emphasis is on ολιγω (a little).

For thy stomach's sake (δια τον στομαχον). Old word from στομα (mouth). In Homer throat, opening of the stomach (Aristotle), stomach in Plutarch. Here only in N.T. Our word "stomach."

Thine often infirmities (τας πυκνας σου ασθενειας). Πυκνος is old word, dense, frequent. In N.T. only here, Luke 5:33; Acts 24:26. Ασθενειας = weaknesses, lack of strength (Romans 8:26). Timothy was clearly a semi-invalid.

Verse 24

Evident (προδηλο). "Openly plain," "plain before all." Old word, in N.T. only here and Hebrews 7:24.

Going before unto judgment (προαγουσα εις κρισιν). See 1 Timothy 1:18 for προαγω. The sins are so plain that they receive instant condemnation.

And some men also they follow after (τισιν δε κα επακολουθουσιν). Associative instrumental case τισιν with επακολουθουσιν for which verb see verse 1 Timothy 5:10, "dog their steps" (Parry) like 1 Peter 2:21, not clearly manifest at first, but come out plainly at last. How true that is of secret sins.

Verse 25

Such as are otherwise (τα αλλως εχοντα). "Those (deeds, εργα) which have it otherwise." That is good deeds not clearly manifest.

Cannot be hid (κρυβηνα ου δυναντα). Second aorist passive infinitive of κρυπτω. There is comfort here for modest preachers and other believers whose good deeds are not known and not blazoned forth. They will come out in the end. See Matthew 5:14-16.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 5". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/1-timothy-5.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.