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1 Timothy 5:1
Exhort for intreat, A.V.; and omitted. Rebuke not (μὴ ἐπιπλήξης); only here in the New Testament for the more usual ἐπιτιμάω (2 Timothy 4:2, and frequently in the Gospels) or ἐλέγχω, as Titus 1:13; Titus 2:15; Revelation 3:19, and elsewhere. In classical Greek it expresses a sharp castigation with words. Compare the "patruae verbera linguae" (Hor., 'Od.,' 3.Revelation 12:3; Revelation 12:3). It answers to the Latin objurgo. An elder (πρεσβυτέρῳ). The context shows that the meaning is not a "presbyter," but "an old man." The precept has relation to Timothy's youth (1 Timothy 4:12). See the same order in respect to the persons to be admonished (Titus 2:1-6, where, however, we have the forms πρεσβύτας and πρεσβύτιδας with νέας and νεωτέρους). The direction is an instance of that admirable propriety of conduct, based upon a true charity, which vital Christianity produces. A true Christian never forgets what is due to others, never "behaves himself unseemly." Exhort (παρακάλει); certainly a much better rendering than intreat in the A.V. The younger men. This and the other accusatives in this and the following verse are governed by παρακάλει; the prohibitive μὴ ἐπιπλήξῃς Is con- lined to the πρεσβυτέροι. As brethren. This phrase shows that Timothy was still a young man himself. Observe, too, how even m reproving the sense of love is to be main- mined. The members of the Church over which he rules are either fathers and mothers, or brothers and sisters, or, it may be added, as his own children, to the faithful pastor.
1 Timothy 5:2
In for with, A.V. Purity (ἀγνείᾳ); see 1 Timothy 4:12, note. See how jealously the apostle guards against any possibility of abuse of the familiar intercourse of a clergy- man with the women of his flock. They are his sisters, and ἀγνείω is to be the constant condition of his heart and character.
1 Timothy 5:3
Honor (τίμα). The use of the verb τιμάω in the comment on the fourth commandment in Matthew 15:4-6, where the withholding of the honor due consists in saying, "It is corban, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me," and so withholding the honor due, shows clearly that in the notion of honoring is included that material support which their condition as widows required. So again in Matthew 15:17 of this chapter, the "double honor" due to elders who labor in the Word and doctrine is clearly shown by Matthew 15:18 to include payment for their maintenance. This is also borne out by the frequent use of τιμή in the sense of "price" (Matthew 27:6, Matthew 27:9; Acts 4:34; Acts 7:16; Acts 19:19; 1 Corinthians 6:20, etc.). The passage might, therefore, be paraphrased, "Pay due regard to the wants of those widows who are widows indeed." The "honor" here prescribed would be exactly the opposite to the "neglect" (παρεθεωροῦντο) complained of by the Grecian Jews (Acts 6:1). The same idea is in the Latin honorarium, for a fee. Widows indeed; i.e. really, as in Matthew 15:5 and Matthew 15:16, desolate and alone. We learn from this passage that the care of widows by the whole Church, which began at Jerusalem in the very infancy of the Church, was continued in the Churches planted by St. Paul. We find the same institution though somewhat different in character, in subsequent ages of the Church. Widowhood, as well as virginity, became a religious profession, and widows were admitted with certain ceremonies, including the placing on their heads a veil consecrated by the bishop. Deaconesses were very frequently chosen from the ranks of the widows (Bingham, 'Antiq.,' bk. 7. 1 Timothy 4:1-16.).
1 Timothy 5:4
Hath for have, A.V.; grandchildren for nephews, A.V.; towards their own family for at home, A.V.; this for that, A.V.; acceptable in the sight of for good and acceptable before, A.V. and T.R. Grandchildren (ἔκγονα; only here in the New Testament, but common in the LXX. and in classical Greek); descendants, children or grandchildren (as on the other hand, πρόγονοι in this verse includes grandparents as well as parents). In Latin nepotes, "descendants;" nos neveux (in French), "our descendants;" and so the English word "nephews" (derived from nepos, through the French neveu) properly means, and is commonly so used in all old English writers, as e.g. in Holinshed (Richardson's Dictionary), "their nephews, or sons' sons, which reigned in the third place." Locke's phrase, "a nephew by a brother," seems to show the transition to the modern use of "nephew." But as the old meaning of "nephews" is now obsolete, it is better to substitute "grandchildren," as in the R.V. Let them learn. Clearly "the children or grandchildren" is the subject. To show piety towards (εὐσεβεῖν). In the only other passage in the New Testament where this word occurs, Acts 17:23, it has also an accusative of the person—"whom ye worship." In classical Greek also εὐσεβεῖν τινα is used as well as εἰς, or περὶ, or πρὸς τινα.. Their own family, of which the widowed mother or grandmother formed a part. The force of τὸν ἴδον οἷκον, "their own family," lies in the implied contrast with the Church. As long as a widow has members of her own house who are able to support her, the Church ought net to be burdened (see Acts 17:16). To requite (ἀμοιβὰς ἀποδίδοναι); literally, to give back the return or exchange due. Ἀμοιβή is only found here in the New Testament, but is not uncommon in the LXX., and is much used in the best classical authors. The πρόγονοι had nourished and cared for them in their childhood; they must requite that care by honoring and supporting them in their old age. This is acceptable (ἀπόδεκτον); only here in the New Testament or LXX., and rarely if ever in classical Greek. The same idea is expressed in 1 Timothy 1:15, by πάσης ἀποδοχῆς ἄξιος, and in 1Pe 2:19, 1 Peter 2:20, by χάρις Τοῦτο χάρις παρὰ Θεῷ, "This is acceptable with God."
1 Timothy 5:5
Hath her hope set on for trusteth in, A.V. A widow indeed (see 1 Timothy 5:3). Desolate (μεμονωμένη; only here in the New Testament, rare in Greek versions of Old Testament, frequent in classical Greek); literally, left alone, or made solitary, which is also the exact meaning of "desolate," from solus, alone. A widow with children or grandchildren able to support her is not altogether desolate. As regards the connecting δέ, rendered "now" both in the A.V. and the R.V., Bishop Ellicott rightly renders it "but." The apostle is contrasting the condition of the ὄντες χήρα, who has only God to look to for help, and who passes her time in prayer, with that of the widow with children and grandchildren. The second "but" in 1 Timothy 5:6 is no real objection; the widow who "giveth herself to pleasure ' is contrasted in her turn with the devout prayerful widow whose conduct has just been described. The inference intended to be drawn, as Ellicott justly remarks, is that the one is eminently fit, and the other eminently unfit, to be supported at the common charge of the Church. Hath her hope set on God (see 1 Timothy 4:10). Supplications and prayers (see 1 Timothy 2:1, note). Night and day. Perhaps by night and by day would express the genitive better (Matthew 2:14; Luke 18:7), as indicating time when, rather than time how long. In Luke 2:37, Anna the prophetess is said to worship "with lastings and supplications night and day (νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν)," where the accusative conveys rather more the notion of vigils prolonged through the night. As regards the order of the words, "day and night," or "night and day," there seems to be no rule. St. Mark always has "night and day"; St. Luke uses both (Luke 2:37; Luke 18:7; Acts 9:24; Acts 20:31; Acts 26:7). St. Paul always "night and day," as in this passage (Acts 20:31; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 1Th 3:10; 2 Thessalonians 3:8; 2 Timothy 1:3). St. John always "day and night" (Re John 4:8; John 7:15; John 12:10; John 14:11; John 20:10).
1 Timothy 5:6
Giveth herself to for liveth in, A.V. Giveth herself to pleasure (ἡ σπαταλῶσα); only here and James 5:5 (ἐσπαταλήσατε "taken your pleasure," R.V., "been wanton," A.V.) in the New Testament, but found (as well as σπατάλη and σπάταλος) in Ec 21:15, and in Polybius (Liddell and Scott). Trench compares and contrasts στρηνιάω τρυφάω, and σπαταλάω, and says that the latter includes the idea of prodigality. The word brings into the strongest possible contrast the widow who was like Anna, and those whom St. Paul here denounces. Is dead while she liveth; or, has died (is dead) in her lifetime. She is dead to God, and, as Alford suggests, is no longer a living member of the Church of Christ. Compare St. Jude's expression "twice dead" (Jude 1:12). The expression in Revelation 3:1 is different, unless ζῶσα here can have the same meaning as ὄνομα ἔχει ὅτι ζῇ, "though nominally alive as a Christian," etc.
1 Timothy 5:7
These things also command for and these things give in charge, A.V.; without reproach for blameless, A.V. These things, etc. The apostle had been giving Timothy his own instructions concerning widows and their maintenance by their own relations. He now adds the direction that he should give these things in charge to the Ephesian Church, lest they should be guilty and blameworthy by acting in a different spirit. He probably was aware of a disposition existing in some quarters to throw the burden of maintaining their widows upon the Church. Without reproach (ἀνεπίληπτοι); above, 1 Timothy 3:2, note. If they did not so they would be liable to the terrible reproach mentioned in 1 Timothy 3:8, that, Christians as they called themselves, they were in their conduct worse than unbelievers.
1 Timothy 5:8
Provideth for provide, A.V.; his own household for those of his own house, A.V. and T.R.; unbeliever for infidel, A.V. Provideth (προνοεῖ). Elsewhere in the New Testament only in Romans 12:17 and 2 Corinthians 8:21, where it has an accusative of the thing provided; here, as in classical Greek, with a genitive of the person; frequent in the LXX., and still more so in classical Greek. The substantive προνοία occurs in Acts 24:2 and Romans 13:14. His own household; because in many cases the widow would be actually living in the house of her child or grandchild. But even if she were not, filial duty would prompt a proper provision for her wants He hath denied the faith; viz. by repudiating these duties which the Christian faith required of him (see Ephesians 6:1-3).
1 Timothy 5:9
Let none be enrolled as a widow for let not a widow be taken into the number, A.V. Let none be enrolled, etc. The proper translation seems certainly to be (Ellicott, Alford, Huther, etc.), let a woman be enrolled as a widow not under sixty years old; i.e. χήρα a is the predicate, not the subject. It follows that the word "widow" here is used in a slightly different sense from that in the preceding verses, viz. in the technical sense of one belonging to the order of widows, of which it appears from the word καταλεγέσθω there was a regular roll kept in the Church. We do not know enough of the Church institutions of the apostolic age to enable us to say positively what their status or their functions were, but doubtless they were the germ from which the later development (of which see Bingham, bk. 7. 1 Timothy 4:1-16.) took its rise. We may gather, however, from the passage before us that their lives were specially consecrated to the service of God and the Church; that they were expected to be instant and con-slant in prayer, and to devote themselves to works of charity; that the apostle did not approve of their marrying again after their having embraced this life of widowhood, anti therefore would have none enrolled under sixty years of age; and generally that, once on the roll, they would continue there for their life. Enrolled (καταλεγέσθω); only here in the New Testament or (in this sense) in the LXX.; but it is the regular classical word for enrolling, enlisting, soldiers, etc. Hence our word "catalogue." In like manner, in the times of the Empress Helena, the virgins of the Church are described as ἀναγεγραμμένας ἐν τῷ τῆς ἐκκλησίας κανόνι (Socr., 1 Timothy 1:17), "registered in the Church's register," or list of virgins. Under three score years old. A similar rule was laid down in several early canons, which forbade the veiling of virgins before the age of forty. This care to prevent women from being entangled by vows or engagements which they had not well considered, or of which they did not know the full force, is in striking contrast with the system which allows young girls to make irrevocable vows. The participle γεγονυῖα, "being," belongs to this clause (not as in the A.V. to the following one), as Alford clearly shows, and as the R.V. also indicates, by putting having been in italics; though it does not translate γεγονυῖα in this clause, unless possibly the word "old" is considered as representing γεγονυῖα. It should be, Let none be enrolled as widows, being under sixty years of age. The wife of one man; see above, 1 Timothy 3:2, the similar phrase, "the husband of one wife" (which likewise stands without any participle), and the note there. To which may be added that it is hardly conceivable that St. Paul should within the compass of a few verses (see 1 Timothy 3:14) recommend the marriage of young widows, and yet make the fact of a second marriage an absolute bar to a woman being enrolled among the Church widows.
1 Timothy 5:10
Hath for have, A.V. (five times); used hospitality to for lodged, A.V. Well reported of (μαρτυρουμένη; see 1 Timothy 3:7 and note). This use is frequent in the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 7:8; Hebrews 11:2, Hebrews 11:4, Hebrews 11:5, Hebrews 11:39), also in 3Jn 1:6, 3 John 1:12. Good works (ἔργοις καλοῖς). The phrase occurs frequently in the pastoral Epistles, both in the singular and in the plural (1 Timothy 2:10; 1 Timothy 3:1; in this verse; verse 25; 1 Timothy 6:18; 2 Timothy 2:21; 2 Timothy 3:17; Titus 1:16; Titus 2:7, Titus 2:14; Titus 3:1, Titus 3:8, Titus 3:14). Our Lord had first used the phrase, and taught how "good works" were to be the distinctive marks of his disciples (Matthew 5:16), as they were evidences of his own mission (John 10:32, John 10:33). It denotes all kinds of good actions as distinguished from sentiments. Love, e.g. is not a good work. Feeding the hungry and clothing the naked and visiting the sick are good works (see Matthew 25:35, etc.). Brought up children (ἐτεκνοτρύφησεν); only here in the New Testament or LXX., but found, as well as τεκνοτροφία, in Aristotle. The word must mean "brought up children of her own," because τέκνον does not mean "a child" with reference to its age, but "a child" with reference to its parent who bare it. The only apparent exception in Holy Scripture is 1 Thessalonians 2:7, where the nurse's alumni are called "her own children," but obviously this is no rent exception. The classical usage is the same. We must, therefore, understand the apostle here to mean "if she hath brought up her children well and carefully, and been a good mother to them." The precept corresponds to that laid down for an ἐπίσκοπος in 1 Timothy 3:4. Possibly, as Grotius suggests, a contrast may be intended with the conduct of some heathen mothers, who, if they were very poor, exposed their children. Used hospitality to (ἐξενοδόχησεν); only here in the New Testament or LXX., but, as well as ξενοδόκος and ξενοδοχία, not uncommon in classical Greek. The common form in the New Testament is ξενίζειν. (For the inculcation of hospitality, see 1 Timothy 3:2, note, and 3 John 1:5.) Washed the saints' feet (see John 13:5-8; anti comp. Luke 7:44, where the omission to provide water to wash the feet of a guest is reprobated as inhospitable). The saints (Romans 12:13). Hath relieved (ἐπήρκεσεν); only here and twice in 1 Timothy 3:16 in the New Testament, and. in 1Ma 8:26 and 11:35; but common in classical Greek. The afflicted (τοῖς θλιβομενοις); used of any kind of trouble or afflictions (θλίψις); compare, for the precept, Romans 13:1-15. Diligently followed. The idea is somewhat similar to that of "pressing on toward the goal," in Philippians 3:14 (see also Philippians 3:12, where διώκω is rendered in A.V., "I follow after"). Good work. Here ἔργῳ ἀγαθῷ, as in Acts 9:36; Romans 2:7, Romans 2:10; Romans 13:3; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Ephesians 2:10; and frequently in the pastoral Epistles (1 Timothy 2:10).
1 Timothy 5:11
Younger for the younger, A.V.; waxed for began to wax, A.V.; desire to for will, A.V. Refuse. Note the wisdom of Paul, who will not have the young widows admitted into the roll of Church widows, lest, after the first grief for the loss of their husbands has subsided, they should change their minds, and wish to return to the world and its pleasures, and so incur the guilt of drawing back their hands from the plough. Would that the Church had always imitated this wisdom and this consideration for the young, whether young priests or young monks and nuns! Waxed wanton against (καταστρηνιάσωσι). This word only occurs here, but the simple στρηνιάω is found in Revelation 18:7, Revelation 18:9, and is used by the Greek poets of the new comedy in the sense of τρυφᾶν, to be luxurious (Schleusner, 'Lex.'). Trench ('Synonyms of New Testament'), comparing this word with τρυφᾶν and σπαταλᾶν, ascribes to it the sense of "petulance" from fullness, like the state of Jeshurun, who waxed fat and kicked (Deuteronomy 32:15); and so Liddell and Scott give the sense of "to be over-strong." The sense, therefore, is that these young widows, in the wantonness and unsubdued worldliness of their hearts, reject the yoke of Christ, and kick against the widow's life of prayer and supplication day and night. And so they return to the world and its pleasures, which they had renounced.
1 Timothy 5:12
Condemnation for dare, ration, A.V,; rejected for cast off, A.V. Condemnation; κρίμα, variously translated in the A.V. "damnation," "condemnation," and "judgment." The word means a "judgment," "decision," or "sentence," but generally an adverse sentence, a "condemnation." And this is the meaning of the English word "damnation," which has only recently acquired the signification of "eternal damnation." Rejected (ἠθέτησαν); literally, have set aside, or displaced, and hence disregarded, an oath, treaty, promise, or the like. In the A.V. variously rendered "reject," "despise," "bring to nothing," "frustrate," "disannul," "east off." The κρίμα which these widows Brought upon themselves was that, whereas they had devoted themselves to a life of prayer and special service of the Church, they had now set aside this their first faith, and returned to the ordinary pleasures and avocations of the world.
1 Timothy 5:13
Also to be for to be, A.V.; going for wandering, A.V. Also seems unnecessary, as "withal" seems to represent ἅμα καὶ. Learn to be idle (ἀργαὶ μανθάνουσιν). This is a construction which has no similar passage in Greek to support it, except one very doubtful one in Plato, 'Euthudemus'. But the other constructions proposed, viz. to construe μανθάνουσι, "they are inquisitive, or, curious," as Grotius and substantially Bengel; or to take περιερχόμεναι after μανθάνουσι, "they learn to go about" (Vulgate, De Wette, etc.), cannot be justified by examples either, as μανθάνειν has always either an accusative ease or an infinitive mood after it, unless it is used in quite a different sense, as in the passage from Herod., 1 Timothy 3:1, quoted by Alford: Διαβεβλημένος .. οὐ μανθάνεις, "You are slandered without being aware of it." In this difficulty it is best to take the sense given in the A.V. and the R.V., following Chrysostom, etc., and of moderns Winer, Ellicott, Alford, etc., which the general turn and balance of the sentence favors. Going about (περιερχόμεναι); comp. Ac 29:13, where there is the same idea of reproach in the term. It is used in a good sense in Hebrews 11:37. Tattlers (φλύαροι); only here in the New Testament, and once only in the LXX. (4Ma Hebrews 5:10), but common in classical Greek. It means "a trifling silly talker." The verb φλυαρέω occurs in 3 John 1:10. Busybodies (περίεργοι); only here and Acts 19:19 in the New Testament or LXX., but not uncommon in classical Greek, in the sense in which it is used here. The verb περιεργάζεσθαι occurs in 2 Thessalonians 3:11 in the same sense, "meddling with what does not concern you."
1 Timothy 5:14
Desire for will, A.V.; widows (in italics) for women A.V.; rule the household for guide the house, A.V.; for reviling for to speak reproachfully, A.V. Widows. As the whole discourse is about widows, it is better to supply this as the substantive understood in νεωτέρας. In 1 Timothy 5:11 we have νεωτέρας χήρας. The οὗν which precedes is a further proof that this direction or command of the apostle's springs from what he had just been saying about the young widows, and therefore that what follows relates to them, and not to women generally. In order to avoid the scandal mentioned in 1 Timothy 5:11 of the young widows first dedicating their widowhood to Christ, and then drawing back and marrying, he directs that they should follow the natural course and marry, in doing which they would be blameless. Bear children (τεκνογονεῖν): here only in the New Testament or LXX.; but τεκνογονία occurs in 1 Timothy 2:15 (where see note). Rule the household (οἰκοδεσποτεῖν; here only in this sense); act the part of οἰκοδέσποινα, the mistress of a family (Plutarch and elsewhere). οἱκοδεσπότης frequent in the New Testament, and kindred words are used in classical Greek. For reviling (λοιδορίας χάριν). The adversary (ὁ ἀντικείμενος), the opponent of Christianity, was always seeking some occasion to speak reproachfully of Christians and revile them. Any misconduct on the part of Christian widows would give him the occasion he was looking for. They must be doubly careful, therefore, lest they should bring reproach upon the Name of Christ (camp. Jas 2:7; 1 Peter 2:12; 1 Peter 4:4, 1 Peter 4:14, 1 Peter 4:15). "Λοιδορίας χάριν is added .. to ἀφορμὴν διδόναι to specify the manner in which the occasion would be used" Ellicott). Do not give the adversary a starting-point from which he may be able to carry out his desire to revile the people of God.
1 Timothy 5:15
Already some are for some are already, A.V. Some. This is generally understood of some widows who had already given occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully, by turning aside from the path of Christian virtue which they had begun to walk in, and following Satan who had beguiled them into the path of vice and folly. But the words are capable of another meaning, equally arising kern the preceding verse, viz. that some have already followed the example of Satan, "the accuser of the brethren," and have begun to revile Christianity, taking occasion from the conduct of some who were called Christians. These revilers might be not unbelieving Jews or heathen, but apostate or heretical Jews like those of whom the same verb (ἐκτρέπεσθαι) is used in 1 Timothy 1:6 and 2 Timothy 4:4. In something of the same spirit St. Paul called Elymas the sorcerer "a child of the devil," because he sought to turn away Sergius Paulus from the faith, probably by speaking evil of Barnabas and Saul.
1 Timothy 5:16
Woman for man or woman, A.V. and T.R.; hath for have, A.V.; her for them, A.V.; burdened for charged, A.V. If any woman, etc. So the preponderance of the best manuscripts, and the texts of Lachmann, Buttmann, Tischendorf, etc. But the T.R. is retained by Alford, Ellicott, 'Speaker's Commentary,' and others. If the R.V. is right, the woman only is mentioned as being the person who has the management of the house. The precept here seems to be an extension of that in 1 Timothy 5:4, which relates only to children and grandchildren, and to be given, moreover, with special reference to Christian widows who had no believing relations to care for them, and so were necessarily cast upon the Church. Let her relieve them (ἐπαρκείτω, as in 1 Timothy 5:10). Widows indeed (ταῖς ὄντως χήραις, as in 1 Timothy 5:2 and 1 Timothy 5:5).
1 Timothy 5:17
Those for they, A.V.; in teaching for doctrine, A.V. The elders (πρεσβυτεροι) here in its technical sense of "presbyters," which in the first age were the ruling body in every Chinch (see Acts 14:23; Acts 20:2, Acts 20:4, Acts 20:6, Acts 20:22), after the analogy of the elders of the Jews. Rule well (at καλῶς προεστῶτες). The presbyters or elders were the chiefs, rulers, or presidents, of the Church (see Romans 12:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; and above, 1 Timothy 3:4, 1 Timothy 3:5). It seems that they did not necessarily teach and preach, but those who did so, laboring in the Word and teaching, were especially worthy of honor. Double honor (see note on 1 Timothy 5:3) means simply increased honor, not exactly twice as much as some one else, or with arithmetical exactness. So the word διπλοῦς is used in Matthew 23:15; Revelation 18:6; and by the LXX. in Isaiah 40:2; Jeremiah 16:18; and elsewhere also in classical Greek. And so we say, "twice as good," "twice as much," with the same indefinite meaning. The Word and teaching. The "Word" means generally "the Word of God," as we have "preach the Word," "hear the Word," "the ministry of the Word," "doers of the Word," etc. And although there is no article before λόγῳ here yet, considering the presence of the preposition ἐν, and St. Paul's less careful use of the article in his later Epistles, this absence is not sufficient to counterbalance the weight of those considerations which lead to the conclusion that "laboring in the Word" refers to the Word of God. The alternative rendering of "oral discourse" or "in speaking" seems rather weak. Teaching would mean catechetical instruction and similar explanatory teaching. Labor (οἱ κοπιῶντες); a word very frequently used by St. Paul of spiritual labors (Romans 16:6, Romans 16:12; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Galatians 4:11; Colossians 1:29, etc.).
1 Timothy 5:18
When he for that, A.V.; hire for reward, A.V. Thou shall not muzzle, etc. This passage, kern Deuteronomy 25:1-19., which is quoted and commented upon, in the same souse as here, in 1 Corinthians 9:9, shows distinctly that reward was to go with labor. The ox was not to be hindered from eating some portion of the grain which he was treading out. The preacher of the gospel was to live of the gospel. The laborer is worthy of his hire (ἄξιος ὁ ἐργάτης τοῦ μισθοῦ αὑτοῦ). In Matthew 10:10 the words are the same as here, except that τῆς τροφῆς (his meat) is substituted for τοῦ μισθοῦ. But in Luke 10:7 the words are identical with those here used, even to the omission (in the R.T.) of the verb ἔστιν. The conclusion is inevitable that the writer of this Epistle was acquainted with and quoted from St. Luke's Gospel; and further, that he deemed it, or at least the saying of the Lord Jesus recorded, in it, to be of equal authority with "ἡ γραφή," the Scripture. If this Epistle was written by St. Paul after his first imprisonment at Rome, we may feel tolerably certain that he was acquainted with the Gospel or St. Luke, so that there is no improbability in his quoting from it. His reference to another saying of the Lord Jesus in Acts 20:35 gives additional probability to it. The passage in 2 Timothy 4:18 seems also to be a direct reference to the Lord's Prayer, as contained in the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke. St. Paul does not directly call the words ἡ γραφή, only treats them as of equal authority, which, if they were the words of Christ, of course they were.
1 Timothy 5:19
Except at the mouth of for but before, A.V. An elder; here clearly a presbyter, as the context proves. Receive (παραδέχου); give ear to, entertain; as in Acts 22:18, "They will not receive thy testimony." At the mouth of, etc. There is a reference to the law in Numbers 35:30; Deuteronomy 19:15, and elsewhere (to which our Lord also refers, John 8:17), and St. Paul applies the principle of the law to Timothy's dealings with presbyters who might be accused of not "ruling well." He was not to encourage delatores, secret accusers and defamers, but if any one had a charge to make against a ruler, it was to be done in the presence of witnesses (ἐπί with a genitive). A doubt arises whether" the witnesses" here spoken of were to be witnesses able to support the accusation, or merely witnesses in whose presence the accusation must be made. The juxtaposition of the legal terms κατηγορία and ἐπὶ μαρτύρων favors the strict meaning of μαρτύρων, witnesses able to support the κατηγορία. And, therefore, the direction to Timothy is, "Suffer no man to accuse a presbyter unless he is accompanied by two or three witnesses who are ready to back up the accusation." The italic the mouth of, in the R.V., is not necessary or indeed justified. There is no ellipsis of στόματος. Ἐτὶ δύο ᾒ τριῶν μαρτύρων, "before two or three witnesses," is good classical Greek.
1 Timothy 5:20
Reprove for rebuke, A.V.; in the sight of for before, A.V.; the rest for others, A.V.; be in fear for fear, A.V. Reprove; ἔλεγχε, not ἐπιπλήξῃς, as in 1 Timothy 5:1 (see Matthew 18:15). There, the fault being a private one, the reproof is to be administered in private. But in the ease of the sinning presbyter, which is that here intended, Timothy is to reprove the offender "before all," that others also may fear, and may be deterred by their fear from committing a like offence.
1 Timothy 5:21
In the sight of for before, A.V.; Christ Jesus for the Lord Jesus Christ, A.V. and T.R.; prejudice for preferring one before another, A.V. I charge thee, etc. It has been well remarked that the solemnity of this charge indicates the temptation which there might be to Timothy to shrink front reproving men of weight and influence" rulers" in the congregation, and "elders" both in age and by office, young as he himself was (1 Timothy 4:12). Perhaps he had in view some particular case in the Ephesian Church. Charge (διαμαρτύρομαι; not παραγγέλλω, as 1 Timothy 6:13); rather, I adjure thee. The strict sense of διαμαρτύρομαι is "I call heaven and earth to witness the truth of what I am saying;" and then, by a very slight metonymy, "I declare a thing," or "I ask a thing," "as in the presence of those witnesses who are either named or understood." Here the witnesses are named: God, and Christ Jesus, and the elect angels. In 2 Timothy 2:14 it is "the Lord;" in 2 Timothy 4:1 God and Jesus Christ, as also in 1 Timothy 6:13. In the passages where the word has the force of "testifying" (Luke 16:18; Acts 2:40; Acts 10:42; Acts 18:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:6, etc.), no witnesses are named, but great solemnity and earnestness are implied. The elect angels. This is the only passage where it is predicated of the angels that they are elect. But as there is repeated mention in Holy Scripture of the fallen angels (Matthew 25:41; 1Co 6:3; 2 Peter 2:4; Jud 2 Peter 1:6; Revelation 12:7, Revelation 12:9), the obvious interpretation is that St. Paul, in this solemn adjuration, added the epithet to indicate more distinctly the "holy angels," as they are frequently described (Matthew 25:31; Luke 9:26, etc.), or "the angels of God" or "of heaven" (Matthew 22:30; Matthew 24:36; Luke 12:8, Luke 12:9; John 1:51). Possibly the mention of Satan in 1 Timothy 6:15, or some of the rising Gnostic opinions about angels (Colossians 2:18), may have suggested the epithet. The reason for the unusual addition of "the angels" is more difficult to adduce with certainty. But perhaps 2 Timothy 4:1 gives us the clue, where the apostle shows that in appealing to Jesus Christ he has a special eye to the great and final judgment. Now, in the descriptions of the lust judgment, the angels are constantly spoken of as accompanying our Lord. If St. Paul, therefore, had in his mind the great judgment-day when he thus invoked the names of God and of Christ, he would very naturally also make mention of the elect angels. And so Bishop Bull, quoted in the 'Speaker's Commentary.' Without prejudice (χωρὶς προκρίματος); here only in the New Testament, and not found in the LXX. or classical Greek, though the verb προκρίνω occurs in both. Although the English word "prejudice" seems at first sight an apt rendering of πρόκριμα, it does not really give the sense so accurately as "preference." We commonly mean by "prejudice" a judgment formed prior to examination, which prevents our judging rightly or fairly when we come to the examination, which, however, is not the meaning of the Latin praejudicium. But προκρίνω means rather "to prefer" a person, or thing, to others. And therefore πρόκριμα means "preference," or "partiality," or, as the A.V. has it, "preferring one before another." The two meanings may be thus expressed. "Prejudice," in the English use of the word, is when a person who has to judge a cause upon evidence prejudges it without evidence, and so does not give its proper weight to the evidence. "Prefer-once" is when he gives different measure to different persons, according as He is swayed by partiality, or interest, or favor. St. Paul charges Timothy to measure out exactly equal justice to all persons alike. By partiality (κατὰ πρόσκλισιν). This also is an ἅπαξ λεγόμενον as far as the New Testament is concerned, and is not found in the LXX., but is found, as well as the verb προσκλίνω, in classical Greek. It means literally the "inclination" of the scales to one side or the other, and hence a "bias" of the mind to one party or the other. The balance of justice in the hands of Timothy was to be equal.
1 Timothy 5:22
Hastily for suddenly, A.V. Lay hands, etc. Surely if we are guided by St. Paul's own use of the phrase, ἐπίθεσις χειρῶν, in the only two places in his writings where it occurs (1 Timothy 4:14 and 2 Timothy 1:6), we must abide by the ancient interpretation of these words, that they mean the laying on of hands in ordination. So also in Acts 6:6 and Acts 13:3, ἐπιτίθεναι χεῖρας is "to ordain." And the context here requires the same sense. The solemn injunction in the preceding verse, to deal impartially in judging even the most influential eider, naturally suggests the caution not to be hasty in ordaining any one to be an elder. Great care and previous inquiry were necessary before admitting any man, whatever might be his pretensions or position, to a holy office. A bishop who, on the spur of the moment, with improper haste, should ordain cue who afterwards required reproof as ἁμαρτάνων, sinning (Acts 13:20), would have a partnership in the man's sin, and in the evil consequences that flowed from it. And then it follows, Keep thyself pure; i.e. clear and guiltless (2 Corinthians 7:11), which he would not be if he was involved in the sin of the guilty elder. Observe that the stress is upon "thyself."
1 Timothy 5:23
Be no longer a drinker of for drink no longer, A.V. Be... a drinker of water (ὑδροπότει); here only in the New Testament. It is found in some codices of the LXX. in Daniel 1:12, and also in classical Greek. We learn from hence the interesting fact that Timothy was, in modern parlance, a total abstainer; and we also learn that, in St. Paul's judgment, total abstinence was not to be adhered to if injurious to the health. The epithet, "a little," should not be overlooked. Was Luke, the beloved physician, with St. Paul when he wrote this prescription (see 2 Timothy 4:11)? It is also interesting to have this passing allusion to Timothy's bad health, and this instance of St. Paul's thoughtful consideration for him. Infirmities (ἀσθενείας); in the sense of sicknesses, attacks of illness.
1 Timothy 5:24
Evident for open beforehand, A.V.; unto for to, A.V.; men also for men, A.V. Some men's sins, etc. St. Paul is evidently here recurring to the topic which he had been dealing with ever since 1 Timothy 5:17, viz. Timothy's duty as a bishop, to whom was entrusted the selection of persons for the office of elder, or presbyter, and also the maintaining of discipline among his clergy. Alford sees the connection of the precept about drinking a little wine with what went before, and with this twenty-fourth verse, in the supposed circumstance that Timothy's weak health had somewhat weakened the vigor of his rule; and that the recommendation to leave off water-drinking was given more with a view to the firmer discharge of those duties than merely for his bodily comfort. This may be so. But there is nothing unlike St. Paul's manner in the supposition that he had done with the subject in hand at the end of the twenty-second verse, and passed on to the friendly hint with regard to Timothy's health, but then subjoined the fresh remarks in 1 Timothy 5:24 and 1 Timothy 5:25, which were an afterthought. Evident (πρόδηλοι); only found in the New Testament, in Hebrews 7:14 besides these two verses, and in the apocryphal books of the Old Testament. It is common, with the kindred forms, προδηλόω προδήλωσις, etc., in classical Greek. It is doubted whether πρὸ in this compound verb has the force of "beforehand," as in the A.V., and not rather that of "before the eyes of all," and therefore only intensifies the meaning of δηλόω. But the natural force of πρὸ in composition certainly is "before" in point of time; and hence in a compound like πρόδηλος would mean" evident before it is examined," which of course is equivalent to "very evident." St. Paul's meaning, therefore, would be: Some men's sins are notorious, requiring no careful inquisition in order to find them out; nay, they of themselves go before—before the sinner himself—unto judgment. But there are also some whose sins follow after them. It is not till after close inquiry that they are found out. They go up to the judgment-seat apparently innocent, but after a while their sins come trooping up to their condemnation. This enforces the caution, "Lay hands hastily on no man."
1 Timothy 5:25
In like maturer for likewise, A.V.; there are good works that are evident for the good works of some are manifest beforehand, A.V.; such as for they that, A.V. There are good works, etc. It is much best to understand πινῶν, as the A.V. does, and render the good works of some, answering to τινῶν αἱ ἁμαρτίαι of 1 Timothy 5:24. Such as are otherwise—i.e., not manifest beforehand—cannot be hid. "They will be seen and recognized some time or other" (Ellicott). Alford seems to catch the true spirit of the passage when he says, "The tendency of this verse is to warn Timothy against hasty condemnation, as the former had done against hasty approval. Sometimes thou wilt find a man's good character go before him.... but where this is not so.... be not rash to condemn: thou mayest on examination discover it there be any good deeds accompanying him: for they... cannot be hidden."
1 Timothy 5:1, 1 Timothy 5:2.—Propriety.
Propriety of conduct in the different relations of life is the application of true charity to the particular circumstances of the case. Charity, while in all cases it has the same essence, seeking the real good of the person with whom it is dealing, varies its mode of application according to various circumstances. There is in charity always a consideration of what is due to others, a scrupulous and delicate appreciation of the difference of positions, and consequent differences of feeling, which may be expected, in different persons. In the natural family, men do not treat their fathers and their children in the same manner. An upper servant does not deal out the same measure to his master and to the servants that are under him. There may be the same truth and the same charity, but there is a different outward expression of them. It is a great and serious mistake to think that impartiality requires an identity of proceeding in dealing with different people. A wise charity knows how to discriminate, and to avoid the risk of defeating its own ends by wounding the just susceptibilities of those with whom it has to do. It is in accordance with this view that St. Paul here gives directions to the youthful Timothy how to exercise his episcopal authority over the different persons subject to it. The same sharp rebuke that might be suitable for a young man would be out of place in the case of an old one. Timothy must not forget the respect that is due from a young man to an old one, even while exercising his episcopal functions. And so with regard to the elderly women of his flock, he will know how to treat them with filial respect; and with regard to the young women, he will know how to infuse a brotherly spirit into his intercourse with them, avoiding every approach to any kind of familiarity inconsistent with that purity of thought which regulates the intercourse between brothers and sisters. Then will charity have her perfect work.
1 Timothy 5:3-16.—Church charities.
One of the most difficult problems to solve in any well-ordered human society is so to administer charity to the indigent as not to encourage indigence which might be avoided—not to injure the character by endeavors to benefit the body. It is certain that the expectation of being provided for by others, without any efforts of his own, has a tendency to check those exertions by which a man may provide for himself. But it is no less certain that there is room in the world for the exercise of a wholesome charity, and that to dry up the streams of benevolence would be as great an injury to the givers as to the receivers. The result is that great care and much wisdom are requisite to regulate the administration of all charities on a large scale. The early Church, with an instinctive wisdom, directed its chief care to the support of widows. Here the main cause of the indigence, at least, was one which no human forethought could prevent—the death of the bread-winner. But even in their case many prudent cautions were interposed. The widow must have age of not less than threescore years, as well as widowhood, to commend her. She must be desolate, without any relations or friends whose natural duty it would be to support her. She must have established a good Christian character in the days of her prosperity, and shown her love to Christ, and the people of Christ, by works of mercy and pity. In like manner all public charities should be administered so as to encourage industry and to check idleness; so as to countenance virtue and rebuke vice; so as to prevent the unworthy from appropriating the provision that was intended for the worthy and unfortunate. In a word, in the administration of charitable funds, charity and wisdom must work hand-in-hand.
1 Timothy 5:17-25.—Duties and privileges of the clergy.
The duties of the clergy are to rule and to labor. The privileges of the clergy are honor and pay. The clergy are rulers; not lords and tyrants, not domineering over conscience or deeds, but leaders (προεστῶτες, here; ἡγούμενοι, Hebrews 13:7), presidents, officers of the great Church army, going before them in every hard service and difficult duty, regulating their counsels by wise advice, leading their worship, ordering their discipline, taking the lead in the management of their common affairs. And the clergy are laborers. Not drones doing nothing, and eating the fruit of other men's toil, hut laboring in the Word and doctrine of Christ. Theirs is a double labor: they labor first to learn, and then they labor to teach others what they have learnt themselves. They study the Holy Scriptures, and give the Church the benefit of their studies. Nor are their labors light or desultory. It is the hard toil (κοπιῶντες) of mind and body, the continuous toil of a lifetime. These are their duties. Their privileges are honor and pay—honor in proportion to their labors for the Church and the fruit of those labors; honor due to their spiritual dignity as those whom the Holy Ghost has set over the flock of Christ. And with this honor—expressed by the title of "reverend" prefixed to their names—is also due pay, support and maintenance at the Church's charge. The ox must not be muzzled while he treads out the corn for others, nor must the laborer be defrauded of his hire when his honest work is done. They that preach the gospel are to live of the gospel. The Churches which they serve must set their minds free, as far as may be, from worldly cares, by providing for their maintenance while they give themselves to the Word of God and prayer. It is obvious how entirely in accordance with these apostolic sayings is the setting apart of endowments for the permanent support of those who are engaged in the ministry of the Word, and the feeding of the flock of Christ. The exhortation to the bishop to lay hands hastily on no man, and to be impartial in all his dealings, follows naturally from the consideration of the duties and the privileges of the priesthood.
HOMILIES BY T. CROSKERY
1 Timothy 5:1, 1 Timothy 5:2.—Directions how to treat members of the Church according to the distinctions of off and sex.
I. THE CONDUCT OF TIMOTHY TOWARD ELDERLY MEN. "Reprimand not an elderly person, but exhort him as a brother." The allusion is not to an official elder of the Church, but to any elderly member of it.
1. Such persons might possibly be guilty of serious shortcomings, warranting private admonition, if not the exercise of discipline. Their conduct would have a worse effect than that of more youthful offenders.
2. Timothy must not use sharpness or severity in dealing with such persons, because he must remember what is becoming on account of his own youth. He should rather use "entreaty" on a footing of brotherly equality. His zeal ought not to interfere with the reverence due to age. Let the old be treated with humility and gentleness.
II. THE CONDUCT OF TIMOTHY TOWARD YOUNGER MEN. The younger men as brothers." He may use greater freedom with them, as being on an equality as to age. He must not show airs of assumption toward them, but may use more freedom in reproving their faults.
III. HIS CONDUCT TOWARD ELDERLY WOMEN. "Elderly women as mothers." He must show them due deference and respect. If they should err on any point, they must be entreated with all tenderness, as children entreat their mothers.
IV. HIS CONDUCT TOWARD THE YOUNGER WOMEN. "The younger as sisters, with all purity." There must be, on the one hand, the freedom of a brother with sisters; but, on the other hand, a marked circumspection so as to avoid all ground of suspicion or scandal.—T.C.
1 Timothy 5:3-7.—Directions with regard to widows.
The gospel provides for the helpless.
I. THE CLAIMS OF WIDOWS.
1. These were abundantly recognized in Old Testament times. The fatherless and the widow were commended, to the special care of the Israelites. The garments of widows were never to be taken in pledge. The man was cursed who perverted the judgment of the widow. The widow was never to be afflicted or made a prey (Deuteronomy 16:11; Deuteronomy 27:19; Jeremiah 7:6; Isaiah 10:2).
2. The claims of widows were officially recognized in New Testament times. The order of deaconship arose out of the necessity of widows (Acts 6:1-7).
II. THE DIFFERENT CLASSES OF WIDOWS IN THE CHURCH. "Honor widows that are widows indeed." There are three classes of widows referred to by the apostle.
1. There are widows who are not only deeply religious, but quite destitute. She who is a widow indeed is "desolate, has set her hope in God, and abides in supplications and prayers night and day."
(1) There are widows without husband, without children or grandchildren, and. without means of living. They have no friends to cheer the loneliness or relieve the necessities of their widowed life.
(2) They are deeply religious and trustful. "She has set her hope in God," who is the Husband of the widow; and is constant in prayers like Anna the prophetess, to that God who gives her a daily supply of comforts, and cheers her in her solitude.
2. There are widows who are not so destitute, for they have children and grandchildren to provide for their wants.
3. There are widows who are fond of gaiety and pleasure, and destitute of religion. "She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth." They are dead spiritually, like those who "have a name to live, but are dead" (Revelation 3:1). "If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die" (Romans 8:13). This class of widows resembled the daughters of Sodom (Ezekiel 16:49). There was in their case the union of soul and body, but no quickening principle of spiritual life. They savor the things that be of men rather than the things that be of God.
III. THE DUTY OF THE CHURCH IN RELATION TO THESE DIFFERENT CLASSES OF WIDOWS.
1. The Church was not bound to support or assist widows with children or grandchildren, who were therefore to he taught "to show piety at home, and to requite their parents." The Church was not to be burdened with their support. Their relatives were not exempt under the gospel from the necessity of providing for them. The apostle adds that the discharge of this off-forgotten duty is "good and acceptable before God".
2. The Church owned no obligation of any sort to pleasure-loving widows, except to warn them of the sin, folly, and danger of their life.
3. The Church was to pay due regard to "widows indeed" who were destitute of all resources. "Honor widows that are widows indeed." The term implies more than deference or respect; such widows were entitled to receive relief from the Christian community. It was a loving duty to provide for such sad-hearted, friendless beings.
IV. THE NECESSITY OF MAKING A RULE FOR THE CHURCH'S GUIDANCE. '"These things command, that they may he without reproach." The injunction was necessary for the Church's sake, that it might not neglect its proper duty to this destitute class, and for the sake of the various classes of widows and their relatives, who needed to be without reproach, as they were supposedly members of the Church.—T.C.
1 Timothy 5:8.—The duty of providing for one's own household.
The growth of the Church necessitated a careful regard to this duty.
I. THE DUTY HERE ENJOINED. "If any provides not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever."
1. This passage asserts the obligations that spring out of family relationship. It points to the duty of supporting relatives, and all who live under one roof, who through poverty may have become dependent upon us.
2. The gospel does not relax, but rather strengthens, the ties of natural kinship. The Essenes would not give relief to their relatives without the permission of their teachers, though they might help others in need.
II. THE NEGLECT OF THIS DUTY INVOLVES A PRACTICAL DENIAL OF THE FAITH.
1. It is a denial of the faith, not in words, hut in works, for it is a denial of the duty of love, which is the practical outcome of faith; for "faith worketh by love." There may have been a tendency at Ephesus, as in Churches to which James wrote, to rest contempt with a mere profession of the truth, without the habit of self-denial.
2. Such conduct would place the Christian professor in a position far below that of the heathen unbeliever, who recognized the duty of supporting relatives as one of his best principles. It would be a serious dishonor to Christ and the gospel to neglect duties held in highest honor by the heathen. The light of the gospel greatly aggravates the sin of such persons.—T.C.
1 Timothy 5:9, 1 Timothy 5:10.—Particular directions as to the class of widows commended to the Church's sympathy and support.
These persons are variously regarded by commentators as simply destitute widows, or as deaconesses, or as presbyteresses. The most simple and natural explanation is that they belonged to the first class, for the directions here given apply to what the Church is to do for such widows, not what duty is required of them in the Church administration.
I. THE ENROLMENT OF WIDOWS IN THE ALMONER'S LIST OF THE CHURCH. "Let none be enrolled as a widow under threescore years old."
1. The existence of such a list is implied in Acts 6:1, where a murmuring is said to have arisen because "the widows were neglected in the dally ministration." There are also traces of such a list in the earlier Christian writers.
2. Such a class would be recruited from the ordinary vicissitudes of life, from the special persecutions that followed the gospel, and perhaps also from the separations from polygamous husbands brought about through the influence of Christianity.
II. THE QUALIFICATIONS OF WIDOWS FOR A PLACE IN THE CHURCH'S LIST.
1. As to age. "Not under threescore years old." As this age marks a relatively greater degree of senility in the East than in the West, the widows must be regarded as of the infirm class, and therefore as not in any degree able for the active duties of limb. This one consideration inclines us to believe that they did not belong to the order of deaconesses or presbyteresses. If widows had been enrolled at a much earlier age, they must have become a serious burden for a great length of time upon the Church's liberality. Therefore young widows were not to be enrolled at all.
2. As to her previous married life. "The wife of one man."
(1) This does not mean that she should not have been twice married, because
(a) the apostle counsels the younger women to marry again (Acts 6:14), and sanctions second marriages (Romans 7:1);
(b) because the ascetic idea of married life, which some would associate with widows holding a certain ecclesiastical rank, received no sanction from the apostle.
(2) It does not mean that she should not have had several husbands at one time, for polyandry was quite unusual.
(3) It signifies that she should never have stood related but to one living husband; not divorced from one husband and then married to another—a chaste and faithful spouse, true to her marriage vow.
3. As to her reputation for good works. "Well reported of in respect to good works." There must not only be no evil spoken of her, but she must have a reputation for good works. This reputation covers live facts of goodness.
(1) "If she hath brought up children." This would imply self-sacrifice, sympathy and zeal for youthful training. She would train her children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, commanding them like Abraham to keep the way of the Lord, from which they would not so easily depart in after-life.
(2) "If she hath lodged strangers." She may have seen better days, and had frequent opportunities of showing hospitality to Christian travelers moving from place to place. The readiness to welcome strangers was most characteristic of the early Christians.
(3) "If she hath washed the saints' feet," in token, not only of conventional hospitality, but of deep humility after the highest of all examples.
(4) "If she hath relieved the afflicted." Not by mere gifts, but by matronly sympathy and encouragement, implying the visitation of the distressed in their homes.
(5) "If she hath diligently followed every good work." She must not have wearied in well-doing, but have followed that which was good with eagerness, constancy, and true fidelity to God and man.—T.C.
1 Timothy 5:11-15.—Directions with regard to young widows.
I. THE YOUNGER WIDOWS WERE NOT TO BE ENROLLED ON THE LIST OF THE CHURCH'S PENSIONERS. "Younger widows decline." This did not imply that destitute widows, however young, would be excluded from occasional help from the Church's funds, but they were not to be made a permanent charge upon the resources of the Church. They were young enough to labor for their own living, or, as the apostle advised, they might marry a second time, and thus obtain a provision for themselves.
II. THE REASON FOR DECLINING- SUCH WIDOWS. "For when they shall wax wanton against Christ, they desire to marry."
1. This language does not imply that they had, to speak, taken Christ for their Bridegroom, and then proved shamelessly unfaithful to their vows. This thought belongs to the ascetic ideas of a later period, as if the widows in question had taken the irrevocable engagement of nuns or of other ecclesiastical persons. They might, indeed, have remarried not only without blame, but by the direct counsel of the apostle himself.
2. Neither does it imply that they had been untrue to the memory of their first husbands.
3. The case supposed is that of some young widows, who had taken their place among others of their world-renouncing class in the list of the Church's widows, and had drawn back into a luxurious, pleasure-loving habit of life. There is no breach of the promise of widowhood either expressed or implied in the passage, and such a breach could not be interpreted by itself as equivalent to a renunciation of the Christian faith. The case supposed is that of a departure from the proprieties of widowed life, in connection with a Christian profession, which only too surely indicated a virtual repudiation of the faith.
4. The judgment that attached to their conduct implied this virtual renunciation of faith. "Having condemnation because they set at naught their first faith."
(1) Not their faith to their first husbands;
(2) not their vow or promise to remain in widowhood, which might be called their former faith, but not their first faith; but
(3) their simple faith in Christ, when they were baptized into his Name and devoted themselves to his service. They set it at nougat by not walking according to it, their conversation not becoming their profession of it. Their condemnation, or, rather, their judgment, is not to be regarded as eternal, because it might be removed by a timely repentance.
III. THE INJURIOUS AND SCANDALOUS EFFECTS OF SUCH A LIFE. "And withal they learn also to be idle, going about from house to house; and not only idle, but talkers and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not." These young widows, being under no necessity to labor for their living—for they were supported by the funds of the Church—used their leisure badly.
1. They were idle.
(1) This habit of life is forbidden; for Christians are to be "not slothful in business."
(2) It leads to misdirected activity; for such widows "wander from house to house," because they have no resources within themselves.
2. They become loose talkers, babbling out whatever comes into their minds. "From leisure springs that curiosity which is the mother of garrulity" (Calvin).
3. They become busybodies, with a perverted activity in the concerns of others which implies a neglect of their own. This meddling spirit leads to misunderstandings and mischiefs of many kinds.
4. They become talkers of scandal, "speaking things which they ought not"—things which may be false, or, if true, are not to be repeated from house to house.—T.C.
1 Timothy 5:14, 1 Timothy 5:15.—Directions to such young widows.
The case is one for special guidance.
I. A RETURN TO THE SPHERE OF DOMESTIC DUTIES IS ADVISED BY THE APOSTLE. "I wish, therefore, that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no occasion for the adversary to reproach."
1. There is nothing in this counsel, to encourage a resort to ascetic life, or an escape from the ordinary obligations of society. The over-valuation of ascetic life has been the great means of disparaging and discouraging the piety of common life. Religion was made, not for an idle, but fur a busy world.
2. The return to home-ties would probably break the force of temptations to loose living. Idleness would thus be counteracted, as well as the wantonness against Christ previously censured. The woman would thus be "saved by child-bearing, it she continued in faith and holiness with sobriety" (1 Timothy 2:15).
3. Mark the variety of her new relations. First to her husband, then to her children, then to her servants. She is to discharge each duty faithfully, so as to avoid the reproach of the adversary.
III. THE REASON WHY SUCH COUNSEL IS GIVEN. "Give no occasion for reproach to the adversary; for already some have been turned away after Satan."
1. The adversary is not necessarily the devil, nor any particular individual, but that collective society around the Church which is always watchful for the halting of God's servants. For good cause or bad the reproaches will come, but they ought not to be justified by the injurious, or frivolous, or licentious conduct of professors.
2. Mischief of this sort had already accrued to the cause of Christ. Some widows had given evidence of the idle, wanton, worldly behavior already condemned, showing a distinct swerve toward the adversary of souls and the accuser of the brethren. "Christ was the true Spouse; Satan the seducer."—T.C.
1 Timothy 5:16.—Further directions as to the support of widows.
There is here a return to the subject of private beneficence.
I. THE DUTY OF CHRISTIAN WOMEN TO SUPPORT THEIR WIDOWED RELATIVES. "If any woman that believes hath widows, let support be given to them." The allusion is probably to the younger widows, whose future would be very uncertain till, at least, they should marry. The apostle had already provided for the case of aged widows. It was the plain duty of relatives to watch over the welfare of the younger women, who might be sisters, sisters-in-law, or nieces. The apostle founds the duty upon the principle that the gospel has not superseded, but rather strengthened, the claims of kinship.
II. REASONS FOR THE DISCHARGE OF THIS PRIVATE DUTY. "And let not the Church be burdened, that it may relieve those that are widows indeed."
1. It would burden the Church greatly to increase the number of the pensioners on its generosity.
2. The exercise of private beneficence would allow a fuller provision to be made for those aged widows who were really friendless, homeless, and destitute.—T.C.
1 Timothy 5:17, 1 Timothy 5:18.—Directions respecting the honor due to the alders of the Church.
"Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the Word and doctrine."
I. THE CLASS OF PERSONS HERE REFERRED TO.
1. It is evident that the apostle knew of no officers in the Church at Ephesus but these elders, with the deacons.
2. Their principal duty was government. It was at least the prominent element in their calling.
3. The passage suggests that, while all the elders governed, all did not labor in the Word and doctrine. Each Church in that day had its band of elders at its head, but the teaching function was not universal, though by-and-by assumed greater prominence and commanded greater distinction and respect.
II. THE HONOR DUE TO ELDERS. They were to be counted worthy of double honor; that is, they were to be liberally provided for by the Church, as a special mode of showing respect to their office.
III. THE GROUND FOR THIS INJUNCTION. "For the Scripture saith, Thou shall not muzzle an ox while treading out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his hire." These two sayings, one contained in Scripture (Deuteronomy 25:4), the other a proverbial saying used by our Lord himself (Luke 10:7), affords an argument for the support of Christian laborers.
1. This shows that both the Law and the gospel sanction the due support of the ministry.
2. It shows that the minister's support is a matter of right, and not of compassion or kindness. The animals that labored had a right to the fruit of their labors.—T.C.
1 Timothy 5:19.—Directions as to accusations against elders.
"Against an elder receive not an accusation, except it be upon two or three witnesses."
I. ELDERS MAY BE EXPOSED TO SUCH ACCUSATIONS BY THEIR VERY ZEAL AND FAITHFULNESS.
1. Their duty being to convince the gainsayers and to reprove the faults of men, they would be exposed to the risk of false accusation. Good ministers would be oftener accused if their accusers could but find judges willing to receive their charges.
2. It is the interest of the Church of Christ to maintain the reputation of its ministers unchallenged. It involves a sort of scandal for them to be accused at all, even though they should afterwards be cleared.
II. THE COURSE RECOMMENDED IN CASES OF THIS SORT.
1. It diminishes the chances of such charges being made, that the testimony of a single malicious witness will not suffice to have an accusation even formally considered.
2. It would be a serious discouragement to a good minister for such charges to be entertained upon partial or defective evidence.
3. The deference due to the position of a man chosen by the Church as its pastor demanded a wise caution in the reception of charges against him.
4. Yet it was the duty of Timothy to make an investigation supported by adequate evidence. There is nothing in the minister's position to exempt him from a just inquiry and its due consequences.—T.C.
1 Timothy 5:20.—The manner of public rebuke.
The apostle refers here, not to offending elders, but to members of the Church generally, as we justly infer from the change of number. It is the elder in the one case; it is "those who sin" in the other.
I. THE PUBLICITY OF REBUKE. "Those that sin rebuke before all."
1. The class referred to consists not of those merely overtaken in a fault (Galatians 6:1), but, as the tense of the word signifies, persons given to sinning. Thus great consideration and caution are to be exercised. The casual transgressor might be dealt with privately, and would not need further dealing on his exhibiting evidence of repentance.
2. It was to be merely rebuke, not exclusion from the Church. If the rebuke was unheeded, the extreme sentence would follow.
3. The rebuke was to be public.
(1) The transgression may have been very public, to the scandal of religion;
(2) the publicity would involve the full disclosure of the sin, and involve shame.
II. THE DESIGN OF PUBLIC REBUKE. "In order that the rest also may fear." Such a discipline would have a deterrent influence upon others. The strictness of the law would not be without effects upon conscience.—T.C.
1 Timothy 5:21.—A solemn charge to Timothy to be conscientiously impartial in these cases.
I. THE SOLEMNITY OF THE CHARGE. "I solemnly charge thee before God, and Jesus Christ, and the elect angels."
1. Timothy, who is exhorted to faithfulness in judgment, is himself brought face to face with his Lord and Judge, who will appear along with the elect angels as assessors or executors of the Divine commands.
(1) God is omniscient and he is righteous, for with him is no respect of persons, and Timothy was a minister in the house of God, answerable for his discharge of all ecclesiastical duty.
(2) Christ is likewise omniscient as well as righteous, Head of the Church and Judge of the quick and the dead, before whose judgment-seat all must stand.
(3) "The elect angels."
(a) These, who left not their first estate, but have been preserved in their integrity by Christ, who is the Head both of angels and of men, are the ministers and attendants of God.
(b) There is nothing here to warrant the worship of angels, because they are not here regarded as judges, but as witnesses; neither are they sworn by nor appealed to by the apostle. The heavens and the earth are often summoned as witnesses in the same sense.
2. This high appeal was designed to elevate the mind of Timothy above all sinister motives, and secure him against the dangers of a timid compliance with evil.
II. THE SUBSTANCE OF THE CHARGE. "That thou keep these things without prejudging, doing nothing by partiality." He refers to the judicial inquiries respecting eiders and members of the Church.
1. There was to be an absence of prejudice. There must be no prejudging a case before it is heard, under the influence of party feeling. Timothy must calmly hearken to the case presented by both sides, and weigh the evidence without haste or favor to either side.
2. There was to be an absence of all partiality. "Doing nothing by partiality." There must be no leaning to one side more than another. The scales of justice must be held evenly in Church affairs. Eiders and members were alike to be judged with all fairness.—T.C.
1 Timothy 5:22.—A caution against hasty induction of ministers.
If such judicial inquiries are to be avoided, there ought to be great care in the original appointment of ministers.
I. THERE MUST BE DUE CARE IN ORDAINING RIGHT PERSONS TO THE MINISTRY. "Lay hands on no one hastily."
1. This does not refer to the practice of receipting offenders back into the Church by the imposition of the bishop's hands. No such practice can be identified with the apostolic age, or with that immediately succeeding it.
2. It refers, as the usage of the pastoral Epistles suggests, to "the laying on of hands in ordination."
(1) Saul and Barnabas were thus designated to their missionary tour (Acts 13:1). Timothy was thus ordained by the hands of the presbytery. It was the solemn recognition by the Church of the call which the minister-elect had received from on high.
(2) Timothy was to guard against the possibility of rash appointments to the ministry by a due inquiry beforehand into the spiritual character and pastoral qualifications of the candidates for office. The glory of God, the salvation of man, the honor of religion, were all involved in such appointments.
II. THE SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES OF SLACKNESS IN THE DISCHARGE OF SUCH A DUTY. "Neither participate in other men's sins." Timothy would "adopt the sins he overlooked' if he did not rightly distinguish between the worthy and the unworthy.
III. THE NECESSITY OF PERFECT PURITY ON TIMOTHY'S OWN PART. "Keep thyself pure." He must be pure who is called to judge others. There must be no shadow of evil attaching to his character or conduct. Any impurity of character would utterly destroy his influence, and silence his rebukes of others.—T.C.
1 Timothy 5:23.—Direction to Timothy to be careful of his health.
"No longer drink water, hut use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thy frequent ailments."
I. THE APOSTLE LENDS NO ENCOURAGEMENT TO AN ASCETIC ATTITUDE TOWARD MEATS OR DRINKS. The Essenes abstained altogether from wine, and as there was a close connection between Ephesus and Alexandria, where such views were held by a small section of Jews, it is not improbable that such views may have reached Ephesus. There was no harm in Timothy abstaining from wine, as a protest against excess in wine, but rather something highly praiseworthy. It was not through any deference to Essene asceticism, but through such a consideration as is here suggested, that Timothy was an habitual water-drinker.
II. THE APOSTLE HAS EXCLUSIVE REGARD TO TIMOTHY'S HEALTH. The use of wine was regarded in its purely medicinal aspect, and not as a mere pleasant beverage. Timothy was engaged in a service that demanded the fullest exhibition of all mental and bodily hardihood, as well as an iron endurance of disappointment and opposition. Under such influences, he would become depressed with effects most prejudicial to his health. The counsel shows the deep interest of the apostle in the young evangelist's comfort and welfare.—T.C.
1 Timothy 5:24, 1 Timothy 5:25.—Final directions to Timothy respecting his attitude toward the sins and sinful works of men.
I. A CAUTION AGAINST HIS BEING TOO PRECIPITATE IN ABSOLVING MEN FROM CENSURE. "The sins of some men are manifest, going before to judgment; with some again, they follow after." The judgment is God's, without excluding man's.
1. One class of sins is public and open. They reach the Judge before the man himself who commits them. The sins are notorious. Timothy will have no excuse for absolving such persons.
2. Another class of sins is not so manifest. Unknown for the time to all but the all-seeing eye of God, yet going leeward notwithstanding to the final judgment, where nothing can be hid. The judgment of man may have meanwhile absolved such a sinner, but the mournful secret comes out after all.
II. A CAUTION AGAINST BEING TOO PRECIPITATE IN HIS CENSURES. "In like manner also the works that are good are manifest, and those that are otherwise cannot be hid." Some are open witnesses, others are secret witnesses; but there can be no effectual suppression of their testimony. God will bring works of all kinds into light. But it is the duty of Timothy and ministers in general to use due diligence to have the truth brought to light respecting such works. Therefore Timothy was not to be rash in condemning where hidden worth had not disclosed itself sufficiently to his eye. The good tree would by-and-by justify itself by its fruits.—T.C.
HOMILIES BY W.M. STATHAM
1 Timothy 5:1.—Reverence for age.
"Rebuke not an elder." Comprehensive indeed is Scripture. Its virtue is no vague generality, but is definite and distinct. It is this which makes the Bible a daily portion. There is ever in it some special counsel and comfort. With the cross for a center, all the precious jewels of truth are set in their places around it. For each relationship of life there are separate behests of duty, and he must read in vain who does not feel that it was written for him. With this light none need go astray; and if they do, it is because they love the darkness rather than the light.
I. THERE IS TO BE REVERENCE FOR AGE. We are to entreat the elder rather than to rebuke them. Scolding is often mistaken for fidelity; and there is a scolding preaching which holds up mistake and error to scorn rather than to pity. The Bible reverences age. The elder, if he be here, must have seen and known terrible troubles and fierce temptations. His bark has been in many seas. His sword has been almost shivered, in many fights. His countenance tells of tears and tribulations. He has known defeat as well as victory. Rebuke him not. With the soft down of youth on your cheek, deal reverently with the gray-headed men. If evil seems to be getting the mastery, and the lingering angels are about to leave, entreat age by the memories of the past and the great hopes of the reward so nigh at band.
II. THERE IS TO BE FELLOWSHIP WITH YOUTH. Be a son to the aged, but a brother to the young. "And the younger men as brethren;" not as a proud priest sent to rule them and to shrive them, but as one who has the passions and. the hopes, the duties and the dangers, of a brother.—W.M.S.
1 Timothy 5:2.—What women should be.
"The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity." Full of the power which comes from feminine pity. Full of motherly experiences about children. Fall of daily care and the deaconate of serving the home-tables. Full of a great heart-love that would make a roof-tree for all, as a hen that gathereth her chickens under her wings. Timothy will yet learn in the Church work the value of a mother in Israel.
1. Mothers were our first pastors.
2. Mothers were our earliest examples.
"The younger as sisters, with all purity." Beautiful is the holy grace of purity, and sensitive is the girl-heart to the loveliness of true virtue! Put them not into confessionals to suggest sins that they never knew, and deprave the nature under the pretence of absolving it.—W.M.S.
1 Timothy 5:3.—Sympathy with widows.
"Honor widows." Let them have a special place in reverent care and common prayer, as they have a lot which is so isolated and so hard—a battle so keen and terrible, and as they find that the slender means are so soon spent. The lonely hours are full of pictures of the past: as wives they were the first to be thought of and provided for—the best was for them, the first place at the table and in the heart was theirs; so honor them, for they are sensitive to slight and indifference. Let the Church counteract the neglect of the world.
I. THE SPIRIT OF CHILDREN. If they have children, or, as sometimes happens, nephews—or sister's children—who lost their mother in life's dawn of morning, let them show piety at home—the piety of gratitude, the piety of help, the piety of reverence, the piety of requital. How large a word "piety" is! An ungrateful child, who never thinks on a parent's past self-denial in its education, a parent's watchfulness in times of weakness and sickness, a parent's interest in its pleasures and counsels as to its companionships, and a parent's long interest in all that relates to mind and heart, is an impious child. Quick, clever, it may be flattered by new friends, and favored by fortune with pleasant looks, and yet be selfish, indifferent, and forgetful.
II. THE REQUITAL TO BE GIVEN. Remember, young friends, that you have to requite your parents, not with the patronage of commercial payment when you succeed, but with the requital of the tender inquiry, the watchful love, the jealous service, the gracious respect.—W.M.S.
1 Timothy 5:4.—What pleases God.
"For that is good and acceptable before God." He looks not merely on the great heroisms of confessors and martyrs, but on the sublime simplicities even of a child's character.
I. AVOID MISTAKES IN CHILD TRAINING AND TEACHING. I am one of those who think that it is a monstrous mistake to fill their hymns with rich rhapsodies about heaven, about wanting to be angels, and about superior emotions, when the very things next to them are seldom referred to at all. To the father the son must always be a boy, and the daughter to the mother a girl; so that all manner, even which is high-flown and independent, or brusque and irreverent, is painful, and brings tears to the hearts of parents.
II. REMEMBER THE RELIGIOUSNESS OF HOME-LIFE. "Piety at home," by which is not meant precocity of religious opinion, or plentifulness of religious phraseology, but the piety of respect, attention, obedience, requital, and reverence. This is "good and acceptable before God."—W.M.S.
1 Timothy 5:5.—Desolateness.
"Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate." Here the apostle returns to widows again, showing that he has them very much in his mind.
I. DESOLATE. That is the revealing word. "Desolate." She may be poor and desolate, or she may he competent and desolate, or she may be rich and desolate—all surrounding things making her feel more the loss of that which is not; all framing "emptiness;" all but reminders of the presence which gave value to them all.
II. DESOLATE; FOR THE LIFE-PATH IS AND MUST BE TRODDEN ALONE. The wakeful hours find her alone; the hours when pain and weariness come to her find her alone; for the difficult problem of thought has none to aid in its solution now—she is alone. So desolate; for other fellowships are not for life; they only help to vary her life. Desolate; for none can quite understand her care and grief, and think that she will soon put them, off with the weeds and crape.—W.M.S.
1 Timothy 5:5.—Confidence in the Father.
"Trusteth in God." Let Timothy remember that in her case experience has ratified truth. She will need no elaborate arguments for the truth, because—
I. SHE HAS THE EVIDENTIAL PROOF WITHIN. Did she not in the dark hours fling her arms around her Father's neck; did she not tell him that she would fear no want, though she felt such change? Did not that trust—simple trust—do her more good than all human words, all kindly letters, all change of place and scene? Others wondered at her, rising up in her poor strength to arrange, to order, to readjust life to means and circumstances, to do her best for the little flock that she was shepherdess to in the wilderness.
II. SHE HAS THE FELLOWSHIP OF PRAYER. Yes, O man of the world, O scorner of truth, O soft-spoken atheist, she prays! Makes the air quiver, yon say. Hears the echo of her own cry, you say. Bends before an empty throne, you say. It may be you, have never felt to need God as she needs him now. Her need is an instinct and an argument; for somehow in this world there is a Divine revealing, call it what you like, that satisfies the desire of every living thing. And sloe has prayed, and the secret of the Lord has been made known; and that it is no empty experience, is now to be proven in this way.
III. SHE REVEALS ITS POWER BY HER PERSEVERANCE IN IT. She "continueth in prayers and supplications night and day." Then there must be relief. The burden must be lighter, the load must be easier, the vision must be clearer. None of us continue in that which mocks us. The invisible world is as real as the visible one. We know when there is a whisper within us and an arm around us, and so does she. Surely you would not rob her of her only wealth—her trust. But you cannot. "Night and day." Mark that. She finds in the night an image of her grief. She finds in the night silence. The children, if any, are asleep. She whose tears have watered her couch, whose hand has reached forth into the empty space, whose every movement would once have awakened solicitude, as of pain, or weariness, or sleeplessness, is now alone. But not alone; for the lips move and a great cry goes up: "O God, be not far from me! Listen to the voice of my cry, my King and- my God. My heart within me is desolate. Hear me out of thy habitation, thou Father of the fatherless, thou Judge of the widow. I mourn in my complaint and make a noise. Oh, when wilt thou come to me?" And God does come; and. it may help Timothy to know that this gospel which he has to preach is a Divine living seed, bearing its harvests in the hearts and homes of the eiders and of the widows. We shall see in our next exposition that St. Paul knows that there are worldly hearts to whom affliction brings no gracious fruit; and if there be a sight on earth more appalling than another, it is the frivolous widow whose very mourning is a pride and a study, whose manner is that of a pleasure-seeker, and whose heart is unaffected by the reverences of the memories of love and death. It is very evident that the gospel which Timothy was to teach and preach was no mere creed, no mere perfect ritual or ceremonial, but. a religion human and Divine, a religion that anticipates the changes and sorrows and dangers of every individual life. This Book is a vade-mecum. Here we go for all the medicines of relief and hope that our poor humanity needs. We shall never outgrow the Book. Its leaves are still for the healing of the nations, and it makes life calm, restful, and beautiful. How comes it that we have known the sweetest angels in such guises as these afflictions and bereavements bring? Yet so it is. Where shall we go? Oh, life has many roads; banditti lurk here and there, and there are swollen rivers to be forded, and dangerous passes to be entered. How shall we go? With this rod and staff we may go anywhere. If we take a fable, let it be the ancient stone: if you look therein, strange transformations take place—you ask me what I see? Now a sword; now a mountain; now a simple loaf of bread; now a touchstone of evil and of good; now a rock high above the waters; now a pilot on a dangerous sea; now a pillar rising on the plain of time; now a harp from which sweetest music breathes; now a pillow—a simple pillow. Cowper puts aside his own 'Task' and takes God's Testament; so will we. On these promises of God we will fall asleep.—W.M.S.
1 Timothy 5:6.—Death in life.
"But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth." Christianity purifies and harmonizes the whole nature of man, and assimilates whatever is pure in humanity to the kingdom of God. It does not destroy pure earthly joys; nay, rather it plants many flowers by the wayside of life. But pleasure is often perverted by man, and in that age k had become so associated with what was coarse and carnal, that the very word "pleasure" became in the gospel a synonym for sin. We have here death in the midst of life—"that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth"—or death and life side by side.
I. THE IMMOBILITY WHICH CHARACTERIZES THE DEAD BODY CHARACTERIZES THE DEAD SOUL. There is no movement of thought towards God; no feet swift to do his will; no heart that beats in sympathy with his Law. Instinct is alive; but the brightness of the eye, and the music of the voice, and the activities of lift, are like flowers upon graves.
II. THE INSENSIBILITY OF THE DEAD BODY CHARACTERIZES THE DEAD SOUL. All around there may be signs of outward life. As the body lies in the churchyard, the murmuring river flows by its banks, the birds make their summer music in the trees, and men, women, and children stay to rest, and to read the inscriptions on the graves; but to all these things the sleepers in the tombs are insensible. So the dead soul is insensible to the august realities of religion, to the voice of God, and to the visions of the great day.
III. THE CORRUPTION OF THE DEAD BODY CHARACTERIZES THE DEAD SOUL. This is the dread thought in connection with death, that we must bury it out of sight. When decay commences, corruption begins; and he, who knows all that is in man, tells us that out of the sepulcher of the unrenewed heart of man come evil desires, murders, and adulteries. "They that sow to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption" These aspects of the case show us that, as there are graveyards in the crowded cities with all their busy life, so in the unrenewed heart of man there is death in the midst of life.—W.M.S.
1 Timothy 5:8.—Care for the home.
"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." The gospel does not leave us with any loose ideas of responsibility. There is often a universal sentiment of goodness which finds no particular application.
I. MAN HAS "HIS OWN." He is to care for his own soul. He is accountable for his own influence. He is the father of his own family, and, up to a certain age, his will is their law. He is to provide for his own; his thought and skill and care are all to be laid upon the altar or' the household. It is sad to see men sometimes flattered by the world, and welcomed to every hearth, who yet leave "their own" slighted and neglected at home. The gospel says that the husband is the head of the wife; and the gospel evidently understands the design of God, that man should be the hard worker and- bread-winner of life.
II. HE HAS A FAITH TO KEEP. What is meant here by denying the faith, and being worse than an infidel? Surely this, that the faith is meant to make us Christ-like; one with him who pleased not himself, who ministered to others, and who revealed to us that great law of love by which every Christian life must be inspired. The word. "infidel" has often been used. to represent mere skeptical unbelief. It really means "wanting in faith;" and the man who, whatever he professes, does not live out the spirit of the gospel, that man is worse than an infidel, if by infidel we mean a man who intellectually has not accepted the Christian faith.—W.M.S.
1 Timothy 5:13.—The busybody life.
"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." Indolence is the parent of all sins, because, with evil so active in the world, some of its emissaries are sure to be wanting houseroom in our hearts.
I. WE MAY LEARN TO BE IDLE. There is no life so undignified as that which is busy in trifles, which has learned to enjoy listless hours. For the wandering thought produces the wandering life. "Wandering about from house to house;" and, having nothing else to build with, too often build aerial structures of untruths and half-truths.
II. NOT ONLY IDLE, BUT TATTLERS. The harm that has been worked in this world by busybodies cannot be over-estimated. It is easy to send an arrow into the air, but not to gather it up again. It is easy to poison the river of good reputation, but we cannot re-purify the stream. It is easy to pluck the flower of a good man's fame, but we cannot restore its beauty. "Speaking things which they ought not." Holy few really make "I ought" govern their lives! Custom and convenience and pleasantness too often constrain our speech. People like to startle others, to give the shock of a new sensation, to amuse them, to please them. And, alas! it is too true that tattlers and busybodies know how to gratify those they visit. St. Paul thinks in this next verse (14) that marriage and care of children and housewifery are good things (which the ascetic Roman Church seems not to think), and that women so occupied give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.—W.M.S.
1 Timothy 5:24.—Sins that go before.
"Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after." Primarily, these words refer to the ministry. Never act suddenly. You may be deceived, and lay hands on unfit men, damaging the Church and dishonoring God. Manner may deceive. Latent sins may slumber beneath specious appearances. Some sins blossom at once, and evil is unveiled. At times the poisonous springs send forth their deleterious waters at once. Sometimes they are like hidden watercourses flowing beneath the surface soil, and appearing in unexpected places. Moral government always exists, but diversity characterizes the methods of God. Justice and judgment are the habitation of his throne. Sometimes Cain and Ananias are punished at once; the one is outlawed, the other dies. But Herod and Pilate waited for a revealing day. Subject—Sins that go before. They have outriders. As with a trumpet-peal attention is called to their advent. We see the evil-doers; vile in countenance, shambling in gait, dishonored in mien. These sins are revealed. We mark lost delicacy, honor, purity, peace, principle, reputation, joy!
I. THIS IS SPECIAL OR EXCEPTIONAL. "Some men's sins." Do not, in observing them, draw an argument for the necessary goodness of others. The openness of some judgments does not give, necessarily, fair fame to others. In the most decorous life there may be secret sins. The slumbering fire may be in the hold of the stately ship. The hidden vulture may be waiting for the carrion of the soul. But here there is judgment. We look around, we see it. Our newspapers, our neighborhoods say, "Behold the hand of God here." Faith is departed; hope is blighted; beauty is destroyed; the dark outriders are here.
II. THIS IS A SPECTACLE TO MEN. "They are open beforehand," and not made manifest merely in the sense of being sins, but their judgment is with them. For there are two ideas—you may see a sin to be a sin, but you need not have its judgment open. But the translation here requires that we should understand that the judgment is open, as well as the sin. You see not only men's corruption, but their misery; not only their guilt, but their shame. A child might see a poison berry, and know that it is such; or see a snake, and be told it has a sting; but how clear the judgment if, under the one tree, a little child lay dead; and beside the serpent a man was struggling in throes of agony!
III. THEY ARE OPEN BEFOREHAND. That implies they are hints in this world (where there is a place for repentance) of troubles yet to come. They do not exhaust judgment; they are premonitions of it. The light of mercy plays all around even the paths of judgment here; for the Savior of men is able to deliver from every prison-house. The beforehand judgment may be a merciful thing, but let no man deal tightly with it. The gathering clouds presage the fury of the storm; the pattering drops herald the hail and rain; the reddening light of the volcano tells of the desolating lava. "Some men's sins are open beforehand."—W.M.S.
1 Timothy 5:24.—Sins that follow after.
"Some men they follow after." Here is a revealed fact with no comment upon it, hut it is very terrible. A smooth comfortable life, and yet a life of respectable sin! No blame, no opprobrium, no ostracism from society. Men deceive themselves. They go into the streets of their Nineveh, but no prophet reproves them. The waters are rising, but no Noah warns them; all is placid and full of repose.
I. THE CONNECTION BETWEEN A MAN AND HIS SINS. "And some men they follow after." Our sins are like us; they reflect our faces; they are mirrors which will one day show us ourselves; they follow after us by a moral individuality; they will each fly to their own center. Our sins are not resolvable into some generic whole as the sin of man. The blight in the summer-time is not so disastrous in defacing beauty, the locusts of the East are not so devastating in their all-devouring flight, as are our troops of sins. They follow after us, and blight our immortality.
II. THE CONNECTION BETWEEN SHAME AND SIN. "They follow after." That is the reason we are not ashamed of them. Shame for sin is not sorrow for sin. The Hindu is only ashamed when he is discovered. That is not grief at sin: it is horror at being found out. Sins that follow after are not much thought about. The world has given us carte blanche if we preserve our position in society. What men shrink from is exposure and shame. It' all sins were revealed, who could bear it? If the earth were a moral mirror, who could walk upon it? But detection surely comes in God's way—in God's great day when he shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ.—W.M.S.
HOMILIES BY R. FINLAYSON
1 Timothy 5:1-16.—Dealing with certain classes in the Church.
I. BEHAVIOR OF TIMOTHY TOWARD THE ELDER AND YOUNGER CHURCH MEMBERS OF BOTH SEXES. "Rebuke not an eider, but exhort him as a father; the younger men as brethren: the eider women as mothers; the younger as sisters, in all purity." A minister has to deal with people differing in age and sex. If he is a young minister like Timothy, he has a difficult part to act. It may happen that one who is very much his cider is guilty of an offence. How is he to conduct himself toward him? He is not to rebuke him sharply, as the word means, being different from what is employed in 2 Timothy 4:2, where authority is given to rebuke. Along with the authority that belongs to his office, there is to be such respect as is due by a child to a father. Entreaty will therefore not be separated from the presentation of duty. If it is younger men that offend, there is not to be wanting the respect that is due to brethren. If it is the elder women who are faulty, they are to be addressed as mothers. "Plead with your mother, plead" (Hosea 2:2). If it is the younger women who have to he dealt with, there is to be sisterly regard, without the slightest departure from propriety.
II. THE CHURCH ROLL OF WIDOWS. "Honor widows that are widows indeed." The honor requires to be restricted, to harmonize with the definition of them that are widows indeed. It comes to be their being placed (2 Timothy 4:9) on the special roll of Church widows. Let the honor not be lowered by being too widely extended; let it be confined to them that are really deserving.
1. Exclusion of those who have claims on children or grandchildren. "But if any widow hath children or grandchildren, let them learn first to show piety towards their own family, and to requite their parents: for this is acceptable in the sight of God." The Church is not to be charged with the care of widows who have children or grandchildren able to care for them. Upon them the duty falls, before failing upon the Church. This is only how a sacred regard for parents should show itself. It is a duty founded on natural justice, viz. requital for services rendered to them by parents. And it cannot but be pleasing to God, who has laid the foundations of it in nature, and who is represented by the parents, so that what is rendered to them is regarded as rendered to him.
2. Qualification of being desolate. "Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate." The widow indeed is defined as desolate or left alone, i.e. who, needing to be cared for, has none of her own to care for her.
(1) Religion of her position. "Hath her hope set on God, and continueth in supplication and prayers night and day." Having no expectation from any earthly helper, she hath her hope set on God, i.e. primarily for earthly blessings that she needs. She is also by her destitution led- to dwell more upon the future than upon the present. She is also by her loneliness led to be much with God. She addresses God in connection with her own requirements, but she does not forget the requirements of others; for her prayers extend from day into the night, from night into the day. Thus is her position made helpful to her religious life.
(2) Irreligion of a desolate position. "But she that giveth herself to pleasure is dead while she liveth." In the absence of children or grandchildren that can care for her, the temptation is, where a woman has not a lawful way of making a living, to seek a living by giving herself up to unlawful pleasure. Such a one necessarily loses any Christian status that she had entitling her to be cared for by the Church. It can be said of her more radically, that she makes a contradiction of her life. While living, she is making of herself moral rottenness. As in this state she is a fit object for Christian sympathy. And, if she comes to see herself to be in this state, there is hope for her from him who hath said, "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out." But that is the true reading of her state upon which all effort after her salvation must proceed, "She is dead while she liveth." Reason for insisting on the qualification. "These things also command, that they may be without reproach." The requirement was to be laid authoritatively upon the Church, in the interest of the widows themselves. There was their character as a class to be protected. Let none be admitted into their number who were not fit subjects for Church support. General principle by which this case is ruled. "But if any provideth not for his own, and specially his own household, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever." The law for the believer is that he is to provide, more widely, for his own and, less widely, for those who belong to the family. He who does not observe this is virtually unchurching himself. He is falling below the unbeliever, who is taught by nature, or by his religion which is wrong on so many points, to do as much. With regard to caring for parents, Plutarch says that all men, though some may think otherwise, say that nature and the law of nature requires that parents should have the highest honor next the gods; that men can do nothing more acceptable to the gods than by readily heaping favors upon their parents; and that nothing is a greater evidence of atheism or impiety than to despise them. On the other hand, there is a clear obligation also founded in nature for parents to provide for their children while they are in a state of dependence. This obligation is violated by the man who spends on his own lusts what should be spent on his family.
3. Qualification of age. "Let none be enrolled as a widow under threescore years old." In accordance with what has gone before, we are to think of a roll of widows supported by the Church, for which the minimum requirement of age is here laid down as sixty.
4. Qualification of regularity of marriage. "Having been the wife of one man." It is difficult to see how such second marriage as is sanctioned in 2 Timothy 4:14 should exclude from the roll. It is better, therefore, to think of some irregularity, such as unlawful divorce from a first husband.
5. Qualification of serviceableness. "Well reported of for good works; if she hath brought up children, if she hath used hospitality to strangers, if she hath washed the saints' feet, if she hath relieved the afflicted, if she hath diligently followed every good work." Some of the works are mentioned for which she is to be well reported of. First, what she has done for children, either her own or orphans. To bring up children well implies great self-denial and power of management, and is to do a great service to the Church. Secondly, what she has done for strangers. We are to think of their being entertained for the Church. If they were not Christians, they would be sent away with a good impression of Christianity. Thirdly, what she has done for the saints. The washing of the feet is common in the East. We need not wonder at stress being laid on her performing a humble service. Humble services are to be performed toward the members of the Christian circle, for the sake of Christ and after the example of Christ. Fourthly, what she has done for the afflicted, or hard pressed in any way. We are to think of relief being afforded by a visit of sympathy, a word of encouragement, the undertaking of work as well as the bestowal of charity. It is added generally, "If she hath diligently followed every good work." It is evident that one who had been so serviceable to the Church would, in case of her destitution, have a claim to be supported by the Church. It can easily be seen, too, how, with such qualifications, she would be expected, in lieu of the support rendered to her, to render such service to the Church as was in bet' power. Thus the roll of Church widows would have the honorable character of a roll of Church workers. And we can think of widows being admitted upon the roll who did not need Church support, but wanted to do Church work. And there seems to have been, in accordance with this, in the early Church, an order of presbytery widows, who, under the sanctions of the Church, attended to the sick and instructed and advised the younger members of their sex.
6. Exclusion of younger widows. "But younger widows refuse." They were not to have the honor of being put upon the roll, though, in case of destitution, not beyond Christian help.
(1) Their changeableness. "For when they have waxed wanton against Christ, they desire to marry; having condemnation, because they have rejected their first faith." Under the influence of grief, their first thought might be to devote themselves to Christian service, and with that view to apply to be admitted on the roll of Church widows. But there would be danger of their departing from that idea of their life. The fact of their desiring to marry being regarded as a waxing wanton against Christ implies that the being admitted to the roll was a coming under some obligation to continue in widowhood for the sake of such services as they could render. Their being taken off the roll implies the condemnation of their rejecting their first faith, i.e. departing from the idea which, at the first, with sacred feelings, they had adopted for their future earthly life.
(2) Their triviality. "And withal they learn also to be idle, going about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not." This was a second danger, while remaining in widowhood and having their names on the roll, their departing from the seriousness of the life which they had chosen. There is a way of going about from house to house which is simply a wasting of time. This leads to a habit of gossiping, and a habit of intermeddling. Things are said which ought not to be said—as being colored and mischievous in their consequences.
(3) His advice to them confirmed by experience. "I desire therefore that the younger widows marry, bear children, rule the household, give none occasion to the adversary for reviling; for already some are turned after Satan." In view of the dangers mentioned, the apostle appoints, for the younger widows, marriage and its duties. That would take away occasion for reviling. Some who had given themselves to Christ as presbyter-widows were turned after Satan, i.e. married, or given up to idle habits.
(4) Such as needed to be relieved. "If any woman that believeth hath widows, let her relieve them, and let not the Church be burdened; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed." This touches the former point of support. If they married, then they did not need Church support. But what was to be done with lonely and destitute young widows who remained unmarried? The apostle lays the burden of their support upon a believing female relative (on the supposition that there was such). She is to undertake the burden, rather than that the Church should be burdened. It is implied that, in the event of there being no one to undertake the burden, the Church is to step in and act the part of the relative, without, however, placing her meantime upon the honorable roll of Church widows.—R.F.
1 Timothy 5:17-25.—The presbyterate.
I. HONOR DUE TO ELDERS. "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and in teaching." As associated with Paul, Timothy was to be classed as an extraordinary office-bearer in the Church. He had the organizing of the Ephesian Church, but it was intended that the rule should permanently reside in a class of ordinary office-bearers who are here called ciders. The fact is plainly stated that elders were ordained by the apostles in every Church (Acts 14:23). It appears that the organization of a Church was regarded as defective without the appointment of elders (Titus 1:5). In the Church of Ephesus, as in all other Churches that we read of, there was a plurality of elders. All the elders are regarded as ruling or presiding, i.e. over the brethren who composed the Church. To elders it belongs to administer the laws which Christ has laid down for the government of his Church, and to take the general superintendence of the affairs of the congregation over which they are placed. It is a rule in which good qualities may be evinced, such as fidelity, diligence, impartiality, affectionateness, a habit of dependence upon Divine grace. Elders as such are to be counted worthy of honor, but those that rule well are to be counted worthy of double honor, i.e. the honor of excellence in the discharge of their duties added to the honor belonging to their office. There are two classes of elders—those who merely rule, and those who, besides ruling, are charged with the Word and with teaching. It is an honor by itself to have to do with the Word, and especially with the teaching of it, i.e. to be teaching elders; but those who have not only the office, but do well in it—suggested by the word "labor"—are to becounted worthy of double honor.
II. THEIR MAINTENANCE. "For the Scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his hire." Under the honor to be done especially to the laborious teaching elder, is brought maintenance. This is enforced by a reference to Deuteronomy 25:4. The Jewish law showed consideration for an animal that had to labor. The ox was not to be muzzled when, in Eastern fashion, treading out the corn. It was not to be prevented from enjoying the fruit of its labors. The application is given at some length in 1 Corinthians 9:1-27., but it is simply brought out here by a proverb, which is also made use of by our Lord. The Christian teacher labors as really as the ox that treads out the corn. Not less than the ox he is to have the condition of labor, viz. maintenance. He is to have it not as a necessity, but on the principle that he is entitled to it as the reward of his labor.
III. THEIR JUST TREATMENT UNDER ACCUSATION. "Against an elder receive not an accusation, except at the month of two or three witnesses." There is reference to a well-known regulation of the Jewish law. It was especially to be observed in the case of honored or doubly honored elders. No weight was to be attached to unproved private complaints. "It might easily happen in a Church, so large and mixed as the Ephesian, that one or another, from wounded feelings of honor, from mere partisanship, or some selfish motive, would seek to injure a presbyter, and drag him down from his influential position; and against this the precept of the apostle was the best safeguard."
IV. DISCIPLINE IF SHOWN TO BE SINNING. "Them that sin reprove in the sight of all, that the rest also may be in fear." The apostle has been treating of elders; he is still treating of elders in 1 Corinthians 9:22. If, then, ordinary weight is to be attached to the context in interpretation, the conclusion seems certain that public reproof was only enjoined in the case of sinning elders. We are to understand that the accusation against them has been substantiated by two or three witnesses, and that by continuing in sin they exhibit no signs of repentance. Let such be publicly reproved, that, if the publicity does not do them good, it may at least cause a wholesome fear to fall upon others of their class.
V. SOLEMN ADJURATION. "I charge thee in the sight of God, and Christ Jesus, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing by partiality." The form of the adjuration is remarkable for the proximity in which Christ Jesus stands to God. If we are led to think of God as being omniscient, we are as naturally led to think of Christ Jesus as being omniscient, i.e. Divine. The form of the adjuration is also remarkable for the bringing in of the elect angels, i.e. honored to be the chosen objects of God's love. Their omniscience does not belong to them singly, but to their class, which is frequently represented as very numerous. As witnesses of what is now done on earth they will be present with their Lord on the day of judgment. The matter of the adjuration is the upholding of the presbyterate. Let none of the order be prejudged unfavorably; let none, through favor, be spared, if their sin is patent. We may learn from the solemnity of the adjuration, how highly the apostle valued the honor of the order.
VI. CARE IN APPOINTING TO THE ORDER. "Lay hands hastily on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure." The laying on of hands in ordination, which is clearly referred to here, is symbolic of the communication of spiritual gifts. We also learn from the language here, that it is equivalent to recognition on the part of those ordaining. They are accountable thus far, that if, through hastiness, they have admitted unworthy persons into the order, then they are partakers of their sins. As having to pronounce upon others, Timothy was to keep himself pure; his own conduct was to be above suspicion.
VII. TIMOTHY CAUTIONED. "Be no longer a drinker of water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities." Paley makes a point of the want of connection. "The direction stands between two sentences, as wide from the subject as possible." He, however, puts more upon this than it will bear. There is a certain Epistolary negligence, but there is connection. It occurs to the apostle that the command to keep himself pure might be too strictly interpreted by Timothy. He was not to be regarded as enjoining the utmost abstinence on him. On the contrary, his opinion was that Timothy was abstinent beyond what his health demanded. He was a drinker of water, i.e. accustomed to the exclusive use of water as a drink. Whatever his reasons for adopting this course, it was too rigorous for him. He needed a little wine for his stomach's sake and his often infirmities. This is not certainly to be construed into a license for the unlimited use of wine. He is only recommended the use of a little wine. And the very reason which is given for its use is against its use where the same reason does not exist. It is only too obvious that alcohol is destructive to the stomach, and the fruitful cause of infirmities. It is destructive to the brain as well as to the stomach. "There is quite a marked type of mental degeneration which may result from continuous drinking during ten years without one instance of drunkenness. We have, as a statistical fact, that from fifteen to twenty per cent of the actual insanity of the country is produced by alcohol." In the name of health, then, its use is to be feared; but, where health demands the use of wine, it is a sin not to use it. For the servant of the Lord must have his strength of body at a maximum for him.
VIII. A POINT TO BE CONSIDERED IN THE JUDGING OF MEN FOR OFFICE. "Some men's sins are evident, going before unto judgment; and some men also they follow after. In like manner also there are good works that are evident; and such as are otherwise cannot be hid." Present judging has a look forward to future judging. To future judgment all actions, bad and good, are regarded as going forward. But there is a difference, both in the ease of bad actions and of good actions. Some men's sins are notorious; and, as heralds, go before them to judgment, proclaiming their condemnation. With regard to such, judging for office is an easy matter; but it is not so with others. "Their sins are first known after and by the judgment, not known beforehand like the first named. In regard to those whose character is not yet clear, circumspection in our judgment cannot be too strongly urged." The same difference applies to good works. Some are as clear as noonday; and therefore there can be no hesitation in regard to the doers of them. There are, however, other good works which are not thus clear; these cannot be hid longer than the judgment. In view of the discovery of good deeds at present unknown, we cannot be too circumspect in our judgment of men, lest by our hastiness we do injury to any.—R.F.
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Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 5". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany