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Bible Commentaries
1 Timothy 5

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary

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1 Timothy 5:0


Duties Toward OthersTreatment of Church MembersThe Pastor and the FlockResponsibilities Toward BelieversPastoral Practice
1 Timothy 5:1-21 Timothy 5:1-21 Timothy 5:1-21 Timothy 5:1-21 Timothy 5:1-2
Honor True WidowsWidows
1 Timothy 5:3-161 Timothy 5:3-161 Timothy 5:3-81 Timothy 5:3-81 Timothy 5:3-8
1 Timothy 5:9-161 Timothy 5:9-101 Timothy 5:9-16
1 Timothy 5:11-16
Honor the EldersThe Elders
1 Timothy 5:17-231 Timothy 5:17-251 Timothy 5:17-221 Timothy 5:17-221 Timothy 5:17-22
1 Timothy 5:231 Timothy 5:231 Timothy 5:23
1 Timothy 5:24-2a1 Timothy 5:24-2a1 Timothy 5:24-251 Timothy 5:24-25

READING CYCLE THREE (from "A Guide to Good Bible Reading")


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired but it is the key to following the original author's intent which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.


A. In light of the larger historical setting of the book, these words of pastoral advice are probably also colored by the false teachers' actions

1. problems with widows (1 Timothy 5:3-16)

2. problems with elders (1 Timothy 5:17-25)

3. problems with slaves (1 Timothy 6:1-2a)

4. problems with false teachers (1 Timothy 6:2-10)

a. doctrine

b. wealth

B. There are three terms used in this section in two differing senses

1. "elder"

a. older man (1 Timothy 5:1)

b. house church leader (1 Timothy 5:17)

2. "widow"

a. female survivor of a marriage that the church helped (1 Timothy 5:3-8)

b. special category of female church worker that the church hired (1 Timothy 5:9-16)

3. "honor"

a. respect (1 Timothy 5:3, 1 Timothy 5:17)

b. salary (1 Timothy 5:3, 1 Timothy 5:17)

c. or both

C. In some ways chapter 5 relates to chapter 3. The "elders" of 1 Timothy 5:17 refer to the "overseers" of 1 Timothy 3:1 and the widow's "list" (roll) of 1 Timothy 5:9 refers to the "women" of 1 Timothy 3:11.

I realize that this distinction between widows the church helped (1 Timothy 5:3-8) and widows who served the church seems a bit of a stretch, but here is why I hold this view.

1. The qualifications of a widow are strict (cf. 1 Timothy 5:5, 1 Timothy 5:9-10). Does this imply that the church only helped some very special widows?

2. The "roll" of 1 Timothy 5:9 seems to be a special list of widows.

3. The "list" (cf. 1 Timothy 5:9) or the pledge (literally "the first faith") in 1 Timothy 5:12 implies more than just a promise not to remarry. Why would remarrying be a problem? It would remove the widow from needed church support, but what if it were a contract for church employment? In this way the church helped needy persons (i.e., salary), yet also got their services (i.e., serving other women).

4. The discussion of "elders," which starts at 1 Timothy 5:17, involves church paid help.


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. List the paid staff positions of a local church mentioned in chapter 5.

2. List the qualifications of a true widow who was to receive funds from the church.

3. How are verses 1 Timothy 5:7, 1 Timothy 5:8, and 14 related to 1 Timothy 3:0?

4. How does verse 1 Timothy 5:20 relate to verses 1 Timothy 5:24 and 25?

5. Does the Bible teach total abstinence from alcohol?

Verses 1-2

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 1 Timothy 5:1-2 1Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, 2the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity.

1 Timothy 5:1 "Do not sharply rebuke" This is an aorist active subjunctive with the negative particle, which usually means do not start an act. This is a strong Greek term (used only here), which literally means "to strike blows" (cf. 1 Timothy 3:13). Christians must act differently, they must always act in love with a view toward reconciliation. This advice may reflect the OT admonition to honor the aged in Leviticus 19:32.

"an older man" This is literally the term "elder" (presbuteros). There are two senses in which this term is used in this context:

1. for an older man (1 Timothy 5:1)

2. for a leadership position in the local house churches (1 Timothy 5:17 cf. 1 Peter 5:1, 1 Peter 5:5)



"but rather appeal to him as a father" This is a present active imperative. Paul's emphasis is for Timothy to treat the members of the house churches as his closest family members (cf. Mark 3:31-35). The honor and respect due "fathers and mothers" may reflect the Ten Commandments (cf. 1 Timothy 5:4).

1 Timothy 5:2 "younger women as sisters, in all purity" Because of (1) Timothy's age and (2) the sexual exploitation of the false teachers (cf. 2 Timothy 3:6), Paul was especially careful to denote purity in relation to the young women.

Verses 3-8

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 1 Timothy 5:3-8 3Honor widows who are widows indeed; 4but if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God. 5Now she who is a widow indeed and who has been left alone, has fixed her hope on God and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day. 6But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7Prescribe these things as well, so that they may be above reproach. 8But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

1 Timothy 5:3 "Honor widows" The term "honor" in 1 Timothy 5:3 and 17 may denote a salary or a stipend the church gave

1. to needy widows (cf. 1 Timothy 5:3-8)

2. to special women helpers (cf. 1 Timothy 5:9-16)

3. to the elders (cf. 1 Timothy 5:17-22)

It seems that the church, following the OT and synagogue (cf. Deuteronomy 24:17-22; Exodus 22:22-24; Isaiah 1:17; Acts 6:1ff; Acts 9:39, Acts 9:41), cared for widows. It was Paul's concern that those the church helped were really in need or had no family of their own to help them (cf. 1 Timothy 5:4, 1 Timothy 5:16). The false teachers exploited widows (cf. 1 Timothy 5:6, 1 Timothy 5:15). Paul admonishes the church to help true widows.

1 Timothy 5:4 "if" This is a first class conditional sentence (as is 1 Timothy 5:8). There were widows who were being neglected by their own families (cf. 1 Timothy 5:8, 1 Timothy 5:16).

"for this is acceptable in the sight of God" This probably refers to the Ten Commandments about honoring father and mother (cf. Exodus 20:12), in this case a widowed mother. In the OT God defends the weak, socially disenfranchised, and powerless. The cry to defend "the widow, the orphan, and the alien" becomes as characteristic here as the Deuteronomic phrase (repeated in Jeremiah).

Believers show their love and respect for YHWH by honoring His word and will for maintaining strong family ties and responsibilities.

1 Timothy 5:5 "Now she who is a widow indeed and who has been left alone" This is the same rare grammatical construction as 1 Timothy 4:3 (i.e., an adjective and a participle, cf. Titus 1:15). One wonders if this was a literary marker of a scribe who Paul used in the Pastoral Letters. Paul gives specific guidelines for his day on the qualification for receiving help from the church (but not on the "list" of 1 Timothy 5:9):

1. perfect tense has and continues to live alone

2. perfect tense has been and continues to be a godly woman

3. perfect tense continues to flee earthly pleasures by means of continual prayer

Anna (Luke 2:37) and Dorcas (Acts 9:36) (although she is not specifically said to be a widow), would fit these qualifications.

1 Timothy 5:6

NASB"But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure" NKJV"but she who lives in pleasure" NRSV"who lives for pleasure" TEV"who gives herself to pleasure" NJB"who thinks only of pleasure"

Because of the cultural situation this may refer to

1. widows turning to prostitution as a means of making a living

2. the sexual exploitation by the false teachers (cf. 2 Timothy 3:5-7)

This seems to be a very stern warning (cf. 1 Timothy 5:15).

This same word is used in James 5:5.

"is dead even while she lives" This refers to a state of spiritual death (perfect active indicative). This verse is describing widows in the house churches of Ephesus! The false teachers had brought about not only their own "deaths," but now they are spiritually responsible for the "deaths" of others.

1 Timothy 5:7

NASB"Prescribe these things" NKJV"these things command" NRSV"give these commands" TEV"give them these instructions" NJB"instruct them in this"

This term refers to "strict military commands" (cf. 1 Timothy 1:3, 1 Timothy 1:18; 1 Timothy 4:11). These were not suggestions! These were not items of personal preference.

"so that they may be above reproach" The "they" seems to refer to the relatives of widows with living families. This was and is an appropriate calling for all believers. Whoever fails to provide for his own relatives, especially his immediate family, has disowned the faith and in the eyes of the community is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:7, 1 Timothy 5:8). This reflects Jesus' teachings in Mark 7:9-13. This seems to relate to the continual emphasis on giving no handle for criticism, both to believers and unbelievers (cf. 1 Timothy 3:2, 1 Timothy 3:7, 1 Timothy 3:10; 1 Timothy 5:7; 1 Timothy 6:14). Christians must always live so as to attract others to faith in Christ. The positive side of this is seen in verse 1 Timothy 5:4, while this is the negative. See SPECIAL TOPIC: QUALIFICATIONS FOR FEMALE CHURCH WORKERS at 1 Timothy 3:12.

1 Timothy 5:8 "if" This is a first class conditional sentence meaning some believers have neglected their families (cf. 1 Timothy 5:4, 1 Timothy 5:16)

"denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever" I believe this refers to the person's witness in the community (cf. 1 Timothy 5:7; 1 Timothy 3:4-5), not to their salvation. Even unbelievers help their own families. However, there are other texts which use this same term "deny" and imply a total rejection of God (cf. 2 Timothy 2:12; Titus 1:16; 2 Peter 2:1; Jude 1:4). In context this may somehow be related to the actions or teachings of the false teachers "who fell away from the faith" (cf. 1 Timothy 1:19-20; 1 Timothy 4:1-2; 1 Timothy 6:9-10, 1 Timothy 6:20-21) or their followers (cf. 1 Timothy 5:6, 1 Timothy 5:15). See SPECIAL TOPIC: APOSTASY (APHISTÇMI) at 1 Timothy 4:1.

Verses 9-16

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 1 Timothy 5:9-16 9A widow is to be put on the list only if she is not less than sixty years old, having been the wife of one man, 10having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints' feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work. 11But refuse to put younger widows on the list, for when they feel sensual desires in disregard of Christ, they want to get married, 12thus incurring condemnation, because they have set aside their previous pledge. 13At the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention. 14Therefore, I want younger widows to get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach; 15for some have already turned aside to follow Satan. 16If any woman who is a believer has dependent widows, she must assist them and the church must not be burdened, so that it may assist those who are widows indeed.

1 Timothy 5:9 "A widow is to be put on the list only if she is not less than sixty years old" This is a present passive imperative with the negative particle, which usually implies stop an act in process. Here is another qualification for the widows who were part of the ministry team. The term "the list" is the Greek term for "a legal register." The widows' roll may be synonymous with the concept of "deaconess" (cf. 1 Timothy 3:11; Romans 16:1). However, the "Apostolic Constitutions," written in the early second century, listed three categories of women ministers: virgins, deaconesses, and widows.

NASB"having been the wife of one man" NKJV"and not unless she has been the wife of one man" NRSV"and has been married only once" TEV"In addition she must have been married only once" NJB"who has had only one husband"

There has been much discussion as to what this phrase means (cf. 1 Timothy 3:1, 1 Timothy 3:12). But it is obvious that whatever it means, it was a very serious issue to the house churches of Ephesus and Crete (cf. 1 Timothy 3:1, 1 Timothy 3:12; 1 Timothy 5:9; Titus 1:6). Strong, godly families were (and are) a powerful witness to a lost and confused world.

For a more complete discussion see 1 Timothy 3:2. In 1 Timothy 5:14 young widows are admonished to remarry. This seems to imply that a second marriage was not seen as sinful (cf. Romans 7:2-3; 1 Corinthians 7:0). In Baptist circles in Europe this "husband of one wife" or "wife of one man" has been interpreted as a biblical rejection of second marriages, especially for pastors. However, this was not the case in middle eastern culture. This theory reflects the growing asceticism of the early church, but not of the NT. Greek thought (i.e., the body is evil) negatively impacted the early Gentile churches.

1 Timothy 5:10 "having a reputation for good works" There are five specific good deeds listed (all First class conditional sentences) in the remainder of 1 Timothy 5:10. See Special Topic: Qualifications for Female Church Workers at 1 Timothy 3:12. These good works reflect a woman's expected role in the local community.

"if" This is a series of five first class conditional sentences in 1 Timothy 5:10, each of which denotes a qualification of a widow to be hired by the church.

"if she has brought up children" This is not meant to imply that a childless woman cannot be considered, but that if she has had children, they must be godly. This is the recurrent emphasis (cf. chapter 3) upon a strong, godly, faithful family life.

"if she has shown hospitality to strangers" This does not refer to the welcoming of any and everybody into one's home, but the boarding of itinerant Christian leaders.

"if she has washed the saints' feet" This was an act of a household servant receiving a guest. Jesus did this for His own disciples to teach them humility (cf. John 13:0). Here it seems to be metaphorical of humble service (and possibly a culturally expected hospitality).


"is she has assisted those in distress" Here again this probably refers to a comforting ministry toward believers, but it could include needy, hurting, lost neighbors. Each of the qualifications reveals the servant heart of these elder widows.

1 Timothy 5:11 "But refuse to put younger widows on the list for when they feel sensual desires in disregard of Christ, they want to get married" We must remember the positive theology of marriage which is presented in the Bible (cf. Genesis 1:0 and 2). This phrase seems to relate to a vow that these widows took when they became house church helpers (cf. 1 Timothy 5:12). This is not a disparaging statement about marriage, but a disparaging comment about making a vow in Christ's name and not keeping it (i.e., as divorce does also).

1 Timothy 5:12 "thus incurring condemnation" The King James Version has "damnation" (NKJF has "condemnation"). This is much too severe a translation for the Greek word krino. Vows to God were/are a serious promise (cf. Leviticus 27:0 and Numbers 30:0), but not a salvation issue.

NASB"they have set aside their previous pledge" NKJV"they have cast off their first faith" NRSV"for having violated their first pledge" TEV"of breaking their earlier promise to him" NJB"for being unfaithful to their original promise"

The Greek term pistis, which is usually translated "faith," "trust," or "believe," has the OT connotation of faithfulness or trustworthiness. This is how it is used here, in the sense of a priority promise related to their serving Christ (literally, "the first faith").

1 Timothy 5:13 "as they go around from house to house" Possibly the widows helped in daily care and weekly distribution of food (as did the synagogue) to the members of all the different house churches. They may have visited house to house to check on believers.

"gossips and busybodies" The first term is used in 3 John 1:10 of false charges being brought against a church leader. The problem is clearly defined in Titus 1:11. The problem was not idle gossip, but heresy!

The second term is used of magic or sorcery in Acts 19:19. However, in this context it applies to women who make their business tending to other people's business (NJB "meddlers").

"talking about things not proper to mention" In the context of the Pastoral Letters the false teachers tricking young women (cf. 2 Timothy 3:5-7), it is possible that they were spreading the false teachings from house church to house church or from Christian homemaker to Christian homemaker (cf. Titus 1:11). This is why Paul will not let them speak publicly in the house churches (cf. 1 Timothy 2:9-15) and will not allow them to be church helpers.

1 Timothy 5:14 "Therefore, I want younger widows to get married" Marriage (for these a second marriage) is not evil or less spiritual (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:8, 1 Corinthians 7:39-40). Homemaking is a godly calling (cf. 1 Timothy 2:15).

"give the enemy no occasion for reproach" The "enemy" is singular; it could refer to

1. Satan (cf. 1 Timothy 5:15)

2. anti-Christian pagan neighbors (NJB footnote, Jerome Biblical Commentary, p. 356)

3. a false teacher (cf. 2 Timothy 3:6-7)

These widows who had become sexually active have opened a door for both satanic attack and criticism from the whole community (believing and unbelieving).

The term "occasion" is a military term for a "beachhead" or "base of operations" (cf. Romans 7:8, Romans 7:11). The physical body is not evil, but it is the battleground of temptation. Human sexuality is not the problem. It is fallen humans taking God-given good things beyond God-given bounds.

1 Timothy 5:15 "for some have already turned aside to follow Satan" Possibly Timothy had related to Paul a specific occurrence such as the widow mentioned in verse 1 Timothy 5:6 or 13. The false teachers had targeted these young widows as surrogate speakers (as they had some male leaders, cf. 1 Timothy 1:20). Behind the false teachers was/is the activity of the evil one. See SPECIAL TOPIC: SATAN at 1 Timothy 3:6.

1 Timothy 5:16 "if" This is a first class conditional sentence. Paul wants Christian families to do their duty (present active imperative). He also wants to provide for those who have no family (cf. 1 Timothy 5:4, 1 Timothy 5:8).

NASB"If any woman who is a believer" NKJV"If any believing man or woman" NRSV"If any believing woman" REV, REB"But if any Christian woman" NJB"If a woman believer"

Obviously there is a textual variant.

1. pistç believing woman, MSS א, A, C, F, G, P

2. pistos believing man, some Old Latin and Vulgate MSS and the Greek text used by Augustine

3. pistos ç pistç believing man and woman, MS D and many minuscules

4. pistas believing women, some Old Latin and Vulgate MSS

The UBS4 gives option #1 a "B" rating (almost certain).

"church" See note at 1 Timothy 3:15 and Special Topic at 1 Timothy 3:5.

Verses 17-22

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 1 Timothy 5:17-22 17The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing," and "The laborer is worthy of his wages." 19Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. 20Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning. 21I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality. 22Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin.

1 Timothy 5:17 "elders" The term "elder" (presbuteros) was an OT designation of leadership, while the term "overseer" (episkopos, cf. 1 Timothy 3:1) was a Greek city-state designation of leadership. These two terms are used synonymously in the NT (cf. Acts 20:17, Acts 20:28 and 1 Peter 5:1-2, where elder is used of pastors and also Titus 1:5, Titus 1:7, where elder and overseer are used of the same leader).

The NT cannot be used to establish a divine church polity. It records all three developed forms.

1. episcopalian (James as authoritative leader)

2. presbyterian (a group of elders reviewed)

3. congregational (the congregations voted)

The plural here and in Acts 20:17 and Titus 1:5 could possibly point toward house churches. The early church did not have separate buildings until the third century. No one home was large enough to accommodate all the believers, therefore, different Christian homes around the larger cities opened their doors for the regular meetings of the Christian community. This approach also protected the church from being arrested all at once.

Exactly how the leadership of a city with several house churches was organized is unclear. As the church grew, organization was needed. The form of that organization is not as crucial as the godliness of the leaders.

"worthy of double honor" This is a present passive imperative. It can refer to salary (cf. Galatians 6:6) or to esteem (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13). The following context of 1 Timothy 5:18 suggests salary.

"especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching" Elders are always mentioned in the plural in the NT, which seems to imply several local house churches in the larger cities like Ephesus (cf. Acts 20:17ff). Pastors were to be able to teach as well as preach (cf. 1 Timothy 3:2; 2 Timothy 2:24; Ephesians 4:11).

Some leaders have one spiritual gift and others another. Leaders must focus on their giftedness and allow other gifted Christians to pick up the slack. Some believers are wonderfully gifted for leadership, often in several ways. Those who function in several areas need to be rewarded for their efforts and protected by the church in their areas of ineffectiveness. We as the body of Christ rejoice in the giftedness of our members, but we also need to remember that we desperately need one another (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:7)!

1 Timothy 5:18 "For the Scripture says" This is a quote from Deuteronomy 25:4. It is also quoted in 1 Corinthians 9:6-7, 1 Corinthians 9:14. The uniqueness of 1 Timothy 5:18 is that the OT is quoted on the same standing as a NT quote that we find codified in Luke 10:7 ("the laborer is worthy of his wages"). This shows Paul's view not only of the inspiration of the OT, but of the equality of the emerging NT (also note how Peter does this same thing to Paul's writings, cf. 2 Peter 3:15-16).

Paul's affirming the concept of a paid leadership is very interesting.

1. Following his Jewish heritage, he did not usually take money from those he taught (Philippi and Thessalonika were the exceptions).

2. This very issue had been used by false teachers to attack Paul (as in Corinth cf. 2 Corinthians 11:7-9; 2 Corinthians 12:13).

3. There is probably some connection with this brief statement and the teaching of the false teachers, but exactly what is not stated.

1 Timothy 5:19 "Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses" This is a present middle imperative with the negative particle, which usually means "stop an act in process." This reflects the turmoil and accusations caused by the false teachers.

The concept itself is from the writings of Moses (cf. Numbers 35:30; Deuteronomy 17:6; Deuteronomy 19:15).

1 Timothy 5:20 "those who continue in sin" Notice the present active participle. In context this refers to leaders who continue to sin (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15). This is not necessarily a one-time act. Paul addresses the proper procedures for dealing with sinning believers in Romans 16:17-18; 1 Corinthians 5:0; Galatians 6:1-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; 1 Timothy 1:20; 1 Timothy 5:19-20; and Titus 3:10-11.

"rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning" This seems to speak of public (i.e., before the other elders or before the entire church) disciplinary actions (cf. Galatians 2:14; James 5:16) which some elders took against others who had

1. overstepped their authority

2. promoted false teaching

3. engaged in other inappropriate actions

"Rebuke" is a common term in the Pastoral Letters (cf. 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:9, Titus 1:13; Titus 2:15).

The "rest" may refer to

1. the other house churches

2. the other local elders

3. other believers

1 Timothy 5:21 "I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels" This strong oath is found several times in the Pastoral Letters (cf. 1 Timothy 5:21; 1 Timothy 6:13; 2 Timothy 4:1; and in a related sense in 2 Timothy 2:14). Paul was serious about the authority and origin of his teachings.

"His chosen angels" It is somewhat surprising that "chosen angels" are mentioned instead of the Holy Spirit. This is used in the sense of

1. those who minister to God's chosen people and who are present with them (cf. Psalms 138:1; 1 Corinthians 4:9; Matthew 18:10; Luke 9:26; and Hebrews 1:14)

2. those special angels near God's throne who are uniquely associated with His presence (in rabbinical literature, the seven angels of the presence)

This phrase is in direct contrast to Satan (cf. 1 Timothy 5:15).

"to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality" Timothy is to have no favorites nor hold any grudges! The term "maintain" is the Greek word for "guard." As God guards us (cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:2; Jude 1:24) and our inheritance (cf. 1 Peter 1:4-5), we are to guard His truth! We must also guard ourselves against false teaching (cf. 2 Timothy 4:15; 2 Peter 3:17; 1 John 5:21).

Notice the covenant reciprocity: God keeps/guards us; believers must keep/guard His truth and themselves! It is possible that this charge to Timothy is related to the favoritism and partiality shown by the false teachers claiming to be an elite group or to have special knowledge or special freedoms.

1 Timothy 5:22 "Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily" This verse has three more present active imperatives. It has been interpreted in two ways: (1) to refer to ordination (cf. 1 Timothy 3:10; 1 Timothy 4:14) or (2) to refer to accepting and reinstating a repentant elder who has been publically reproved (cf. 1 Timothy 5:20). Number 2 seems to fit the context of verses 1 Timothy 5:24 and 25 and the historical context of false teachers best. See SPECIAL TOPIC: LAYING ON OF HANDS at 1 Timothy 4:14.

"share responsibility for the sins of others" This may refer to (1) ordaining too quickly (cf. 1 Timothy 3:6) or (2) restoring elders to leadership too quickly. Remember the context is the activities of the false teachers infiltrating the churches. Our actions can be interpreted by some as affirmation or approval of the errors of others (cf. 2 John 1:11).

"keep yourself free from sin" This is literally "keep yourself pure" (present active imperative, cf. 1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Timothy 5:2). Sin is

1. an attitude

2. an act

3. an association

Verse 23

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 1 Timothy 5:23 23No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.

1 Timothy 5:23 "No longer drink water exclusively" This seems to be a parenthetical comment to Timothy (NET Bible, p. 2182, #14). This is a present active imperative with a mç particle, which usually means to stop an act in process. Paul is imploring Timothy to change his normal daily activity. The command "keep yourself pure" in 1 Timothy 5:22 is not affected by wine drinking! Be careful of denominational traditions that often go beyond Scripture!

Timothy was apparently totally abstaining from wine. Paul mentions that wine in small amounts should not be a problem for a church leader. We must remember that the early Mediterranean world drank wine daily. This could mean (1) add a little fermented wine to purify your water or (2) drink a little wine from time to time when your stomach acts up. Wine is not the problem; fallen mankind's misuse and abuse are the problems. The Bible rails against drunkenness (cf. Proverbs 23:29-35; Isaiah 5:11, Isaiah 5:22; Isaiah 28:1-8), but does not teach total abstinence (cf. 1 Timothy 3:3, 1 Timothy 3:8). In our day and society total abstinence must be related to the spiritual concepts found in Romans 14:1-13; 1 Corinthians 8:0 and 10:23-33). However, believers must resist all forms of asceticism (cf. Colossians 2:20-23)! See Special Topic: Attitudes Toward Alcohol and Alcoholism at 1 Timothy 3:3.

"for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments" Are these two different descriptive phrases or are they referring to one problem? Does this verse imply Timothy was a physically weak person? Timothy's work was challenging and difficult. If he was also physically weak, it makes him all the more a wonderful role model and noble person.

Verses 24-25

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 1 Timothy 5:24-25 24The sins of some men are quite evident, going before them to judgment; for others, their sins follow after. 25Likewise also, deeds that are good are quite evident, and those which are otherwise cannot be concealed.

1 Timothy 5:24-25 These verses may relate to the warning in 1 Timothy 5:22. By their fruits ye shall eventually know them (cf. Matthew 7:0). In context Paul addresses false teachers and true teachers. They are evident by their teachings and lifestyles (sins that are evident) and other sins (i.e., hidden sins or attitudes/motives) will be revealed on Judgment Day.

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 5". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/1-timothy-5.html. 2021.
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