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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
1 Timothy 5

 

 

Verse 1-2

(b) 1 Timothy 5:1 to 1 Timothy 6:2 a. Timothy's Attitude to Particular Classes of Church Members.

1 Timothy 5:1 f. Old and Young.—Older members must be treated with reverence, younger as equals in the Christian family.

1 Timothy 5:1. elder: rather, "an older man." For a second-century parallel see Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, p. 313.


Verses 3-16

1 Timothy 5:3-16. Widows.—The space devoted to "widows" indicates the existence of a special difficulty in Asia. Paul gives Timothy definite instructions. (a) Deserving widows really left alone should be maintained from Church funds (1 Timothy 5:3). (b) The funds, however, must not be burdened by widows with descendants or friends capable of assisting. Descendants must make it their first charge to fulfil the family obligation involved. Otherwise they disown the Christian way of life, and acknowledge a standard lower than that of unbelievers (1 Timothy 5:4; 1 Timothy 5:8; 1 Timothy 5:16). (c) The mark of a true widow is that, avoiding dissipation, which is spiritual death (cf. Revelation 3:1), she has forsaken domestic ties (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:33 f.) for the wholehearted service of God (1 Timothy 5:5 f.; contrast 1 Timothy 5:11 f.). (d) None should be placed on the official roll who is not (i) sixty years old, (ii) of proved self-restraint, (iii) of established reputation for good works (1 Timothy 5:9 f.). (e) Young widows should not be included, because (i) they may wish to remarry, and so violate their troth to Christ; (ii) in their visiting they may become busybodies. Since, then, they cannot control their natural instincts, let them marry again and attend to household cares (so 1 Corinthians 7:8 f.). Actual experience shows this to be wise (1 Timothy 5:11-15).

1 Timothy 5:3-16 forms a single paragraph. It is usual to refer 1 Timothy 5:3-8 to the maintenance of widows, and 1 Timothy 5:9-16 to the selection of an "order" within the Church's official ministry. Though the maintained widows doubtless rendered some service, this sub-division is improbable, because (a) the subject of maintenance is still prominent in 1 Timothy 5:16, (b) the same word "widow" would not bear two different meanings within a few verses, (c) a minimum age-limit of sixty is more natural in charity than in service.

1 Timothy 5:3. honour: as context proves, embraces the idea of "maintain."

1 Timothy 5:4. grandchildren: the old meaning of "nephews" (AV).

1 Timothy 5:7. these things: the points made in 1 Timothy 5:3-6. The "but" of 1 Timothy 5:8 shows the descendants to be included in those to be "without reproach."

1 Timothy 5:9. wife, etc., 1 Timothy 3:2* (mutatis mutandis).

1 Timothy 5:10. children: whether her own or adopted. Care of orphans ranked among the good works encouraged by Judaism (Edersheim, Jewish Social Life, p. 138).

1 Timothy 5:14. adversary: i.e. human opponents.


Verses 17-25

1 Timothy 5:17-25. Elders.—In 1 Timothy 3:1* Paul discusses qualifications for eldership, here he gives Timothy rules for its supervision. (a) On the principle of Scripture (Deuteronomy 25:4, cf. 1 Corinthians 9:9) and of a well-known proverb, successful presidents (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:12) should receive special maintenance, particularly if to the strict functions of eldership they add that of teaching (1 Timothy 5:17 f.). (b) Against an elder only legally-attested charges (Deuteronomy 19:15) may be recognised (1 Timothy 5:19). (c) Elders convicted of sinful practices should be reprimanded publicly, as a deterrent to others. In all this Timothy must exercise absolute impartiality (1 Timothy 5:20 f.). (d) He may guard against scandal by making full inquiry before ordaining an elder, thus avoiding a share in responsibility for defaulters' sins, from which he must ever keep himself unspotted (1 Timothy 5:22). This will prevent (i) hasty acceptance of candidates (since, while some men's sins are so notorious as to proclaim the necessity of judgment, others' sins are discovered only long afterwards, 1 Timothy 5:24); (ii) hasty rejection (since not all good works, also, are immediately evident, 1 Timothy 5:25).

1 Timothy 5:17. honour: 1 Timothy 5:3*.

1 Timothy 5:18. scripture: refers only to the first of the sayings that follow. Since Christ's words (Luke 10:7) would not at this date be cited as "scripture," the second saying was probably a proverb familiar to both Lord and apostle.

1 Timothy 5:20. them, etc: in this context "those elders who."

1 Timothy 5:21. elect: i.e. Unfallen.

1 Timothy 5:22. For the view that this verse concerns the restoration of penitents see EGT.

1 Timothy 5:23, which deprecates Timothy's abstinence from wine, undertaken perhaps in protest against a prevalent danger (1 Timothy 3:3; 1 Timothy 3:8), breaks the connexion between 1 Timothy 5:22 and 1 Timothy 5:24, and is either an awkward parenthesis to safeguard "keep thyself pure," or an interpolation, possibly displaced from 1 Timothy 4:3 (Holtzmann).

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 5:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/1-timothy-5.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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