1 Timothy 5
1-2 | Relationships in the church, male and female
3-8 | Support for widows without any support
9-16 | Conduct of widows
17-22 | Honor elders who lead well, especially those who preach and teach; Accusations against an elder must be carefully considered
23 | Personal advice: drink a little wine medicinally
24-25 | Men are known by their deeds, both good and evil
In this chapter Paul is instructing Timothy on the proper treatment of different members of his congregation. In particular, older and younger men and women; widows; elders, especially those who teach and preach. He also gives Timothy some personal advice on drinking wine for medicinal purposes and about how a person deeds will be evident, both good and evil.
I suppose the key to proper conduct in these relationships, whether in the church or outside of it, could best be summarized in three passages: vv. 1-2, 21-22, 24-25.
1 Timothy 5:1-2 NASB Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, 2 the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity.
The first principle is to maintain proper relationships with people and to treat people in a manner worthy of a minister of God. Older men and women should be treated as parents and younger men and women as siblings. These relationships should be tempered by the ideals presented in God’s word.
1 Timothy 5:21-22 NASB I 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. 22 Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin.
Accusations against anyone, especially an elder or leader, must be dealt with utilizing wisdom and in a manner which reflects God’s ideals. Don’t be too quick to pass judgment and make sure that every matter is thoroughly considered. Each person needs to make sure that they seek to maintain a godly lifestyle.
1 Timothy 5:24-25 NASB The sins of some men are quite evident, going before them to judgment; for others, their sins follow after. 25 Likewise also, deeds that are good are quite evident, and those which are otherwise cannot be concealed.
Just as Jesus taught, each person will be known by their fruit. Not much else needs to be said.
Paul also gives instructions concerning the proper treatment of widows, both young and old. Some of this was cultural to the times and how women were treated in those societies but there are a couple of things to keep in mind. A widow’s conduct should be reflective of a woman committed to God and they should be active in serving others in a godly manner.
I’m reminded of what Jesus taught regarding relationships and conduct.
Matthew 7:1-5 NASB “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
Relationships in general are both beneficial and fraught with potential pitfalls. Relationships within a church must be handled in a manner that honors God most of all and with respect to each person. No one is perfect and each person must make sure that their lives are honoring to God first and foremost and not rush to judgment toward the actions of any person.
Lord God, Creator of all mankind, You know each of us intimately and we pray that Your Spirit will help us to maintain relationships that honor You and show respect to others in a manner that will uphold Your name. Help us not rush to judgment but make sure our lives are in line with Your word so that we might not be disqualified from serving You. May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, in Jesus’ name. Amen.