The Expository Files

 Commentary on 1 Timothy 5

1 Timothy 5

Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity. Honor widows who are widows indeed; but if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them 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. Now 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. But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives. Prescribe these things as well, so that they may be above reproach. But 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 (1st Timothy 5:1-8).

1. The word translated an older man, could also be translated elder, as an overseer, but it is likely an older man here, because Timothy is being told how to rebuke different types of people. A rebuke to an older man should not be sharp at all, but you should treat him as a father. Someone you respect, whose been through more life then you. A younger person should be appealed to as a brother.

2. Older women should be rebuked to, but as you would rebuke a mother. And younger women as sisters, in all purity. Your rebukes especially younger women in all purity.

3. Widows need to be honored as widows. Honor is likely referring to monetarily, or physically. Women who are widows will likely need help.

4. If the widow has children, or grandchildren, the children should be the ones to help their mother out with the physical needs. In essence paying the mother back for all she's done for you. This is acceptable in the sight of God, this is how God wants it.

5. A widow who has no one left needs to completely fix her hope on God. She know longer has anyone in her family to worry about, so she needs to constantly pray.

6. A widow who gives herself to wanton, or riotous pleasures has already died even though she is still living.

7. Teach them these things, so they may be above reproach. A preacher needs to teach widows to further their relationship with God, and help them guard themselves against the temptations of the world.

8. If someone does not provide for their own, especially of their own household is worse then an unbeliever. A person needs to provide for his family, and that includes a widowed mother or both your parents if they need help, there family better help them.

Let a widow be put on the list only if she is not less than sixty years old, having been the wife of one man, having 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. But refuse to put younger widows on the list, for when they feel sensual desires in disregard of Christ, they want to get married, thus incurring condemnation, because they have set aside their previous pledge. And at 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. Therefore, I want younger widows to get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach; for some have already turned aside to follow Satan. If any woman who is a believer has dependent widows, let her assist them, and let not the church be burdened, so that it may assist those who are widows indeed (1st Timothy 5:9-16).

9. There is a list of widows talked about in this verse who have certain qualifications. One being over 60 years old, and being the wife of one husband. The question again arise rather this is an attitude of being a one manned woman, or did she only have one husband her whole life?

10. She is one that has a good reputation for good works. She is a servant who has brought up children, and she has been a very hospitable person, even to strangers. She is one who washes feet of saints, and is always there to help out people who are in distress. She is devoted to good works, she probably doesn't need to be asked to help out.

11. Young widows should not be put on the list, because they will likely get married. It seems as though an older widow had a chance to become some type of servant, and be supported by a church. A young widow would likely break the covenant when the time came to get married.

12. They set aside their previous pledge.

13. As a younger woman, their work ethic might not be as grounded, and they could be more likely to not be as diligent in their job. While they go about doing whatever work they might be doing, they could easily fall into a gossiping trap.

14. So a younger widow should get married! And use her time to raise children, and that way the enemy has no cause of reproach, or no evil to say about the widow.

15. So people though had turned aside to Satan.

16. If a widow is dependant, and a believer, she should not burden the church. Younger women should help care for widows, who are widows indeed.

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, "YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING," and "The laborer is worthy of his wages." Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also may be fearful of sinning. 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. Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thus share responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin. No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments. The sins of some men are quite evident, going before them to judgment; for others, their sins follow after. Likewise also, deeds that are good are quite evident, and those which are otherwise cannot be concealed (1st Timothy 5:17-25).

17. Elders who rule well deserve to be paid. And if he works real hard at teaching and preaching, then he is worthy of double honor.

18. An elder who needs help financially will be like a muzzled OX while threshing, and he will not be able to perform his duties as he should, or as he is able. The person who works for the kingdom is worthy of wages. His job is valuable.

19. An accusation on an elder should be only on the grounds that there are 2 or more witnesses. An elder has proved himself, and if he has proved himself like he should have in being qualified then has become a servant of God's people who is worthy of honor. So if someone has a charge that is showing an elder is not qualified, or has sinned, it is a very serious matter. Therefore there needs to be at least 2 witnesses to confirm what happened.

20. If an elder is falling, and continues in sin, he needs to be rebuked in the presence of all! If an elder is rebuked in the presence of all, it will show the seriousness to all of the members, that sin must not be tolerated in anybodies life.

21. It is important, before God, Christ and even the angels, that a preacher never shows partiality. There should be no bias from a servant of God.

22. When Timothy lays hands, he is approving of a certain man for a certain task. If he lays his hand on someone too quickly, and that person is a wolf in sheep's clothing, he may endorse someone who will lead people away from the truth. Therefore he has endorsed his sin, and has helped spread it.

23. Timothy seemed to frequently have health problems, and we know that water was not treated as it is today. Often people would add a little wine to temper it.

24. Sometimes sins are evident, and you see them instantly, but some people have their weaknesses well, but if their hearts are not pure, they will be found out.

25. The converse is true to this! A man who is good will be shown to be good. But those who are not good will be found out, and they can't be hidden.


By Nathan E. Quinn
From Expository Files 8.11; November 2001