1 Timothy 5:14-25 (KJV)

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5:14-16 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

For some are already turned aside after Satan.

If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.

Contrary to the popular contemporary ideology that marriage is like a death sentence to a free life, marriage is honorable and good in the sight of the Lord. 

Looking at these verses in relation to the whole chapter, bringing up children is one of the good works that Paul lists for women in 1 Timothy 5:10. This still may unnerve some contemporary thinkers but realizing that this is one thing in the many pleasing acts unto God may ease tension. 

Just let this stand testament that God loves children and honors parents who diligently teach their children to love Him. 

The term “guide the house” is a fascinating term as it’s original terminology is only used once in the Greek New Testament. The word oikodespoteō very literally means “to be master of a house” or “to manage family affairs.” This word is interesting as at face value one may find conflict with the Biblical patriarchal family institution that has been set and maintained from Genesis 3:16 onward up to the Pauline Epistles (1 Corinthians 14:34-35; 1 Timothy 2:11-15). 

My intention is not to upset this balance as there is plenty of justification of this institution and a strong defense that men are considered the head of women in a marriage relationship. Nonetheless, this verse is empowering to women in that many verses defending man over the women in a marital setting is referring to spiritual tutorship. 

Complementarianism states that women and men both have complementary roles to fulfill in the Body of Christ. Paul here defends women’s leadership in the upkeep of the home in more physical necessities. They are the guide to a good quality of life in the family. Men are to provide, women are to guide. 

Verse 14 is once again reiterating a common theme within the epistle: Being blameless and avoiding reproach. A component of being blameless is abstaining from all appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22-23). It is the intermingling that gives our adversary, Satan, ground to leverage evil against us. 

In the Ephesian church Paul is addressing those who have already fallen into reproach and have become deceived in giving way to the appearance of evil. This is what it looks like more practically to not hold faith and corrupt the conscience thus shipwrecking their faith. These are the sorts of people that Paul delivered unto Satan for correction (1 Timothy 1:19-20). 

Paul once again addresses a system that he had provided the church three times before (1 Timothy 5:4-5; 8). Care for widows, if possible, is to first be carried out within the home setting. This will open the church to better care for the Godly widows that have no support system at home. 

5:17-18 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

This verse allows elders, who rule well, to receive more honor. Receiving “double-honor” is conditional. If an elder does not rule well, it cannot be expected of laymen to express more honor. 

A literal reading should be conducted in order to understand how to rule well. Ruling well is only possible by laboring “in the Word and doctrine.” 

Saying this, there should be a distinction between a ruler and a teacher. An elder who rules simply sets things in line and is comparable to the women in verse 14 ruling a household. It seems odd to make such a statement about the local church, but the local church as a member of the Body of Christ needs to be cared for (1 Thessalonians 5:12-14). 

Investing this care and effort into Christ’s church is what elicits double honor. If someone does so lazily, poorly, or unscripturaly then it would make no sense to instill them with double-honor.

Paul’s Scripture reference to defend this statement comes from Deuteronomy 25:4 when Moses is given the Law of the Lord regarding marriage and leadership. 

5:19-21 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

Paul’s process of giving attention to accusations against an elder may model a similar process instructed by Jesus in Matthew 18:15-20. The instruction that Jesus provides under the kingdom program is instructed to a brother and often is given attention within local bodies when giving reproval to a member of the church. 

This system even predates Jesus’s Earthly ministry and the Jewish population would have been familiar with these proceedings from the Mosaic law (Deuteronomy 19:15).

Paul addresses elder accountability in a similar manner and ensures fairity by stating that it must be done before two or three witnesses. This process is not simply to ensnare an elder, but rather protects elders from abusers who would fraudulently accuse an elder of sin or wrongdoing. 

1 Timothy 5:20 pertains to the elders who continue in sin after accusation and deliberation of the charge. At this point, for those in public ministry, a public rebuke is necessary in order to bring restoration and restitution to a blameless condition (Galatians 6:1-6). 

Verse 21 has a charge that in its original context (Like all of the letter) is to Timothy. Paul addresses Timothy labeling three witnesses himself: God, Jesus, and the elect angels. Here, Paul is appealing to the format prescribed prior but not as a rebuke. He is possibly doing this as a model and authoritative call to accountability to make judgements unbiased. 

God is a fair judge and has given man the statutes of what fair judgement looks like. Timothy is called to acknowledge and follow the Scriptural standards. 

Many address the “elect angels” simply as the angels who did not pridefully rebel against God with Satan. 

5:22 Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.

The laying of hands is an affirming posture for those who are entering into public ministry. The practice has roots in Old Testament origin as a priest would lay hands on a sacrificial animal in order to identify with this animal for the atonement of sin (Exodus 29:10). 

This affirmation is not to be suddenly or hastily carried out. If this is to be done, Scriptural evaluation of one’s Scriptural qualifications should predate a sudden affirmation of commissioning. Such qualifications can once again be found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7

The above instruction was crucial within the early church as well as today. Qualified ministers were important vessel’s in God’s plan to grow the church and qualified leaders left a solid foundation of growth based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

We see the failure of prior leadership today when false teachers rise up and contribute to the shipwrecking of many people’s faith. 

Paul is warning Timothy to avoid hasty affirmation because as poor ministers and false teachers derail the faith of many, Timothy would be a participant in wickedness by the role he played. In avoiding such a shortcoming, he remains pure. This case for discernment is just as crucial in modern society. 

5:23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.

This verse is often misconstrued to prolongate poor habits that lead to wickedness. Yet, in the opposite realm, translators often adjust the wording in hope to make it more obvious of Paul’s intentions. Translators will adjust “drink no longer water” to “stop drinking only water” or “no longer drink water exclusively.”

Paul in this verse utilizes the Greek term, mēketi, which literally translates to “no longer,” “henceforth,” or “not anymore.” Although they will carry a similar meaning, one should be careful of altering Scripture’s intended word usage so drastically. 

Saying this, this instruction was a personal instruction from Paul for a possible plethora of reasons. It could be advice for avoiding any chance of receiving illness from the often tainted water of the ancient world. It also obviously addressed an ongoing stomach issue that Timothy was suffering from. 

Wine was a disinfectant that was crucial in sustaining health and Paul was offering a solution to achieve longevity within the ministry. 

This could also be a Biblical example of the cessation of the Spiritual gifts because prior in the kingdom program, where all were healed who came to Jesus or the disciples in early Acts (Matthew 8:16; Acts 5:12-16; Acts 10:38). Paul foretold that such gifts would cease and even experienced this cessation in own life; yet, he was strong enough in Christ to realize that the Lord’s grace was sufficient (1 Corinthians 13; 2 Corinthians 12:9).

5:24-25 Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.

Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.

Paul makes it known to immediately disqualify from ministry those whose sin openly and a licentious manner. This disqualification is the judgement referenced following Paul’s address of men’s sins. 

Paul also makes it obvious that good works are likewise open to assist in making a capable judgement based on the criteria in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and the observation process of 1 Timothy 5:19-21.

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