Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on 1 Timothy 5:7-24

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Preach these things. - 1 Timothy 5:7

Preach these things. Literally, 'command these things that they may be blameless.' Again, Paul is correcting false appropriations of the law. These clear instructions help everyone in the community know how to relate.

He is worse than an unbeliever.- 1 Timothy 5:8

he is worse than an unbeliever. As mentioned in note 5:3 above, the care of widows, orphans and immigrants is a mark of 'true faith' in the covenant community (cf. Acts 2:44-45; 4:32-35; 6:1-6; James 1:27). But, that care starts at home so as not to burden the limited resources of the church to provide for its members, who have no family. For Paul, failure to provide material goods for family members and church members is spiritual malpractice

Enrolled as a widow- 1 Timothy 5:9

enrolled as a widow. Some traditions within the church have interpreted an order or office of widow from this text. But, Paul's emphasis is on developing a list of 'real widows' who should not be overlooked in the distribution of food or funds (cf. Acts 6:1-6). Not younger than sixty. This is the age under which it was expected, at least in Greco-Roman culture, that widows would remarry. A wife of one husband. Like the requirements for elder and deacon (see notes 3:2, 12), widows who received material support from the church were expected to be of consistent moral character, providing a good example in their relational practices.

Devoted to every good work - 1 Timothy 5:10

5:10 devoted to every good work. The same character and wisdom is expected of an older woman in the church as is expected from older men: fidelity in marriage, faithfulness is childrearing, service to fellow believers and hospitality towards strangers. See notes 2:15; 3:1-7, 8-13.

They revoke their first commitment - 1 Timothy 5:12

they revoke their first commitment. Paul's advice to Timothy about 'younger widows' in the Ephesian church is cautious, because some have forsaken their fundamental commitment to Christ (see note 5:15) to become 'gossips' and divisive instruments of the false teachers (see 2 Tim 3:6-7).

Give no opportunity for the enemy to slander us - 1 Timothy 5:14-15

give no opportunity for the enemy to slander us. Paul understands the church as a unity. Those who are vulnerable need support not only for their own sake but also for the sake of the whole community. Each part of the household must work for the sake of others, because Satan, whose name means 'adversary,' always opposes God's people. At Ephesus, 'some' in the church have 'turned aside' and joined the opposition.

Criteria for relating to elders well - 1 Timothy 5:17-24

Having addressed some particular challenges in relation to the most vulnerable members of the Ephesian church, Paul turned his attention to its leaders. As with widows, however, Paul guided Timothy on how to relate to those elders who were worthy of honor and those who stood accused of wrongdoing. In relation to both groups, Paul's advice aligns with one of his key relational practices 'do nothing out of favoritism' (5:21).

Double honor - 1 Timothy 5:17

the elders who rule well. One of the requirements for those who serve as 'overseers' in the church is to 'manage' his own household well (see notes 3:4 and 3:5). Paul uses the same word here about 'elders' who 'manage' (proestites) the church well. The repetition of these characteristics in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 indicates that Paul uses the words 'elder' and 'overseer' interchangeably. double honor. To those 'elders' who add teaching to the work of 'managing,' Paul adds financial remuneration (5:18) to the respect due to those who govern the community.

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