Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on 1 Timothy 5:12-25

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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.

Two or three witnesses - 1 Timothy 5:19

two or three witnesses. Those who teach are also accountable to the covenant community they serve. 'False teachers' (see note 1:3) or those who are otherwise not 'above reproach' (see note 3:2) can be disciplined, even removed from leadership on the basis of sworn testimony from 'two or three witnesses.' As Jesus is reported to have done in Matthew 18:15-17, Paul appealed to Deut 19:15, which underscored the seriousness of the charge and its corresponding sanction by requiring more than one witness.

Correct those who continue sinning before all - 1 Timothy 5:20

Correct those who continue sinning before all. This step continues Paul's account of a process to handle complaints of misconduct against an elder. While Matt 18:15-17 provides process against any 'brother,' including an elder, this passage substantiates the last step in that process. After the truth is established on the basis of testimony from two or three witnesses, an elder or brother who does not repent, must be rebuked before the congregation.

The chosen angels - 1 Timothy 5:21

the chosen angels. These judicial and pastoral proceedings of disciplinary censure against an elder or any member of the covenant community occurs also before the heavenly court comprised of 'God, Christ Jesus and the chosen angels.' Therefore, the elders and witnesses should be mindful that their judgments should be just, without favoritism, for they too will give an account of their actions.

Place hands hastily on no one - 1 Timothy 5:22

place hands hastily on no one. This section on how to relate to 'the elders' ends with a final admonition to proceed slowly and with caution, when it comes to choosing or ordaining elders in the first place or to restoring them after they have been sanctioned. Move, but slowly.

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