Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on 1 Timothy 4:12-6:2

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Let no one despise your youth - 1 Timothy 4:12

Let no one despise your youth. The negative command here may denote some timidity in Timothy (cf. 4:14; 2 Tim 1:7), but also the reality that some, even beyond the false teachers, may not have accepted his authority or mandate from Paul. Again, Paul urges both correction and a constructive example. Instead, set an example for those who believe. Moral authority is gained and sustained by a good example in words, deeds and relationships. Indeed, this short summary echoes the character qualifications of church officers (see note 3:1-7 and 3:8-13).

Healthy Relationships in God's Household - 1 Timothy 5:1-6:2

Paul Describes Healthy Relationships between Groups in God's Household. Having addressed Timothy's critical responsibility of correcting false teachers, Paul now addresses Timothy's constructive pastoral relations with identifiable groups in God's household. The apostle's summary instructions (5:1-2) indicate that his household imagery is substantial, not merely metaphorical. Timothy is to relate to church members as family members. Though this section does not take on the formal characteristics of 'household codes' (see Eph 5:21-6:9; Col 3:18-4:1; 1 Pet 2:13-3:7), Paul articulated particular patterns for Timothy to model in relation to widows (5:3-16), elders (5:17-25), and slaves (6:1-2).

Treat groups in Groups in God's household as family members. - 1 Timothy 5:1-2

Treat groups in God's household as family members. The purpose statement of the letter focuses reader attention on "how to behave in the household of God" (see note 3:15). Paul applied the metaphor earlier in the letter to qualifications for church leaders (see notes 3:4, 12). In this overarching summary, he characterizes pastoral relations with different groups in specific familial terms. Timothy is not to abuse his authority. Rather, he is to relate to 'older men' as 'fathers,' 'younger men' as 'brothers,' older women as 'mothers' and 'younger women' as 'sisters.

Criteria for relating to younger & older Widows well. - 1 Timothy 5:3-16

Paul instructed Timothy on how to care well for widowed women, who were particularly vulnerable to exploitation in Ephesian society. Indeed, 'some' had been influenced by the false teachers and were sinning against the community (cf. 1 Tim 5:13-15; 2 Tim 3:6-7). Paul distinguished between older and younger widows, and between widows who had family resources and those who were all alone (5:5)

Honor widows - 1 Timothy 5:3

Honor widows, real widows. In ancient, patrilineal societies, where land inheritance laws privileged sons, widows were dependent utterly on their extended family and tribe for material support. This economic reality was mitigated by Old Testament Law (cf. Ex 22:22; Deut 24:19-21; Ruth). The Prophets clearly warned God's people when they neglected their covenantal obligations to widows (cf. Isa 1:17; Jere 22:3; Zech 7:9-10; Mal 3:5). The care of widows is an identifying marker of 'true faith' in the New Testament community (cf. Acts 6:1-6; Jas 1:27).

If a widow has children or grandchildren - 1 Timothy 5:4

If a widow has children or grandchildren. Paul placed the primary responsibility of providing for widows on the family as an expression of their love to God and each other. Having defended the right to marry and the importance of rearing children within marriage, Paul underscored the opportunity of younger widows to remarry

A real widow - 1 Timothy 5:5

a real widow. In Paul's view, only older widows (see 5:3), who had no family support, were eligible for financial support from the church. As image-bearers of equal dignity, Paul expected both contributions from and for these widows. From them, he expected consistent prayers that exemplified the dependence on God to which each member is called. Moreover, as members of Christ's social body, Paul expected God to provide for their material support through the church.

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