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1 Timothy Chapter Five                            


I. Content of the Chapter


How Do God’s Workers Deal with Different Kinds of People in the Church

I. How to deal with men and women and older men and younger men (v.1-2).

II. How to deal with widows (v.3-16).

III. How to deal with the elders (v.17-25).


II. Verse by Verse commentary


1Tim. 5:1 “Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers,

   YLT: “An aged person thou mayest not rebuke, but be entreating as a father; younger persons as brethren; ”

  Meaning of Words: “rebuke”: censure, blame, thump; “an older man”: a senior, older; “exhort”: beseech, comfort, entreat, advise, counsel.

   Literal Meaning: Do not rebuke an older man” “an older man” refers to a man who is older than himself. He may make a mistake, however, he is still worthy of respect for his age.

“But exhort him as a father” this sentence implies that: 1) love should be the starting point; 2) it is to retrieve him instead of deal with him; 3) the attitude should be with great respect; 4) one should exhort meekly. 

“Younger men as brothers” “younger men” refers to the fellows and those who are younger than him in the church. “As brothers” means that we should deal with them with brotherly love and make them feel the sincere concern. 


1Tim. 5:2 “older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.

   YLT: “aged women as mothers, younger ones as sisters -- in all purity;”

   Literal Meaning: older women as mothers, younger women as sisters” “as mothers…as sisters” it implies the same points with “as a father…as brothers” in the previous verse and here the “gender” should be considered.

“With all purity” refers to the pure heart and clean hands, i.e. pure intentions and seemly behavior. “All” indicates that we should try our best, lest we make others have wrong impressions.

The first and second verses give us a spiritual principle to deal with brothers and sisters in the church: 1) replacing blame with exhortation and replacing condemnation with retrieve; 2) regarding others as our own family members, i.e. being deeply concerned with them in love; 3) the younger respect the elder. We deal with the older brothers and sisters as our own fathers and mothers, i.e. the modest, polite and respectful attitude; 4) males and females should be treated differently. Handling people with opposite gender with appropriate behavior and pure intention and we should not have dirty ideas.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) When shepherding and teaching people with different genders and ages, the Lord’s workers should keep their own positions first and teach them standing in the right position.

2) Since the one who serves the Lord with a pure heart knows that the church is the house of God, he should be full of the sense of family in dealing with all Saints in the church------“as a father…as mothers…as brothers…as sisters” and it is proper.

3) If the Lord’s workers do invariably with the attitude that business is business, always stress on gains and losses, belittle and weed out the old and weak and exalt and cozy up to the strong, they become politicians in the society instead of servers in the church.


1Tim. 5:3 “Honor widows who are really widows.

   YLT: “honour widows who are really widows;”

   Literal Meaning: Honor” includes the attitude of respect and the provision of properties (See v.17-18). “Who are really widows” refers to widows who are left alone and live piously (See v.5).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Believers should not only show mercy to those who are contented in poverty and devoted to spiritual things but also respect them.

2) The true respect is to take care of the need of the other and be willing to give him help.


1Tim. 5:4 “But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God.

   YLT: “and if any widow have children or grandchildren, let them learn first to their own house to show piety, and to give back a recompense to the parents, for this is right and acceptable before God.”

   Meaning of Words: “show piety”: filial piety, be godly to.

   Literal Meaning: But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home” “show piety” indicates that the children and grandchildren have the responsibility for taking care of and respecting for the elders in their family.

“And to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God” “repaying their parents” refers to taking care of and repaying their parents to show their gratitude. “Before God” refers to in the eyes of God or what God takes for granted.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The word “first” shows that taking care of one’s family members is the first lesson for one to live godly and there are deeper lessons for him to learn soon after.

2) It is acceptable to God for believers to provide for their family. Respecting and taking care of parents are serving God.


1Tim. 5:5 “Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day.

   YLT: “And she who is really a widow and desolate, hath hoped upon God, and doth remain in the supplications and in the prayers night and day,”

   Literal Meaning: Now she who is really a widow, and left alone” “And left alone” refers to the one who does not have children to provide for her. The definition of “she who is really a widow” also includes trusting in God and continuing in supplications and prayers night and day in the following sentence, besides her being left alone.

“Trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day” “trusting in God” means that she puts all her hope in God and regards Him as the source of provision and refuge. “Night and day” means that she usually sets her mind on it and puts it into practice by prayer at any time. “Supplications” refers to prayers with the special aim; “prayers” refers to the common prayers for drawing near to God.

  “Continues in supplications and prayers night and day” does not mean that she prays loudly unceasingly but that she always keeps the imitate communication with God and lives a life of “abiding in the Lord” (See John. 15:4-7; 1Thess. 5:17).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Our spiritual states should be like that of “the widow who is really a widow, and left alone”------there is none that we love besides Christ and everything is uninteresting if Christ is absent. And therefore we “trust in God and continue in supplications and prayers night and day” and give our mind to relying on the Lord and waiting for Him.

2) Apparently, the provision of life of the widow who is left alone is from the church. But actually the widow who truly trusts in God shall see that it is given by God and therefore she lives a life of thanksgiving.

3) Christians should continue in committing our trouble to God and continue in experiencing God’s works from prayers.

4) Prayer is the breathing of believers. The breathing of the spiritual life cannot stop, just as the breathing of the flesh cannot stop.

5) If Christians respond after we have prayed to God in silence and asked Him when facing everything we encounter, we shall see the good hand of God upon us (See Neh. 2:4, 8).


1Tim. 5:6 “But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives.

   YLT: “and she who is given to luxury, living -- hath died;”

   Literal Meaning: lives in pleasure” refers to pursuing the enjoyment of the flesh, including being fond of eating and drinking. “Dead” refers to losing the spiritual senses like a walking corpse.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) If our spiritual states are like that of “the widow who lives in pleasure”------Christ had left this world and she is still interesting in everything in the world and we still pursue and enjoy things in which Christ is not the content and reality, as it is said here, we indeed “are dead while we live” and are of no value of existence before God.

2) The meaning of believers’ existence is to experience and manifest Christ in their life and rely on Him and live for Him. And now we wouldn’t “be dead while we live” before the Lord (Rev. 3:11).


1Tim. 5:7 “And these things command, that they may be blameless.

   YLT: “and these things charge, that they may be blameless;”

   Literal Meaning: And these things command” “these things” refers to the teachings concerning widows (See v.3-16). The word “command” is the military term and it means conveying orders and spreading messages.

“That they may be blameless” means they are unlikely to disobey the truth for their ignorance.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Preachers should not keep back anything that is profitable to believers (Acts. 20:20), otherwise, preachers shall bear joint liability to God if believers commit sins for their ignorance (See Ezek. 33:6-8).

2) From the other point of view, believers’ receiving and obeying the teachings of preachers is the reason why they receive God’s blessing, otherwise, they shall be judged by God for their own behavior (See Ezek. 33:2-5).


1Tim. 5:8 “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.

   YLT: “and if any one for his own -- and especially for those of the household -- doth not provide, the faith he hath denied, and than an unbeliever he is worse.”

   Literal Meaning: But if anyone does not provide for his ownhe has denied the faith” “he has denied the faith” indicates that one’s behavior does not agree with his faith and it equally denies the connotation of faith.

“And is worse than an unbeliever.” Even the world who does not believe in the Lord provides for their own and therefore believers should provide for their own more.

  “And especially for those of his household” it means that providing for those of his household is more important than providing for his own.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The more grace a Christian receive, the more “love of families” he will have------taking care of his household, taking care of his family members, helping them with their physical need and keeping thinking about their spirits’ being saved.

2) The faith without human interest is not the true faith. Any behavior that one disregards his household in the excuse of faith must be of the aberrant faith.


1Tim. 5:9 “Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man,

   YLT: “A widow -- let her not be enrolled under sixty years of age, having been a wife of one husband,”

   Literal Meaning: be taken into the number” “the number” refers to a name list of registering those who shall be relieved by the church. At that time, there was neither the public relief nor pension system and the social positions of women were quite low and therefore old women in the church specially needed the care of love from the church (See Acts. 6:1).

    Some Bible exegetes held that “the number” refers to the list that is used of registering the widows who were qualified to serve in the church because they had brought up children and were able to lodge strangers (See v.10). However, such explanation seems to be quite farfetched and it does not conform to the purpose of relieving widows mentioned in the context (See v.3-16). And therefore it cannot be the admitted evidence.

  Do not let a widow under sixty years old” in the original it means that she must be over sixty.

  “And not unless she has been the wife of one man” it indicates that she had not remarried after her husband had died.


1Tim. 5:10 “well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints' feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work.

   YLT: “in good works being testified to: if she brought up children, if she entertained strangers, if saints' feet she washed, if those in tribulation she relieved, if every good work she followed after;”

   Meaning of Words: “diligently follow”: follow after closely.

   The Background: if she has washed the saints' feet” in the ancient, the Jews usually wore slippers without uppers when they went out. And their feet were spotted with dusts when they went on some distance. And therefore they would take off their slippers and wash their feet after they walk in the door, otherwise they would be very uncomfortable. One of the lowest slaves’ works was to untie the shoelaces, take off and carry the shoes for their host and guests and then take a basin of water to wash their feet.

  The Lord Jesus had washed the feet of His disciples on the feast of the Passover and commanded them to wash the feet of each other (John. 13:1-17). The Lord meant to teach them that: 1) they should humble themselves and be willing to serve each other; 2) they should provide each other the freshness of life and wash away the worldly dirties that the other one has been spotted.

   Literal Meaning: well reported for good works” “good works” refers to doing good works of helping others. “Well reported” indicates that one behaves so consistently and therefore he is praised and spread by men.

  “If she has brought up children” “if” shows that the following examples explain what is “well reported for good works”. “She has brought up children” here it does not mean that she has brought up her own children but the orphans in the church because: 1) it is the duty to bring up one’s own children instead of good work; 2) if a widow has children, she needn’t be taken into the number to be relieved by the church (See v.4, 9).

“If she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints feet” “strangers” refers to guests who are away from home. “If she has washed the saints feet” please see the background and here it specially indicates that she humbly serves the Saints from other places whom she had lodged.

“If she has relieved the afflicted” It means that she is wiling to share what she has with others (See Mark. 12:41-44; Luke. 21:1-4).

“If she has diligently followed every good work” “every good work” includes the above-mentioned good works and other good works that cannot be listed one by one.

Please note that the good works listed in this verse are the service that they partook in when their husbands were alive and they are well reported. And these things are not what they should do after they are taken into the number. For instance, concerning “lodging strangers”, it is not the good work suitable for a poor widow.


1Tim. 5:11 “But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry,

   YLT: “and younger widows be refusing, for when they may revel against the Christ, they wish to marry,”

   Literal Meaning: But refuse the younger widows” “refuse” indicates that do not take her into the number (See v.9).

“For when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry” “having begun to grow wanton” indicates that her mind is overtaken by lust and in the original it describes that the young and vigorous bull exerts the utmost strength to struggle in order to free itself from the yoke upon it. “Against Christ” refers to betraying the vow that she had made before the Lord that she would not remarry (See v.12).


1Tim. 5:12 “having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith.

   YLT: “having judgment, because the first faith they did cast away,”

   Literal Meaning: because they have cast off their first faith” “first faith” a widow has not committed a sin if she remarries after her husband has died (1Cor. 7:39), however, if she has vowed that she wouldn’t remarry this life for the relieve of the church or other reasons and latter she has betrayed the vow, she indeed ahs committed a sin before God.


1Tim. 5:13 “And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.

   YLT: “and at the same time also, they learn idle, going about the houses; and not only idle, but also tattlers and busybodies, speaking the things they ought not;”

   Meaning of Words: “learn to”: understand, study.

   Literal Meaning: And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house” “be idle” shows that they become lazy because they do not have jobs for a long time. “Wandering about from house to house” indicates that they are not accustomed to being quiet by themselves before God and praying but like visiting everywhere------they are fond of getting in touch with men instead of God.

“And not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.” In the original “gossips” describes the boiling water boils and here it refers to talking unceasingly. “Busybodies” in the original means caring about things unrelated to oneself or being curious about the insignificant things. “Saying things which they ought not” it means that one does not control his lips and always says things which he should not.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Laziness is not innate. One’s deep-rooted lazy habits become his second nature. And therefore the lazy ones could not blame his parents and they should blame themselves.

2) If men do not like drawing nigh to God, they will like drawing nigh to men. If men do not like praying to God, they will like speaking to men.

3) The family visitation among believers is good through which believers could care about and show goodwill and friendship to each other. However, if it is not of the burden in the Spirit, it would be utilized by Satan to spread rumors and slanders to harm the church.


1Tim. 5:14 “Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

   YLT: “I wish, therefore, younger ones to marry, to bear children, to be mistress of the house, to give no occasion to the opposer to reviling;”

   Literal Meaning: Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry” Paul once said to widows that it was good for them if they remain even as him during the early period of his work (1Cor. 7:8). However, it was in the later period of his work, he held that deuterogamy was the best plan for the younger widows according to his many years’ observation of the younger widows.

“Bear children, manage the house” It means that they live the normal family life during their remaining years and they won’t become the burden of the church.

“Give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully” “The adversary” refers to unbelievers who are hostile to the church or Satan.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Concerning the deuterogamy of widows, Paul the apostle held different views according to his experience and it shows that experiences always change one’s viewpoint. It shows us that: a) the younger should respect the opinions of the elder; b) believers should pursue the higher and deeper experiences.

2) To the lazy and meddling women (See v.13), bearing children and managing the house are their salvation and protection (See Gen. 3:16).


1Tim. 5:15 “For some have already turned aside after Satan.

   YLT: “for already certain did turn aside after the Adversary.”

   Literal Meaning: have already turned aside after Satan” indicates that: 1) she betrays what she had vowed first (See v.12); 2) she even did the thing humiliating the name of the Lord (See v.13).


1Tim. 5:16 “If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows.

   YLT: “If any believing man or believing woman have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the assembly be burdened, that those really widows it may relieve.”

   Literal Meaning: “any believing man or woman” this sentences has two kinds of translations: 1) in the majority of codices and Chinese versions “any woman that believes” is adopted; 2) in the minority of codices and Lu Chen-chung Version “any believing man or woman” is adopted. Concerning the above-mentioned two translations, the majority of the Bible exegetes agreed that the first translation was more reliable. Probably the scribes who copied the scriptures held that it was unreasonable that only “woman” was mentioned here and therefore they slightly changed it into the second translation.

If any believing man or woman has widows” this verse is the conclusion of the teachings of relieving widows (See v.3-16) and it indicates how believers and the church divide the work to look after widows. Here Paul commanded “any woman that believes” and she should be widows’ sister or sister-in-law except the children or grandchildren of widows (See v.4). Paul did not mention men because he considered that the action that a man and a woman were alone in a room would make the negative influence on the testimony of Christians. 

“Let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened” “be burdened” means being pressed by weight. It expresses the first principle of the division of works between believers and the church in looking after widows: if widows do not have lineal relatives (children or grandchildren), their relatives who have the economic capability should take the responsibility for looking after them as long as it does not harm the testimony of Christians, lest the church is overburdened.

“That it may relieve those who are really widows” this sentence shows the second principle of the division of works in looking after widows: the church must take the responsibility for taking care of “those who are really widows”.

  The so-called “those who are really widows” are widows that are able to be taken into the number (See v.9). According to the scriptures in this passage, they at least qualify the following conditions: 1) they do not have children or grandchildren (See v.4); 2) the do not have female relatives (See v.8, 16); 3) they must be over sixty (See v.9); 4) she has been the wife of one man (See v.9); 5) they were well reported for good works (See v.10); 6) they do not live in pleasure and trust in God and pray to Him wholeheartedly (See v.5-6). In addition, they must declare that they do not intent to remarry when they are taken into the number (See v.11-12).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) We should try our best to do all things as our capacity allows and should not pass them on to the church casually.

2) The testimony of Christianity is very important, especially concerning the dealings and contact between the opposite sex. We must keep the propriety and should not be causal.


1Tim. 5:17 “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.

   YLT: “The well-leading elders of double honour let them be counted worthy, especially those labouring in word and teaching,”

   Literal Meaning: the elders who rule well” it shows that “the elders” are those who rule the church. All the administrative measures in the church are made by the elders together before God and they supervise and carry out the measures.

  Letbe counted worthy of double honor” “double honor” refers to giving respect and properties (See v.18).

  “Especially those who labor in the word and doctrine” “the word” refers to the common speaking of the word of God; “doctrine” refers to the special instructions to individual matters.

Here “those who labor in the word and doctrine” has two meanings: 1) it indicates that some of the elders have the gift of preaching and teaching men, besides ruling the church well administratively and they also do the job of teaching and shepherding (See 3:2); 2) they refer to the full-time preachers.

To those who “labor” in serving the church, we should respect them and give the properties more so that they could serve wholeheartedly without fear of disturbance in the rear.


1Tim. 5:18 “For the Scripture says, You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain, and, The laborer is worthy of his wages.’”

   YLT: “for the Writing saith, `An ox treading out thou shalt not muzzle,' and `Worthy the workman of his reward.'”

   Literal Meaning: For the Scripture says, You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,’” it is quoted from Deut. 25:4 and it means that we should let an ox eat the grain around it while it works in the floor (See 1Cor. 9:9).

“And, The laborer is worthy of his wages.’” It is ordered in the commandments of the Old Testament that masters could not embezzle workers’ wages (See Lev. 19:13; Deut. 24:14-15). The Lord Jesus also said so while He was in the world (Luke. 10:7).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The Lord’s workers are “oxen” that tread out the grain and we should bear hardship without complaining like oxen. However, we should not have the stubbornness of oxen.

2) The Lord wishes His workers to work wholeheartedly and not to waste their precious time and physical strength for the needs of life. And therefore the church takes the responsibility for supplying the Lord’s workers.

3) If we are really the Lord’s “men who labor in the word and doctrine” (See v.17), He shall realize the promise that “The laborer is worthy of his wages” by Himself. However, if we do the work of “ourselves”, probably we will “go to war at our own expense” (See 1Cor. 9:7).

4) Believers do the work of the Lord and they shall receive both the material and spiritual provisions.

5) The principle of the holy service is that one serves diligently on one hand and on the other he has the plentiful enjoyment and what he enjoys is from his service, e.g. the one who always preaches the message receives the provision from the message first.

6) From the other point of view, the principle that the power of darkness enslaves men is that men are forced to burn bricks to build cities and they are not given the straw; there is only the toilsome service and there isn’t the provision and consequently sign and cry are brought in (See Exod. 1:8-14; 2:23; 5:1-23).


1Tim. 5:19 “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.

   YLT: “Against an elder an accusation receive not, except upon two or three witnesses.”

   Literal Meaning: an accusation against an elder” “an accusation” refers to the written accusation.

Do not receiveexcept from two or three witnesses” it means that one should not accept the accusation against an elder in the church merely by one’s words.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The elders are the supreme administrators in the church, however, they are not unconstrained or could do whatever they like and they should show the good example before all Saints.

2) Judging in the church is according to the principle of two or three witnesses and it is not only applied to the elders but also to common believers (See Matt. 18:16).


1Tim. 5:20 “Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.

   YLT: “Those sinning, reprove before all, that the others also may have fear;”

   Meaning of Words: “rebuke”: expose, tell a fault, convince.

   Literal Meaning: Those who are sinning” “are sinning”, the verb of the continuous tense, indicates that one continues in sinning; “those who are sinning” specially refers to the elders who sin (See v.19).

“Rebuke in the presence of all” “all” refers to believers in the church, i.e. the whole church (See Matt. 18:17). Some Bible exegetes held that “all” only referred to all the elders and leaders, however, such interpretation conflicted with “two or three witnesses” in the previous verse because witnesses are not within the limits of the elders and leaders of the church. Since the fact of sin has been found out, it must be made clear before witnesses and therefore the elders could not be rebuked merely before the elders and leaders. The reason is clear.

  Timothy was the one who appointed the elders (See 3:1-7; 5:22) and the scripture here shows that he also had the authority to deal with the elders who are sinning. It shows that though the elders are the brothers in charge in the local church, they are not unconstrained by others.

“That the rest also may fear” “the rest” refers to all believers, including the other elders. “Fear” refers to making them be watchful and dare not sin easily.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Austin said that “concerning the sin hurting the public, the secret blame is useless” (it is translated from the Chinese version).

2) When dealing with crimes in the church, we should neither accept the words of the accusers easily (See v.19) nor connive and appease those who are sinning. We should neither wrong nor connive.

3) Punishing those who are sinning has the effects in several aspects: a) holding back crimes; b) correcting and retrieving those who are sinning; c) making men not sin easily.


1Tim. 5:21 “I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality.

   YLT: “I testify fully, before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the choice messengers, that these things thou mayest keep, without forejudging, doing nothing by partiality.”

   Meaning of Words: “prejudice”: inclination, preference, bias, partiality.

   Literal Meaning: I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels” “the elect angels” refers to those who are chosen by God to partake in judgment (Matt. 25:31; Luke. 9:26) and they are different from the angels who follow Satan and fall with it (Rev. 12:4, 9).

“That you observe these things” “these things” refers to the principles in dealing with the cases of accusations against the elders (See v.19-25).

“Without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality” “prejudice” indicates that one has already had the judgment before he carefully checks it; “partiality” refers to with respect of persons (See James. 2:1-4) and showing partiality to some part.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) “Prejudice” and “partiality” are the great bans for servers because they conflict with Christ’s principle of abundance and it will lead the church into the abnormal development consequently so as to lose the state of fairness, equality and balanced growth of Christ’s body.

2) Once we have prejudice, we won’t sense the feelings of others and we cannot sense the feelings of the Holy Spirit in all Saints. In this way, we will become subjective and autocratic unavoidably and therefore we will lose the harmonious atmosphere and the blessing of the Holy Spirit.

3) If men walk with partiality, they will only consider the partial situation and neglect the overall situation, cling to some points and neglect the other points, only receive the one-sided help and abandon the many-sided help.

4) The Lord Jesus came into the world, having broken the hedges caused by various kinds of differences for us (See Eph. 2:14). We believers follow Christ and we should abandon all the partialities and no longer have partialities to age, gender, race, class and others (See Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11).


1Tim. 5:22 “Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people's sins; keep yourself pure.

   YLT: “Be laying hands quickly on no one, nor be having fellowship with sins of others; be keeping thyself pure;”

   Meaning of Words: “hastily”: quickly, hurriedly, in haste.

   Literal Meaning: Do not lay hands on anyone hastily” here “laying hands on” specially refers to praying and laying hands on when appointing the elders or deacons (See Acts. 6:6) and it means acknowledgement and acceptance. “Not hastily” means that one should appoint men carefully------giving them positions when they are found blameless after check and affirmation (See 3:10).

“Nor share in other people's sins; keep yourself pure” “share in other people’s sins” indicates that if the appointed elder is sinning, the one who appoints him cannot absolve himself from the blame. “Keeping yourself pure” indicates that he is careful, lest he be involved by others.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The spiritual meaning of “laying hands on” among Saints is quite important and it makes the one who lays hands on and the one who is laid hands on unite and have communion with each other and partake in the being of the other.

2) One should not appoint men who are unworthy of the position of the elders randomly, otherwise, he will bear the joint responsibility before the Lord and be condemned by Him.


1Tim. 5:23 “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities.

   YLT: “no longer be drinking water, but a little wine be using, because of thy stomach and of thine often infirmities;”

   Meaning of Words: “infirmities”: weakness, faintness.

   The Background: in the ancient time, the drinking water was the natural water which was different from the tap-water today that had been filtered and sterilized by men. And therefore it was not safe for men to only drink water, especially the sick. At that time they boiled the water to make it safe for drinking, however, it was inconvenient and uneconomical in the society in which the fuel was short. And therefore the most convenient way is to mingle a little wine to sterilize water by the alcohol in wine and it is much safer to drink such water. And the content of alcohol in such water was very low and some men held that wine in the Bible (See Lev. 10:8; Luke. 1:15) was wine with water.

   Literal Meaning: your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities” it is the parenthesis and apparently it does not connect with the content, however, it shows Paul’s concern to the health of Timothy. Actually this verse is inserted into this passage, implying that one’s physical condition probably influences his spiritual judgments and dealings.

No longer drink only water, but use a little wine” “use a little wine” refers to drinking water with a little wine. 

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The Lord allows weakness stay in His servants, showing that He did not remove all diseases when He bore our diseases; He did not remove all infirmities when He took our infirmities.   

2) The Lord Jesus bore our sins on the cross and sins were fully written off and removed. In the work of the Lord, the dealings of sins are unlimited and the dealings of diseases are limited.

3) Here the wine is used to treat a disease instead of enjoyment. Believers had better not drink so as to not be drunk (See Eph. 5:18), lest we be addicted to wine. However, we could use a little wine if necessary.

4) God wishes us to prosper in health, just as our soul prospers (3John. 2). Keeping healthy not only profits the spiritual life but also is helpful in serving God.


1Tim. 5:24 “Some men's sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later.

   YLT: “of certain men the sins are manifest beforehand, leading before to judgment, and certain also they follow after;”

   Literal Meaning: Some men's sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment” It means that their sins have been manifested before the normal judgment.

“But those of some men follow later” it means that the sins are quite hidden and careful check are needed to disclose them.


1Tim. 5:25 “Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden.

  YLT: “in like manner also the right works are manifest beforehand, and those that

are otherwise are not able to be hid.”

   Literal Meaning: Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident” “likewise” refers to the same principle in v.24; “the good works” stresses on behavior opposite to sins, i.e. innocence. “Are clearly evident” indicates that if others treats some people unjustly and bring in false charges against them, they will be cleared up quickly. Their kindness and uprightness are obvious to all.

“And those that are otherwise cannot be hidden” it indicates that the wrongful treatments of some people cannot be manifested immediately, however, the whole thing will come to light finally if the careful check is made.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Men’s good works and evil works have the open aspect and the hidden aspect and therefore we should not judge men merely by sight but observe and discover men carefully.

2) There is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known (Matt. 10:26). Serving the Lord in the church, we should know one's subordinates well enough to assign them jobs commensurate with their abilities and ask the Lord to give us the sober and calm spirit and the keen sight to discern men (See 1Cor. 2:11, 14-16).


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


Different Kinds of Widows

I. Widows who are really widows (v.3).

II. Any widow has children or grandchildren (v.4).

III. A widow who is left alone and trusts in God (v.5).

IV. A widow who lives in pleasure (v.6).

V. A widow who is over sixty (v.9).

VI. The younger widows (v.11, 14).


The Conditions that the Church Relieve Widows

I. They do not have children or grandchildren (v.4).

II. They are left alone, do not have relatives and truly trust in God (v.5, 8).

III. They do not live in pleasure, or learn to be idle or busybodies (v.6,13).

IV. They are over sixty (v.9).

V. She has been the wife of one man and does not intend to remarry (v.9, 11-12).

VI. They are well reported for good works (v.10).


How to Deal with the Elders who Are Sinning

I. Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses (v.19).

II. Observe cases without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality (v.21).

III. Pay attention to sins and the good works that are hidden and not evident (v.24-25).

IV. Rebuke those who are sinning in the presence of all once the accusation is proved true (v.20).


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Sharon Ren