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1 Timothy Chapter Five


1 Timothy 5

Having thus considered the labourer, the apostle returns to the details of the work, in which Timothy was to display his diligence and watchful care. Everywhere here the subject is that which is suitable outwardly to an upright walk, that which is seemly, whether with regard to the position of individuals, or with respect to the world. The apostle speaks of elders; of widows, of that which is becoming for younger widows; of the honour due to faithful elders those among them especially who were teachers also. There is nothing inward, nothing of the soul's relationships to God; but everything refers to the public testimony which suited the position of men in this world before God. It is important to remark this that although our joy lies in our heavenly privileges in our communion, yet we can never with impunity neglect ordinary duties or moral proprieties; we must take knowledge of the practical dangers that would beset us, owing to that which the flesh is.

We may notice that provision was made for all widows who had no relatives able to maintain them; and also that there were elders who did not teach.

Against an elder, Timothy was not to receive an accusation, unless there were two or three witnesses.

All this bears testimony to the fact, that the apostle gives these directions with a view to outward order; for the maintenance of that which is respectable in the eyes of all, and of respect for all that ought to be respected. At the same time, Timothy was to be careful not to give by the laying on of hands his sanction to any one who did not offer moral guarantees that, in the position he had taken, he deserved this mark of respect from others. It would be, on Timothy's part, to become a partaker in the sins of which such a one might be guilty. He was not to lay hands hastily on any one.

Some men's sins were open, and proclaimed before hand the judgment that awaited them. The sins of others were hidden: they would find them again at the great day. But this was a reason why he should do nothing in his charge with precipitation; he was also to keep himself pure.

Timothy's habitual temperance is here seen: weak in body, the apostle recommends him to use his liberty by taking a little wine-a pleasing instance of grace. We have here a proof of the habits of this faithful servant. The Spirit shews us how carefully he kept himself from exciting or satisfying his passions in the least thing (at the same time that there is perfect liberty to use everything that is good when there is a true reason for it) and also the apostle's tender interest in his fellow-labourer in the gospel. It is a little parenthesis attached to the expression, " be not a partaker of other men's sins," but it has great beauty. This affectionate watchfulness became the apostle; he desired holiness in his representative, but he well knew how to respect Timothy, and to maintain the decorum which he had enjoined, and to exhibit his heartfelt tenderness. The 24th verse is connected with the 22nd.

── John DarbySynopsis of 1 Timothy


1 Timothy 5

Chapter Contents

Directions as to the elder and younger men and women. (1,2) And as to poor widows. (3-8) Concerning widows. (9-16) The respect to be paid to elders. Timothy is to take care in rebuking offenders, in ordaining ministers, and as to his own health. (17-25)

Commentary on 1 Timothy 5:1,2

(Read 1 Timothy 5:1,2)

Respect must be paid to the dignity of years and place. The younger, if faulty, must be rebuked, not as desirous to find fault with them, but as willing to make the best of them. There is need of much meekness and care in reproving those who deserve reproof.

Commentary on 1 Timothy 5:3-8

(Read 1 Timothy 5:3-8)

Honour widows that are widows indeed, relieve them, and maintain them. It is the duty of children, if their parents are in need, and they are able to relieve them, to do it to the utmost of their power. Widowhood is a desolate state; but let widows trust in the Lord, and continue in prayer. All who live in pleasure, are dead while they live, spiritually dead, dead in trespasses and sins. Alas, what numbers there are of this description among nominal Christians, even to the latest period of life! If any men or women do not maintain their poor relations, they in effect deny the faith. If they spend upon their lusts and pleasures, what should maintain their families, they have denied the faith, and are worse than infidels. If professors of the gospel give way to any corrupt principle or conduct, they are worse than those who do not profess to believe the doctrines of grace.

Commentary on 1 Timothy 5:9-16

(Read 1 Timothy 5:9-16)

Every one brought into any office in the church, should be free from just censure; and many are proper objects of charity, yet ought not to be employed in public services. Those who would find mercy when they are in distress, must show mercy when they are in prosperity; and those who show most readiness for every good work, are most likely to be faithful in whatever is trusted to them. Those who are idle, very seldom are only idle, they make mischief among neighbours, and sow discord among brethren. All believers are required to relieve those belonging to their families who are destitute, that the church may not be prevented from relieving such as are entirely destitute and friendless.

Commentary on 1 Timothy 5:17-25

(Read 1 Timothy 5:17-25)

Care must be taken that ministers are maintained. And those who are laborious in this work are worthy of double honour and esteem. It is their just due, as much as the reward of the labourer. The apostle charges Timothy solemnly to guard against partiality. We have great need to watch at all times, that we do not partake of other men's sins. Keep thyself pure, not only from doing the like thyself, but from countenancing it, or any way helping to it in others. The apostle also charges Timothy to take care of his health. As we are not to make our bodies masters, so neither slaves; but to use them so that they may be most helpful to us in the service of God. There are secret, and there are open sins: some men's sins are open before-hand, and going before unto judgment; some they follow after. God will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make known the counsels of all hearts. Looking forward to the judgment-day, let us all attend to our proper offices, whether in higher or lower stations, studying that the name and doctrine of God may never be blasphemed on our account.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on 1 Timothy


1 Timothy 5

Verse 1

[1] Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;

Rebuke not — Considering your own youth, with such a severity as would otherwise be proper.

Verse 3

[3] Honour widows that are widows indeed.

Honour — That is, maintain out of the public stock.

Verse 4

[4] But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.

Let these learn to requite their parents — For all their former care, trouble, and expense.

Verse 5

[5] Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.

Widows indeed — Who have no near relations to provide for them; and who are wholly devoted to God.

Desolate — Having neither children, nor grandchildren to relieve her.

Verse 6

[6] But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.

She that liveth in pleasure — Delicately, voluptuously, in elegant, regular sensuality, though not in the use of any such pleasures as are unlawful in themselves.

Verse 7

[7] And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.

That they — That is, the widows.

Verse 8

[8] But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

If any provide not — Food and raiment.

For his own — Mother and grandmother, being desolate widows.

He hath — Virtually.

Denied the faith — Which does not destroy, but perfect, natural duties. What has this to do with heaping up money for our children, for which it is often so impertinently alleged? But all men have their reasons for laying up money. One will go to hell for fear of want; another acts like a heathen, lest he should be worse than an infidel.

Verse 9

[9] Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man,

Let not a widow be chosen — Into the number of deaconesses, who attended sick women or travelling preachers.

Under threescore — Afterwards they were admitted at forty, if they were eminent for holiness.

Having been the wife of one husband — That is, having lived in lawful marriage, whether with one or more persons successively.

Verse 10

[10] Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.

If she hath washed the feet of the saints — Has been ready to do the meanest offices for them.

Verse 11

[11] But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;

Refuse — Do not choose.

For when they are waxed wanton against Christ — To whose more immediate service they had addicted themselves.

They want to marry — And not with a single eye to the glory of God; and so withdraw themselves from that entire service of the church to which they were before engaged.

Verse 12

[12] Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.

They have rejected their first faith — Have deserted their trust in God, and have acted contrary to the first conviction, namely, that wholly to devote themselves to his service was the most excellent way. When we first receive power to believe, does not the Spirit of God generally point out what are the most excellent things; and at the same time, give us an holy resolution to walk in the highest degree of Christian severity? And how unwise are we ever to sink into anything below it!

Verse 14

[14] I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

I counsel therefore the younger women — Widows or virgins, such as are not disposed to live single.

To marry, to bear children, to guide the family — Then will they have sufficient employment of their own.

And give no occasion of reproach to the adversary — Whether Jew or heathen.

Verse 15

[15] For some are already turned aside after Satan.

Some — Widows.

Have turned aside after Satan — Who has drawn them from Christ.

Verse 17

[17] Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

Let the elders that rule well — Who approve themselves faithful stewards of all that is committed to their charge.

Be counted worthy of double honour — A more abundant provision, seeing that such will employ it all to the glory of God. As it was the most laborious and disinterested men who were put into these offices, so whatever any one had to bestow, in his life or death, was generally lodged in their hands for the poor. By this means the churchmen became very rich in after ages, but as the design of the donors was something else, there is the highest reason why it should be disposed of according to their pious intent.

Especially those — Of them.

Who labour — Diligently and painfully.

In the word and teaching — In teaching the word.

Verse 18

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

Deuteronomy 25:4

Verse 19

[19] Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

Against an elder — Or presbyter. Do not even receive an accusation, unless by two or three witnesses - By the Mosaic law, a private person might be cited (though not condemned) on the testimony of one witness; but St. Paul forbids an elder to be even cited on such evidence, his reputation being of more importance than that of others.

Verse 20

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

Those — Elders.

That sin — Scandalously, and are duly convicted.

Rebuke before all — The church.

Verse 21

[21] 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.

I charge thee before God — Referring to the last judgment, in which we shall stand before God and Christ, with his elect, that is, holy, angels, who are the witnesses of our conversation. The apostle looks through his own labours, and even through time itself, and seems to stand as one already in eternity.

That thou observe these things without prejudging — Passing no sentence till the cause is fully heard.

Or partiality — For or against any one.

Verse 22

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

Lay hands suddenly on no man — That is, appoint no man to church offices without full trial and examination; else thou wilt be accessary to, and accountable for, his misbehaviour in his office.

Keep thy self pure — From the blood of all men.

Verse 24

[24] Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.

Some men's sins are manifest beforehand — Before any strict inquiry be made.

Going before to judgment — So that you may immediately judge them unworthy of any spiritual office.

And some they — Their sins.

Follow after — More covertly.

Verse 25

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

They that are otherwise — Not so manifest.

Cannot be long hid — From thy knowledge. On this account, also, be not hasty in laying on of hands.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on 1 Timothy


Chapter 5. Shepherd the Flock

Serve Earnestly
Enjoy Abundantly

I. Advice about Elders

  1. As Parents
  2. As Brothers and Sisters
  3. With Absolute Purity

II. How to Take Care of the Widows

  1. Respect the Elder
  2. Instruct the Young
  3. Provide for Relatives

III. Honor the Elders of the Church

  1. Double Honor
  2. Handle Accusation with Care
  3. Keep Yourself Pure

── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament

Chapter Five General Review
1) To appreciate the responsibility we have toward our families, 
   especially widows
2) To consider under what circumstances widows may be "taken into the 
3) To note the distinction between the work of the church, and the 
   responsibility of individual Christians
4) To review our responsibilities toward those who serve as elders
This chapter contains Paul's instructions to Timothy regarding various 
members of the congregation.  He starts with the members in general, 
counseling Timothy to consider them as family, and exhorting them 
accordingly (1-2).  A major section is then devoted to the care of
widows, in which some may be "taken into the number".  What this phrase
refers to is unclear, but it may involve congregational support on a
long-term basis.  Only those who are truly widows (as defined in verse 
5) and who meet certain qualifications (listed in verse 9-10) are to be
so honored.  Younger widows are expected to remarry and have children, 
while widows with children and grandchildren are to be supported by 
their own family rather than burden the church (3-16).
Several remarks are then made regarding elders (not just older 
Christians, but those serving as overseers).  Elders who rule well are
to be worthy of financial support, especially if they are laboring in
the word and doctrine.  Accusations against an elder are not to be
taken seriously unless there be two or three witnesses.  Those elders 
who are sinning need to be publicly rebuked so that the rest may fear 
Paul then gives Timothy a solemn charge to be free from prejudice and
partiality as he goes about his duties.  He is also to be cautious 
about those he may commend, being careful to keep himself pure from 
others' sins.  The chapter concludes with advice for treating Timothy's
stomach ailment, and a reminder that both sins and good works will 
eventually become evident (21-25).
      1. Older men as fathers, younger men as brothers (1)
      2. Older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all
         purity (2)
      1. Honor those who are truly widows (3)
      2. Widows with children or grandchildren should be taken care of
         by them (4)
         a. That they may learn to show piety at home and repay their
         b. This is good and acceptable before God 
      3. Contrast between a true widow and one who is not (5-6)
         a. A true widow (5)
            1) One who is left alone (5a)
            2) One who trusts in God (5b)
            3) One who continues in supplications night and day (5c)
         b. The one who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives (6)
      4. Command these things that people may be blameless (7)
      5. One who does not provide for his own, especially his 
         household... (8)
         a. Has denied the faith 
         b. Is worse than an unbeliever 
      6. Regarding the church support of widows (9-16)
         a. Qualifications for those who can be taken into the number
            1) Not under sixty years of age
            2) The wife of one man
            3) Well reported for good works
            4) Has brought up children
            5) Has lodged strangers
            6) Has washed the saints' feet
            7) Has relieved the afflicted
            8) Has diligently followed every good work
         b. Reasons to reject younger widows (11-13)
            1) When they begin to grow wanton against Christ, they
               desire to marry
            2) Casting off their first faith, they have condemnation
            3) They learn to be idle, wandering about from house to
               house as busybodies and gossips
         c. Counsel for younger widows (14-15)
            1) To marry, bear children, manage the house
            2) To give no opportunity for the adversary to speak 
            3) For some have already have turned aside after Satan
         d. Those widows with believing children (16)
            1) The children should relieve them
            2) Do not burden the church, that it may relieve those who
               are truly widows
      1. Those who rule well (17-18)
         a. They are counted worthy of double honor
         b. Especially those who labor in word and doctrine
         c. Scriptural basis for supporting elders:
            1) "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the
            2) "The laborer is worthy of his wages"
      2. Those who don't rule well (19-20)
         a. Don't receive an accusation against an elder except from
            two or three witnesses (19)
         b. Elders who are sinning (20)
            1) Should be rebuked in the presence of all
            2) So that the rest may fear
      1. Given before God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels
      2. To observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing
         without partiality
      1. Don't lay hands hastily on anyone
      2. Don't share in other people's sins
      3. Keep yourself pure
      1. No longer drink only water
      2. Use a little wine for the sake of the stomach and frequent
      1. Some sins are clearly evident, others we learn after the
         judgment (24)
      2. The same is true regarding good works (25)   
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Instructions concerning the members (1-20)
   - Further instructions related to Timothy (21-25)
2) How was Timothy to exhort the members of the congregation? (1-2)
   - The older men as fathers, the younger women as brothers, the older
     women as mothers, the younger women as sisters, in all purity
3) Why are widows with children or grandchildren to be taken care of by
   them? (4)
   - So that the children may learn to show piety at home and repay
     their parents
   - For this is good and acceptable before God
4) Who is truly a widow? (5)
   - One left alone, who trusts in God, and prays night and day
5) What is said of one who will not provide for his own family? (8)
   - He has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever
6) List the qualifications for a widow to be "taken into the number"
   - At least sixty years old
   - The wife of one man
   - Well reported for good works
   - Has brought up children
   - Has lodged strangers
   - Has washed the saints' feet
   - Has relieved the afflicted
   - Has diligently followed every good work
7) What are the younger widows to do?  Why? (14)
   - Marry, bear children, manage the house
   - To give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully
8) What two groups of widows are NOT to be "taken into the number"?
   - Younger widows
   - Widows with believing children who can provide for them
9) How should elders who rule well be considered, especially if they
   labor in word and doctrine? (17)
   - Counted worthy of double honor
10) What basis does Paul give for compensating elders? (18)
   - The Old Testament scriptures (Deu 25:4)
   - The sayings of Jesus (Lk 10:7)
11) What is necessary to receive an accusation against an elder? (19)
   - Two or three witnesses
12) What should be done with elders who are sinning? (20)
   - Rebuke them in the presence of all, that the rest may fear
13) What serious charge was given to Timothy before God, the Lord, and
    the elect angels? (21)
   - To observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with 
14) What words of caution does Paul give Timothy? (22)
   - Don't lay hands on anyone hastily
   - Don't share in other people's sins
   - Keep yourself pure
15) What advice does Paul give Timothy for his stomach ailments? (23)
   - No longer drink only water
   - But use a little wine
16) What is true in regards to both sin and good works? (24-25)
   - Some are clearly evident, and some will not be known until after
     the judgment day


--《Executable Outlines


Shepherd the flock

Serve earnestly

Enjoy abundantly


I.  Advice about elders

1.    As parents

2.    As brothers and sisters

3.    With absolute purity

II.How to take care of the widows

1.    Respect the elder

2.    Instruct the young

3.    Provide for relatives

III.       Honor the elders of the church

1.    Double honor

2.    Handle accusation with care

3.    Keep yourself pure

-- Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament