Dec. 7. Paul’s Instructions to Timothy Continued

I Tim. 5:1-25

Timothy’s attention was turned to the manner in which he was to confront various individuals who needed to be corrected. A person rebuked is sharply criticized. Instead of rebuking, Paul admonished Timothy to exhort (urge strongly) older men kindly as he would his father and older women as his mother. He should deal with younger men as his brothers and younger women with the same respect as sisters.

Women did not have many opportunities for self-support during that period of history. Their best source for care was in marriage and rearing children. Many women became destitute upon the death of their husband. Paul gave Timothy instructions regarding the care of those needs.

Due to the great number of needy widows and the limited resources of the church at that time, it was necessary for certain guidelines to be met for one to receive support from the church. The foremost responsibility for their care was with their children and grandchildren to repay for the care that they had received.

Young widows were more likely to seek pleasure and become busybodies and gossips than those who were older. Widows under the age of sixty were admonished to marry again and when possible, to bear children and build a new life for themselves.

The church was responsible for Christian widows above sixty years of age who trusted in God; continued in prayer; were blameless; had been wife to one man; reported for good works of hospitality and child rearing.

Paul stressed that Christians who have a widowed mother or grandmother, are to care for them in order for the church to be able to care for those who are really widows. “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.”

The writer had listed the qualifications of elders earlier in this letter. At this point, he turned his attention to the support that elders deserve. Due to the magnitude of their responsibilities, they are worthy of honor and respect from the church which they are overseeing.

Elders are not to be greedy or covetous for money. According to Paul, if they are devoting a major portion of their time to that work, they should be compensated for that time.

All men are subject to sin. It is dangerous and forbidden to charge an elder with a specific sin unless there are at least two witnesses. Paul instructed Timothy to rebuke (sharply criticize) any elder publicly and without partiality who was found guilty of sinning. This was to serve as an example to influence others to avoid sinning.

In order to protect an elder’s reputation, one should not be too hasty to accept charges of sin against him. It is also wise to be certain that a man is qualified and fit for the work of an elder before appointing him to that office. Sins and good works sometimes are evident while at other times, they are hidden and hard to detect.

Timothy had a health problem with his stomach. Paul directed him to use a little wine as a medication for his frequent infirmities. Some have used this verse to justify using wine as a beverage. NO! This was a medical remedy.

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