I Timothy 5



1 “Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger

men as brethren;”  Rebuke not (mh< ejpiplh>xhv - mae epiplaexaes

rebuke not; you should not be upbraiding); only here in the New Testament for

the more usual ejpitima>w epitimao - rebuke (II Timothy 4:2, and frequently in

the Gospels) or ejle>gcw elencho rebuke - as Titus 1:13; 2:15; Revelation 3:19,

and elsewhere. In classical Greek it expresses a sharp castigation with words.

An elder (presbute>rw| presbutero - elder). The context shows that the meaning

is not a “presbyter,” but “an old man.” The precept has relation to Timothy’s youth

(ch.4:12). See the same order in respect to the persons to be admonished (Titus 2:1-6,

where, however, we have the forms presbu>tav presbutasseniors; aged

me - and presbu>tidav presbutidas – aged women - with ne>av neas

young women and newte>rouv neoterous – younger men). The direction

is an instance of that admirable propriety of conduct, based upon a true

charity, which vital Christianity produces. A true Christian never forgets

what is due to others, never “behaves himself unseemly”  (I Corinthians

13:5).  Intreat (paraka>lei); exhort would be a better rendering.

The younger men. This and the other accusatives in this and the following

verse are governed by paraka>lei parakalei - intreat; the prohibitive

mh< ejpiplh>xh|v –- rebuke not - is confined to the presbute>roi elders.

 As brethren. This phrase shows that Timothy was still a young man himself.

Observe, too, how even in  reproving, the sense of love is to be maintained.

The members of the Church  over which he rules are either fathers and mothers,

or brothers and sisters, or,  it may be added, as his own children, to the faithful



2 “The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.”

Purity (ajgnei>a - hagneia - purity |); see ch.  4:12, note. See how jealously the

apostle guards against any possibility of abuse of the familiar intercourse of a clergy

man with the women of his flock.  They are his sisters, and ajgnei>w agneio

hagneio  is to be the constant condition of his heart and character.



Directions How to Treat Members of the Church

        According to the Distinctions of Age  and Sex. (vs. 1-2)



“Reprimand not an elderly person, but exhort him as a brother.” The

allusion is not to an official elder of the Church, but to any elderly member

of it.


Ø      Such persons might possibly be guilty of serious shortcomings,

warranting private admonition, if not the exercise of discipline. Their

conduct would have a worse effect than that of more youthful offenders.


Ø      Timothy must not use sharpness or severity in dealing with such

persons, because he must remember what is becoming on account of

his own youth. He should rather use “entreaty” on a footing of

brotherly equality. His zeal ought not to interfere with the reverence

due to age. Let the old be treated with humility and gentleness.



younger men as brothers.” He may use greater freedom with them, as being

on an equality as to age. He must not show airs of assumption toward

them, but may use more freedom in reproving their faults.



as mothers.” He must show them due deference and respect. If they should

err on any point, they must be entreated with all tenderness, as children

entreat their mothers.



younger as sisters, with all purity.” There must be, on the one hand, the

freedom of a brother with sisters; but, on the other hand, a marked

circumspection so as to avoid all ground of suspicion or scandal.


3  Honor widows that are widows indeed.” Honor (ti>ma - tima). The use of

the verb tima>w timao – to honor - in the comment on the fourth commandment

in Matthew 15:4-6, where the withholding of the honor due consists in saying,

“It is corban, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me,” and so

withholding the honor due, shows clearly that in the notion of honoring is included

that material support which their condition as widows required. So again in v.17 of

this chapter, the “double honor” due to elders who labor in the Word and

doctrine is clearly shown by v.18 to include payment for their maintenance.

This is also borne out by the frequent use of timh> timae – honor; a valuing;

a price paid in the sense of “price” (Matthew 27:6, 9; Acts 4:34; 7:16; 19:19;

I  Corinthians 6:20). The passage might, therefore, be paraphrased, “Pay

due regard to the wants of those widows who are widows indeed.” The

honor here prescribed would be exactly the opposite to the “neglect”

(pareqewrou~nto paretheorounto) complained of by the Grecian Jews

(Acts 6:1). The same idea is in the Latin honorarium, for a fee. Widows indeed;

i.e. really, as in vs. 5 and 16, desolate and alone. We learn from this passage that

the care of widows by the whole Church, which began at Jerusalem in the

very infancy of the Church, was continued in the Churches planted by Paul.

We find the same institution though somewhat different in character,

in subsequent ages of the Church. Widowhood, as well as virginity, became

a religious profession, and widows were admitted with certain ceremonies,

including the placing on their heads a veil consecrated by the bishop.

Deaconesses were very frequently chosen from the ranks of the widows.


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.”  Children or nephews.  (e]kgona- ekgona

descendants; grandchildren) only here in the New Testament, but common in

the Septuagint and in classical Greek); descendants, children or grandchildren

(as on the other hand, pro>gonoi progonoi – parents; progenitors -in this

verse includes grandparents as well as parents). In Latin nepotes, “descendants;”

nos neveux (in French), “our descendants;” and so the English word “nephews”

(derived from nepos, through the French neveu) properly means, and is commonly

so used in all old English writers, as e.g. in Holinshed (Richardson’s Dictionary),

their nephews, or sons’ sons, which reigned in the third place.” Locke’s phrase,

a nephew by a brother,” seems to show the transition to the modern use of

nephew.” But as the old meaning of “nephews” is now obsolete, it is

better to substitute “grandchildren,” as in the Revised Version. Let them learn.

Clearly “the children or grandchildren” is the subject. To show piety at home.

(eujsebei~n eusebein – to show piety towards). In the only other passage in

the New Testament where this word occurs, Acts 17:23, it has also an accusative

of the person — “whom ye worship.”  Their parents.  Their own family, of

which the widowed mother or grandmother formed a part. The force of to<n i]don

oi=kon - ton idon oikon -their own family,” lies in the implied contrast with the

Church. As long as a widow has members of her own house who are able to

support her, the Church ought not to be burdened (see v. 16). To requite

(ajmoiba<v ajpodi>donai amoibas apodidonai – reciprocation; to be

paying); literally, to give back the return or exchange due. jAmoibh> – amoebae-

is only found here in the New Testament, but is not uncommon in the Septuagint,

and is much used in the best classical authors. The pro>gonoi – parents - had

nourished and  cared for them in their childhood; they must requite that care

by honoring and supporting them in their old age. Acceptable.  (ajpo>dekton   -

 apodekton – welcome; acceptable); only here in the New Testament or the

Septuagint, and rarely if ever in classical Greek. The same idea is expressed in

ch.1:15, by pa>shv ajpodoch~v a]xiov pasaes apodochaes axiosworthy

of all acceptation, and in I Peter 2:19-20, by ca>riv Tou~to ca>riv para< Qew~|

charis touto charis para Theo - This is acceptable with God.



What Pleases God (v. 4)


“For that is good and acceptable before God.” He looks not merely on the

great heroisms of confessors and martyrs, but on the sublime simplicities

even of a child’s character.



one of those who think that it is a monstrous mistake to fill their hymns

with rich rhapsodies about heaven, about wanting to be angels, and about

superior emotions, when the very things next to them are seldom referred

to at all. To the father the son must always be a boy, and the daughter to

the mother a girl; so that all manner, even which is high-flown and

independent, or brusque and irreverent, is painful, and brings tears to the

hearts of parents.



home,” by which is not meant precocity of religious opinion, or

plentifulness of religious phraseology, but the piety of respect, attention,

obedience, requital, and reverence. This is good and acceptable

 before God.”


5 “Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and

continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.”  A widow indeed

(see v. 3). Desolate (memonwme>nh  - memonomenaedesolate; being alone –

only here in the New Testament, rare in Greek versions of Old Testament, frequent

in classical Greek); literally, left alone, or made solitary, which is also the exact

meaning of “desolate,” from soluv - solus - alone. A widow with children or

grandchildren able to support her is not altogether desolate. As regards the

connecting de> - de – rendered “now” is better rendered  “but.” The apostle is

contrasting the condition of the o]ntev ch>ra  ontes chaera  - a real widow –

who has only God to look to for help, and who passes her time in prayer, with that

of the widow with children and grandchildren. The second “but” in v. 6 is

no real objection; the widow who giveth herself to pleasure ‘ is contrasted

in her turn with the devout prayerful widow whose conduct has just been

described. The inference intended to be drawn is that the one is eminently fit,

and the other eminently unfit, to be supported at the common charge of the

Church.  Trusteth in God.  Hath her hope set on God (see ch. 4:10).

Supplications and prayers (see ch.2:1, note). Night and day. Perhaps

by night and by day would express the genitive better (Matthew 2:14;

Luke 18:7), as indicating time when, rather than time how long. In Luke 2:37,

Anna the prophetess is said to worship “with fastings and supplications night

and day (nu>kta kai< hJme>ran nukta kai haemerannight and day),

where the accusative conveys rather more the notion of vigils prolonged through

the night. As regards the order of the words, “day and night,” or “night and day,”

there seems to be no rule. Mark always has “night and day” (Mark 4:27; 5:5);

Luke uses both (Luke 2:37; 18:7; Acts 9:24; 20:31; 26:7). Paul always “night and

day,” as in this passage (Acts 20:31; I Thessalonians 2:9; 3:10; II Thessalonians

3:8; II Timothy 1:3). John always “day and night” (Revelation 4:8; 7:15; 12:10;

14:11; 20:10).


6 “But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.”  She that

liveth in pleasure.  Giveth herself to pleasure (hJ spatalw~sa hae

spatalosaone squandering; one being prodigal; liveth in pleasure);

only here and James 5:5 (ejspatalh>sate espatalaesate  - “been wanton,” –

Authorized Version - taken your pleasure,” Revised Version) in the New

Testament.  The word brings into the strongest possible contrast the widow

who was like Anna, and those whom Paul here denounces. Is dead while

she liveth; or, has died (is dead) in her lifetime. She is dead to God and

is no longer a living member of the Church of Christ. Compare Jude’s

expression “twice dead” (Jude 1:12). The expression in Revelation 3:1 is

different, unless zw~sa zosa  - living - here can have the same meaning

as o]noma e]cei o[ti zh~| - onoma echei hoti zaea name that thou

livest - though nominally alive  as a Christian,” etc.



Death in Life (v. 6)


“But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.” Christianity

purifies and harmonizes the whole nature of man (Mr. Spurgeon said,

the purpose of Christianity is to sanctify the secular.”), and assimilates

whatever is pure in humanity to the kingdom of God. It does not destroy pure

earthly joys; nay, rather it plants many flowers by the wayside of life. But

pleasure is often perverted by man, and in that age it had become so associated

with what was coarse and carnal, that the very word “pleasure” became in the

gospel a synonym for sin. We have here death in the midst of life“that

liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth— or death and life side by side.





Ø      no movement of thought towards God;

Ø      no feet swift to do His will;

Ø      no heart that beats in sympathy with His Law.


Instinct is alive; but the brightness of the eye, and the music of the voice,

and the activities of life, are like flowers upon graves.



THE DEAD SOUL. All around there may be signs of outward life. As the

body lies in the churchyard, the murmuring river flows by its banks, the

birds make their summer music in the trees, and men, women, and children

stay to rest, and to read the inscriptions on the graves; but to all these

things the sleepers in the tombs are insensible. So the dead soul is:


Ø      insensible to the august realities of religion,

Ø      to the voice of God, and

Ø      to the visions of the great day.




THE DEAD SOUL. This is the dread thought in connection with death,

that we must bury it out of sight. When decay commences, corruption

begins; and he, who knows all that is in man, tells us that out of the

sepulcher of THE UNRENEWED HEART OF MAN come evil

desires, murders, and adulteries (Matthew 15:19).  “They that sow

 to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption” (Galatians 6:8).

These aspects of the case show us that, as there are graveyards in the

crowded cities with all their busy life, so IN THE UNRENEWED



7 “And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.”

These things, etc. The apostle had been giving Timothy his own instructions

concerning widows and their maintenance by their own relations. He now adds

the direction that he should give these things in charge to the Ephesian Church,

lest they should be guilty and blameworthy by acting in a different spirit. He probably

was aware of a disposition existing in some quarters to throw the burden of

maintaining their widows upon the Church.   (ajnepi>lhptoi - anepilaeptoi

blameless; without reproach; unrebukeable); above, see ch.3:2, note. If they

did not so they would be liable to the terrible reproach mentioned in v. 8, that,

Christians as they called themselves, they were in their conduct worse than




Directions with Regard to Widows (vs. 3-7)


The gospel provides for the helpless.




Ø      These were abundantly recognized in Old Testament times. The

fatherless and the widow were commended, to the special care of the

Israelites. The garments of widows were never to be taken in pledge.

The man was cursed who perverted the judgment of the widow. The

widow was never to be afflicted or made a prey (Deuteronomy 16:11;

27:19; Jeremiah 7:6; Isaiah 10:2).


Ø      The claims of widows were officially recognized in New Testament

times. The order of deaconship arose out of the necessity of widows

(Acts 6:1-7).



“Honor widows that are widows indeed.” There are three classes of

widows referred to by the apostle.


Ø      There are widows who are not only deeply religious, but quite

 destitute.  She who is a widow indeed is “desolate, has set her

hope in God, and abides in supplications and prayers night and day.”



o       There are widows without husband, without children or

grandchildren, and. without means of living. They have no friends

to cheer the loneliness or relieve the necessities of their widowed life.


o       They are deeply religious and trustful. “She has set her hope in

 God,” who is the Husband of the widow; and is constant in prayers

like Anna the prophetess (Luke 2:36-38), to that God who gives

her a daily supply of comforts, and cheers her in her solitude.


Ø      There are widows who are not so destitute, for they have

children and grandchildren to provide for their wants.


Ø      There are widows who are fond of gaiety and pleasure, and

destitute of religion. She that liveth in pleasure is dead while

she liveth.” They are dead spiritually, like those who “have

 a name to live, but are dead” (Revelation 3:1). “If ye live after

the flesh, ye shall die” (Romans 8:13). This class of widows

resembled the daughters of Sodom (Ezekiel 16:49). There was in

their case the union of soul and body, but no quickening

principle of spiritual life. They savor the things that be of

men rather than the things that be of God.





Ø      The Church was not bound to support or assist widows with

children or grandchildren, who were therefore to be taught

to show piety at home, and to requite their parents.”  (v.4)

The Church was not to be burdened with their support. Their

relatives were not exempt under the gospel from the

necessity of providing for them. The apostle adds that the discharge

of this off-forgotten duty is “good and acceptable before God”

(Ephesians 6:2-3; Mark 7:10-11).


Ø      The Church owned no obligation of any sort to pleasure-loving

widows, except to warn them of the sin, folly, and danger of

their life.


Ø      The Church was to pay due regard to “widows indeedwho were

destitute of all resources. “Honor widows that are widows indeed.”

The term implies more than deference or respect; such widows were

entitled to receive relief from the Christian community. It was a loving

duty to provide for such sad-hearted, friendless beings.



GUIDANCE.  “These things command, that they may he without

reproach (v.7).  The injunction was necessary for the Church’s sake, that it

might not neglect its proper duty to this destitute class, and for the sake of

the various classes of widows and their relatives, who needed to be without

reproach, as they were supposedly members of the Church.


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.”

Provideth (pronoei~ - pronoei - provideth). Elsewhere in the New Testament

only in Romans 12:17 and II Corinthians 8:21, where it has an accusative of the

thing provided; here, as in classical Greek, with a genitive of the person; frequent

in the Septuagint, and still more so in classical Greek. The substantive pronoi>a

pronoiaforethought; providence - occurs in Acts 24:2 and Romans 13:14.

For those of his own house.  In many cases the widow would be actually living

in the house of her child or grandchild. But even if she were not, filial duty would

prompt a proper provision for her wants He hath denied the faith; viz. by

repudiating these duties which the Christian faith required of him (see Ephesians




The Duty of Providing for One’s Own Household (v. 8)


The growth of the Church necessitated a careful regard to this duty.


  • THE DUTY HERE ENJOINED. “If any provides not for his own, and

especially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith, and is

worse than an unbeliever.”


Ø      This passage asserts the obligations that spring out of family

relationship. It points to the duty of supporting relatives, and all who

live under one roof, who through poverty may have become

dependent upon us.


Ø      The gospel does not relax, but rather strengthens, the ties of

natural kinship. The Essenes would not give relief to their relatives

without the permission of their teachers, though they might help

others in need.





Ø      It is a denial of the faith, not in words, but in works, for it is a

denial of the duty of love, which is the practical outcome of faith;

for “faith worketh by love” (Galatians 5:6).  There may have

been a tendency at Ephesus, as in Churches to which James wrote,

to rest content with a mere profession of the truth, without the

habit of self-denial.


Ø      Such conduct would place the Christian professor in a position

far below that of the heathen unbeliever, who recognized the

duty of supporting relatives as one of his best principles. It would

be a serious dishonor to Christ and the gospel to neglect duties

held in highest honor by the heathen. The light of the gospel greatly

aggravates the sin of such persons.


9 “Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years

old, having been the wife of one man.”  Let not a wido be taken into

the number  - Let none be enrolled, etc. The proper translation let a woman be

enrolled as a widow not under sixty years old; i.e. ch>ra chaerawidow –

is the predicate, not the subject. It follows that the word “widow” here is used in

a slightly different sense from that in the preceding verses, viz. in the technical sense

of one belonging to the order of widows, of which it appears from the word

katalege>sqw katalegestho – let her be enrolled - there was a regular roll kept

in the Church. We do not know enough of the Church institutions of the apostolic age

to enable us to say positively what their status or their functions were, but doubtless

they were the germ from which the later development took its rise. We may gather,

however, from the passage before us that their lives were specially consecrated

to the service of God and the Church; that they were expected to be instant and

constant in prayer, and to devote themselves to works of charity; that the apostle

did not approve of their marrying again after their having embraced this life

of widowhood, and therefore would have none enrolled under sixty years

of age; and generally that, once on the roll, they would continue there for

their life.  (katalege>sqw); only here in the New Testament or

(in this sense) in the Septuagint; but it is the regular classical word for enrolling,

enlisting, soldiers, etc. Hence our word “catalogue.” In like manner, in the

times of the Empress Helena, the virgins of the Church are described as

ajnagegramme>nav ejn tw~| th~v ejkklhsi>av kano>ni (Socr., 1:17),

registered in the Church’s register,” or list of virgins. Under three score

years old. A similar rule was laid down in several early canons, which

forbade the veiling of virgins before the age of forty. This care to prevent

women from being entangled by vows or engagements which they had not

well considered, or of which they did not know the full force, is in striking

contrast with the system which allows young girls to make irrevocable

vows. The participle gegonui~a - gegonuia being; having become;

having been - belongs to this clause (not as in the Authorized Version

to the following one), and as the Revised Version  also indicates, by putting

having been in italics; though it does not translate gegonui~a in this clause,

unless possibly the word “old” is considered as representing gegonui~a.

It should be, Let none be enrolled as widows, being under sixty years of age.

The wife of one man; see ch.3:2, the similar phrase, “the husband of one wife”

(which likewise stands without any participle), and the note there. To which may

be added that it is hardly conceivable that Paul should within the compass of a

few verses (see v. 14) recommend the marriage of young widows, and

yet make the fact of a second marriage an absolute bar to a woman being

enrolled among the Church widows.


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.”  Well reported of (marturoume>nh  - marturoumenae

well reported; being attested; being witnessed) see ch.3:7 and note).

This use is frequent in the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 7:8; 11:2, 4-5, 39),

also in III John 1:6, 12. Good works (e]rgoiv kaloi~v ergois kalois).

The phrase occurs frequently in the pastoral Epistles, both in the singular and

in the plural (ch. 2:10; 3:1; in this verse; v. 25; 6:18; II Timothy 2:21; 3:17;

Titus 1:16; 2:7, 14; 3:1, 8, 14). Our Lord had first used the phrase, and taught

how “good works” were to be the distinctive marks of His disciples (Matthew

5:16), as they were evidences of His own mission (John 10:32-33). It denotes

all kinds of good actions as distinguished from sentiments. Love, e.g. is not a

good work. Feeding the hungry and clothing the naked and visiting the sick are

good works (see Matthew 25:35, etc.). Brought up children

(ejteknotru>fhsen eteknotruphaesen – she nourishes children); only here

in the New Testament or Septuagint, but found, as well as teknotrofi>a

 teknotrophia  - bring up children - in Aristotle. The word must mean “brought

up children of her own,” because te>knon teknon - does not mean “a child”

with reference to its age, but “a child” with reference to its parent who bare it.

The only apparent exception in Holy Scripture is I Thessalonians 2:7, where the

nurse’s alumni are called “her own children,” but obviously this is no real exception.

The classical usage is the same. We must, therefore, understand the apostle here to

mean “if she hath brought up her children well and carefully, and been a good

mother to them.” The precept corresponds to that laid down for an ejpi>skopov

episkopos in ch.3:4.  Possibly, a contrast may be intended with the conduct

of some heathen mothers, who, if they were very poor, exposed their children.

Lodged strangers.  (ejxenodo>chsen exenodochaesen - used hospitality to;

she is hospitable); only here in the New Testament or Septuagint, but, as well as

 xenodo>kov xenodokos and xenodoci>a xenodochia, not uncommon in

classical Greek, meaning to lodge strangers.. The common form in the New

Testament is xeni>zein xenizein – entertain; host. (For the inculcation of

hospitality, see ch.3:2, note, and III John 1:5.) Washed the saints’ feet (see

John 13:5-8; and compare Luke 7:44, where the omission to provide water to

wash the feet of a guest is reprobated as inhospitable). The saints (Romans 12:13).

Hath relieved (ejph>rkesen epaerkesen – she relieves); only here and twice

in v. 16 in the New Testament, but common in classical Greek. The afflicted

(toi~v qlibomenoiv tois thlibomenois – ones being afflicted); used of any

kind of trouble or afflictions (qli>yiv thlipsis - affliction); compare, for the

precept, Romans 12:15.  Diligently followed (ejphkolou>qhse epaekolouthaese

follows up; compare I Peter 2:21). The idea is somewhat similar to that of “pressing

on toward the goal,” in Philippians 3:14 (see also v. 12, where diw>kw dioko

 is rendered in Authorized Version, “I follow after”). Good work. Here e]rgw| ajgaqw~|

 ergo agatho – good work - as in Acts 9:36; Romans 2:7, 10; 13:3; II Corinthians 9:8;

Ephesians 2:10; and frequently in the pastoral Epistles (ch. 2:10).


The teaching in vs. 9-10,  signifies that the widow should never have stood related but

to one living husband; not divorced from one husband and then married to another — a

chaste and faithful spouse, true to her marriage vow.  She has a good reputation “Well

reported of in respect to good works.” There must not only be no evil spoken of her,

but she must have a reputation for good works. This reputation covers five facts of



  • “If she hath brought up children.” This would imply self-sacrifice,

sympathy and zeal for youthful training. She would train her children in the

nurture and admonition of the Lord, commanding them like Abraham to

keep the way of the Lord, from which they would not so easily depart in

after-life.  (Genesis 18:19; Ephesians 5:4)


  • “If she hath lodged strangers.” She may have seen better days, and had

frequent opportunities of showing hospitality to Christian travelers moving

from place to place. The readiness to welcome strangers was most

characteristic of the early Christians.


  • “If she hath washed the saints’ feet,” in token, not only of conventional

hospitality, but of deep humility after the highest of all examples.


  • “If she hath relieved the afflicted.” Not by mere gifts, but by matronly

sympathy and encouragement, implying the visitation of the distressed in

their homes.


  • “If she hath diligently followed every good work.” She must not have

wearied in well-doing, but have followed that which was good with

eagerness, constancy, and true fidelity to God and man.


11 “But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax

wanton against Christ, they will marry;”  Refuse. Note the wisdom of Paul, who

will not have the young widows admitted into the roll of Church widows, lest, after

the first grief for the loss of their husbands has subsided, they should

change their minds, and wish to return to the world and its pleasures, and

so incur the guilt of drawing back their hands from the plough. Would that

the Church had always imitated this wisdom and this consideration for the

young, whether young priests or young monks and nuns! Wax wanton

against (katastrhnia>swsi - katastraeniasosi). This word only occurs here,

but the simple strhnia>w straeniao – indulging; lived deliciously - is found in

Revelation 18:7, 9, and is used by the Greek poets of the new comedy in the sense

of trufa~n truphan delicately; live a voluptuous life; to be luxurious

(Schleusner, ‘Lex.’). Trench (‘Synonyms of New Testament’), comparing

his word with trufa~n and spatala~n spatalanlive in pleasure;

be wanton - ascribes to it the sense of “petulance” from fullness, like the state of

Jeshurun, who waxed fat and kicked (Deuteronomy 32:15); in the sense

of “to be over-strong.” The sense, therefore, is that these young widows, in

the wantonness and unsubdued worldliness of their hearts, reject the yoke

of Christ, and kick against the widow’s life of prayer and supplication day

and night. And so they return to the world and its pleasures, which they

had renounced.


12 “Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.”

Damnation.  kri>ma krima damnation; condemnation; judgment;

variously translated in the Authorized Version.  The word means a

judgment,” “decision,” or “sentence,” but generally an adverse sentence, a

condemnation.” And this is the meaning of the English word “damnation,”

which has only recently acquired the signification of “eternal damnation.”

Cast off. (hjqe>thsan aethetaesan - rejected); literally, have set aside, or

displaced, and hence disregarded, an oath, treaty, promise, or the like. In the

Authorized Version, variously rendered “reject,” “despise,” “bring to nothing,”

 frustrate,” “disannul,” “cast off.”  The kri>ma which these widows brought

upon themselves was that, whereas they had devoted themselves to a life of prayer

and special service of the Church, they had now set aside this their first faith, and

returned to the ordinary pleasures and avocations of the world.


13 “And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to

house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking

things which they ought not.”  Learn to be idle (ajrgai< manqa>nousin

argai manthanousinlearn to be idle). This is a construction which has no similar

passage in Greek to support it, except one very doubtful one in Plato,

Euthudemus’ (vol. 4. p. 105, Bekker’s edit.). But the other constructions

proposed, viz. to construe manqa>nousi they are learning.  Going about

(perierco>menai perierchomenai – wandering about; going about –

 they are inquisitive, or, curious.); compare Acts 19:19, where there is the

same idea of reproach in the term. It is used in a good sense in

Hebrews 11:37. Tattlers (flu>aroi   phluaroi); only here in the New Testament,

and once only in the Septuagint in . (IV Maccabees 5:10), but common in classical

Greek. It means “a trifling silly talker.” The verb fluare>w phluareo – gossiping –

occurs in III John 1:10. Busybodies (peri>ergoi periergoi); only here and

Acts 19:19 in the New Testament or Septuagint, but not uncommon in classical

Greek, in the sense in which it is used here. The verb perierga>zesqai

 periergazesthai  occurs in II Thessalonians 3:11 in the same sense, “meddling

with what does not concern you.”



The Busybody Life (v. 13)


“And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house;

and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which

they ought not.” Indolence is the parent of all sins, because, with evil so

active in the world, some of its emissaries are sure to be wanting houseroom

in our hearts.


  • WE MAY LEARN TO BE IDLE. There is no life so undignified as that

which is busy in trifles, which has learned to enjoy listless hours. For the

wandering thought produces the wandering life. “Wandering about

from house to house;” and, having nothing else to build with, too often build

aerial structures of untruths and half-truths.


  • NOT ONLY IDLE, BUT TATTLERS. The harm that has been worked

in this world by busybodies cannot be over-estimated. It is easy to send an

arrow into the air, but not to gather it up again. It is easy to poison the

river of good reputation, but we cannot re-purify the stream. It is easy to

pluck the flower of a good man’s fame, but we cannot restore its beauty.

“Speaking things which they ought not.” How few really make

“I ought” govern their lives! (I have often thought:  What would happen

in this world if people would just try to do right?  - CY – 2013).   Custom

and convenience and pleasantness too often constrain our speech. People

like to startle others, to give the shock of a new sensation (Especially, in

this technological age! – CY – 2013), to amuse them, to please them. And,

alas! it is too true that tattlers and busybodies know how to gratify those

hey visit. Paul thinks in v.14,  that marriage and care of children and

housewifery are good things and that women so occupied give none

occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.


14 “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide

the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”

Younger women.  Widows. As the whole discourse is about widows, it

is better to supply this as the substantive understood in newte>rav neoteras

younger. In v. 11 we have newte>rav ch>rav neoteras chaerasyounger

widows.. The ou=n oun – then - which precedes is a further proof

that this direction or command of the apostle’s springs from what he had

just been saying about the young widows, and therefore that what follows

relates to them, and not to women generally. In order to avoid the scandal

mentioned in v. 11 of the young widows first dedicating their

widowhood to Christ, and then drawing back and marrying, he directs that

they should follow the natural course and marry, in doing which they

would be blameless. Bear children (teknogonei~n teknogonein – to

be bearing children): here only in the New Testament or Septuagint; but

teknogoni>a teknogonia child-bearing - occurs in ch. 2:15

(where see note).  Guide the house.  (oijkodespotei~n oikodespotein

rule the household; to be managing the household -  here only in this

sense); act the part of oijkode>spoina oikodespoina - the mistress of a

family (Plutarch and elsewhere). oiJkodespo>thv oikodespotaes – master

of the house - frequent in the New Testament, and kindred words are used

in classical Greek. To speak reproachfully.  (loidori>av ca>rin loidorias

 charinreviling; railing against grace. The adversary (oJ ajntikei>menov

 ho antikeimenos – the adversary),  the opponent of Christianity, was

 always  seeking some occasion to speak reproachfully of Christians

and revile them. Any misconduct on the part of Christian widows would give

him the occasion he was looking for. They must be doubly careful,

therefore, lest they should bring reproach upon the Name of Christ (compare

James 2:7; I Peter 2:12; 4:4, 14-15). loidori>av ca>rin  is added... to

ajformh<n dido>nai - aphormaen didonai – giving incentive; give none

occasion - to specify the manner in which the occasion would be used. Do not

give the adversary a starting-point from which he may be able to carry

 out his desire to revile the people of God.


15 “For some are already turned aside after Satan.”  Some. This is

generally understood of some widows who had already given occasion to

the adversary to speak reproachfully, by turning aside from the path of

Christian virtue which they had begun to walk in, and following Satan who

had beguiled them into the path of vice and folly. But the words are

capable of another meaning, equally arising from the preceding verse, viz.

that some have already followed the example of Satan, “the accuser of the

brethren,” and have begun to revile Christianity, taking occasion from the

conduct of some who were called Christians. These revilers might be not

unbelieving Jews or heathen, but apostate or heretical Jews like those of

whom the same verb (ejktre>pesqai ektrepesthaiwere turned aside)

is used in ch.1:6 and II Timothy 4:4. In something of the same spirit Paul called

Elymas the sorcerer “a child of the devil,” because he sought to turn away

Sergius Paulus from the faith, probably by speaking evil of Barnabas and Saul.

(Acts 13:4-12).


The adversary is not necessarily always  the devil.  It could be any particular

Individual or the collective society around the Church which is always watchful for

the halting of God’s servants. For good cause or bad the reproaches will come,

but they ought not to be justified by the injurious, or frivolous, or licentious

 conduct  of professors. Mischief of this sort had already accrued to the

cause of Christ. Some widows had given evidence of the idle, wanton, worldly

behavior already condemned, showing a distinct swerve toward the adversary

of souls and the accuser of the brethren. “Christ was the true Spouse; Satan

 the seducer.”


Directions with Regard to Young Widows (vs. 11-15)




decline.” This did not imply that destitute widows, however young, would

be excluded from occasional help from the Church’s funds, but they were

not to be made a permanent charge upon the resources of the Church.

They were young enough to labor for their own living, or, as the apostle

advised, they might marry a second time, and thus obtain a provision for




shall wax wanton against Christ, they desire to marry.”


Ø      This language does not imply that they had, to speak, taken

Christ for their Bridegroom, and then proved shamelessly

unfaithful to their vows.  This thought belongs to the ascetic

ideas of a later period, as if the widows in question had taken the

irrevocable engagement of nuns or of other ecclesiastical persons.

They might, indeed, have remarried not only without blame, but

by the direct counsel of the apostle himself.


Ø      Neither does it imply that they had been untrue to the memory

of their first husbands.


Ø      The case supposed is that of some young widows, who had taken

their place among others of their world-renouncing class in the

list of the Churchs widows, and had drawn back into a luxurious,

pleasure-loving habit of life. There is no breach of the promise of

widowhood either expressed or implied in the passage, and such a

breach could not be interpreted by itself as equivalent to a renunciation

of the Christian faith.  The case supposed is that of a departure from

the proprieties of widowed life, in connection with a Christian profession,

which only too surely indicated a virtual repudiation of the faith.


Ø      The judgment that attached to their conduct implied this virtual

renunciation of faith. “Having condemnation because they set at

naught their first faith.”


o       Not their faith to their first husbands;

o       not their vow or promise to remain in widowhood, which might be

called their former faith, but not their first faith; but

o       their simple faith in Christ, when they were baptized into His Name

and devoted themselves to His service. They set it at nougat by not

walking according to it, their conversation not becoming their

profession of it.  Their condemnation, or, rather, their judgment,

is not to be regarded as eternal, because it might be removed by

a timely repentance.



LIFE. “And withal they learn also to be idle, going about from house

to house; and not only idle, but talkers and busybodies, speaking

 things which they ought not.” These young widows, being under no

necessity to labor for their living — for they were supported by the funds

of the Church — used their leisure badly.


Ø      They were idle.


o       This habit of life is forbidden; for Christians are to be

not slothful in business.”  (Romans 12:11)

o       It leads to misdirected activity; for such widows “wander

from  house to house,” because they have no resources

within themselves.


Ø      They become loose talkers, babbling out whatever comes into

Their minds.From leisure springs that curiosity which is the

mother of garrulity” (Calvin).


Ø      They become busybodies, with a perverted activity in the

concerns of others which implies a neglect of their own. This

meddling spirit leads to misunderstandings and mischief of many



Ø      They become talkers of scandal, “speaking things which

they ought not” (v.13), things which may be false, or, if true,

are not to be repeated from house to house.


16 “If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve

them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them

that are widows indeed.”   If any woman, etc. So the preponderance of

the best manuscripts (And so my Greek New Testament  which I have had

from my college days – CY – 2013).  If the Revised Version is right, the woman

only is mentioned as being the person who has the management of the house.

The precept here seems to be an extension of that in v. 4, which relates

only to children and grandchildren, and to be given, moreover, with special

reference to Christian widows who had no believing relations to care for

them, and so were necessarily cast upon the Church. Let her relieve them

(ejparkei>tw eparkeito)  as in v. 10). Widows indeed (tai~v o]ntwv ch>raiv

 tais ontos chaeraisthe ones really widows -  as in vs. 2 and 5).


17 “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor,

especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.” The elders

(presbuteroi - presbuteroi ) here in its technical sense of “presbyters,” which

in the first age were the ruling body in every Church (see Acts 14:23), after the

analogy of the elders of the Jews. Rule well (oiJ kalw~v proestw~tev

 hoi kalos proestotes – rule well; the ones having ideally presided). The

presbyters or elders were the chiefs, rulers, or presidents, of the Church (see

Romans 12:8; I Thessalonians 5:12; and above, ch.3:4-5). It seems that they did

not necessarily teach and preach, but those who did so, laboring in the Word

and teaching, were especially worthy of honor. Double honor (see note on

v. 3) means simply increased honor, not exactly twice as much as some

one else, or with arithmetical exactness. So the word diplou~v diplous

double - is used in Matthew 23:15; Revelation 18:6; and by the Septuagint

in Isaiah 40:2; Jeremiah 16:18; and elsewhere also in classical Greek. And so

we say, “twice as good,” “twice as much,” with the same indefinite

meaning. The Word and doctrine (teaching). The “Word” means generally

the Word of God,” as we have “preach the Word,” “hear the Word,” “the

ministry of the Word,” “doers of the Word,” etc. And although there is no

article before lo>gw| – logo – word - here yet, considering the presence of the

preposition ejn – en – in - and Paul’s less careful use of the article in his later

Epistles, this absence is not sufficient to counterbalance the weight of those

considerations which lead to the conclusion that “laboring in the Word”

refers to the Word of God. The alternative rendering of “oral discourse” or

in speaking” seems rather weak. Doctrine (teaching) would mean catechetical

instruction and similar explanatory teaching. Labor (oiJ kopiw~ntev – hoi

kopionteslabor; the ones toiling); a word very frequently used by Paul of

spiritual labors (Romans 16:6,12; I Corinthians 15:10; Galatians 4:11; Colossians 1:29).


18 “For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth

out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his reward.”  Thou shall not

muzzle, etc. This passage, from Deuteronomy 25:4, which is quoted and

commented upon, in the same sense as here, in I Corinthians 9:9,

shows distinctly that reward was to go with labor. The ox was not to be

hindered from eating some portion of the grain which he was treading out.

The preacher of the gospel was to live of the gospel. The laborer is

worthy of his reward.  (a]xiov oJ ejrga>thv tou~ misqou~ auJtou~ - axios ho

ergataes tou misthou autou – worthy of his reward; hire). In Matthew 10:10

the words are the same as here, except that th~v trofh~v taes trophaes  -

his meat; nourishment -  is substituted for tou~ misqou~ -  his wages; hire;

reward.  But in Luke 10:7 the words are identical with those here used, even to

the omission of the verb e]stin estin – is.  The conclusion is inevitable that the

writer of this Epistle was acquainted with and quoted from Luke’s Gospel; and

further, that he deemed it, or at least the saying of the Lord Jesus recorded,

in it, to be of equal authority with hJ grafh>  hae graphae - the Scripture. If this

Epistle was written by Paul after his first imprisonment at Rome, we may feel

tolerably certain that he was acquainted with the Gospel or Luke, so that there is no

improbability in his quoting from it. His reference to another saying of the Lord Jesus

in Acts 20:35 gives additional probability to it. The passage in II Timothy 4:18 seems

also to be a direct reference to the Lord’s Prayer, as contained in the Gospels of

Matthew and Luke. Paul does not directly call the words hJ grafh>, only treats them

as of equal authority, which, if they were the words of Christ, of course they were.


19 “Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three

witnesses.” Receive (parade>cou paradechou – be receiving; be assenting

to; give ear to, entertain); as in Acts 22:18, “They will not receive thy testimony.”

Accusation.  At the mouth of, etc. There is a reference to the law in Numbers

35:30; Deuteronomy 19:15, and elsewhere (to which our Lord also refers, John 8:17),

and Paul applies the principle of the law to Timothy’s dealings with presbyters who

might be accused of not “ruling well.” He was not to encourage delatores, secret

accusers and defamers, but if any one had a charge to make against a ruler, it was

 to be done in the presence of witnesses (ejpi> epi – on - with a genitive).

A doubt arises whether “the witnesses” here spoken of were to be witnesses able

to support the accusation, or merely witnesses in whose presence the accusation

must be made. The juxtaposition of the legal terms kathgori>a kataegoria

accusation - and ejpi< martu>rwn epi marturon – on witnesses - favors the

strict meaning of martu>rwn, witnesses able to support the kathgori>a. And,

therefore, the direction to Timothy is, “Suffer no man to accuse a presbyter

unless he is accompanied by two or three witnesses who are ready to back up

 the accusation.”


20 “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.”

Reprove; e]legce elenche – rebuke; be you exposing , not ejpiplh>xh|v

epiplaexaes – you should be upbraiding, as in v. 1 (see Matthew 18:15).

There, the fault being a private one, the reproof is to be administered in private.

But in the case of the sinning presbyter, which is that here intended, Timothy is

to reprove the offender “before all,” that others also may fear, and may be

deterred by their fear from committing a like offence.


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, etc. It has been well

remarked that the solemnity of this charge indicates the temptation which there

might be to Timothy to shrink from reproving men of weight and influence “rulers”

in the congregation, and “elders” both in age and by office, young as he himself

was (ch.4:12). Perhaps he had in view some particular case in the Ephesian Church.

Charge (diamartu>romai diamarturomai – I am charging; I am conjuring;

not paragge>llw paraggello – I give thee charge, as in ch. 6:13); rather,

I adjure thee. The strict sense of diamartu>romai is “I call heaven and earth to

witness the truth of what I am saying;” and then, by a very slight metonymy,

“I declare a thing,” or “I ask a thing,” “as in the presence of those witnesses who are

either named or understood.” Here the witnesses are named: God, and Christ Jesus,

and the elect angels. In II Timothy 2:14 it is “the Lord;” in Ibid. ch.4:1 God and

Jesus Christ, as also in ch.6:13. In the passages where the word has the force of

testifying (Acts 2:40; 10:42; 18:5; I Thessalonians 4:6, etc.), no witnesses

are named, but great solemnity and earnestness are implied.

The elect angels. This is the only passage where it is predicated of the angels

that they are elect. But as there is repeated mention in Holy Scripture of the

fallen angels  (Matthew 25:41; I Corinthians 6:3; II Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6;

Revelation 12:7, 9), the obvious interpretation is that Paul, in this solemn adjuration,

added the epithet to indicate more distinctly the holy angels,” as they are frequently

described (Matthew 25:31; Luke 9:26, etc.), or “the angels of God” or “of heaven”

(Matthew 22:30; 24:36; Luke 12:8-9; John 1:51). Possibly the mention of

Satan in v. 15, or some of the rising Gnostic opinions about angels (Colossians 2:18),

may have suggested the epithet. The reason for the unusual addition of “the angels”

is more difficult to adduce with certainty. But perhaps II Timothy 4:1 gives us the clue,

where the apostle shows that in appealing to Jesus Christ he has a special eye to the

great and final judgment. Now, in the descriptions of the last judgment, the angels

are constantly spoken of as accompanying our Lord (Matthew 16:27; 25:31;

Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; 12:8-9; II Thessalonians 1:7, etc.). If Paul, therefore, had

in his mind the great judgment day when he thus invoked the names of God and

of Christ, he would very naturally also make mention of the elect angels. Without

preferring.  (cwri<v prokri>matov - choris prokrimatos -  without preferring;

apart from  prejudice); here only in the New Testament, and not found in the

Septuagint or classical Greek, though the verb prokri>nw prokrino – pre-judge –

occurs in both. Although the English word “prejudice” seems at first sight an apt

rendering of pro>krima prokrima – prefer one before another , it

does not really give the sense so accurately as “preference.” We commonly

mean by “prejudice” a judgment formed prior to examination, which

prevents our judging rightly or fairly when we come to the examination,

which, however, is not the meaning of the Latin praejudicium. But

prokri>nw means rather “to prefer” a person, or thing, to others. And

therefore pro>krima means “preference,” or “partiality,” or, as the Authorized

Version  has it, “preferring one before another.” The two meanings may be

Thus expressed. “Prejudice,” in the English use of the word, is when a person

who has to judge a cause upon evidence prejudges it without evidence, and

so does not give its proper weight to the evidence. “Preference” is when

he gives different measure to different persons, according as He is swayed

by partiality, or interest, or favor. Paul charges Timothy to measure out

exactly equal justice to all persons alike. By partiality (kata<

pro>sklisin kata prosklisin   by partiality; according to bias). This

also is an a[pax lego>menon hapax legomenon  - as far as the New

Testament is concerned, and is not found in the Septuagitn, but is found, as well

as the verb proskli>nw prosklino – inclination; tilting; bias -, in classical

Greek. It means literally the “inclination” of the scales to one side or the other,

and hence a “bias” of the mind to one party or the other. The balance of justice

in the hands of Timothy was to be equal.


22 “Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s

sins: keep thyself pure.”  Lay hands, etc. Surely if we are guided by Paul’s

own use of the phrase, ejpi>qesiv ceirw~n - epithesis cheiron – lay hands, in the

only two places in his writings where it occurs (ch.4:14 and II Timothy 1:6), we

must abide by the ancient interpretation of these words, that they mean the laying

on of hands in ordination. So also in Acts 6:6 and 13:3, ejpiti>qenai cei~rav

epitithenai cheiras  - laid their hands; placed their hands - is “to ordain.”

And the context here requires the same sense. The solemn injunction in the

preceding verse, to deal impartially in judging even the most influential eider,

naturally suggests the caution not to be hasty in ordaining any one to be an elder.

Great care and previous inquiry were necessary before admitting any man,

whatever might be his pretensions or position, to a holy office. A bishop

who, on the spur of the moment, with improper haste, should ordain one

who afterwards required reproof as aJmarta>nwn amartanon - sinning

(v. 20), would have a partnership in the man’s sin, and in the evil consequences

That flowed from it. Neither participate in other men’s sins. Timothy would

“adopt the sins he overlooked’ if he did not rightly distinguish between the worthy

and the unworthy.  And then it follows,  Keep thyself pure; i.e. clear and guiltless

(II Corinthians 7:11), which he would not be if he was involved in the sin of the

guilty elder. He must be pure who is called to judge others. There must be no

shadow of evil attaching to his character or conduct. Any impurity of

character would utterly destroy his influence, and silence his rebukes of others.

Observe that the stress is upon “thyself.”



A Caution against Hasty Induction of Ministers (v. 22)


There ought to be great care in the original appointment of ministers.  There

Must be due care in ordaining right persons to the ministry.  “Lay hands on

 no one hastily.”  Saul and Barnabas were thus designated to their missionary

tour (Acts 13:2). Timothy was thus ordained by the hands of the presbytery.

(ch. 4:14).  It was the solemn recognition by the Church of THE CALL  which

the minister-elect had RECEIVED FROM ON HIGH.  Timothy was to guard

against the possibility of rash appointments to the ministry by a due inquiry beforehand

into the spiritual character and pastoral qualifications of the candidates for office:


  • The glory of God,
  •  the salvation of man,
  • the honor of religion, were all involved in such appointments.


23 “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake

and thine often infirmities.”  Water.   (uJdropo>tei hudropotei – be you

drinking water); here only in the New Testament. It is found in some codices

of the Septuagint in Daniel 1:12, and also in classical Greek. We learn from hence

the interesting fact that Timothy was, in modern parlance, a total abstainer; and

we also learn that, in Paul’s judgment, total abstinence was not to be adhered to

if injurious to the health. The epithet, “a little,” should not be overlooked. Was

Luke, the beloved physician, with Paul when he wrote this prescription (see

II Timothy 4:11)? It is also interesting to have this passing allusion to Timothy’s

bad health, and this instance of Paul’s thoughtful consideration for him.

Infirmities (ajsqenei>av - astheneias); in the sense of sicknesses, attacks of



24 “Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment;

and some men they follow after.” Some men’s sins, etc. Paul is evidently

here recurring to the topic which he had been dealing with ever since v. 17,

viz. Timothy’s duty as a bishop, to whom was entrusted the selection of

persons for the office of elder, or presbyter, and also the maintaining of

discipline among his clergy. Alford sees the connection of the precept

about drinking a little wine with what went before, and with this twenty-fourth

verse, in the supposed circumstance that Timothy’s weak health had

somewhat weakened the vigor of his rule; and that the recommendation to

leave off water-drinking was given more with a view to the firmer

discharge of those duties than merely for his bodily comfort. This may be

so. But there is nothing unlike Paul’s manner in the supposition that he

had done with the subject in hand at the end of the twenty-second verse,

and passed on to the friendly hint with regard to Timothy’s health, but then

subjoined the fresh remarks in vs. 24 and 25, which were an after-thought.

Open beforehand.  (pro>dhloi prodaeloi – before evident); only found in

the New Testament, in Hebrews 7:14 besides these two verses, and in the

apocryphal books of the Old Testament. It is common, with the kindred forms,

prodhlo>w prodaeloo; prodh>lwsiv prodaelosis; etc., in classical Greek.

It is doubted whether pro< – pro – before - in this compound verb has the force

of “beforehand,” as in the Authorized Version, and not rather that of “before

 the eyes of all,” and therefore only intensifies the meaning of dhlo>w daeloo

 declare; show; signify. . But the natural force of pro< in composition certainly

is “before” in point of time; and hence in a compound like pro>dhlov - prodaelos

would mean “evident before it is examined,” which of course is equivalent

to “very evident.” Paul’s meaning, therefore, would be: Some men’s sins

are notorious, requiring no careful inquisition in order to find them

out; nay, they of themselves go before — before the sinner himself — unto

judgment. But there are also some whose sins follow after them. IT IS NOT


to the judgment seat apparently innocent, but after a while THEIR SINS


the caution, “Lay hands hastily on no man.”


25 “Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand;

and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.”  There are good works, etc.

It is much best to understand pinw~n pinon - some, as the Authorized

Version does, and render the good works of some, answering to tinw~n aiJ

aJmarti>ai pinon hai hamartiai – some of the sins - of v. 24. They that

 are otherwise i.e., not manifest beforehand — cannot be hid. They will

be seen and recognized some time or other.” (Jesus said, “For there is

 nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not

be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in the darkness shall be

 heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets

 shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.”  (Luke 12:2-3).  Alford seems to

catch the true spirit of the passage when he says, “The tendency of this verse is

to warnTimothy against hasty condemnation, as the former had done

against hasty approval. Sometimes thou wilt find a mans good character go

before him.... but where this is not so.... be not rash to condemn: thou mayest

on examination discover if there be any good deeds accompanying him: for

they... cannot be hidden.”



  Final Drections to Timothy Respecting His Attitude Toward the Sins

and Sinful Works of Men (vs. 24-25)



ABSOLVING MEN FROM CENSURE. “The sins of some men are

manifest, going before to judgment; with some again, they follow after.”

The judgment is God’s, without excluding man’s.


Ø      One class of sins is public and open. They reach the Judge

before the man himself who commits them. The sins are notorious.

Timothy will have no excuse for absolving such persons.


Ø      Another class of sins is not so manifest. Unknown for the

time to all but the all-seeing eye of God, yet going forward

notwithstanding to the FINAL JUDGMENT where nothing

can be hid. The judgment of man may have meanwhile absolved

such a sinner, but the mournful secret comes out after all.



CENSURES. “In like manner also the works that are good are

manifest, and those that are otherwise cannot be hid.” Some are

open witnesses, others are secret witnesses; but there can be no

effectual suppression of their testimony. God will bring works of

all kinds into light (Ecclesiastes 12:14; Matthew 12:36).  But it is the

duty of Timothy and ministers in general to use due diligence to have the

truth brought to light respecting such works. Therefore Timothy was not

to be rash in condemning where hidden worth had not disclosed itself

sufficiently to his eye. The good tree would by-and-by justify itself by its

fruits.  (Matthew 7:16-20).



Duties and Privileges of the Clergy (vs. 17-25)


The duties of the clergy are to rule and to labor. The privileges of the

clergy are honor and pay. The clergy are rulers; not lords and tyrants, not

domineering over conscience or deeds, but leaders (proestw~tev proestotes

 leaders; ones having presided - here; hJgou>menoi haegoumenoiones

leading;  ruling; guiding - Hebrews 13:7), presidents, officers of the great

Church army, going before them in every hard service and difficult duty,

regulating their counsels by wise advice, leading their worship, ordering their

discipline, taking the lead in the management of their common affairs. And

the clergy are laborers. Not drones doing nothing, and eating the fruit of

other men’s toil, hut laboring in the Word and doctrine of Christ. Theirs is

a double labor:


  • they labor first to learn, and
  • then they labor to teach others what they have learnt themselves.


They study the Holy Scriptures, and give the Church the benefit of their studies.

Nor are their labors light or desultory. It is the hard toil (kopiw~ntev

kopiontes - labor ) of mind and body, the continuous toil of a lifetime. These are

their duties. Their privileges are honor and pay — honor in proportion to their

labors for the Church and the fruit of those labors; honor due to their spiritual

dignity as those whom the Holy Ghost has set over the flock of Christ. And with

this honor — expressed by the title of “reverend” prefixed to their names — is

also due pay, support and maintenance at the Church’s charge. The ox must not

be muzzled while he treads out the corn for others, nor must the laborer be

defrauded of his hire when his honest work is done. They that preach the

gospel are to live of the gospel (I Corinthians 9:14).  The Churches which they

serve must set their minds free, as far as may be, from worldly cares, by providing

for their maintenance while they give themselves to the Word of God and

prayer. It is obvious how entirely in accordance with these apostolic

sayings is the setting apart of endowments for the permanent support of

those who are engaged in the ministry of the Word, and the feeding of the

flock of Christ. The exhortation to the bishop to lay hands hastily on no

man, and to be impartial in all his dealings, follows naturally from the

consideration of the duties and the privileges of the priesthood.



"Excerpted text Copyright AGES Library, LLC. All rights reserved.

Materials are reproduced by permission."


This material can be found at:



If this exposition is helpful, please share with others.