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 – presbutas – seniors; 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
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
care of widows by the whole Church, which began at
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
used in all old English writers, as e.g. in Holinshed (
“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 axios – worthy
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
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 - memonomenae – desolate; 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 haemeran – night 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;
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
spatalosa – one 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
no longer a living member of the
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 zae – a 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
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.
CHARACTERIZES THE DEAD SOUL. There is:
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 CORRUPTION OF THE DEAD BODY CHARACTERIZES
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
HEART OF MAN there is DEATH IN THE MIDST OF LIFE!
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
direction that he should give these things in charge to the
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
“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
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.
DIFFERENT CLASSES OF WIDOWS.
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
Ø The Church was to pay due regard to “widows indeed” who 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 –
pronoia – forethought; 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.
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.
DENIAL OF THE FAITH.
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
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 – chaera – widow –
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
“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
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)
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.
hospitality, but of deep humility after the highest of all examples.
sympathy and encouragement, implying the visitation of the distressed in
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 – spatalan – live 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
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 manthanousin – learn 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.
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.
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 chaeras – younger
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
charin – reviling; 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 – ektrepesthai – were 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.
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
Directions with Regard to Young Widows (vs. 11-15)
THE LIST OF THE CHURCH’S PENSIONERS. “Younger widows
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 Church’s 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
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 chaerais –the 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
kopiontes – labor; 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
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
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
(ch.4:12). Perhaps he had in view some particular case in the
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
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:
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
UNTIL CLOSE INQUIRY THAT THEY ARE FOUND OUT! They go up
to the judgment seat apparently innocent, but after a while THEIR SINS
COME TROOPING UP TO THEIR CONDEMNATION. This enforces
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 man’s 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 – haegoumenoi – ones
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 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.
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