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Verses125
Chapter5
THEDUTYTOREPRIMAND(1Timothy5:12)
5:12Ifyouhaveoccasiontoreprimandanolderman,donotdoso
sharply,butappealtohimasyouwouldtoafather.Treatthe
youngermenlikebrotherstheolderwomenasmotherstheyounger
womenassisters,incompletepurity.
ItisalwaysdifficulttoreprimandanyonewithgraciousnessandtoTimothy
therewouldsometimesfalladutythatwasdoublydifficultthatof
reprimandingamanolderthanhimself.Chrysostomwrites:"Rebukeisinits
ownnatureoffensiveparticularlywhenitisaddressedtoanoldmanand
whenitproceedsfromayoungmantoo,thereisathreefoldshowof
forwardness.Bythemannerandmildnessofit,therefore,hewouldsoften
it.Foritispossibletoreprovewithoutoffence,ifonewillonlymakeapoint
ofthisitrequiresgreatdiscretion,butitmaybedone."
Rebukeisalwaysaproblem.Wemaysodislikethetaskofspeakinga
warningwordthatwemayshirkitaltogether.Manyapersonwouldhave
beensavedfromsorrowandshipwreck,ifsomeonehadonlyspokena
warningwordintime.Therecanbenomorepoignanttragedythantohear
someonesay:"Iwouldneverhavecometothis,ifyouhadonlyspokenin
time."Itisalwayswrongtoshirkthewordthatshouldbespoken.
Wemayreprimandapersoninsuchawaythatthereisclearlynothingbut
angerinourvoiceandnothingbutbitternessinourmindsandhearts.A
rebukegivensolelyinangermayproducefearandmaycausepainbutit
willalmostinevitablyarouseresentmentanditsultimateeffectmaywellbe
toconfirmthemistakenpersonintheerrorofhisways.Therebukeofanger
andthereprimandofcontemptuousdislikeareseldomeffective,andfar
morelikelytodoharmthangood.
ItwassaidofFlorenceAllshorn,thegreatmissionaryteacher,that,when
shewasPrincipalofawomen'scollege,shealwaysrebukedherstudents,
whenneedarose,asitwerewithherarmaroundthem.Therebukewhich
clearlycomesfromloveistheonlyeffectiveone.Ifweeverhavecauseto
reprimandanyone,wemustdosoinsuchawayastomakeitclearthatwe
dothis,notbecausewefindacruelpleasureinit,notbecausewewishto
doit,butbecauseweareunderthecompulsionofloveandseektohelp,
nottohurt.
THERELATIONSHIPSOFLIFE(1Timothy5:12continued)
Thesetwoverseslaydownthespiritwhichthedifferentagerelationships
shoulddisplay.

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(i)Toolderpeoplewemustshowaffectionandrespect.Anoldermanisto
betreatedlikeafatherandanolderwomanlikeamother.Theancientworldknewwellthedeferenceand
respectwhichwereduetoage.Cicerowrites:"Itis,then,thedutyofayoungmantoshowdeferenceto
hiselders,andtoattachhimselftothebestandmostapprovedofthem,soastoreceivethebenefitof
theircounselandinfluence.Fortheinexperienceofyouthrequiresthepracticalwisdomofageto
strengthenanddirectit.Andthistimeoflifeisabovealltobeprotectedagainstsensualityandtrainedto
toilandenduranceofbothmindandbody,soastobestrongforactivedutyinmilitaryandcivilservice.

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Andevenwhentheywishtorelaxtheirmindsandgivethemselvesuptoenjoyment,theyshouldbeware
ofexcessesandbearinmindtherulesofmodesty.Andthiswillbeeasier,iftheyoungarenotunwilling
tohavetheireldersjointhem,evenintheirpleasures"(Cicero:DeOfficiis,1:34).Aristotlewrites:"Toall
olderpersonstoooneshouldgivehonourappropriatetotheirage,byrisingtoreceivethemandfinding
seatsforthemandsoon"(Aristotle:NicomacheanEthics,9:2).Itisoneofthetragediesoflifethat
youthissooftenapttofindageanuisance.AfamousFrenchphrasesayswithasigh:"Ifyouthbuthad
theknowledge,ifagebuthadthepower."Butwhenthereismutualrespectandaffection,thenthe
wisdomandexperienceofagecancooperatewiththestrengthandenthusiasmofyouth,tothegreat
profitofboth.
(ii)Toourcontemporarieswemustshowbrotherliness.Theyoungermenaretobetreatedlikebrothers.
Aristotlehasit:"Tocomradesandbrothersoneshouldallowfreedomofspeechandcommonuseofall
things"(Aristotle,NicomacheanEthics,9:2).Withourcontemporariesthereshouldbetoleranceand
sharing.
(iii)Tothoseoftheoppositesexourrelationshipsmustalwaysbemarkedwithpurity.TheArabshavea
phraseforamanofchivalrytheycallhim"abrotherofgirls."Thereisafamousphrasewhichspeaksof
"Platonicfriendship."Lovemustbekeptforoneitisafearfulthingwhenphysicalthingsdominatethe
relationshipbetweenthesexesandamancannotseeawomanwithoutthinkingintermsofherbody.
CHURCHANDFAMILYDUTY(1Timothy5:38)
5:38Honourwidowswhoaregenuinelyinawidow'sdestituteposition.Butifany
widowhaschildrenorgrandchildren,letsuchchildrenlearntobeginbydischarging
thedutiesofreligionintheirownhomesandletthemlearntogiveareturnforall
thattheirparentshavedoneforthemforthisisthekindofconductthatmeetswith
God'sapproval.Nowshewhoisgenuinelyinthepositionofawidow,andwhoisleft
allalone,hassetherhopeonGod,andnightanddayshedevotesherselfto
petitionsandprayers.Butshewholiveswithvoluptuouswantonnessisdeadeven
thoughsheisstillalive.Passontheseinstructionsthattheymaybeirreproachable.
Ifanyonefailstoprovideforhisownpeople,andespeciallyforthemembersofhis
ownfamily,hehasdeniedthefaithandisworsethananunbeliever.
TheChristianChurchinheritedafinetraditionofcharitytothoseinneed.Nopeoplehasevercaredmore
foritsneedyanditsagedthantheJews.Adviceisnowgivenforthecareofwidows.Theremaywell
havebeentwoclassesofwomenhere.Therewerecertainlywidowswhohadbecomewidowsinthe
normalwaybythedeathoftheirhusbands.Butitwasnotuncommoninthepaganworld,incertain
places,foramantohavemorethanonewife.WhenamanbecameaChristian,hecouldnotgoonbeing
apolygamist,andthereforehadtochoosewhichwifehewasgoingtolivewith.Thatmeantthatsome
wiveshadtobesentawayandtheywereclearlyinaveryunfortunateposition.Itmaybethatsuch
womenasthesewerealsoreckonedaswidowsandgiventhesupportoftheChurch.
Jewishlawlaiditdownthatatthetimeofhismarriageamanoughttomakeprovisionforhiswife,should
shebecomeawidow.TheveryfirstofficebearerswhomtheChristianChurchappointed,hadthisdutyof
caringfairlyforthewidows(Acts6:1).Ignatiuslaysitdown:"Letnotwidowsbeneglected.AftertheLord
bethoutheirguardian."TheApostolicConstitutionsenjointhebishop:"Obishop,bemindfuloftheneedy,
bothreachingoutthyhelpinghandandmakingprovisionforthemasthestewardofGod,distributingthe
offeringsseasonablytoeveryoneofthem,tothewidows,theorphans,thefriendless,andthosetried
withaffliction."Thesamebookhasaninterestingandkindlyinstruction:"Ifanyonereceivesanyservice
tocarrytoawidoworpoorwoman...lethimgiveitthesameday."Astheproverbhasit:"Hegivestwice
whogivesquickly,"andtheChurchwasconcernedthatthoseinpovertymightnothavetowaitandwant
whileoneofitsservantsdelayed.
ItistobenotedthattheChurchdidnotproposetoassumeresponsibilityforolderpeoplewhosechildren
werealiveandwellabletosupportthem.Theancientworldwasverydefinitethatitwasthedutyof
childrentosupportagedparents,and,asE.K.Simpsonhaswellsaid:"Areligiousprofessionwhichfalls
belowthestandardofdutyrecognisedbytheworldisawretchedfraud."TheChurchwouldneverhave
agreedthatitscharityshouldbecomeanexcuseforchildrentoevadetheirresponsibility.
ItwasGreeklawfromthetimeofSolonthatsonsanddaughterswere,notonlymorally,butalsolegally
boundtosupporttheirparents.Anyonewhorefusedthatdutylosthiscivilrights.Aeschines,theAthenian
orator,saysinoneofhisspeeches:"Andwhomdidourlawgiver(Solon)condemntosilenceinthe
Assemblyofthepeople?Andwheredoeshemakethisclear?'Lettherebe,'hesays,'ascrutinyofpublic
speakers,incasetherebeanyspeakerintheAssemblyofthepeoplewhoisastrikerofhisfatheror
mother,orwhoneglectstomaintainthemortogivethemahome'."Demosthenessays:"Iregardtheman
whoneglectshisparentsasunbelievinginandhatefultothegods,aswellastomen."Philo,writingof
thecommandmenttohonourparents,says:"Whenoldstorksbecomeunabletofly,theyremainintheir
nestsandarefedbytheirchildren,whogotoendlessexertionstoprovidetheirfoodbecauseoftheir
piety."ToPhiloitwasclearthateventheanimalcreationacknowledgeditsobligationstoagedparents,
andhowmuchmoremustmen?AristotleintheNicomacheanEthicslaysitdown:"Itwouldbethoughtin
thematteroffoodweshouldhelpourparentsbeforeallothers,sinceweoweournourishmenttothem,
anditismorehonourabletohelpinthisrespecttheauthorsofourbeing,evenbeforeourselves."As
Aristotlesawit,amanmusthimselfstarvebeforehewouldseehisparentsstarve.PlatoinTheLaws
hasthesameconvictionofthedebtthatisowedtoparents:"Nextcomesthehonouroflovingparents,to
whom,asismeet,wehavetopaythefirstandgreatestandoldestofdebts,consideringthatallwhicha
manhasbelongstothosewhogavehimbirthandbroughthimup,andthathemustdoallthathecanto
ministertothemfirst,inhispropertysecondly,inhispersonandthirdly,inhissoulpayingthedebts
duetothemfortheircareandtravailwhichtheybestoweduponhimofoldinthedaysofhisinfancy,and
whichheisnowabletopaybacktothem,whentheyareoldandintheextremityoftheirneed."
ItisthesamewiththeGreekpoets.WhenIphigeniaisspeakingtoherfatherAgamemnon,inEuripides'
IphigeniaatAulis,shesays(thetranslationisthatofA.S.Way):
"'TwasIfirstcalledtheefather,thoumechild.
'TwasIfirstthronedmybodyonthyknees,
Andgavetheesweetcaressesandreceived.

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Andthisthywordwas:'Ah,mylittlemaid,
BlestshallIseetheeinahusband'shalls
Livingandbloomingworthilyofme?'
AndasItwinedmyfingersinthybeard,
WheretoInowcling,thusIansweredthee:
'Andwhatofthee?ShallIgreetthygreyhairs,
Father,withlovingwelcomeinminehalls,
Repayingallthyfosteringtoilforme?'"

Thechild'sjoywastolookforwardtothedaywhenshecouldrepayallthatherfatherhaddoneforher.
WhenEuripidestellshowOrestesdiscoveredthatanunkindfatehadmadehimunwittinglyslayhisown
father,hemakeshimsay:
"Hefosteredmeababe,andmanyakiss
Lavisheduponme....
Owretchedheartandsoulofmine!
Ihaverenderedfoulreturn!Whatveilofgloom
CanItakeformyface?Beforemespread
Whatcloud,toshuntheoldman'ssearchingeye?"
ToEuripidesthemosthauntingsinonearthwasfailureindutytoaparent.
TheNewTestamentethicalwriterswerecertainthatsupportofparentswasanessentialpartofChristian
duty.Itisathingtoberemembered.Weliveinatimewheneventhemostsacreddutiesarepushedon
tothestateandwhenweexpect,insomanycases,publiccharitytodowhatprivatepietyoughttodo.
AsthePastoralsseeit,helpgiventoaparentistwothings.First,itisanhonouringoftherecipient.Itis
theonlywayinwhichachildcandemonstratetheesteemwithinhisheart.Second,itisanadmissionof
theclaimsoflove.Itisrepayinglovereceivedintimeofneedwithlovegivenintimeofneedandonly
withlovecanloveberepaid.
Thereremainsonethinglefttosay,andtoleaveitunsaidwouldbeunfair.Thisverypassagegoesonto
laydowncertainofthequalitiesofthepeoplewhomtheChurchiscalledupontosupport.Whatistrueof
theChurchistruewithinthefamily.Ifapersonistobesupported,thatpersonmustbesupportable.Ifa
parentistakenintoahomeandthenbyinconsiderateconductcausesnothingbuttrouble,another
situationarises.Thereisadoubledutyherethedutyofthechildtosupporttheparentandthedutyof
theparenttobesuchthatthatsupportispossiblewithinthestructureofthehome.
ANHONOUREDANDAUSEFULOLDAGE(1Timothy5:910)
5:910Letawomanbeenrolledasawidowonlyifsheismorethansixtyyearsof
ageifshehasbeenthewifeofonehusbandifshehasearnedanattested
reputationforgoodworksifshehasnourishedchildrenifshehasbeenhospitable
tostrangersifshehashelpedthoseintroubleifshehaswashedthefeetofthe
saintsifshehasdevotedherselftoeverygoodwork.
FromthispassageitisclearthattheChurchhadanofficialregisterofwidowsanditseemsthattheword
widowisbeingusedinadoublesense.Womenwhowereagedandwhosehusbandshaddiedandwhose
liveswerelovelyandusefulweretheresponsibilityoftheChurchbutitisalsotruethat,perhapsasearly
asthis,andcertainlylaterintheearlyChurch,therewasanofficialorderofwidows,anorderofelderly
womenwhoweresetapartforspecialduties.
IntheregulationsoftheApostolicConstitutions,whichtelluswhatthelifeandorganizationoftheChurch
werelikeinthethirdcentury,itislaiddown:"Threewidowsshallbeappointed,twotopersevereinprayer
forthosewhoareintemptation,andforthereceptionofrevelations,whensucharenecessary,butoneto
assistwomenwhoarevisitedwithsicknessshemustbereadyforservice,discreet,tellingtheelders
whatisnecessary,notavaricious,notgiventomuchloveofwine,sothatshemaybesoberandableto
performthenightservices,andotherlovingduties."
Suchwidowswerenotordainedastheeldersandthebishopsweretheyweresetapartbyprayerforthe
workwhichtheyhadtodo.Theywerenottobesetapartuntiltheywereoversixtyyearsofage.That
wasanagewhichtheancientworldalsoconsideredtobespeciallysuitedforconcentrationonthe
spirituallife.Plato,inhisplanfortheidealstate,heldthatsixtywastherightageformenandwomento
becomepriestsandpriestesses.
ThePastoralEpistlesarealwaysintenselypracticalandinthispassagewefindsevenqualifications
whichtheChurch'swidowsmustsatisfy.
Theymusthavebeenthewifeofonehusband.Inanagewhenthemarriagebondwaslightlyregarded
andalmostuniversallydishonoured,theymustbeexamplesofpurityandfidelity.
Theymusthaveearnedanattestedreputationforgoodworks.TheofficebearersoftheChurch,maleor
female,havewithintheirkeeping,notonlytheirpersonalreputation,butalsothegoodnameofthe
Church.Nothingdiscreditsachurchlikeunworthyofficebearersandnothingissogoodanadvertisement
foritasanofficebearerwhohastakenhisChristianityintotheactivityofdailyliving.
Theymusthavenourishedchildren.Thismaywellmeanmorethanonething.Itmaymeanthatwidows
musthavegivenproofoftheirChristianpietybybringinguptheirownfamiliesintheChristianway.Butit

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canmeanmorethanthat.Inanagewhenthemarriagebondwasverylaxandmenandwomenchanged
theirpartnerswithbewilderingrapidity,childrenwereregardedasamisfortune.Thiswasthegreatageof
childexposure.Whenachildwasborn,hewasbroughtandlaidbeforehisfather'sfeet.Ifthefather
stoopedandliftedhim,thatmeantthatheacknowledgedhimandwaspreparedtoacceptresponsibility
forhisupbringing.Ifthefatherturnedandwalkedaway,thechildwasquiteliterallythrownout,likean
unwantedpieceofrubbish.Itoftenhappenedthatsuchunwantedchildrenwerecollectedbyunscrupulous
peopleand,ifgirls,broughtuptostockthepublicbrothels,and,ifboys,trainedtobeslavesorgladiators
forthepublicgames.ItwouldbeaChristiandutytorescuesuchchildrenfromdeathandworsethan
death,andtobringthemupinaChristianhome.Sothismaymeanthatwidowsmustbewomenwhohad
beenpreparedtogiveahometoabandonedchildren.
Theymusthavebeenhospitabletostrangers.Innsintheancientworldwerenotoriouslydirty,expensive
andimmoral.Thosewhoopenedtheirhomestothetraveller,orthestrangerinastrangeplace,orto
youngpeoplewhoseworkandstudytookthemfarfromhome,weredoingamostvaluableservicetothe
community.TheopendooroftheChristianhomeisalwaysapreciousthing.
Theymusthavewashedthefeetofthesaints.Thatneednotbetakenliterally,althoughtheliteralsense
isincluded.Towashaperson'sfeetwasthetaskofaslave,themostmenialofduties.Thismeansthat
ChristianwidowsmusthavebeenwillingtoacceptthehumblesttasksintheserviceofChristandofhis
people.TheChurchneedsitsleaderswhowillliveinprominencebutnolessitneedsthosewhoare
preparedtodothetaskswhichreceivenoprominenceandlittlethanks.
Theymusthavehelpedthoseintrouble.IndaysofpersecutionitwasnosmallthingtohelpChristians
whoweresufferingfortheirfaith.Thiswastoidentifyoneselfwiththemandtoaccepttheriskofcoming
toalikepunishment.TheChristianmuststandbythoseintroublefortheirfaith,evenif,insodoing,he
bringstroubleonhimself.
Theymusthavedevotedthemselvestoallgoodworks.Everymanconcentrateshislifeonsomething
theChristianconcentrateshisonobeyingChristandhelpingmen.
Whenwestudythesequalificationsforthosewhoweretobeenrolledaswidows,weseethattheyarethe
qualificationsofeverytrueChristian.
THEPRIVILEGEANDTHEDANGERSOFSERVICE(1Timothy5:910continued)
Aswehavealreadysaid,ifnotasearlyasthetimeofthePastoralEpistles,certainlyinlaterdays,the
widowsbecameanacceptedorderintheChristianChurch.Theirplaceandworkaredealtwithinthefirst
eightchaptersofthethirdbookofTheApostolicConstitutions,andthesechaptersrevealtheusethat
suchanordercouldbeandthedangersintowhichitalmostinevitablyran.
(i)ItislaiddownthatwomenwhowouldservetheChurchmustbewomenofdiscretion.Particularlythey
mustbediscreetinspeech:"Leteverywidowbemeek,quiet,gentle,sincere,freefromanger,not
talkative,notclamorous,nothastyofspeech,notgiventoevilspeaking,notcaptious,notdouble
tongued,notabusybody.Ifsheseeorhearanythingthatisnotright,letherbeasonethatdoesnotsee,
andasonethatdoesnothear."SuchChurchofficialsmustbeverycarefulwhentheydiscussthefaith
withoutsiders:"ForunbelieverswhentheyhearthedoctrineconcerningChrist,notexplainedasitought
tobe,butdefectively,especiallythatconcerninghisIncarnationorhisPassion,willratherrejectitwith
scorn,andlaughatitasfalse,thanpraiseGodforit."
ThereisnothingmoredangerousthananofficialoftheChurchwhotalksaboutthingswhichoughttobe
keptsecretandaChurchofficebearermustbeequippedtocommunicatethegospelinawaythatwill
makementhinkmoreandnotlessofChristiantruth.
(ii)ItislaiddownthatwomenwhoservetheChurchmustnotbegadabouts:"Letthewidowthereforeown
herselftobethe'altarofGod,'andlethersitinherownhouse,andnotenterintothehousesofthe
unfaithful,underanypretencetoreceiveanythingforthealtarofGodneverrunsabout,butisfixedin
oneplace.Letthereforethevirginandthewidowbesuchasdonotrunabout,orgadtothehousesof
thosewhoarealienfromthefaith.Forsuchasthesearegaddersandimpudent."Therestlessgossipis
illequippedtoservetheChurch.
(iii)ItislaiddownthatwidowswhoacceptthecharityoftheChurcharenottobegreedy."Thereare
somewidowswhoesteemgaintheirbusinessandsincetheyaskwithoutshame,andreceivewithout
beingsatisfied,renderotherpeoplemorebackwardingiving....Suchawomanisthinkinginhermindof
whereshecangotoget,orthatacertainwomanwhoisherfriendhasforgottenher,andshehas
somethingtosaytoher....Shemurmursatthedeaconesswhodistributedthecharity,saying,'Doyou
notseethatIaminmoredistressandneedofyourcharity?Whythereforehaveyoupreferredherbefore
me?'"ItisanuglythingtoseektoliveofftheChurchratherthanfortheChurch.
(iv)Itislaiddownthatsuchwomenmustdoalltheycantohelpthemselves:"Lethertakewooland
assistothersratherthanherselfwantfromthem."ThecharityoftheChurchdoesnotexisttomake
peoplelazyanddependent.
(v)Suchwomenarenottobeenviousandjealous:"Wehearthatsomewidowsarejealous,envious
calumniators,andenviousofthequietofothers....Itbecomesthemwhenoneoftheirfellowwidowsis
clothedbyanyone,orreceivesmoney,ormeat,ordrink,orshoes,attherefreshmentoftheirsister,to
thankGod."
TherewehaveatoneandthesametimeapictureofthefaultsofwhichtheChurchisalltoofull,andof
thevirtueswhichshouldbethemarksofthetrueChristianlife.
THEPERILSOFIDLENESS(1Timothy5:1116)
5:1116Refusetoenroltheyoungerwomenaswidows,forwhentheygrowimpatient
withtherestrictionsofChristianwidowhood,theywishtomarry,andsodeserve
condemnation,becausetheyhavebrokenthepledgeoftheirfirstfaithand,atthe
sametime,theylearntobeidleandtorunfromhousetohouse.Yes,theycan
becomemorethanidletheycanbecomegossipsandbusybodies,sayingthings
whichshouldnotberepeated.Itismywishthattheyoungerwidowsshouldmarry,
andbearchildren,andrunahouseandhome,andgiveouropponentsnochanceof

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abuse.For,evenasthingsare,someofthemhaveturnedasidefromthewayto
followSatan.Ifanybelievingpersonhaswidowedrelations,letsuchapersonhelp
them,andletnottheChurchbeburdenedwiththeresponsibility,sothatitmaycare
forthosewhoaregenuinelyinthepositionofwidows.

ApassagelikethisreflectsthesituationinsocietyinwhichtheearlyChurchfounditself.
Itisnotthatyoungerwidowsarecondemnedformarryingagain.Whatiscondemnedisthis.Ayoung
husbanddiesandthewidow,inthefirstbitternessofsorrowandontheimpulseofthemoment,decides
toremainawidowallherlifeandtodedicateherlifetotheChurchbutlatershechangeshermindand
remarries.ThatwomanisregardedashavingtakenChristasherbridegroom.Sothatbymarryingagain
sheisregardedasbreakinghermarriagevowtoChrist.Shewouldhavebeenbetternevertohavetaken
thevow.
Whatcomplicatedthismatterverymuchwasthesocialbackgroundofthetimes.Itwasnextto
impossibleforasingleorawidowedwomantoearnherlivinghonestly.Therewaspracticallynotradeor
professionopentoher.Theresultwasinevitableshewasalmostdriventoprostitutioninordertolive.
TheChristianwoman,therefore,hadeithertomarryortodedicateherlifecompletelytotheserviceofthe
Churchtherewasnohalfwayhouse.
Inanyeventtheperilsofidlenessremainthesameinanyage.Therewasthedangerofbecoming
restlessbecauseawomanhadnotenoughtodo,shemightbecomeoneofthosecreatureswhodrift
fromhousetohouseinanemptysocialround.Itwasalmostinevitablethatsuchawomanwouldbecome
agossipbecauseshehadnothingimportanttotalkabout,shewouldtendtotalkscandal,repeatingtales
fromhousetohouse,eachtimewithalittlemoreembroideryandalittlemoremalice.Suchawomanran
theriskofbecomingabusybodybecauseshehadnothingofherowntotakeupherattention,shewould
beveryapttobeoverinterestedandoverinterferingintheaffairsofothers.
Itwastruethen,asitistruenow,that"Satanfindssomemischiefstillforidlehandstodo."Thefulllife
isalwaysthesafelife,andtheemptylifeisalwaysthelifeinperil.
Sotheadviceisthattheseyoungerwomenshouldmarryandengageuponthegreatesttaskofall,
rearingafamilyandmakingahome.Herewehaveanotherexampleofoneofthemainthoughtsofthe
PastoralEpistles.TheyarealwaysconcernedwithhowtheChristianappearstotheoutsideworld.Does
hegiveopportunitytocriticizetheChurchorreasontoadmireit?Itisalwaystruethat"thegreatest
handicaptheChurchhasistheunsatisfactorylivesofprofessingChristians"andequallytruethatthe
greatestargumentforChristianityisagenuinelyChristianlife.
RULESFORPRACTICALADMINISTRATION(1Timothy5:1722)
5:1722Letelderswhodischargetheirdutieswellbejudgedworthyofdoublehonour,
especiallythosewhotoilinpreachingandinteachingforScripturesays:"Youmust
notmuzzletheoxwhenheistreadingthecorn,"and,"Theworkmandeserveshis
pay."
Donotacceptanaccusationagainstanelderunlessontheevidenceoftwoorthree
witnesses.
Rebukethosewhopersistinsininthepresenceofall,sothattheothersmay
developahealthyfearofsinning.
IadjureyoubeforeGodandChristJesusandthechosenangelsthatyoukeepthese
regulationsimpartially,andthatyoudonothingbecauseofyourownprejudicesor
predilection.
Donotbetooquicktolayyourhandsonanyman,anddonotsharethesinsof
others.Keepyourselfpure.
HereisaseriesofthemostpracticalregulationsforthelifeandadministrationoftheChurch.
(i)Eldersaretobeproperlyhonouredandproperlypaid.WhenthreshingwasdoneintheEast,the
sheavesofcornwerelaidonthethreshingfloorthenoxeninpairsweredrivenrepeatedlyacrossthem
ortheyweretetheredtoapostinthemiddleandmadetomarchroundandroundonthegrainora
threshingsledgewasharnessedtothemandthesledgewasdrawntoandfroacrossthecorn.Inall
casestheoxenwereleftunmuzzledandwerefreetoeatasmuchofthegrainastheywished,asa
rewardfortheworktheyweredoing.TheactuallawthattheoxmustnotbemuzzledisinDeuteronomy
25:4.
ThesayingthattheworkmandeserveshispayisasayingofJesus(Luke10:7).Itismostlikelya
proverbialsayingwhichhequoted.Anymanwhoworksdeserveshissupport,andtheharderheworks,
themorehedeserves.Christianityhasneverhadanythingtodowiththesentimentalethicwhich
clamoursforequalsharesforall.Aman'srewardmustalwaysbeproportionedtoaman'stoil.
Itistobenotedwhatkindofeldersaretobespeciallyhonouredandrewarded.Itisthosewhotoilin
preachingandteaching.Theelderwhoseserviceconsistedonlyinwordsanddiscussionandargumentis
notinquestionhere.HewhomtheChurchreallyhonouredwasthemanwhoworkedtoedifyandbuildit
upbyhispreachingofthetruthandhiseducatingoftheyoungandofthenewconvertsintheChristian
way.
(ii)ItwasJewishlawthatnomanshouldbecondemnedontheevidenceofasinglewitness:"Asingle
witnessshallnotprevailagainstamanforanycrimeorforanywronginconnectionwithanyoffencethat
hehascommitted,onlyontheevidenceoftwowitnesses,orofthreewitnesses,shallachargebe
sustained"(Deuteronomy19:15).TheMishnah,thecodifiedRabbiniclaw,indescribingtheprocessof
trialsays:"Thesecondwitnesswaslikewisebroughtinandexamined.Ifthetestimonyofthetwowas
foundtoagree,thecaseforthedefencewasopened."Ifachargewassupportedbytheevidenceofonly
onewitness,itwasheldthattherewasnocasetoanswer.
InlatertimesChurchregulationslaiditdownthatthetwowitnessesmustbeChristian,foritwouldhave
beeneasyforamaliciousheathentofabricateafalsechargeagainstaChristianelderinordertodiscredit

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him,andthroughhimtodiscredittheChurch.Intheearlydays,theChurchauthoritiesdidnothesitateto
applydiscipline,andTheodoreofMopseuestia,oneoftheearlyfathers,pointsouthownecessarythis
regulationwas,becausetheelderswerealwaysliabletobedislikedandwerespeciallyopentomalicious
attack"duetotheretaliationbysomewhohadbeenrebukedbythemforsin."Amanwhohadbeen
disciplinedmightwellseektogethisownbackbymaliciouslycharginganelderwithsomeirregularityor
somesin.
Thispermanentfactremains,thatthiswouldbeahappierworldandtheChurch,too,wouldbehappier,if
peoplewouldrealizethatitisnothinglessthansintospreadstoriesofwhosetruththeyarenotsure.
Irresponsible,slanderousandmalicioustalkdoesinfinitedamageandcausesinfiniteheartbreak,and
suchtalkwillnotgounpunishedbyGod.
RULESFORPRACTICALADMINISTRATION(1Timothy5:1722continued)
(iii)Thosewhopersistinsinaretobepubliclyrebuked.Thatpublicrebukehadadoublevalue.Itsobered
thesinnerintoaconsiderationofhiswaysanditmadeothershaveacarethattheydidnotinvolve
themselvesinalikehumiliation.Thethreatofpublicityisnobadthing,ifitkeepsamanintherightway,
evenfromfear.Awiseleaderwillknowthetimetokeepthingsquietandthetimeforpublicrebuke.But
whateverhappens,theChurchmustnevergivetheimpressionthatitiscondoningsin.
(iv)Timothyisurgedtoadministerhisofficewithoutfavouritismorprejudice.B.S.Eastonwrites:"The
wellbeingofeverycommunitydependsonimpartialdiscipline."Nothingdoesmoreharmthanwhensome
peoplearetreatedasiftheycoulddonowrongandothersasiftheycoulddonoright.Justiceisa
universalvirtueandtheChurchmustsurelyneverfallbelowtheimpartialstandardswhicheventheworld
demands.
(v)Timothyiswarnednottobetoohasty"inlayinghandsonanyman."Thatmaymeanoneoftwo
things.
(a)Itmaymeanthatheisnottobetooquickinlayinghandsonanymantoordainhimtoofficeinthe
Church.Beforeamangainspromotioninbusiness,orinteaching,orinthearmyorthenavyortheair
force,hemustgiveproofthathedeservesit.Nomanshouldeverstartatthetop.Thisisdoubly
importantintheChurchforamanwhoisraisedtohighofficeandthenfailsinit,bringsdishonour,not
onlyonhimself,butalsoontheChurch.InacriticalworldtheChurchcannotbetoocarefulinregardto
thekindofmenwhomitchoosesasitsleaders.
(b)IntheearlyChurchitwasthecustomtolayhandsonapenitentsinnerwhohadgivenproofofhis
repentanceandhadreturnedtothefoldoftheChurch.Itislaiddown:"Aseachsinnerrepents,and
showsthefruitsofrepentance,layhandsonhim,whileallprayforhim."Eusebiustellsusthatitwasthe
ancientcustomthatrepentantsinnersshouldbereceivedbackwiththelayingonofhandsandwith
prayer.Ifthatbethemeaninghere,itwillbeawarningtoTimothynottobetooquicktoreceivebackthe
manwhohasbroughtdisgraceontheChurchtowaituntilhehasshownthathispenitenceisgenuine,
andthatheistrulydeterminedtomouldhislifetofithispenitentprofessions.Thatisnotforamomentto
saythatsuchamanistobeheldatarms'lengthandtreatedwithsuspicionhehastobetreatedwithall
sympathyandwithallhelpandguidanceinhisperiodofprobation.Butitistosaythatmembershipofthe
Churchisnevertobetreatedlightly,andthatamanmustshowhispenitenceforthepastandhis
determinationforthefuture,beforeheisreceived,notintothefellowshipoftheChurch,butintoits
membership.ThefellowshipoftheChurchexiststohelpsuchpeopleredeemthemselves,butits
membershipisforthosewhohavetrulypledgedtheirlivestoChrist.
ADVICEFORTIMOTHY(1Timothy5:23)
5:23Stopdrinkingonlywater,andusealittlewineforthesakeofyourstomach,to
helpyourfrequentillnesses.
Thissentenceshowstherealintimacyoftheseletters.AmidsttheaffairsoftheChurchandtheproblems
ofadministration,PaulfindstimetoslipinalittlebitoflovingadvicetoTimothyabouthishealth.
TherehadalwaysbeenastrainofasceticisminJewishreligion.WhenamantooktheNaziritevow
(Numbers6:121)hewaspledgednevertotasteanyoftheproductofthevine:"Heshallseparatehimself
fromwineandstrongdrinkheshalldrinknovinegarmadefromwine,orstrongdrink,andshallnotdrink
anyjuiceofgrapesoreatgrapes,freshordried.Allthedaysofhisseparationheshalleatnothingthatis
producedbythegrapevine,noteventheseedsortheskins"(Numbers6:34).TheRechabitesalsowere
pledgedtoabstainfromwine.TheBookofJeremiahtellshowJeremiahwentandsetbeforethe
Rechabiteswineandcups:"Buttheyanswered,WewilldrinknowineforJonadab,thesonofRechab
ourfather,commandedus,Youshallnotdrinkwine,neitheryounoryoursonsforeveryoushallnot
buildahouseyoushallnotsowseedyoushallnotplantorhaveavineyard"(Jeremiah35:57).Now
TimothywasononesideaJewhismotherwasaJewess(Acts16:1)anditmaywellbethatfromhis
motherhehadinheritedthisasceticwayofliving.Onhisfather'ssidehewasaGreek.Wehavealready
seenthatatthebackofthePastoralsthereistheheresyofgnosticismwhichsawallmatteraseviland
oftenissuedinasceticismanditmaywellbethatTimothywasunconsciouslyinfluencedbythisGreek
asceticismaswell.
HerewehaveagreattruthwhichtheChristianforgetsathisperil,thatwedarenotneglectthebody,for
oftenspiritualdullnessandariditycomefromthesimplefactthatthebodyistiredandneglected.No
machinewillrunwellunlessitiscaredforandneitherwillthebody.WecannotdoChrist'sworkwell
unlesswearephysicallyfittodoit.Thereisnovirtueratherthereverseinneglectoforcontemptforthe
body.Menssanaincorporesano,ahealthymindinahealthybody,wastheoldRomanideal,anditis
theChristianidealtoo.
Thisisatextwhichhasmuchtroubledthosewhoareadvocatesoftotalabstinence.Itmustbe
rememberedthatitdoesnotgiveanymanalicencetoindulgeindrinktoexcessitsimplyapprovesthe
useofwinewhereitmaybemedicinallyhelpful.Ifitdoeslaydownanyprincipleatall,E.F.Brownhas
wellstatedit:"Itshowsthatwhiletotalabstinencemayberecommendedasawisecounsel,itisneverto
beenforcedasareligiousobligation."Paulissimplysayingthatthereisnovirtueinanasceticismwhich
doesthebodymoreharmthangood.
THEIMPOSSIBILITYOFULTIMATECONCEALMENT(1Timothy5:2425)

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5:2425Somemen'ssinsareplainforalltosee,andleadthewaytojudgmentthe
sinsofotherswilldulycatchuponthem.Evensotherearegooddeedswhichare
plainforalltosee,andtherearethingsofaverydifferentqualitywhichcannotbe
hidden.

ThissayingbidsusleavethingstoGodandbecontent.Thereareobvioussinners,whosesinsare
clearlyleadingtotheirdisasterandtheirpunishmentandtherearesecretsinnerswho,behindafrontof
unimpeachablerectitude,livealifethatisinessenceevilandugly.Whatmancannotsee,Goddoes.
"Manseesthedeed,butGodseestheintention."Thereisnoescapefromtheultimateconfrontationwith
theGodwhoseesandknowseverything.
Therearesomewhosegooddeedsareplainforalltosee,andwhohavealreadywonthepraiseand
thanksandcongratulationsofmen.Therearesomewhosegooddeedshaveneverbeennoticed,never
appreciated,neverthanked,neverpraised,nevervaluedastheyoughttohavebeen.Theyneednotfeel
eitherdisappointedorembittered.Godknowsthegooddeedalso,andhewillrepay,forheisneverinany
man'sdebt.
Herewearetoldthatwemustneithergrowangryattheapparentescapeofothersnorembitteredatthe
apparentthanklessnessofmen,butthatwemustbecontenttoleaveallthingstotheultimatejudgment
ofGod.
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BibliographyInformation
Barclay,William."Commentaryon1Timothy5:1"."WilliamBarclay'sDailyStudyBible".
"http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dsb/view.cgi?bk=53&ch=5".19561959.

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