1 Timothy 5:17-25 (Instructions About Elders)

1Ti 5:17-18 How does an elder differ from an overseer (1Ti 3:1-7) or pastor?  See Tit 1:5-7, Acts 20:17,28, 1 Pet 2:25, 5:1-4 and note that while “elder” describes the mature status of church leaders, “overseer” and “pastor” describe their role.  What does Paul mean by those who “rule well”?  Note: the Greek words he uses are the same he used in 1Ti 3:4 and 12 for overseers and deacons “managing well” their households; what does this teach us about the manner in which elders/overseers are to “rule”?  Do his words in 1Ti 5:17 imply that there were some elders/overseers who “ruled” and others who taught?  Recall from 1Ti 3:2 that one of the qualifications of those who serve as overseers is that they be able to teach.  See also 1 Thess 5:12.  What do his words in 1Ti 5:17 teach us about the value and importance Paul placed upon preaching and teaching?  Note: “work hard” means to labor, toil, as a “hard working” farmer (2 Tim 2:6); what does this teach us about what Paul understood was necessary for good preaching and teaching?[1] What does Paul mean that such are worthy of “double honor”?  Does he mean that they should receive two shares of whatever “honorarium” is remunerated to those who minister in the church, as “good soldiers” (2 Tim 2:3) were often paid?  That they should be “honored” with twice the amount given the poor widows (1Ti 5:3)?  Or that they should be honored not only with the respect of their position (see 1Ti 6:1) but also monetarily in a manner commensurate with their labor (1Ti 5:18)?  While Paul is clear that the attitude of a church should be to “honor” its ministers, what is the danger of a minister seeking his own honor?  See 2 Cor 2:17, 11:20.  What example did Paul leave for ministers in regard to their remuneration?  See 1 Cor 9:6-15, 2 Cor 11:7, 12:14-15.  Note that in 1 Cor 9:9 Paul also quoted Deut 25:4 as he does here in 1Ti 5:18, but here in 1Ti 5:18 in a similar context he also gives a direct quote from Luke 10:7; what might this indicate about when the gospel of Luke was written?[2]

1Ti 5:19-21: What safeguard does Paul give Timothy to protect church leaders against false accusations?  See 1Ti 5:19, Deut 19:15, Mat 18:16.  Why is such a safeguard necessary?  See Zech 3:1 and note that the Hebrew word for “accuse” is “Satan”.  When unrepentant sin in a church leader is confirmed what action is to be taken?  See 1Ti 5:20.  Why is it important that such a rebuke be made “in the presence of all”?  What is the danger if the sins of a leader that become public are not publicly rebuked?  See Lk 6:39.  What example do we have in Scripture of a rebuke “in the presence of all”?  See Gal 2:11-14.  How does Paul in 1Ti 5:21 impress upon Timothy the importance of showing no favoritism, especially when it comes to dealing with sin among leaders?  Note the three-fold solemn charge.  What does this again teach us about the importance to the body of not ignoring sin among church leadership?  What if Paul had succumbed to the temptation to show partiality to Peter, one of the pillars of the church, when he came to Antioch?

1Ti 5:22-25: What does Paul mean in 1Ti 5:22 by “lay hands on”?  Why does Paul direct Timothy to not be too hasty in ordaining men to ministry?  See 1Ti 5:24-25.  What is the great danger of doing so?  See 1Ti 5:22.  Note: The NASB “keep yourself free from sin” is literally “keep yourself pure”; does Paul mean by this ritual purity, such as might come from abstaining completely from alcohol?  See 1Ti 5:23.  What do Timothy’s “frequent ailments” in 1Ti 5:23 teach us about the sacrifices made by those spreading the gospel? About divine intervention versus natural remedies as a means of effecting healing?

 


1. If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it wouldn’t seem wonderful at all.  (Michelangelo).  It takes 20 years to make a sermon, because it takes 20 years to make the man.   (E.M. Bounds).

2. 1 Corinthians was written c. 56 a.d. and 1 Tim c. 63 a.d.  Luke was likely written prior to 56 a.d., and had begun to be distributed among the Gentile churches when Paul wrote 2 Corinthians later in 56 a.d., where he mentions “the brother whose fame in the gospel has spread through all the churches” (2 Cor 8:18).  By the time of the writing of 1 Timothy Luke’s gospel had been circulated and accepted among Christians to the extent that Paul here freely quotes it as Scripture!!

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