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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL TO TIMOTHY - Chapter 5 - Verse 1

 

1st Timothy CHAPTER V.

 

ANALYSIS OF THE CHAPTER,

This chapter embraces the following subjects:—

(1.) The proper method of admonition when others err—to wit, an aged man should be entreated as a father, younger men as brethren, the aged women as mothers, and the younger with the pure feelings which one has for a sister, 1 Ti 5:1,2.

(2.) Instructions respecting the proper treatment of widows, 1 Ti 5:3-16.

(a.) Those who were true widows were to be regarded with honour and respect.

(b.) Who sustained this character, 1 Ti 5:4-7. Those who had evinced piety at home in taking charge of those who were dependent on them, and who were steady in their devotions. No one was to be received into this number who was not of the age of sixty, who had been married to more than one man, and who had not given evidence in all the duties of domestic fidelity and charity, that she was imbued with the spirit of religion, 1 Ti 5:9,10.

(c.) Those who were young were not to be admitted into this class, 1 Ti 5:11-15. The reasons given are, that they would marry again, or that they would be idle, and would be intermeddlers in the affairs of others. It was better, therefore, that they should marry, and have charge of a family of their own, 1 Ti 5:14,15.

(d.) The duty of the individual members of the church to sustain helpless and dependent widows, if they had such among their relations, 1 Ti 5:16. In these verses 1 Ti 5:3-16 it is evident that the apostle had his eye on a class of widows that sustained some such relation to other females as the elders did to the whole church. They were aged women to whom was intrusted the superintendence of the females of the church—probably because from the customs then prevalent, men had much less liberty of access to the other sex, and much less freedom of intercourse was allowable than now.

(3.) The duty of supporting and honouring those who ruled in the church, 1 Ti 5:17,18.

(4.) The suitable guarding of the rights of the elders in the church. No accusation was to be received, unless it was sustained by two or three witnesses, 1 Ti 5:19.

(5.) No one who was guilty was to be spared. All who sinned were to be publicly rebuked, 1 Ti 5:20.

(6.) A solemn charge is given to Timothy to keep these commandments, 1 Ti 5:21.

(7.) The statement of his duty not to ordain any person rashly or hastily to the sacred office, 1 Ti 5:22.

(8.) To guard his health, 1 Ti 5:23.

(9.) A declaration respecting sin—-that sometimes it is open beforehand, and sometimes it is concealed till it is revealed at the judgment, closes the chapter, 1 Ti 5:24,25.

The design of this closing statement seems to be, to show Timothy that he should not judge men by appearances, but that he should evince great caution in forming his estimate of their character.

Verse 1. Rebuke not an elder. The word elder here is not used in the sense in which it often is, to denote an officer of the church, a presbyter, but in its proper and usual sense, to denote an aged man. This is evident, because the apostle immediately mentions in contradistinction from the elder, "the younger men," where it cannot be supposed that he refers to them as officers. The command to treat the "elder" as a "father," also shows the same thing. By the direction not to rebuke, it is not to he supposed that the minister of the gospel is not to admonish the aged, or that he is not to show them their sins when they go astray, but that he is to do this as he would to a father. He is not to assume a harsh, dictatorial, and denunciatory manner. The precepts of religion always respect the proprieties of life, and never allow us to transgress them, even when the object is to reclaim a soul from error, and to save one who is wandering. Besides, when this is the aim, it will always be most certainly accomplished by observing the respect due to others on account of office, relation, rank, or age.

But entreat him as a father. As you would a father. That is, do not harshly denounce him. Endeavour to persuade him to lead a more holy life. One of the things for which the ancients were remarkable above most of the moderns, and for which the Orientals are still distinguished, was respect for age. Few things are enjoined with more explicitness and emphasis in the Bible than this, Le 19:32; Job 29; Pr 20:20; 30:17

Comp. Da 7:9,10; Re 1:14,15.

The apostle would have Timothy, and, for the same reason, every other minister of the gospel, a model of this virtue.

And the younger men as brethren. That is, treat them as you would your own brothers. Do not consider them as aliens; strangers, or enemies, but entertain towards them, even when they go astray, the kindly feelings of a brother. This refers more particularly to his private intercourse with them, and to his personal efforts to reclaim them when they had fallen into sin. When these efforts were ineffectual, and they sinned openly, he was to "rebuke them before all," 1 Ti 5:20, that others might be deterred from following their example.

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