The Book of 1 Timothy Bible Study Chapter 5 Part 2

We begin this week by looking at 1 Timothy 5:13-19

G-d has a purpose for all people – widows, elders, deacons, woman, children. G-d wants all things to be done decently and in order – according to His standards and instructions. It is only when His order is manifested that we will receive the outcome of His will, that His righteousness is going to be manifested, His glory revealed, and His work accomplished.

v13: They learn to be idle: Straying from what they had committed themselves to (good deeds, ministering within the local congregation, praying without ceasing) these women continue in a downward progression. Disobedience leads us further and further away from where we should be – i.e: disobedience leads us away from G-d’s will. Being idle is never G-d’s will. We all need a time of leisure to be rejuvenated, but this is not what this verse is talking about. These women have a lifestyle of idleness. They are being supported (as least partially) by the local congregation and have their needs provided for. Therefore, they are free to do nothing and so they learn to do nothing.

  • Gossips and busybodies: They are paying attention to things that they really shouldn’t be paying attention to (men can be just as guilty of this as women). Gossipers talk about others in a way that they should not. Busybodies get involved in the lives of other people in a way that is inappropriate. 

v14: Therefore I desire (want): This is a term of command and not just a suggestion.

  • Bear children: These widows are still young enough to bear and raise children.
  • Manage the house: No matter what the world says, it is a great honour for a woman to be able to manage her household. This is of great significance to G-d when a woman manages her household well. If a woman manages her household (family) well there is going to be much fruit for many generations. Likewise, if a woman doesn’t put any emphasis on this (she doesn’t do a good job managing her household) there will be adverse consequences for many generations.
  • Speak reproachfully: If things are not done decently and in order there is going to be sin in the community and local congregation. People from the outside are watching the local congregation. They are aware of what is going on in it. If it is disorderly, the congregation becomes an instrument of reproach (people outside of the congregation speak ill of it with the resulting effect that the congregation suffers shame and falls into disrepute). Paul did not want this to happen on any account, but, within this context, especially in regard to these younger widows. 

v15: For… already: Paul was well travelled and had spent time in many congregations. He had much experience as he had heard and seen a lot in these congregations. This was unfortunately something that Paul bore witness to. 

  • Some: Referring to these young, widowed women.
  • Turned aside after satan: Many people are surprised that satan is spoken of here within this context. Paul is reminding Timothy that those who are not serving G-d are, by default, serving the enemy (i.e. satan – Matt 6:24).

v16: Believing man: Nestle-Aland (which most of the modern translations are based on) leaves out the ‘believing man’ and speaks only of the female believer. Male and female believers are included together in the Textus Receptus. 

  • Believing man or woman has widows: There are widows present in either the husband’s or the wife’s family. 
  • Let them relieve (assist) them: If a believing man or woman have the means to help their widowed parents then they are commanded to help them financially first so that it does not become a congregational issue and burden. 

v17: Elders: Based on context, this is probably not speaking about older gentlemen in the congregation but those elders/pastors who govern or lead the congregation/s. 

  • Elders who rule well: Those who lead their congregations well. The word used in the Greek is a word that means to ‘stand before’. This elder has authority but he utilises it properly, he exercises it well. 
  • Especially those who labour in the Word and doctrine: This reaffirms to us how vitally important the Word of G-d/Scripture is for us. Those who engage in the study of Scripture, and who serve in a local congregation to teach Scripture, are worthy of a double portion (1 Tim 5:18 suggests that this double portion has to do with food/sustenance as well as with wages). 

v18: You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain: Deut 25:4. The people of Israel were commanded to allow the ox to eat the grain that it was crushing and milling for their sakes. The ox did the difficult labour for the people. The people would then take the crushed grain and benefit from its use. The ox worked hard, and his reward was food. 

  • The labourer is worthy of his wages: Lev 19:13, Matt 10:10

v19: An elder: The implication is that this is against a ruling/leading elder. 

  • From two or three witnesses: If an accusation is brought against an elder there needs to be two or more witnesses accusing. The judgment of an elder should not be considered on the accusation of one person alone (Deut 17:6). These witnesses need to both have firsthand evidence of what they have witnessed – not just act as backups for each other’s accusations. 

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