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Bible Commentaries

Henry Mahan's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

1 Timothy 5

 

 

Verses 1-13

Rules for correction and care - 1

1 Timothy 5:1-13

1Ti_5:1. Do not sharply and harshly rebuke an older believer. Paul recommends gentleness and kindness in correcting faults. Besides, Timothy was a young man; and while older believers are not to be spared and indulged in error or sin, they are to be reproved and corrected as parents. They are to be in-treated, which is a kinder approach than a rebuke. It is to make an earnest appeal with respect.

Even toward young men, the preacher is to use moderation and kindness in correction and deal with them as brothers (2 Timothy 2:24; 1 Thessalonians 2:7). Erring believers are not strangers and enemies but brothers, whose age, office, and relationship are not to be forgotten in times of offense.

1 Timothy 5:2. When older women offend and err, they are to be reasoned and pleaded with as children should with their mothers; for these older women are mothers in Israel and are to be treated with great tenderness and respect.

The young women, using the freedom as a brother would with a sister, are to be told their faults freely but privately or in such a manner as to preserve their purity in the eyes of the congregation. Let none, old nor young, be held up for ridicule or shame; but let their failures be handled as one would the infirmities of a beloved father, brother, mother, or sister. All of us are careful to protect the reputation, character, and feelings of our parents, brothers, and sisters. We are slow to expose, reluctant to offend, and refuse to inform others of their failures; but we rather deal with them tenderly and privately. This should be even more true of our spiritual family.

1 Timothy 5:3. ‘Honor widows that are widows indeed.’ By the word ‘honor’ Paul does not mean an expression of respect; for all believers are to be respected, honored, and held in high regard. But this is the special care, maintenance, and support given from the church fund to those in need. If widows are taken under the protection, support, and care of the church, it should be clearly established that they are without support, that they are indeed widows without children nor family to provide for them.

1 Timothy 5:4. If a woman's husband is dead and she has children or grandchildren, see to it that these are first made to understand that it is their duty and natural obligation to show kindness to their parents and provide for them, as their parents provided for them when they were children. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God. No believer will shift to the church his own responsibility to care for his mother.

1 Timothy 5:5-7. Paul expresses his meaning more clearly. If a woman is really alone, has no children, no support, and has fixed her hope in Christ, if she continues in faith and in the fellowship of the believers, not departing from the church and the gospel, she is to be enrolled with those supported fully from the church funds.

But those ought not be received for support who are self-indulgent, indifferent, and living careless lives. If one lives like an unbeliever, it is usually safe to assume that she IS an unbeliever and is not the responsibility of the church.

It is the duty of the pastor to inform the church and those who petition for help of these matters so that proper action may be taken, that none who are worthy be neglected, and that none abuse the privilege.

1 Timothy 5:8. If anyone fails to provide for his own relatives in need, and especially for his own parents and children, he has disowned the faith of Christ by failing to accompany that profession of faith with works and is worse than an unbeliever who performs his obligations in these matters (James 2:17-19).

1 Timothy 5:9-10. Let no widow be put on full support by the church who is under sixty years of age. Those who are still young and in good health should be able to support themselves. ‘Having been the wife of one man’ has to do with divorces, since remarriage after the death of one's mate is encouraged!

The widows over sixty who are enrolled for full support by the church are to be dedicated believers who have proved that dedication and faith by consecration, good works, and loyalty through the years.

1 Timothy 5:11-13. Do not hastily enroll the younger widows in this program of support and care; for when they become restless and their natural desires grow strong, they may marry again outside the faith, which will cause problems for them and discouragement and difficulty for those who have supported them. They incur condemnation for leaving and denying the faith and their pledge to Christ. Also, younger widows who are idle are tempted to spend their idle hours visiting among other women and talking about things they should not talk about. When the hands are idle, the tongue is usually very active.


Verses 14-25

Rules for correction and care - 2

1 Timothy 5:14-25

1Ti_5:14. ‘I encourage younger women to marry.’ The apostle is still on the subject of caring for widows, so we assume that he especially means young widows. God ordained marriage for the holiness and happiness of the race (Genesis 2:18-25; 1 Corinthians 7:2-5; Hebrews 13:4).

It is difficult for a young widow to live with such caution that people will not find some pretext for slandering her or questioning her purity. It is better, if possible, for her to marry, but only in the Lord! (1 Corinthians 7:39).

1 Timothy 5:15. Unfortunately, there are some widows who have been drawn away from the rule of Christ and the fellowship of believers to walk in their own ways, which means actually they are under the rule of Satan.

1 Timothy 5:16. If there are believers in the church who have widows and needy persons in their household, let them supply the needs of these widows and not burden the church with them, that the church funds may be used to relieve those who have no one to care for them.

1 Timothy 5:17. Paul had instructed the church to 'honour widows that are widows indeed,’ that is, to support and provide for them, but elders, pastors, missionaries, preachers and all who labour in the preaching and teaching of the word are doubly worthy of this support and care by the church. He does not encourage the support of lazy, indifferent, professional pulpiteers, but the full support of those who perform the duties of their office well and who labour faithfully in preaching and teaching! This honour is to be understood as that outward respect shown by words and attitude and a sufficient maintenance materially.

1 Timothy 5:18. This illustration comes from Deuteronomy 25:4. Whereas the ox was not muzzled when he trod out the corn, but was allowed to feed upon it, so those who labour in the gospel ought to be allowed to partake of the fruits of their labour (1 Corinthians 9:13-14). A man who labors in your service and for your benefit is worthy of your generous support (1 Corinthians 9:11).

1 Timothy 5:19-20. Do not allow your ministers, pastors and teachers to be assailed, criticized and slandered (either privately or publicly) by individuals who do not like them or what they preach. Indifferent and careless professors generally like to excuse their sins by finding fault with the preacher. If there is a legitimate complaint, either doctrinally or morally, against an elder, established by sufficient witnesses, let it be dealt with in a scriptural and brotherly way before the church, that all may walk in fear of sin and false doctrine.

1 Timothy 5:21. 'I charge you to observe all these things that I have written without partiality or prejudice.' One is not to be preferred before another, but every member of the church family loved alike. Let no judgment or action be carried out in haste or disrespect, but let our dealings with one another be in love and affection.

1 Timothy 5:22. Men are not to be set apart as preachers, teachers, elders or deacons in a hasty and hurried manner. Let them first be proved and let it plainly appear that they have the grace of God in them and gifts for public service bestowed upon them. Do not join with others in the ordination of unfit persons. If you cannot prevent them from these errors through serious warnings, at least keep yourself pure.

1 Timothy 5:23. Take care of your body! Use a little wine to help digestion and other disorders. It may be, as in many countries that the water was not always healthy and pure. Nevertheless, Paul says a little wine in order to discourage intemperance.

1 Timothy 5:24-25. In the matter of discerning sin, hypocrisy, true faith, godliness and spirituality in professing Christians, we are vastly handicapped, for we can only look on the outward man and our human judgment is confined to what we hear and see.

Some men's sins and faults are so open and evident that they are clearly understood by all before that great Day of Judgment, but the sin and hypocrisy of some are so well hidden that we must wait for God to expose them.

The same is true of good works! We are well aware of the good works of most, but there are many works of righteousness and love that are so secret and unrecognized by men that they will not be known until Christ comes. In that day all shall be revealed in its true light.

 


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Bibliography Information
Mahan, Henry. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 5:4". Henry Mahan's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hms/1-timothy-5.html. 2013.

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