Instructions about treatment of individuals in the church
Treatment of Church Members: 5:1, 2.
Paul gives instruction and godly wisdom about Christian behavior in this Chapter. Servants of God need wisdom, sympathy, skill and patience to deal with people. Being young, Timothy might have tempted to become impatient in his dealing with others. The interpersonal relationship is very important in the church. Servants of God must treat others with respect. How beautiful when we treat one another properly as fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters in the household of God. Timothy was encouraged not rebuke an older man but treat him respectfully as his own father. Younger men should be treated as brothers. Older women must be treated as mothers and younger women as sisters in all purity. There should not be any appearance of evil in our interactions. The reputation and ministry of many are destroyed because of carelessness in this area. When we behave properly, the gospel becomes more attractive.
The Widows: 5:3-16.
Next Paul gives instruction about caring for widows. The early church had recognized its responsibility towards the widows in their midst (Acts 6:1). It seems instead of supporting themselves from their own resources some of the widows were relying on the church for their support. So Paul gives instructions and guide-lines to Timothy, how to deal with this delicate issue in the church. The widows who are left with no relatives and have no resources should be assisted financially by the church. If they have children, it is their obligation to care for these widows. Those who don’t care for their own are worse than unbelievers. There are widows indeed and widows who live for pleasure. A widow must be godly whose hope is in God. She must be blameless and abounding in good works. she should be old and having been the wife of one husband, hospitable and was devoted to good work. Supporting such widows demonstrates the principles of the gospel. Younger widows should not be supported by church. Because their physical desire may tempt them to remarry unbelievers. When young widows are supported they are likely to become lazy and spend their time in gossiping. The church should never encourage such behavior. Therefore it is preferable that young widows marry, bear children and take care of their own households. It is God’s design and woman’s privilege to marry and bear children. By rearing children in the fear of God, they would be able to restore their lost significance (1 Tim 2:15). Paul approves remarriage “in the Lord” (Rom 7:7). If a widow has children , let them take care of her so that the church could take care of those who are in need. Pray that the grace shown to you may shine through you to others in need.
Elders are worthy of double honor: 5:17-25.
Paul gives instructions about the leadership in the church, about their support (5:17-18), their discipline (5:19-21), and their selection (5:22-25). Elders and Pastors who do their work well should be counted worthy of double honor. They preach and teach the word of God. They deserve our respect and financial support because of their hard work. Paul compares them with an ox in the harvesting field. Ox is not deprived of a share of the grain harvested. Those who are called to preach should live by their ministry (1 Cor 9:7-11). Those who hold spiritual responsibility could become the target of Satan’s attack. An accusation against an elder is serious matter and must be established by the testimony of two or three eye witnesses. When an elder is found guilty, he should be rebuked before all and it to be done without partiality. This principle is applicable to all Christians (Matt 18:15-20). Never be in a hurry to recognize elders whose characters are unknown to the church. Many elders have been recognized too young and too soon. Timothy is exhorted not to participate in the sin of others by recognizing them before their character is proven. Only time will prove true character and it is difficult to judge a person too soon. Timothy was instructed to drink little wine for his stomach’s sake and for his infirmities. This verse does not give justification for drunkenness. These principles keep the church, centered on Christ and on his mission. Pray that the Lord would raise good elders in your church.