1 Timothy 5 – 6

1 Timothy 5

Instructions on how elders are to treat the brethren. For many years this instruction about elders has been misapplied to falsely insist that no minister is to be rebuked for their sins.

The context in this verse concerns age and has nothing to do with some office in the assembly.  Paul is forbidding bullying and is instructing the ministry to treat older people with the respect and honor due to parents, to treat the younger men as their own brothers, to treat older women as if they were our mothers and to treat the younger women as if they were our own sisters.

1 Timothy 5:1 Rebuke not an elder [do not bully an older person, or any person], but intreat him [with the respect due a father] as a father; and the younger men as brethren; 5:2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.

Take care of the true widow who is completely alone; but those who have family, let their own families help take care of their relatives and live a godly life, and not be a burden to the Ekklesia. This is also an instruction regarding spiritual widows. If any spiritual widow [whose husband has abandoned her] has relatives in the faith, they and their relatives should care for each other and not burden the Ekklesia.

5:3 Honour widows that are widows indeed. 5:4 But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite [care for] their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.

A true godly widow has no help but places all her trust in God; dedicating herself to please God and to the godly serving of others.

But if a widow [or a man] is wanton and living in the pleasures and lusts of worldliness; they are spiritually dead even if they are physically alive.

5:5 Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. 5:6 But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. 5:7 And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.

In this context we are commanded to provide for our own families including our widows, and our widows are commanded to be a help for their physical relatives in the faith and also help their spiritual relatives.

The concept is that widows are not to be a burden to the community of faith [in other words no one is to unnecessarily burden others] while being lazy and wanton, but they are to serve in any way they can; while those who are related to widows are to help and provide for those widows so that the assembly is not unduly burdened.

The following also concerns those who mistakenly give large offerings while neglecting the needs of the wives, parents and children that God has blessed us with.

We are NOT to give to the organization until it hurts! We are to fulfill the responsibilities that Almighty God has given us in regards to our families first, before making any voluntary offering. I am referring to voluntary offerings here.

We are to properly care for the family that God has blessed us with.

5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

To be supported by the Ekklesia a widow must have been the wife of only one man [in other words not having been wanton with many men] and must be at least 60, the inference being that she could not be expected to earn her own living after the age of 60. It should be self-evident that a younger widow with health problems or with young children should also be cared for.

5:9 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man.

Paul outlines some of the good works of faith expected from widows. A woman who is destitute and supported by the Ekklesia is not to sit about in idleness. She is to visit the sick, encourage and teach the younger women, care for others and generally be a Shining Light of godly service and example; while diligently studying and living by every Word of God. Our older women have very much to offer and can be a huge help in the Ekklesia.

Every person has their own gifts and all should exercise those gifts in service to the brethren, to the edifying and building up of the whole body; even the aged who can do nothing physically can still labor in prayer and wise advice.

5:10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.

Reject supporting any younger widows who have not yet proven to be trustworthy in godliness and are idle busybodies; not being zealous to live and serve in godliness.

This means that strong young women [able to work and care for themselves] who go about in idleness and do not serve the Ekklesia in godliness should not be supported by the brethren; they should work and support themselves.  The Ekklesia need not support the idle lazy, the widows are to work and contribute for their own support if they can, and are not to be idle and lazy. Obviously those who are aged, ill, handicapped or with young children would be exceptions.

This principle applies to men as well.  Men should work and not be a burden to the Ekklesia; even handicapped men can do something, at least spending their time in study and encouraging others.

5:11 But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry [outside the faith]; 5:12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. 5:13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.

Paul recommends that younger women marry.

Some have mistakenly thought that Paul recommends that people not marry; that is an erroneous idea. Paul recommended that some not marry because of the circumstances of severe trials they were going through in that particular area; but overall it is God’s will from the very beginning; that we marry.

5:14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 5:15 For some are already turned aside after Satan.

Here Paul comes to the point: We are to care for our own and we are not to expect others to fulfill our family responsibilities for us.

5:16 If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.

Those elders who labor in the sound doctrine of the whole Word of God are to be honored. The term “honor” is a reference to respecting, supporting and providing for those who work for your spiritual growth and bring to you the words of salvation. This does NOT mean that mere mortals are to be idolized and blindly followed; they are to be honored only as long as they are faithful to every Word of God.

5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. 5:18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

Paul teaches that at least two witness (Deu 17:6, 19:15) are needed to establish the guilt of an elder. In fact the law requires at least two or three witnesses to establish any matter. This requires witnesses to the actual event, hearsay and rumor are not to be accepted; nor are half truths and spin.

5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

Deuteronomy 19:15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

1 Timothy 5:20 Them [speaking of elders but referring to all willful sinners] that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. 5:21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

Of course most churches do not follow this instruction to rebuke sinning elders before all.

Many of them are also infamous for taking a tiny fraction of a larger truth and spinning it to appear to mean the opposite of what it does mean in its proper context; which is deceiving and bearing false witness.

No person is to be ordained without a long experience in the faith, being at least 30 years old (Num 4, Luk 3:23) having much good fruit in zeal for the whole Word of God.

We are not to be partakers [to participate in, or delight to watch] of the sins of others; for example associating with drunkards, watching porn, or eating in restaurants on the Sabbath, or going to another person’s home for a big meal on the Sabbath.

5:22 Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.

This is a personal matter for Timothy to take a LITTLE bit his apparent bad health and is not an instruction for us to become wine bibbers.

5:23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.

The sins or good works of some are obvious, while in other cases they may not be known until much later.

5:24 Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after. 5:25 Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.


1 Timothy 6

1 Timothy 6:1 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.

Those who find themselves servants [and employees] should serve with respect for the authority of their employers; setting a godly example for all people.

6:2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.

This is a powerful condemnation of today’s elders and leaders who teach people to follow idols of men, corporate entities and false traditions; and teach to reject any zeal to learn and to keep the whole Word of God.

6:3 If any man teach otherwise [contrary to the scriptures], and consent not to wholesome words [of scripture], even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness [the whole Word of God]; 6:4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

6:6 But godliness [living by every Word of God] with contentment [not lusting after physical gain] is great gain. 6:7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

Pursue after godly things which are eternal and do not covet after physical riches which are vanity and disappearing mist. Many have compromised with the pursuit of godliness when seeking physical gain.

We see this tragedy with those who compromise with sound doctrine and turn aside from any zeal to obey God in exchange for the hope of physical gain.

6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after [Many are willing to compromise for gain, and have erred from sound doctrine for the hope of money, respect from men and followers.], they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Godly people are to flee covetousness [unlawful desires] and the watering down of doctrine.

6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

ALL Godly people both men and women, are to fight the good fight for the whole Word of God and we must never compromise with our zeal to live by every Word of  God.

6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, [We are to be a LIGHT of godly example; Shining an example of zealous godliness brightly before all.] and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

Paul commands Timothy and through him the whole people of God, to be zealous to live by every Word of God far above any concern for worldly things. As also Wisdom saith.

Proverbs 8:11 For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

1 Timothy 6:13 I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; 6:14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: 6:15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 6:16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded [proud because of physical possessions and supposed knowledge], nor trust in uncertain riches, but [trust] in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

6:18 That they [we should not be proud but should] do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate [God’s Word]; 6:19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come [laying up a spiritual reward in heaven], that they may lay hold on eternal life.

Matthew 6:19-21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

This instruction to Timothy is, by being recorded as Holy Scripture; also an instruction to all of God’s people wherever and whenever they live.

1 Timothy 6:20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust [the Word of God], avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: 6:21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.


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  1. Hi, James,

    You make a good point about the term “elder” in the beginning of your post.

    Many within the CoG groups have been taught that the term “elder,” within these verses, primarily refers to an “ordained” elder. They cite the verse 1Timothy 5:17 to show the context of “elder” in this book — “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine” (AV).

    Strong’s Concordance has this entry for the word “elder.”
    πρεσβύτερος presbuteros pres-boo’-ter-os
    comparative of presbus (elderly); TDNT-6:651,931; {See TDNT 659 } adj AV-elder 64, old man 1, eldest 1, elder woman 1; 67

    However, in 1Timothy 5:2, Paul is speaking of the elderly women. Women were NOT “ordained elders” but are called “elders.”

    “The elder women as mothers (meter, ), the younger as sisters, with all purity” (1Timothy 5:2, AV). The word “women” — guney, — is nowhere found in the original text of this verse. Only the word for “elder” is used here (presbuteros) — the same as for ordained “elder.” The context reveals that “mothers” (meter, ) are the “elders” referred to in this verse.

    γυνή gune goo-nay’
    probably from the base of 1096; TDNT-1:776,134; {See TDNT 166 } n f
    AV-women 129, wife 92; 221
    1) a woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow

    When reading verses containing the word “elder,” it would be prudent to simply think “older man” (or older women in this case) and not assume that “elder” automatically means “ordained elder,” unless the context is clear that the “elder” is indeed “ordained” as a leader.


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