1 Timothy 5

Instructions about Specific Groups

1Do not address an older man harshly
Or “Do not speak harshly to an older man.”
but appeal to him as a father. Speak to younger men as brothers,
No verb “speak” is stated in this clause, but it continues the sense of the preceding.
2older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters – with complete purity.

3 Honor
The word honor here carries the double meaning of respect and financial support. This Greek word can imply both senses, and both are intended in this context.
widows who are truly in need.
Grk “the real widows,” “those who are really widows.”
4But if a widow has children or grandchildren, they should first learn to fulfill their duty
Or “to practice their religion.”
toward their own household and so repay their parents what is owed them.
Or “and so make some repayment to their parents”; Grk “and to give back recompense to their parents.”
For this is what pleases God.
Grk “for this is pleasing in the sight of God.”
5But the widow who is truly in need, and completely on her own,
Or “left all alone.”
has set her hope on God and continues in her pleas and prayers night and day.
6But the one who lives for pleasure is dead even
For “is dead even” the Greek text reads “has died.”
while she lives.
Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
these commands,
Grk “and command these things.”
so that they will be beyond reproach.
8But if someone does not provide for his own,
That is, “his own relatives.”
especially his own family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

9 No widow should be put on the list
This list was an official enrollment, apparently with a formal pledge to continue as a widow and serve the Lord in that way (cf. v. 12). It was either (1) the list of “true widows” who were given support by the church or (2) a smaller group of older women among the supported widows who were qualified for special service (perhaps to orphans, other widows, the sick, etc.). Most commentators understand it to be the former, since a special group is not indicated clearly. See G. W. Knight, Pastoral Epistles, 222–23 for discussion.
Grk “let a widow be enrolled if she has reached not less than sixty years.”
she is at least sixty years old, was the wife of one husband,
Or “a woman married only once,” “was devoted solely to her husband” (see the note on “wife” in 1 Tim 3:2; also 1 Tim 3:12; Titus 1:6).
10and has a reputation for good works: as one who has raised children,
Grk “if she raised children.” The phrase “if she raised children” begins a series of conditional clauses running to the end of the verse. These provide specific examples of her good works (v. 10a).
practiced hospitality, washed the feet of the saints, helped those in distress – as one who has exhibited all kinds of good works.
Grk “followed after every good work.”
11But do not accept younger widows on the list,
Grk “refuse younger widows.”
because their passions may lead them away from Christ
With a single verb and object, this clause means “pursue sensuous desires in opposition to Christ.”
and they will desire to marry,
12and so incur judgment for breaking their former pledge.
Grk “incurring judgment because they reject their first faith.”
The pledge refers most likely to a vow not to remarry undertaken when a widow is put on the list (cf. 1 Tim 5:9).
13And besides that, going around
L&N 15.23 suggests the meaning, “to move about from place to place, with significant changes in direction - ‘to travel about, to wander about.’”
from house to house they learn to be lazy,
Or “idle.” The whole clause (“going around from house to house, they learn to be lazy”) reverses the order of the Greek. The present participle περιερχόμεναι (periercomenai) may be taken as temporal (“while going around”), instrumental (“by going around”) or result (“with the result that they go around”).
and they are not only lazy, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things they should not.
Grk “saying the things that are unnecessary.” Or perhaps “talking about things that are none of their business.”
14So I want younger women to marry, raise children, and manage a household, in order to give the adversary no opportunity to vilify us.
Grk “for the sake of reviling.”
15For some have already wandered away to follow Satan.
Grk “wandered away after Satan.”
16If a believing woman
Most witnesses (D Ψ Maj. sy) have πιστὸς ἤ (pistos ē) before πιστή (pistē), with the resultant meaning “if a believing man or woman.” But such looks to be a motivated reading, perhaps to bring some parity to the responsibilities of men and women listed here, and as a way of harmonizing with v. 4. Further, most of the earliest and best witnesses (א A C F G P 048 33 81 1175 1739 1881 co) lack the πιστὸς ἤ, strengthening the preference for the shorter reading.
has widows in her family,
Grk “has widows.”
let her help them. The church should not be burdened, so that it may help the widows who are truly in need.
Grk “the real widows,” “those who are really widows.”

17 Elders who provide effective leadership
Grk “who lead well.”
must be counted worthy
Or “deserving.”
of double honor,
Like the similar use of “honor” in v. 3, this phrase denotes both respect and remuneration: “honor plus honorarium.”
especially those who work hard in speaking
Or “in preaching”; Grk “in word.”
and teaching.
18For the scripture says, “ Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain ,”
A quotation from Deut 25:4.
and, “The worker deserves his pay.”
A quotation from Luke 10:7.
19Do not accept an accusation against an elder unless it can be confirmed by two or three witnesses.
An allusion to Deut 17:6, 19:15.
20Those guilty of sin
As a continuation of v. 19, this refers to elders who sin, not to sinning believers more generally.
must be rebuked
Or “censured.” The Greek word implies exposing someone’s sin in order to bring correction.
before all,
“Before all” probably refers to the whole congregation, not just all the elders; “the rest” is more likely to denote the remaining elders.
as a warning to the rest.
Grk “that the rest may have fear.”
21Before God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, I solemnly charge you to carry out these commands without prejudice or favoritism of any kind.
Grk “doing nothing according to partiality.”
22Do not lay hands on anyone
In context “laying hands on anyone” refers to ordination or official installation of someone as an elder.
hastily and so identify with the sins of others.
Grk “and do not share in the sins of others.”
Keep yourself pure.
23(Stop drinking just water, but use a little wine for your digestion
Grk “for the sake of your stomach.”
and your frequent illnesses.)
This verse gives parenthetical advice to Timothy, to clarify what it means to keep pure (5:22c). Verse 24 resumes the instructions about elders.
24The sins of some people are obvious, going before them into judgment, but for others, they show up later.
Grk “they [the sins] follow after others.”
25Similarly good works are also obvious, and the ones that are not cannot remain hidden.

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