Home Library Donate

1Timothy 5:1-16

Thursday Evening Bible Study

March 8, 2018


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Target 3300 words Video = 75 wpm

Video: The Bible Project – 1Timothy

The book of Acts ends in AD 60 with Paul being in Rome under house arrest.

We believe Paul was later released, and visited various places, including Ephesus.

While traveling, Paul left Timothy in Ephesus to pastor the church.

Timothy had spent many years with Paul and was like a spiritual “son” to Paul.

This letter was written somewhere around AD 63, to guide Timothy to correct the problems in Ephesus.

Timothy is in his mid-forties about now.

Timothy would pastor the church for 30 years, and die a martyr in AD 97.

5:1-2 Church Relationships

:1 Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers,

:1 Do not rebuke an older man

older manpresbuteros – elder, of age; advanced in life, an elder, a senior; a term of rank or office.

The word is the “comparative” of presbus (“elderly”). This is not “old man”, but “older man”.
The Old King James reads here:
(1 Timothy 5:1 AV) Rebuke not an elder…

Paul could be talking about those who hold the office of an elder since he’s already been doing that and he will do some more later, but I think that with the immediate context (younger men, elder women …) he’s probably talking about how Timothy should treat men who are older than he is.

rebukeepiplesso – to strike upon, beat upon; to chastise with words, to chide, upbraid, rebuke

exhortparakaleo – to call to one’s side; exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction


Elder Respect

In modern day America, we don’t know too much about respect for our elders.
Seems an elderly gentleman had serious hearing problems for a number of years. He went to the doctor and the doctor was able to have him fitted for a set of hearing aids that allowed the gentleman to hear 100%. The elderly gentleman went back in a month to the doctor and the doctor said, “your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased you can hear again.” To which the gentleman said, “Oh, I haven’t told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to the conversations. I’ve changed my will three times!”
Because of Paul’s use of “rebuke” and “exhort”, you get the idea that Paul is giving Timothy advice about how to confront and deal with older man who has become a problem.
Confronting doesn’t need to come with abuse like the “rebuke”.
Sometimes we get the idea that treating our elders with respect means that we don’t ever say anything contradictory to them.
We get confused and thing we must treat them as if they are correct 100% of the time.
Paul is saying that there’s room to “exhort” them, to come alongside them and give them a “nudge”.
(1 Timothy 5:1 NLT) Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father.
The Bible says,
(Leviticus 19:32 NKJV) ‘You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the Lord.

:1 younger men as brothers

youngerneos – recently born, young, youthful

Comparative. Not “young” but “younger”.

While Timothy is to treat the men older than himself as his own father, he is to treat guys younger than himself as a “brother”.

Though I could say a lot about how brothers treat each other (having had three sons), I think the point is to treat younger men as equals.
Sometimes we can tend to treat those younger than us as “babies” or “inferiors” instead of equals.

:2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.

:2 older women as mothers

older manpresbuteros – elder, of age; advanced in life, an elder, a senior; a term of rank or office.

The word here is in the feminine form, hence “older women”.

mothersmeter – a mother

The Bible says,

(Exodus 20:12 NKJV) “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
Paul pointed out (Eph. 6:1-3) that this was the first commandment that came with a promise, a reward. Our days would “be long” in the land if we obeyed.
(Ephesians 6:1–3 NKJV) —1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

For some of us, we no longer have our mothers around, they have gone on to heaven. Others of us either don’t have our mothers in the area, or we don’t have a good relationship with our moms.

You still get to practice your skills of honoring mothers though – there are plenty of gals in the church that we are blessed to have with us.

:2 younger women as sisters, with all purity

youngerneos – recently born, young, youthful

This is the feminine form.
Comparative. Not “young” but “younger”.


Healthy Relationships

purityhagneia – purity, sinlessness of life
This word ultimately derives from hagios, “holy”, but this form of the word is only used twice, both times in 1Timothy.
This is the same word that Paul used to exhort Timothy last week:

(1 Timothy 4:12 NKJV) Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

You can draw a straight line from “purity” to the issue of how you treat people of the opposite sex.
Some folks think of church as a social opportunity, a place to meet people, especially those of the opposite sex.
We need to be real careful here.

We do have plenty of folks who have found their spouse in church – that’s where I found Deb. What better place to find a spouse?

Yet we need to work at keeping our relationships pure.

I like Paul’s encouragement to treat younger gals “as sisters”.
I remember hearing the phrase, “like kissing your sister” to describe when two people dated, but the relationship was purely platonic – nothing sexual.
That resonates with me because I grew up in a family of sisters – I was the only boy.
I love my sisters. I will do anything for my sisters. I will protect my sisters. I will argue with my sisters. I will tease my sisters – but there’s not a thought of impurity in any of it.

That’s how we need to work at treating others of the opposite sex.

5:3-16 Widows

In ancient days, there were two classes of people who were at the bottom of the social and economic ladder: Widows and orphans.

Widows and orphans had no means to support themselves – the world’s economy was run by men and these people had no “men” in their lives.

There was no Social Security. There was no government Welfare.

Jesus’ followers were men and women who had been touched by the grace of God – saved when they were worthless, loved when they were undeserving.

They had been so impacted by God’s love that they knew they needed to pass that same kind of grace on to others.

James summed it up like this:

(James 1:27 NLT) Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

Back in the earliest days of the church in Jerusalem, the believers were practicing this. One of the ways they helped the widows was in providing them food.

(Acts 6:1 NLT) But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food.

The apostles were overwhelmed with meeting the needs of the widows, and ended up appointing men to be “deacons”, to help with the food distribution ministry.
Even though there were problems developing from this ministry, you see the church involved in this process of helping the less fortunate.

Now in Ephesus, they were having similar issues, helping the widows.

Paul is going to give Timothy some practical suggestions on how this should be done.

:3 Honor widows who are really widows.

:3 Honor widows

honortimao – to estimate, fix the value; to honor, to have in honor, to revere, venerate

widowschera – a widow

Here, the idea isn’t just tipping your cap in respect, but “honor” carries over to the idea of giving some type of actual physical aid, whether food or finances.

:3 who are really widows

reallyontos – truly, in reality; as opposed to what is pretended, fictitious, false, conjectural

We might want to define “widows” as any woman who has lost her husband, but that’s not going to be Paul’s definition.

He’s going to have a much narrower definition of who the church should be helping.

The more I look at this passage, I wonder if we should completely reevaluate the people we help as a church.

:4 But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God.

:4 learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents

learnmanthano – to learn, be appraised

at home – the Greek is literally “in their own home”

grandchildrenekgonon – sprung from one, born, begotten; a son, daughter, offspring, children, descendants; grandchildren

pietyeusebeo – to act piously or reverently; towards God, one’s country, magistrates, relations, and all to whom dutiful regard or reverence is due

repay – there are two Greek words that translate as “repay”

amoibe – requital, recompence
apodidomi – to deliver, to pay off, discharge what is due; to give back, restore

parentsprogonos – born before, older; of ancestors; of a mother; of grandparents; of great-grand parents (if they are still alive)

If a woman’s husband dies, but she has other relatives, whether children or grandchildren, then it’s only right and proper for the family to take care of the woman’s needs. God thinks that the family should take care of its own needs.

We find this kind of principle at church when we are asked if we can help someone out. We have funds set aside to do just that very thing. But one of the things that we find it important to ask, is whether or not their family can help them out. Sometimes people don’t want to ask their family for help, yet in God’s sight, He would rather that the family be the first place we go to for help.

:4 for this is good and acceptable before God

acceptableapodektos – accepted, acceptable, agreeable

Some people are too proud to ask their family for help, but I wonder if sometimes our financial hardships are the very things that God wants to use to help repair families, to force them to work together and take care of each other.

This is what we are to “learn” (vs. 4 “learn to show piety”) with our families - to take care of each other.
I think it’s important that the church not short-circuit this kind of thing by stepping in and rescuing people when they need to learn to do things God’s way.
Sometimes the embarrassment of asking the family is what a person needs to motivate them to take care of their own needs properly.

:5 Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day.

:5 she who is really a widow

Paul is going to give some qualifications about the people the church should be helping.

Again, I’m not sure that most of the people we’ve helped fall into this category.
Just to be honest with you – when people ask me for help at church, I tend to open my wallet and help them. I’m not good at following Paul’s guidelines.
Yet I almost always feel guilty afterwards for helping them.

:5 left alone

left alonemonoo – to make single or solitary; leave alone, forsake

The gal who is “really a widow” has no one else to help her.

:5 trusts in God

trustselpizo – to hope; hopefully to trust in

It’s in the “perfect” tense. She has hoped and trusted in God in the past and continues to trust in God.

Perhaps again this is the idea that she has no one else to trust in for help but God since she is “left alone”.

When you get to vs. 11-12, it would seem that part of being a “widow indeed” is a pledge not to get remarried.  She is not trusting in getting a husband, but is hoping in God.

:5 continues in supplications and prayers night and day

continuesprosmeno – to remain with, to continue with one; to hold fast to; to remain still

supplicationsdeesis – need, indigence, want, privation, penury; a seeking, asking, entreating, entreaty to God or to man

prayersproseuche – prayer addressed to God

The “really a widow” gal is one who has a serious prayer life.

I’d suggest that the church is “hiring” or “supporting” these kinds of gals to be their prayer warriors.

Women who will pray like this:

Video:  War Room – Prayer Scene
I wonder if some of this might have been at the root of the idea of a “nun” being married to Jesus, and living a life of prayer – though you’ll see in a minute that most nuns wouldn’t qualify.

:6 But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives.

:6 she who lives in pleasure is dead

pleasurespatalao – to live luxuriously, lead a voluptuous life, (give one’s self to pleasure)

The church’s welfare system wasn’t meant for people to take it easy and “live the good life”.

is deadthnesko – to die, to be dead

Perfect tense. She has died in the past and is still dead.


Living for pleasure

If all you are living for is the pleasure you might receive in this life, you’re heading down a dead end.
Look at how Moses’ faith in the Lord impacted his own life:
(Hebrews 11:24–26 NKJV) —24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.

Moses saw that the pleasures of sin were “passing”, they wouldn’t last.

Moses would rather feel the rebuke of following God than all the treasures of Egypt.

He knew that in the end, when he got to heaven, that he was the one getting the best treasure.

:7 And these things command, that they may be blameless.

commandparaggello – to transmit a message along from one to another, to declare, announce; to command, order, charge

blamelessanepileptos – not apprehended, that cannot be laid hold of; that cannot be reprehended, not open to censure, irreproachable

Paul wants Timothy to put these things into action so that both the ladies, as well as the church, might be doing the right things.

I think it’s important that we be careful to spend the funds that have been entrusted to the church on the right kinds of things.

:8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

:8 if anyone does not provide for his own


Take care of your family

providepronoeo – to perceive before, foresee; think of beforehand; to provide for one
Providing for your family involves thinking ahead and planning for the needs of your family.
This is our responsibility, to provide for our family.
especiallymalista – especially, chiefly, most of all, above all
Superlative form of mala (“very”)

:8 he has denied the faith

deniedarneomai – to deny; to deny, abnegate, abjure

If you do not take the responsibilities of taking care of your family seriously, you are worse than an unbeliever.

:9 Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man,

taken into the numberkatalego – to lay down; to set down in a list or register, to enroll

:10 well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work.

:9 Do not let a widow …


Widow rules

Paul gives more rules about who the church should regularly support.

1) She has to be at least 60 years old. (vs. 9)

2) She has to be a “one man woman” (vs.9)

This is similar to Paul’s requirements for an overseer or deacon where they were to be “one woman man” (1Tim. 3:2; 3:12)
(1 Timothy 3:2 NKJV) A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach;
(1 Timothy 3:12 NKJV) Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
Here, these “widows” were to formerly be a “one man woman”
This might refer to monogamy vs. polygamy, though it might also refer to divorce and remarriage.

3) A reputation for good works

What follows are samples of those good works.
well reportedmartureo – to be a witness, to bear witness; give a good report
goodkalos – beautiful, handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, surpassing, precious, useful, suitable, commendable, admirable
a. Brought up children.
brought up childrenteknotropheo (“children” + “nourish”) – to bring up children
She’s been a mom, though none of her children have survived or else they would be supporting her.
b. lodged strangers
lodged strangersxenodocheo – to receive and entertain hospitably, to be hospitable
She has demonstrated hospitality.
c. washed the saints’ feet
This was servant’s work, just as Jesus did at the Last Supper (John 13).
d. relieved the afflicted
afflictedthlibo – to press (as grapes), press hard upon; metaph. to trouble, afflict, distress
relievedeparkeo – to avail or be strong enough for; to aid, give assistance, relieve
The language is that of a relief worker helping those who have gone through difficult times.
e. diligently followed every good work
diligently followedepakoloutheo – to follow (close) upon, follow after; to tread in one’s footsteps i.e. to imitate his example
I think the idea is that whenever she has seen a good work done by someone else, she has done the same thing.
Perhaps the idea is that of following close after Jesus’ example.

:11 But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry,

:12 having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith.

:11 refuse the younger widows

refuseparaiteomai – to ask along side; to refuse, decline; to shun, avoid

Timothy was to encourage the church to NOT help the gals who were too young, perhaps those younger than sixty.

:11 begun to grow wanton

grow wantonkatastreniao – to feel the impulses of sexual desire

Younger gals may want to eventually remarry.

:12 cast off their first faith

condemnationkrima – a decree, judgments; judgment; condemnation of wrong, the decision (whether severe or mild) which one passes on the faults of others

cast offatheteo – to do away with, to set aside, disregard; to thwart the efficacy of anything, nullify, make void, frustrate; to reject, to refuse, to slight

Evidently one of the pledges on joining the order of widows was not to marry.

If these gals were young enough, they’d want to get married and then break their pledge to the Lord.
It’s not wrong for the gals to want to get married, it’s only wrong if they’ve made a lifelong pledge to stay unmarried and then turn around and break their pledge.

There is value to not being married, and it’s apparently this value that was employed by these “widows”. Paul wrote,

(1 Corinthians 7:34–35 NKJV) —34 There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. 35 And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.

:13 And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.

Paul gives more reasons why younger gals should not be put on the list.

:13 besides they learn to be idle

to be idleargos – free from labor, at leisure; lazy, shunning the labor which one ought to perform

wanderingperierchomai – to go about; of strollers; of wanderers; of navigators (making a circuit)

gossipsphluaros (“to bubble”) – of persons uttering or doing silly things, garrulous, babbling; of things, foolish, trifling, vain

busybodiesperiergos – busy about trifles and neglectful of important matters; esp. busy about other folks’ affairs


Idle Trouble

There is some truth to that old adage, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”.
Paul’s concern is that younger widows will be tempted to just get themselves into trouble because of their idleness and end up causing trouble in the church.
They start poking their noses into places they don’t belong and stirring up trouble.
It’s not just young widows that have trouble with idleness, we can all have that trouble.
(2 Thessalonians 3:6–12 NLT) —6 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us. 7 For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. 8 We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow. 10 Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.” 11 Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. 12 We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living.
I get the idea that someone who is constantly gossiping about others must have too much time on their hands.
Victor Hugo, in Les Miserables writes,
“There exist beings who, for the sake of obtaining the key to these enigmas, which are, moreover, of no consequence whatever to them, spend more money, waste more time, take more trouble, than would be required for ten good actions, and that gratuitously, for their own pleasure, without receiving any other payment for their curiosity than curiosity...Why? For no reason. A pure passion for seeing, knowing, and penetrating into things. A pure itch for talking. And often these secrets once known, these mysteries made public, these enigmas illuminated by the light of day, bring on catastrophes, duels, failures, the ruin of families, and broken lives, to the great joy of those who have “found out everything,” without any interest in the matter, and by pure instinct. A sad thing. Certain persons are malicious solely through a necessity for talking. Their conversation, the chat of the drawing-room, gossip of the anteroom, is like those chimneys which consume wood rapidly; they need a great amount of combustibles; and their combustibles are furnished by their neighbors.”

Idleness leads to trouble…

:14 Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

:14 I desire that the younger widows marry

I desireboulomai – to will deliberately, have a purpose, be minded; of willing as an affection, to desire

bear childrenteknogoneo – beget or bear children

Paul’s exhortation to Timothy is for these younger gals to get remarried and stay busy.

In today’s society, he might have recommended they “get a job”.

manage the house oikodespoteo (“house” + “tyrant, despot, master”) – to be master (or head) of a house; to rule a household, manage family affairs

:14 give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully

opportunityaphorme – a place from which a movement or attack is made, a base of operations

adversaryantikeimai – to be set over against, opposite to; to oppose, be adverse to, withstand

speak reproachfullyloidoria – railing, reviling

When we as believers get into trouble with our idleness, we open a door for the devil to accuse the church.

We give him a “base of operations” inside the church.

:15 For some have already turned aside after Satan.

:15 some have already turned aside after Satan

turned asideektrepo – to turn or twist out; in a medical sense used of dislocated limbs; to turn off or aside

Paul isn’t talking about hypothetical situations.

Of the past 11 years that Paul has spent with Timothy, three of those years were spent in Ephesus.

I imagine that Paul has some Ephesians in mind when he writes these things.
He’s probably also seen these things in other churches – like the Thessalonians.


Help isn’t always helpful

I think the overall warning of this passage is for those of us who want to empty out our pockets at every cry for help.
When a butterfly or moth is struggling to get out of its chrysalis, it’s important that it’s allowed to struggle.
If your child is doing a science project and watching the chrysalis, it’s important that you don’t try to help the creature out by cutting the cocoon, thinking you’d make it easier for the butterfly.
The butterfly needs to squeeze out the fluid that’s inside of the wings, and if it doesn’t have the tiny hold in the cocoon to squeeze it out of, it won’t be able to fly.
Parents face the same issue when it comes to raising their kids.
Your kids need to learn to know the pain of falling down every once in a while.
They need to know the pain of failure if they are going to learn to push through and grow.
Sometimes our helping others isn’t really helping at all.
Sometimes we are enabling others to end up getting themselves into trouble.

:16 If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows.

:16 let them relieve them


relieveeparkeo – to avail or be strong enough for; to aid, give assistance, relieve; to give aid from one’s own resources

burdenedbareo – to burden, weigh down, depress

People should meet the needs of their families, and not the church. The church should be taking care of those who have nowhere else to turn.


To help or not to help

As believers we are faced with the responsibility of learning to pay attention to the Spirit’s leading when it comes to helping people in need.
We want to be sure to help when we’re supposed to.
(Proverbs 3:27 NLT) Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them.
(Matthew 25:37–40 NLT) —37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
And yet there are going to be times when the worst thing we could do is to give someone money.
That’s what this passage has taught us – that some people will allow Satan a foothold in their life because they no longer need to work hard or trust in God for their needs.
Sometimes money isn’t what people need.
When Peter and John met the lame man at the gate of the Temple, they didn’t have what the guy was asking for. He was asking for “alms”, for money.
(Acts 3:6 NKJV) Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”
May God give us the wisdom to know how the best way is to help.