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1Timothy 5:17-25

Thursday Evening Bible Study

March 15, 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.

5:17-18 Paying Pastors

:17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.

:17 the elders who rule well

wellkalos – beautifully, finely, excellently, well

ruleproistemi – to set or place before; to be over, to superintend, preside over; to be a protector or guardian

elderspresbuteros – elder, of age; a term of rank or office

Paul is going to be talking about what we might call “pastors”.

:17 be counted worthy of double honor

doublediplous – twofold, double

honortime – a valuing by which the price is fixed; of the price itself; honor which belongs or is shown to one

be counted worthyaxioo – to think meet, fit, right; to judge worthy, deem, deserving

Our passage last week was about “honoring widows”

(1 Timothy 5:3 NKJV) Honor widows who are really widows.
We saw that involved financially supporting them.

Paul is talking about supporting those in leadership in the church.  We would apply this to paying pastors.

:17 labor in the word and doctrine

especiallymalista – especially, chiefly, most of all, above all

laborkopiao – to grow weary, tired, exhausted; to labor with wearisome effort, to toil

wordlogos – word

doctrinedidaskalia – teaching, instruction


Teaching is hard

The “elders” who are worthy of “double honor” not only “rule well”, or guide the church, but they also work hard at teaching the Word.
Teaching doesn’t have to require hard work.
Some fellows get by with preaching other people’s sermons.
Others will just get up in front and talk about whatever comes to mind.
Teaching ought to be a labor of love.
It can involve working at the original languages – learning what the actual text is saying.
It can involve learning history and culture – understanding the historical background to a passage, understanding the culture and context of the times that a book or passage was written.
It can involve working to help your listeners apply the passage to their lives.
It’s teaching in a way that can be understood.

The goal of teaching is to help the student understand what they’re reading.

Video:  Dead Poets’ Society – Carpe Diem

I think I work pretty hard at my teaching, and I think I’m a fairly good communicator, yet I am still amazed when I talk to people that the obvious points of a message weren’t understood.

Teaching is hard.

And then on top of all that, with Scripture there is the heavy responsibility a teacher has to get it right.
James wrote,

(James 3:1 NKJV) My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.

A teacher is supposed to teach God’s Word accurately, to represent God’s ideas well.

There’s a strict judgment for leading people astray because you’ve taught bad doctrine.

:18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”

:18 The laborer is worthy

treads out the grainaloao – to thresh

muzzlephimoo – to close the mouth with a muzzle, to muzzle

worthyaxious – weighing, having weight, having the weight of another thing of like value, worth as much; befitting, congruous, corresponding to a thing

laborerergates – a workman, a laborer

wagesmisthos – dues paid for work


Pay the pastor

First Paul quotes from:
(Deuteronomy 25:4 NKJV) “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.

When the wheat and barley were harvested, the actual grain used for making flour needed to be separated from the stalks and the chaff.  One of the ways that was done was by walking your oxen through the piles of material.  They still do this in places like Tajikistan. 

Video:  Rural Tajikistan – Threshing Oxen

Eventually the pile is trampled down to something like this…

Video:  Rural Tajikistan – Threshing Oxen pt.2

The principle God lays out in Deuteronomy was that if you expect your ox to be working for hours walking over the grain, you ought to let him have the freedom of stopping and munching on some of that grain while he’s working.  You don’t put a muzzle on him to keep him from eating.

Paul then quotes from Jesus when He is giving instructions to the 70 guys He would send out on various mission trips:
(Luke 10:7 NKJV) And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house.

Jesus was instructing the fellows to allow folks to show them hospitality, take them into their homes, and feed them.

After all, they would be working hard and would have earned their “wages”.

The Mormon church is proud that they do not pay their “bishops”, somewhat equivalent to our “pastors”.
Paul says it’s okay to pay leaders at a church.

5:19-20 Elder accusations

:19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.

:19 an accusation against an elder

accusationkategoria – accusation, charge

receiveparadechomai – to receive, take up, take upon one’s self

witnessesmartus – a witness


Be slow to believe

The phrase “two or three witnesses” comes from another principle established in the Law of Moses.
(Deuteronomy 19:15 NKJV) “One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.
Paul is not giving “elders” any more benefit than what everyone deserves.
Slander and lies can pop up anywhere with anyone.  Everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt and we should be slow to believe an accusation until it is corroborated by more witnesses.
Elders and pastors are human beings, and they will sin just like everyone else.  They need their share of rebuking and repenting like everyone else.
But because they are in the frontlines of God’s army, they will also face more attacks than anyone else, including attacks of slander.
Paul is giving good advice that we ought to take in regards to anyone, but especially for those in leadership.
Sometimes people get their feelings hurt and when they tell their story to others, things can come out kind of slanted.
I think some people are out to make a name for themselves, and so they cook up crazy stories to get noticed.
Others think they’re doing God’s work in “exposing” bad pastors, when in fact they’re only paranoid little men who will criticize and condemn every single person who doesn’t believe exactly like they do.

Over the years I’ve seen these “heresy hunters” go after many good pastors and accuse them of heresy for no more than using the “wrong” Bible translation.

Chuck Smith used to be criticized all the time.  Greg Laurie is constantly criticized.  Other good men like Rick Warren are attacked for the silliest things.

Also be careful that the “two or three witnesses” aren’t just telling the same story originated by one individual.
That’s the problem with today’s “fake news” – one bad source puts out a story, and everyone copies it.

:20 Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.

:20 rebuke in the presence of all

sinninghamartano – to miss the mark; to wander from the law of God, violate God’s law, sin

rebukeelegcho – to convict, refute, confute; to find fault with, correct; to rebuke with sufficient cause, to bring the one rebuked to a confession or at least a conviction of sin.

in the presenceenopion – in the presence of, before


Public rebuke

If an elder has indeed done something wrong, Paul is telling Timothy that the elder ought to be “rebuked” in front of the whole church.
Elders are to set an example.  And sometimes that example involves being rebuked.
The act of a public rebuke ought to put fear and trembling into anyone.
Some churches want to sweep pastoral sins under the rug – Paul says there should be an open rebuke.

The Catholic church wouldn’t have some of its troubles if they had dealt this way with priests who are abusers.

We may not like it when a pastor’s sins make the newspaper, but it does fit this prescription.
Anyone want to be a pastor now?

5:21 Partiality

:21 I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality.

chargediamarturomai – to testify; earnestly, religiously to charge; to attest, testify to, solemnly affirm

observephulasso – to guard; to watch, keep watch; to guard for one’s self (i.e. for one’s safety’s sake) so as not to violate, i.e. to keep, observe (the precepts of the Mosaic law)

prejudiceprokrima – an opinion formed before the facts are known; a prejudgment, a prejudice

partialityprosklisis (“towards” + “bowing”, “leaning”) – an inclination or proclivity of mind; a joining the party of one; partiality

:21 doing nothing with partiality

I think Paul may still have some of these ideas like “rebuking elders” in his mind while he’s writing this.

Paul’s “charge” to Timothy is before God, Jesus, and the angels – those who will see Timothy even if others don’t.


Playing Favorites

The tendency is to either play favorites with someone because we like them, so we go a little bit easier on them.
Sometimes it’s because we’re fearful of someone and so we hold back doing what we need to do.
James wrote,
(James 2:1–4 NLT) —1 My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? 2 For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. 3 If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, 4 doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?

We shouldn’t treat people differently just because they look wealthy or influential.

We should treat everyone the same.

John Barrier didn’t like the way a bank manager in Spokane, WA, looked at him—like he’d “crawled out from under a rock” because of his dirty construction clothes.  So Barrier, who just wanted a parking slip validated, took his money and left -- $1 million at the time.  It began when Barrier, 59, went to Old National Bank to cash a $100 check.  When he tried to validate the slip to save 60 cents, a receptionist refused, saying he hadn’t conducted a transaction.  “She said you have to make a deposit,” he says.  “I told her I’m considered a substantial depositor and she looked at me like... well.”  He asked to see the manager, who also refused to stamp the ticket.  Barrier went to bank headquarters vowing to withdraw his $2 million plus unless the manager apologized.  No call came.  “So the next day I went over and the first amount I took out was $1 million.”  “But if you have $100 in a bank or $1 million,” he says, “I think they owe you the courtesy of stamping your parking ticket.” 

-- Elisa Tinsley, USA Today

5:22-25 Patient Choices

:22 Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure.

:22 Do not lay hands on anyone hastily

hastilytacheos – quickly, shortly

share inkoinoneo – to come into communion or fellowship with, to become a sharer, be made a partner; to enter into fellowship, join one’s self to an associate, make one’s self a sharer or partner


Patient Promotion

When Paul talks about “lay hands on” someone, he’s talking about promoting someone into a position of leadership.
A few weeks ago I mentioned that “laying on of hands” might simply refer to the bestowal of spiritual gifts –

(1 Timothy 4:14 NKJV) Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.

But as I think about it, I think that Paul was indeed talking about the idea of laying hands on Timothy to “promote” him to the role of pastor of the church.

When the apostles put the first six men into the position of “deacon” (Acts 6:6), they “laid hands” on them, as a way of saying that these men had their blessing and authority.
(Acts 6:6 NKJV) whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.
When Paul and Barnabas were sent out from Antioch on their first missionary journey –
(Acts 13:3 NKJV) Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.
Paul is encouraging Timothy not to put people into leadership too quickly.
Paul connects this with “sharing” in another person’s sins.
I believe the idea is that some people can fool you about who they are.

If you raise them up too quickly, you may get a nasty surprise.

You “share” in their sins because you’ve promoted them.

You may not be guilty of doing what that other person is doing, but if you put them into leadership, it makes it look as if you condone the sin.

Paul will explain more about this in verse 24-25.

:22 keep yourself pure

purehagnos – venerable, sacred; pure

This is the third time that Paul has used a form of this word with Timothy.

Timothy was to set an example:

(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.

Timothy was to be careful how he treated the younger gals:

(1 Timothy 5:2 NKJV) …younger women as sisters, with all purity.

Now Timothy needed to be careful about getting mixed up with other men’s sins:

(1 Timothy 5:22 NKJV) Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure.

Note:  There are two more uses of “pure” in English, but it’s a different word in Greek (katharos – “clean”)

(1 Timothy 1:5 NKJV) Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,
(1 Timothy 3:9 NKJV) holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.

:23 No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.

:23 use a little wine for your stomach’s sake

drink only waterhudropoteo – to drink water, be a drinker of water

usechraomai – to receive a loan; to take for one’s use, to use

frequentpuknos – thick, dense, compact; often, more frequently, the oftener

infirmitiesastheneia – want of strength, weakness, infirmity

Paul stops his train of thought about elders and has a quick bit of medical advice for Timothy.

Water in those days had no safety testing standards.

There were no water treatment plants filtering the water.
Water contained all sorts of bacteria and things like Montezuma’s revenge. 

A common practice in ancient days was to mix a little wine into the water, and that would cut down the bacteria.


Take your meds

Some folks get this crazy notion that it somehow lacks faith to go to a doctor for your ailments.
Don’t forget that one of Paul’s constant traveling companions was Dr. Luke.
I think we ought to pay attention to Paul’s admonition to Timothy and do something about our “frequent infirmities”.

Back to the elder issues…

:24 Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later.

:24 Some men’s sins are clearly evident

clearly evidentprodelos – openly evident, known to all, manifest

precedingproago – to lead forward, lead forth; in a forensic sense, to bring one forth to trial

follow laterepakoloutheo – to follow (close) upon, follow after

Some people are very open about their unrepentant sin, and they don’t hide anything.

Their sins are leading them straight into God’s judgment.

:24 those of some men follow later

Some people’s sins aren’t so obvious.

They do a good job covering them up so people don’t see it.

You won’t see their sin unless you give it some time.

This is one of the reasons why one of my general rules is to not ask someone to be an elder at the church unless they’ve been with us for at least five years.

I want to make sure I’m not getting the church into a problem if I can avoid it.
I also want to make sure that this is a fellow who has had enough time with us that they are committed to us as we are, and not someone who wants to come in and change everything.

:25 Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden.

clearly evidentprodelos – openly evident, known to all, manifest

hiddenkrupto – to hide, conceal, to be hid; escape notice

:25 the good works of some are clearly evident

Just as sins are sometimes obvious, and sometimes not, good works are also the same.

With some people, the good things they do are out in the open, and you know who did them – that’s not always a bad thing.

Jesus said,
(Matthew 5:16 NKJV) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Some people work hard to cover up the good things they do.  They are trying to follow a different rule of Jesus:

(Matthew 6:1 NKJV) “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.
These folks try to keep their good deeds quiet.
Yet even these folks have character traits that will eventually show that they are a good person doing good things.

:22 Do not lay hands on anyone hastily


Patient Commitments

If you slow down and take your time, you can do some amazing things.
I want to show you what can happen if you have the patience to balance a feather…
Video:  The Incredible Power of Concentration – Miyoko Shida

I cut about four minutes out of the middle.  It takes her a long time to put each piece in place.

I think Paul’s principles apply to more than just picking leaders in a church.
I think they can apply to our business commitments.
Sometimes we don’t have the luxury of taking our time before making a commitment, but often we do have time.

Be careful about a person putting pressure on you to make a commitment to them or their business when you don’t have to.

One of the reasons people put pressure on you to commit to buying that new car is that you might change your mind if you knew just a little bit more…

I think these principles apply to romantic relationships.
Anyone can fool you to think they are a good person for a couple of weeks.
I think you’re much better off if you give enough time to a relationship so you can see them on their bad days and not just their good ones.

Deb and I dated off and on for a year before becoming engaged.  We were engaged for a year before getting married.

Maybe you think that nobody will want to be with you if they knew you.

That’s no reason to hide the truth, it’s a reason to commit to change.

You might think that nobody is going to be able to tell if you changed – yet Paul says that even good works will eventually be known if you give it time.