21 Oct. 1 Timothy 5:1-22

21 Oct. Be patient with elderly men and care for elderly widows

"Do not speak angrily to an older man, but plead with him as if he were your father. Treat younger men like brothers, older women like mothers and younger women like sisters. Always treat them in a pure way."

"Take care of widows who are truly widows. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to do their duty to their own family and to repay their parents or grandparents. That pleases God."

"The true widow, who is all alone, puts her hope in God and continues to pray night and day for God's help. But the widow who uses her life to please herself is really dead while she is alive."

"Tell the believers to do these things so that no one can criticise them. Whoever does not care for his own relatives, especially his own family members, has turned against the faith and is worse than someone who does not believe in God."

"To be on the list of widows, a woman must be at least 60 years old. She must have been faithful to her husband. She must be known for her good works - works such as raising her children, accepting strangers, washing the feet of God's people, helping those in trouble and giving her life to do all kinds of good deeds..."

"If any woman who is a believer has widows in her family, she should care for them herself. The church should not have to care for them. Then it will be able to take care of those who are truly widows."

"The elders [Greek 'presbyteroi' - presbyters or elders] who lead the church well should receive double honour, especially those who work hard by speaking and teaching, because the Scripture says, "When an ox is working in the grain, do not cover its mouth to keep it from eating," [Deuteronomy 25:4] and "A worker should be given his pay." [Luke 10:7]

"Do not listen to someone who accuses an elder, without two or three witnesses. Tell those who continue sinning that they are wrong. Do this in front of the whole church so that the others will have a warning."

"Before God and Christ Jesus and the chosen angels, I command you to do these things without showing favour of any kind to anyone. Think carefully before you lay your hands on anyone, and don't share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure."

          (1 Timothy 5:1-22)



Paul continues his advice to his young colleague Timothy whom he has left in Ephesus to supervise the believers there. Today's guidelines for running the church are about caring for elderly members of the congregation.

He instructs Timothy to show respect to older men and to care for widows without any family. Roman society was largely ignorant of the difficulties often caused by dementia in older life, but there is no doubt that many elderly people would have suffered from memory loss and impairment of judgement. Paul tells Timothy to have patience with the elderly members of his congregation, and not to get frustrated or angry with them.

He points out that an elderly widow with relatives should be cared for by her own family. Children and grandchildren should look after the older members of their family. Anyone who doesn’t “is worse than someone who does not believe in God” (1 Timothy 5:8).

Paul suggests that widows over sixty years old and without any family should receive financial support from the believers; but he advises that younger widows (who would not have been expected to work in Roman society) should re-marry.

Church leaders who work hard at teaching and preaching should be duly honoured and receive sufficient financial reward to support their family, as “a worker should be given his pay” (1 Timothy 5:18) (see Luke 10:7). Accusations against church leaders should be tested, but should only be heard if there are two or more witnesses. If necessary, leaders should be held to account before the whole congregation.

Paul urges Timothy not to show favouritism to others, and never to indulge in sexual sin or share in the sinful behaviour of others.

The photo shows an old man selling freshly-baked bread (by Peter van der Sluijs).

You can read more of Paul's advice on running a church @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/1…/holding-onto-the-truth/

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