1 Timothy 5
Vincent's Word Studies
Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
Rebuke not an elder (πρεσβυτέρῳ μὴ ἐπιπλήξῃς)

The verb N.T.o. olxx. originally to lay on blows; hence to castigate with words. Πρεσβύτερος elder, oP., but frequent in Gospels, Acts, and Revelation. Modern critical opinion has largely abandoned the view that the original Christian polity was an imitation of that of the Synagogue. The secular and religious authorities of the Jewish communities, at least in purely Jewish localities, were the same; a fact which is against the probability that the polity was directly transferred to the Christian church. The prerogatives of the Jewish elders have nothing corresponding with them in extent in the Christian community. Functions which emerge later in the Jewish-Christian communities of Palestine do not exist in the first Palestinian-Christian society. At the most, as Weizscker observes, it could only be a question of borrowing a current name.

Modern criticism compels us, I think, to abandon the view of the identity of Bishop and Presbyter which has obtained such wide acceptance, especially among English scholars, through the discussions of Lightfoot and Hatch. The testimony of Clement of Rome (Ep. ad Corinth.) goes to show that the Bishops (ἡγούμενοι or προηγούμενοι) are distinguished from the Presbyters, and that if the Bishops are apparently designated as Presbyters, it is, because they have been chosen from the body of Presbyters, and have retained the name even when they have ceased to hold office. for this reason deceased Bishops are called Presbyters. In Clement, Presbyters signify a class or estate - members of long standing and approved character, and not office-bearers regularly appointed. Among these the Bishops are to be sought. Bishops are reckoned as Presbyters, not because the Presbyter as such is a Bishop, but because the Bishop as such is a Presbyter. In the Pastorals, Bishops and Deacons are associated without mention of Presbyters (1 Timothy 3:1-13). Presbyters are referred to in 1 Timothy 5:17-19, but in an entirely different connection. The qualifications of Bishops and Deacons are detailed in the former passage, and the list of qualifications concludes with the statement that this is the ordering of the church as the house of God (1 Timothy 5:14, 1 Timothy 5:15). The offices are exhausted in the description of Bishops and Deacons. Nothing is said of Presbyters until ch. 5, where Timothy's relations to individual church-members are prescribed; and in Titus 2:2 ff. these members are classified as old men (πρεσβύτας) old women, young men, and servants. In 1 Timothy 5:17 are mentioned elders who rule well (οἱ καλῶς προεστῶτες πρεσβύτεροι). Assuming that Presbyters and Bishops were identical, a distinction would thus be implied between two classes of Bishops - those who rule well and those who do not: where as the distinction is obviously between old and honored church-members, collectively considered, forming the presbyterial body, and certain of their number who show their qualifications for appointment as overseers. Presbyters as such are not invested with office. There is no formal act constituting a Presbyter. The Bishops are reckoned among the Elders, but the elders as such are not officers.

Thus are to be explained the allusions to appointed Elders, Titus 1:5; Acts 14:23. Elders are to be appointed as overseers or Bishops, for the overseers must have the qualifications of approved Presbyters. The ordination of Presbyters is the setting apart of Elders to the position of Superintendents. The Presbyterate denotes an honorable and influential estate in the church on the ground of age, duration of church membership, and approved character. Only Bishops are appointed. There is no appointment to the Presbyterate. At the close of Clement's letter to the Corinthians, the qualifications of a Presbyter are indicated in the description of the three commissioners from the Roman church who are the bearers of the letter, and to whom no official title is given. They are old, members of the Roman church from youth, blameless in life, believing, and sober.

The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.
The elder women (πρεσβυτέρας)

N.T.o. Comp. πρεσβύτιδας aged women, Titus 2:3. The word indicates distinction in age merely, although some think that it points to an official position which is further referred to in the following directions concerning widows.

Honour widows that are widows indeed.
Honor (τίμα)

Not only by respectful treatment but by financial support. Comp. τιμήσει, Matthew 15:5, and πολλαῖς τιμαῖς ἐτίμησαν, Acts 28:10; and διπλῆς τιμῆς 1 Timothy 5:17. Comp. Sir. 38:1. 'The verb only once in Paul (Ephesians 6:2, citation), and only here in Pastorals.

Widows (χήρας)

Paul alludes to widows in 1 Corinthians 7:8 only, where he advises them against remarrying. They are mentioned as a class in Acts 6:1, in connection with the appointment of the seven. Also Acts 9:39, Acts 9:41. In the Pastorals they receive special notice, indicating their advance from the position of mere beneficiaries to a quasi-official position in the church. from the very first, the church recognised its obligation to care for their support. A widow, in the East, was peculiarly desolate and helpless. In return for their maintenance certain duties were required of them, such as the care of orphans, sick and prisoners, and they were enrolled in an order, which, however, did not include all of their number who received alms of the church. In Polycarp's Epistle to the Philippians, they are styled "the altar of God." To such an order the references in the Pastorals point. The Fathers, from the end of the second century to the fourth, recognised a class known as πρεσβύτιδες aged women (Titus 2:3), who had oversight of the female church-members and a separate seat in the congregation. The council of Laodicaea abolished this institution, or so modified it that widows no longer held an official relation to the church.

Who are widows indeed (τὰς ὄντως χήρας)

Comp. 1 Timothy 5:5, 1 Timothy 5:16. Ὄντως verily, truly, twice in Paul, 1 Corinthians 14:25; Galatians 3:21. See on 2 Peter 2:18. Wherever ὄντως is used by Paul or by any other N.T. writer, it is used purely as an adverb (see Luke 23:47; Luke 24:34): but in all the four instances in the Pastorals, it is preceded by the article and converted into an adjective. The meaning is, who are absolutely bereaved, without children or relations (comp. 1 Timothy 5:4), and have been but once married. There is probably also an implied contrast with those described in 1 Timothy 5:6, 1 Timothy 5:11-13.

But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.
Nephews (ἔκγονα)

N.T.o. Often in lxx. Nephews, in the now obsolete sense of grandsons or other lineal descendants. Derived from Lat. nepos. Trench (Select Glossary) remarks that nephew was undergone exactly the same change of meaning that nepos underwent, which, in the Augustan age, meaning grandson, in the post-Augustan age acquired the signification of nephew in our present acceptation of that word. Chaucer:

"How that my nevew shall my bane be."

Legend of Good Women, 2659.

'His (Jove's) blind nevew Cupido."

House of Fame, 67.

Jeremy Taylor: "Nephews are very often liken to their grandfathers than to their fathers."

Let them learn

The subject is the children and grandchildren. Holtzmann thinks the subject is any widow, used collectively. But the writer is treating of what should be done to the widow, not of what she is to do. The admonition is connected with widows indeed. They, as being utterly bereft, and without natural supporters, are to be cared for by the church; but if they have children or grandchildren, these should assume their maintenance.

First (πρῶτον)

In the first place: as their first and natural obligation.

To show piety at home (τὸν ἴδιον οἶκον εὐσεβεῖν)

More correctly, to show piety toward their own family. Piety in the sense of filial respect, though not to the exclusion of the religious sense. The Lat. pietas includes alike love and duty to the gods and to parents. Thus Virgil's familiar designation of Aeneas, "pius Aeneas," as describing at once his reverence for the gods and his filial devotion. The verb εὐσεβεῖν (only here and Acts 17:23) represents filial respect as an element of godliness (εὐσέβεια). For τὸν ἴδιον their own, see on Acts 1:7. It emphasizes their private, personal belonging, and contrasts the assistance given by them with that furnished by the church. It has been suggested that οἶκον household or family may mark the duty as an act of family feeling and honor.

To requite (ἀμοιβὰς ἀποδιδόναι)

An entirely unique expression. Ἁμοιβή requital, recompense is a familiar classical word, used with διδόναι to give, ἀποτιθέναι to lay down, τίνειν to pay, ποιεῖσθαι to make. N.T.o. Paul uses instead ἀντιμισθία (Romans 1:27; 2 Corinthians 6:13), or ἀνταπόδομα, (Romans 11:9), or ἀνταπόδοσις (Colossians 3:24). The last two are lxx words.

Their parents (τοῖς προγόνοις)

N.T.o. Parents is too limited. The word comprehends mothers and grandmothers and living ancestors generally. The word for parents is γονεῖς, see 2 Timothy 3:2; Romans 1:30; 2 Corinthians 12:14; Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20. Πρόγονοι for living ancestors is contrary to usage. One instance is cited from Plato, Laws, xi. 932. The word is probably selected to correspond in form with ἔκγονα children.

Good and acceptable (καλὸν καὶ ἀποδεκτὸν)

Omit καλὸν καὶ good and. Ἁπόδεκτος acceptable only here and 1 Timothy 2:3. See note.

Before (ἐνώπιον)

Frequent in N.T., especially Luke and Revelation. It occurs 31 times in the phrases ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ in the sight of God, and ἐνώπιον κυρίου in the sight of the Lord. olxx. Comp. ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ Θεοῦ before God. Acts 10:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 1 Thessalonians 3:9, 1 Thessalonians 3:13. Not in Pastorals, and by Paul only 1 Thessalonians he difference is trifling. Comp. 1 John 3:19 and 1 John 3:22.

Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.
And desolate (καὶ μεμονωμένη)

N.T.o. From μόνος alone. Explanatory of a widow indeed. One entirely bereaved.

Trusteth in God (ἤλπικεν ἐπὶ τὸν Θεὸν)

Strictly hath directed her hope at God. Rev. hath her hope set on God implies ἐπὶ with the dative, as 1 John 3:3.

But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.
Liveth in pleasure (σπαταλῶσα)

Only here and James 5:5. See note. Twice in lxx, Sir. 21:15; Ezekiel 16:49.

Is dead while she liveth (ζῶσα τέθνηκεν)

Comp. Revelation 3:1; Ephesians 4:18. "Life in worldly pleasure is only life in appearance" (Holtzmann).

And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.
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.
Provide (προνοεῖ)

See on Romans 12:17.

His own - those of his own house (τῶν ἰδίων - οἰκείων)

His own relations, see on John 1:11. Those who form part of his family, see on Galatians 6:10.

He hath denied the faith (τὴν πίστιν ἤρνηται)

The verb not in Paul, but Quite often in Pastorals. The phrase only here and Revelation 2:13. Faith demands works and fruits. By refusing the natural duties which Christian faith implies, one practically denies his possession of faith. Faith does not abolish natural duties, but perfects and strengthens them" (Bengel). Comp. James 2:14-17.

Infidel (ἀπίστου)

Better, unbeliever. One who is not a Christian, as 1 Corinthians 6:6; 1 Corinthians 7:12, 1 Corinthians 7:13, etc. Even an unbeliever will perform these duties from natural promptings.

Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man,
Be taken into the number (καταλεγέσθω)

Better, enrolled (as a widow). N.T.o. Very, rare in lxx. Common in Class. Originally, to pick out, as soldiers. Hence, to enroll, enlist. Here, to be enrolled in the body of widows who are to receive church support. See on 1 Timothy 5:3.

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.
Well reported of (μαρτυρουμένη)

Lit. born witness to or attested, as Acts 6:3; Acts 10:22; Hebrews 11:2. Comp. μαρτυρίαν καλὴν ἔχειν to have good testimony, 1 Timothy 3:7.

For good works (ἐν ἔργοις καλοῖς)

Lit. in good works; in the matter of. Comp. 1 Timothy 6:18; Titus 2:7; Titus 3:8, Titus 3:14. In the Gospels, ἔργον work appears with καλὸς and never with ἀγαθὸς. In Paul, always with ἀγαθὸς and never with καλὸς Kings In the Pastorals, with both. The phrase includes good deeds of all kinds, and not merely special works of beneficence. Comp. Acts 9:36.

If (εἰ)

Introducing the details of the general expression good works.

Have brought up children (ἐτεκνοτρόφησεν)

N.T.o. olxx; very rare in Class. The children may have been her own or others'.

Lodged strangers (ἐξενοδόχησεν)

N.T.o. olxx. On the duty of hospitality comp. 1 Timothy 3:2; Matthew 25:35; Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:2; 1 Peter 4:9; 3 John 1:5.

Washed the feet

A mark of Oriental hospitality bestowed on the stranger arriving from a journey, and therefore closely associated with lodged strangers.

Of the saints (ἁγίων)

Ἅγιος is rare in Class. In lxx, the standard word for holy. Its fundamental idea is setting apart, as in Class., devoted to the gods. In O.T., set apart to God, as priests; as the Israelites consecrated to God. In N.T., applied to Christians. Ideally, it implies personal holiness. It is used of God, Christ, John the Baptist, God's law, the Spirit of God. Paul often uses οἱ ἅγιοι as a common designation of Christians belonging to a certain region or community, as Philippians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Colossians 1:2. In such cases it does not imply actual holiness, but holiness obligatory upon those addressed, as consecrated persons, and appropriate to them. What ought to be is assumed as being. In this sense not in the Gospels (unless, possibly, Matthew 27:52) or in the Epistles of Peter and John. Rare in Acts.

Relieved (ἐπήρκεσεν)

Only here and 1 Timothy 5:16. Comp. 1 Macc. 8:26; 11:35. Common in Class. Originally, to suffice for, to be strong enough for, as in Homer, where it is always used in connection with danger or injury. See Il. ii. 873; Od. xvii. 568. Hence, to ward off, help, assist.

The afflicted (θλιβομένοις)

See on tribulation, Matthew 13:21, and comp. 2 Corinthians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 4:8; 2 Thessalonians 1:6, 2 Thessalonians 1:7; Hebrews 11:37.

Diligently followed (ἐπακο ουθησεν)

Comp. 1 Timothy 5:24. Ἑπὶ after or close upon. oP. Once in the disputed verses at the end of Mark (Mark 16:20), and 1 Peter 2:21. Comp. the use of διώκειν pursue, Romans 9:30; Romans 12:13; 1 Corinthians 14:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:15.

But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;
Younger (νεωτέρας)

Almost in a positive sense, young. Not, under sixty years of age.

Have begun to wax wanton (καταστρηνιάσωσιν)

Not, have begun, but rather, whenever they shall come to wax wanton. Comp. 2 Thessalonians 1:10. The compound verb, signifying to feel the sexual impulse, only here, and not in lxx or Class. The simple verb, στρηνιᾶν to run riot, Revelation 18:7, Revelation 18:9 and the kindred στρῆνος luxury, Revelation 18:3. See note.

Against Christ (τοῦ Χριστοῦ)

Their unruly desire withdraws them from serving Christ in his church, and is, therefore, against him.

This is the only instance in the Pastorals in which the Christ is used without Jesus either before or after. In Paul this is common, both with and without the article.

They will marry (γαμεῖν θέλουσιν)

Better, they are bent on marrying, or determined to marry. The strong expression wax wanton makes it probable that θέλειν expresses more than a desire, as Rev. See on Matthew 1:19. Γαμεῖν to marry, in the active voice, of the wife, as everywhere in N.T. except 1 Corinthians 7:39.

Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.
Having damnation (ἔχουσαι κρίμα)

The phrase only here. See on 1 Timothy 3:6. Damnation is an unfortunate rendering in the light of the present common understanding of the word, as it is also in 1 Corinthians 11:29. Better, judgment or condemnation, as Romans 3:8; Romans 13:2. The meaning is that they carry about with them in their new, married life a condemnation, a continuous reproach. Comp. 1 Timothy 4:2; Galatians 5:10. It should be said for the translators of 1611 that they used damnation in this sense of, judgment or condemnation, as is shown by the present participle having. In its earlier usage the word implied no allusion to a future punishment. Thus Chaucer

"For wel thou woost (knowest) thyselven verraily

That thou and I be dampned to prisoun."

Knight's T. 1175.

Wiclif: "Nethir thou dredist God, that thou art in the same dampnacioun?" Luke 23:40. Laud.: "Pope Alexander III. condemned Peter Lombard of heresy, and he lay under that damnation for thirty and six years." "A legacy by damnation" was one in which the testator imposed on his heir an obligation to give the legatee the thing bequeathed, and which afforded the legatee a personal claim against the heir.

They have cast off their first faith (τὴν πρώτην πίστιν ἠθέτησαν)

Ἁθετεῖν is to set aside, do away with, reject or slight. See Mark 6:26; Luke 10:16; Hebrews 10:28. Often in lxx. Πίστιν is pledge: so frequently in Class. with give and receive. See, for instance, Plato, Phaedr. 256 D. In lxx, 3 Macc. 3:10. The phrase πίστιν ἀθετεῖν N.T.o. olxx. There are, however, a number of expressions closely akin to it, as Galatians 3:15, διαθήκην ἀθετεῖν to render a covenant void. In lxx with oath, 2 Chronicles 36:13. Psalm 14:4: "He that sweareth to his neighbor καὶ οὐκ ἀθετῶν." Psalm 88:34; Psalm 131:11; 1 Macc. 6:62. The meaning here is, having broken their first pledge; and this may refer to a pledge to devote themselves, after they became widows, to the service of Christ and the church. The whole matter is obscure.

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.
They learn (μανθάνουσιν)

To be taken absolutely, as 1 Corinthians 14:31; 2 Timothy 3:7. They go about under the influence of an insatiable curiosity, and meet those who "creep into houses and take captive silly women" (2 Timothy 3:7), and learn all manner of nonsense and error.

Going about (περιερχόμεναι)

oP. Comp. Acts 19:13.

Tattlers (φλύαροι)

N.T.o. Comp. 4 Macc. 5:10. The verb φλυαρεῖν to prate, 3 John 1:10.

Busybodies (περίεργοι)

In this sense only here. Comp. τὰ περίεργα curious arts, Acts 19:19. The participle περιεργαζομένοι busybodies, 2 Thessalonians 3:11. See note. Rend. the whole passage: "And withal, being also idle, they learn, gadding about from house to house; and not only (are they) idle, but tattlers also, and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not."

I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.
That the younger women marry (νεωτέρας γαμεῖν)

Better, the younger widows. This seems to be required by οὖν therefore, connecting the subject of the verb with the class just described. They are enjoined to marry, rather than to assume a position in the church which they might disgrace by the conduct described in 1 Timothy 5:11-13. Comp. 1 Corinthians 7:8, 1 Corinthians 7:9.

Bear children (τεκνογονεῖν)

N.T.o. olxx, oClass. Comp. τεκνογονία childbearing, 1 Timothy 2:15.

Guide the house (οἰκοδεσποτεῖν)

Better, rule the house. N.T.o. olxx, oClass. Ὁικοδεσπότης master of the house is quite common in the Synoptic Gospels.

Occasion (ἀφορμὴν)

See on Romans 7:8.

To the adversary (τῷ ἀντικειμένῳ)

The one who is set over against. Not Satan, but the human enemy of Christianity. Comp. Philippians 1:28, and ὁ ἐξ ἐναντίας he that is of the contrary part, Titus 2:8.

To speak reproachfully (λοιδορίας χάριν)

Lit. in the interest of reviling. Const. with give on occasion. Λοιδορία reviling only here and 1 Peter 3:9. For the verb λοιδορεῖν to revile see John 9:28; Acts 23:4; 1 Corinthians 4:12; and note on John 9:28.

For some are already turned aside after Satan.
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.
Man or woman that believeth (πιστὸς ἣ πιστὴ)

Lit. believing man or woman. But πιστὸς ἢ should be omitted. Read, if any woman that believeth.

Have widows (ἔχει χήρας)

If any Christian woman have relatives or persons attached to her household who are widows

The church be charged

Holtzmann quotes an inscription in the chapel of the Villa Albani at Rome: "To the good Regina her daughter has erected this memorial: to the good Regina her widowed mother, who was a widow for sixty years and never burdened the church after she was the wife of one husband. She lived 80 years, 5 months, and 26 days."

Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
The elders that rule well (οἱ καλῶς προεστῶτες πρεσβύτεροι)

For that rule well, see on καλῶς προΐστάμενον ruling well, 1 Timothy 3:4. The phrase is peculiar to the Pastorals. See on 1 Timothy 5:1.

Double honor (διπλῆς τιμῆς)

This at least includes pecuniary remuneration for services, if it is not limited to that. The use of τιμή as pay or price appears Matthew 27:6, Matthew 27:9; Acts 4:34; Acts 7:16; 1 Corinthians 6:20. Double, not in a strictly literal sense, but as πλείονα τιμὴν more honor, Hebrews 3:3. The comparison is with those Elders who do not exhibit equal capacity or efficiency in ruling. The passage lends no support to the Reformed theory of two classes of Elders - ruling and teaching. The special honor or emolument is assigned to those who combine qualifications for both.

Those who labor (οἱ κοπιῶντες)

See on 1 Timothy 4:10. No special emphasis attaches to the word - hard toiling in comparison with those who do not toil. The meaning is, those who faithfully discharge the arduous duty of teaching. Comp. Hebrews 13:7.

In word and doctrine (ἐν λόγῳ καὶ διδασκαλίᾳ)

Better, word and teaching. Word is general, teaching special. In word signifies, in that class of functions where speech is concerned. The special emphasis (μάλιστα especially) shows the importance which was attached to teaching as an antidote of heresy.

For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
The Scripture (ἡ γραφή)

Comp. 2 Timothy 3:16. To the Jews ἡ γραφή signified the O.T. canon of Scripture; but in most cases ἡ γραφή is used of a particular passage of Scripture which is indicated in the context. See John 7:38, John 7:42; Acts 1:16; Acts 8:32, Acts 8:35; Romans 4:3; Romans 9:17; Romans 10:11; Galatians 3:8. Where the reference is to the sacred writings as a whole, the plural γραφαὶ or αἱ γραφαὶ is used, as Matthew 21:42; Luke 24:32; John 5:39; Romans 15:4. Once γραφαὶ ἅγιαι holy Scriptures, Romans 1:2. Ἑτέρα γραφὴ another or a different Scripture, John 19:37; ἡ γραφὴ αὕτη this Scripture, Luke 4:21; πᾶσα γραφὴ every Scripture, 2 Timothy 3:16. See on writings, John 2:22. The passage cited here is Deuteronomy 25:4, also by Paul, 1 Corinthians 9:9.

Thou shalt not muzzle (οὐ φιμώσεις)

In N.T. mostly in the metaphorical sense of putting to silence. See on speechless, Matthew 22:12, and see on put to silence, Matthew 22:34. Also see on Mark 4:39. On the whole passage see note on 1 Corinthians 9:9.

That treadeth out (ἀλοῶντα)

More correctly, while he is treading out. The verb only here and 1 Corinthians 9:9,1 Corinthians 9:10. Comp. ἅλων a threshing-floor, Matthew 3:12; Luke 3:17. An analogy to the O.T. injunction may be found in the laws giving to the Athenians by the mythical Triptolemus, one of which was, "Hurt not the laboring beast." Some one having violated this command by slaying a steer which was eating the sacred cake that lay upon the altar, - an expiation-feast, Bouphonia or Diipolta was instituted for the purpose of atoning for this offense, and continued to be celebrated in Athens. Aristophanes refers to it (Clouds, 985). A laboring ox was led to the altar of Zeus on the Acropolis, which was strewn with wheat and barley. As soon as the ox touched the grain, he was killed by a blow from an axe. The priest who struck the blow threw away the axe and fled. The flesh of the ox was then eaten, and the hide was stuffed and set before the plough. Then began the steer-trial before a judicial assembly in the Prytaneum, by which the axe was formally condemned to be thrown into the sea.

The laborer is worthy, etc.

A second scriptural quotation would seem to be indicated, but there is no corresponding passage in the O.T. The words are found Luke 10:7, and, with a slight variation, Matthew 10:10. Some hold that the writer adds to the O.T. citation a popular proverb, and that Christ himself used the words in this way. But while different passages of Scripture are often connected in citation by καὶ, it is not according, to N.T. usage thus to connect Scripture and proverb. Moreover, in such series of citations it is customary to use καὶ πάλιν and again, or πάλιν simply. See Matthew 4:7; Matthew 5:33; John 12:39; Romans 15:9-12; 1 Corinthians 3:20; Hebrews 1:5; Hebrews 2:13. According to others, the writer here cites an utterance of Christ from oral tradition, coordinately with the O.T. citation, as Scripture. Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 4:15; 1 Corinthians 7:10, appeals to a word of the Lord; and in Acts 10:35 he is represented as quoting "it is more blessed to give than to receive" as the words of Jesus. In 1 Corinthians 9, in the discussion of this passage from Deuteronomy, Paul adds (1 Corinthians 9:14) "even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel," which resembles the combination here. This last is the more probable explanation.

Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
Receive not an accusation (κατηγορίαν μὴ παραδέχου)

Neither word in Paul. For accusation see on John 5:45. It means a formal accusation before a tribunal. The compound verb παρὰ emphasizes the giver or transmitter of the thing received: to receive from another.

But (ἐκτὸς εἰ μὴ)

Except. A pleonastic formula, except in case. The formula in 1 Corinthians 14:5; 1 Corinthians 15:9.

Before (ἐπὶ)

Or on the authority of. On condition that two witnesses testify. The O.T. law on this point in Deuteronomy 19:15. Comp. Matthew 18:16; John 8:17; 2 Corinthians 13:1.

Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.
Them that sin (τοὺς ἁμαρτάνοντας)

Referring to Elders, who, by reason of their public position (προεστῶτες), should receive public rebuke.

Rebuke (ἔλεγχε)

Comp. 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:9, Titus 1:13; Titus 2:15. See on reproved, John 3:20.

Others (οἱ λοιποὶ)

More correctly, the rest. His fellow Elders.

May fear (φόβον ἔχωσιν)

May have fear, which is stronger than A.V.

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.
I charge (διαμαρτύρομαι)

In Paul 1 Thessalonians 4:6 only. See on testifying, 1 Thessalonians 2:12. For this sense, adjure, see Luke 16:28; Acts 2:40; 2 Timothy 2:14.

Elect angels (ἐκλεκτῶν ἀγγέλων)

The phrase N.T.o. The triad, God, Christ, the angels, only Luke 9:26. It is not necessary to suppose that a class of angels distinguished from the rest is meant. It may refer to all angels, as special objects of divine complacency. Comp. Tob. 8:15; Acts 10:22; Revelation 14:10.

Observe (φυλάξῃς)

Lit. guard. In the Pauline sense of keeping the law, Romans 2:26; Galatians 6:13.

Without preferring one before another (χερὶς προκρίματος)

A unique expression. Πρόκριμα prejudgment. N.T.o. olxx, oClass. Rend. without prejudice.

By partiality (κατὰ πρόσκλισιν)

N.T.o. olxx. According to its etymology, inclining toward. In later Greek of joining one party in preference to another. In Clement (ad 1 Corinthians 41. xlvii., l.) in the sense of factious preferences.

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

Probably with reference to that rite in the formal restoration of those who had been expelled from the church for gross sins.

Suddenly (ταχέως)

Better, hastily.

Neither be partaker of other men's sins (μηδὲ κοινώνει ἁμαρτίαις ἀλλοτρίαις)

Letter, make common cause with. See on communicating, Romans 12:13. Comp. Romans 15:27; 1 Peter 4:13; Ephesians 5:11. By a too hasty and inconsiderate restoration, he would condone the sins of the offenders, and would thus make common cause with them.

Keep thyself pure (σεαυτὸν ἁγνὸν τήρει)

Comp. 1 Timothy 6:14. Enjoining positively what was enjoined negatively in the preceding clause. For pure see on 1 John 3:3. For keep see on reserved, 1 Peter 1:4. The phrase ἑαυτὸν τηρεῖν to keep one's self, in James 1:27; 2 Corinthians 11:9.

Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.
Drink no longer water (μηκέτι ὑδροπότει)

The verb N.T.o. olxx. Rend. be no longer a drinker of water. Timothy is not enjoined to abstain from water, but is bidden not to be a water-drinker, entirely abstaining from wine. The kindred noun ὑδροπότης is used by Greek comic writers to denote a mean-spirited person. See Aristoph. Knights, 319.

But use a little wine (ἀλλὰ οἴνῳ ὀλίγῳ χρῶ)

The reverse antithesis appears in Hdt. i. 171, of the Persians: οὐκ οἴνῳ διαχρέονται ἀλλ' ὑδροποτέουσι they do not indulge in wine but are water-drinkers. Comp. Plato, Repub. 561 C, τοτὲ μεν μεθύων - αὖθις δὲ ὑδροποτῶν sometimes he is drunk - then he is for total-abstinence. With a little wine comp. much wine, 1 Timothy 3:8; Titus 2:3.

For thy stomach's sake (διὰ στόμαχον)

Στόμαχος N.T.o. olxx. The appearance at this point of this dietetic prescription, if it is nothing more, is sufficiently startling; which has led to some question whether the verse may not have been misplaced. If it belongs here, it can be explained only as a continuation of the thought in 1 Timothy 5:22, to the effect that Timothy is to keep himself pure by not giving aid and comfort to the ascetics, and imperilling his own health by adopting their rules of abstinence. Observe that οἶνος here, as everywhere else, means wine, fermented and capable of intoxicating, and not a sweet syrup made by boiling down grape-juice, and styled by certain modern reformers "unfermented wine." Such a concoction would have tended rather to aggravate than to relieve Timothy's stomachic or other infirmities.

Thine often infirmities (τὰς πυκνάς σου ἀσθενείας)

This use of often as an adjective appears in earlier English. So Chaucer: "Ofte sythes" or "tymes ofte," many times. Shakespeare: "In which my often rumination wraps me in a most humorous sadness" (As you like it, IV. i. 19). And

Ben Jonson:

"The jolly wassal walks the often round."

The Forest, iii.

Even Tennyson:

"Wrench'd or broken limb - an often chance

In those brain-stunning shocks and tourney-falls."

Gareth and Lynette.

Πυκνός often, very common in Class. Originally, close, compact, comp. Lat. frequens. In this sense 3 Macc. 4:10, τῷ πυκνῷ σανιδώματι the close planking of a ship's deck. In N.T., except here, always adverbial, πυκνὰ or πυκνότερον often or oftener, Luke 5:33; Acts 24:26. Ἁσθένεια weakness, infirmity, only here in Pastorals. In the physical sense, as here, Luke 5:15; Luke 8:2; John 5:5; Galatians 4:13. In the ethic sense, Romans 6:19; Romans 8:26.

Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.
Open beforehand (προδηλοί)

A.V. wrong in giving πρὸ a temporal force, whereas it merely strengthens δηλοί evident, manifest. The meaning is openly manifested to all eyes. In N.T. only here, 1 Timothy 5:25, and Hebrews 7:14. In lxx, see Judith 8:29; 2 Macc. 3:17; 14:39.

Going before to judgment (προάγουσαι εἰς κρίσιν)

Προάγειν, oP. In N.T. habitually with a local meaning, either intransitive, as Matthew 2:9; Matthew 14:22; Mark 11:9; or transitive, as Acts 12:6; Acts 17:5. The meaning here is that these open sins go before their perpetrator to the judgment-seat like heralds, proclaiming their sentence in advance. Κρίσιν, not specifically of the judgment of men or of the final judgment of God, or of the sentence of an ecclesiastical court - but indefinitely. The writer would say: no judicial utterance is necessary to condemn them of these sins. The word in Paul, only 2 Thessalonians 1:5.

They follow after (ἐπακολουθοῦσιν)

The verb only here, 1 Timothy 5:24, 1 Peter 2:21, and (the disputed) Mark 16:20. The sins follow up the offender to the bar of judgment, and are first made openly manifest there.

Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.
Otherwise (ἅλλως)

N.T.o. Not, otherwise than good, but otherwise than manifest.

Be hid (κρυβῆναι)

In Paul only Colossians 3:3. The good works, although not conspicuous (πρόδηλα), cannot be entirely concealed. Comp. Matthew 5:14-16. It has been suggested that these words may have been intended to comfort Timothy in his possible discouragement from his "often infirmities." von Soden thinks they were meant to encourage him against the suspicion awakened by his use of wine. By persevering in his temperate habits (οἴνῳ ὀλίγῳ) it will become manifest that he is no wine-bibber.

Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent [1886].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

Bible Hub
1 Timothy 4
Top of Page
Top of Page