Read 1 Timothy 5:17-25.
If you were to make a top ten list of “the most ignored chapters in the New Testament” in our church heritage, 1 Timothy 5 would surely find its place on the list. Whether it’s the care of needy widows (arguably, the work of deaconesses) in 5:3-16 or the relationship of elders and preachers in 5:17-25, even a cursory reading will tell you: “This chapter sure doesn’t get much press these days.” And that’s a shame, because this chapter is replete with practical insight and application for elder/preacher relationships.
With that in mind, perhaps the most important thing we can do with this text is to get to know it again. Since it is a bit of a stranger to us, we need to read it and re-read it, again and again, perhaps in various versions, with prayer. Having done so myself know, I submit to you not so much my comments and/or a lesson, so much as simply an outline of what it seems to me is generally being said. Perhaps re-reading the text closely with this outline in mind will prove helpful.
Regarding elder support – vs.17-18
- don’t expect something for nothing; remuneration is righteous
- don’t try to get by on the cheap; use respect with their remuneration
Regarding elder shaping – vs.19-20
- hold your people accountable; don’t listen to just anyone or anything
- hold your elders accountable; don’t allow them to become aloof or untouchable
Regarding elder selection – 5:22
- take your time; don’t rush the process
- take care toward holiness; don’t play politics or games
And as to the preacher’s self-care – 5:21,23-24
- Take care of your relationships with others (vs.21)
- Take care of your physical health (vs.23)
- Take care of your outlook and attitude (vs.24-25)
And with that, I need to pray.
Father in heaven, help me to keep the charge given me, knowing I am living out this life of mine in your sight and all of heaven’s host.