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Bible Commentaries
1 Timothy 5

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1


1) "Rebuke not an elder" (presbutero me epiplekses) "Do not smite, treat harshly, strike out at, or rebuke an older man." Reverence for old age is of divine sanction, a virtue among the refined and all with good manners. God’s judgment is upon those who disrespect it, Leviticus 19:32; . A mob of 42 young hippies was attacked by two she-bears for their disrespect for Elisha, 2 Kings 2:23-24.

2) "But intreat him as a father" (alla parakalei patera) "But exhort , call alongside, as an equal, or intreat as (ones’ own) a father." The shoulder to shoulder, side by side method of correcting wrong is so much better than the "nose to nose" or "teeth to teeth" approach; treat him with honor, as a father, Exodus 20:12; Proverbs 4:1; Ephesians 6:4.

3) "And "the younger men as brethren" (And) the younger men (also exhort) as brothers," with flesh and blood kind of respect. Each age group in the church must often be dealt with differently, and individually, according to separate needs, 1 Peter 5:5; 1 John 4:7; John 13:35.

Verse 2

1) "The elder women as mothers" (presbuteras hos meteras) "Older women (also exhort) as mothers." While even chiding for needed correction, the pastor must do it with the love of a son for his mother, Psalms 113:9.

2) "The younger as sisters" (neoteras hos adelpas) "Younger women (also exhort or intreat) as sisters." The calling along side, motivating of the younger women, was to have been done by Timothy with both intimacy, of care and aloofness, from occasion for entrapment, Romans 16:1.

3) "With all purity." (en pase agneia) "In all purity," with strict regards to purity, or exhort with propriety, avoiding temptations to moral and sexual wrong, or even giving occasion for such suspicions, 1 Timothy 4:12.

Verse 3

1) "Honour widows" (cheras tina) "Honor widows." Widows need discriminating care, since some need at least some support from the church. To show Christian care for widows is an element of pure or honorable religion, James 1:27. The task of their material care was assigned to spiritual men in the church at Jerusalem to relieve the apostles of daily ministration to their needs and certain complaints, Acts 6:1-7.

2) "That are widows indeed" (tas ontos cheras) "Those really widows," not merely the separated, or divorced, or those with no close family relatives, 1 Timothy 5:5; 1 Timothy 5:16. Among them in the church was Dorcas, "full of good works," Acts 9:36-41. Saints and widows wept at her death, rejoiced at her restoration to life. The honoring of widows that are widows indeed, involves seeing that they have:

a) food

b) clothes

c) shelter

All are concerns for every believer, James 2:15-16; 1 John 3:16-18.

Verse 4

1) "But if any widow have children or nephews" (ei de tis chera tekna e ekgona echei) "If, however, any widow has children or grandchildren," meaning offspring, descendants.

2) "Let them learn first to shew piety at home" (manthanetosan proton ton idion oikon eusebein) “Let them learn firstly to show piety to their own household (family members)." The first duty, duty of priority of children, is to show piety toward members of the family. Joseph did, Genesis 45:10-11.

3) "And to requite their parents" (kai amoibas apodidonai tois progonois) "And to return requitals (favors, helps in need) to their forebearers," or repay debts to their parents who reared them. It also includes grandparents and great-grandparents, Ephesians 6:1-2.


A church within a church, a republic within a republic, a world within a world, is spelled by four letters - Home!! If things go right there, they go right everywhere; if things go wrong there, they go wrong everywhere. The door-sill of the dwelling-house is the foundation of the Church and State.

-Gray-Adams Commentary

4) "For this is good and acceptable before God." (touto gar estin’ apodekton enopion tou theou) "For this (requital to needy forebearers, widows) is acceptable before God," Mark 7:6-13; Matthew 15:4-6.

Verse 5

1) "Now she that is a widow indeed" (he de ontos chera) "Moreover the one being really a widow," with no children, in contrast with those who have children, grandchildren, or offspring.

2) "And desolate" (kai memonomene) "Even having been left alone, empty-handed, or desolate," without children or having no children to care for her.

3) "Trusteth in God" (elpiken epi theon) "has set her hope on God," to provide for her. God is her Husband!! Philippians 4:19; Psalms 23:1.

4) "And continueth" (kai prosmenei) "And continues, or goes on," expressing her fixed hope in God, She is like Anna, the aged prophetess widow who waited in watchful hope for the coming of Jesus. Luke 2:36-38.

5) "In supplications and prayers" (tais deseesesin kai proseuchais) "In the practice or way of petitions and prayers, “ going on, persevering, ; Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 4:2.

6) "Night and day." (nuktos kai hemeras) "Night and day," or without fainting or quitting; to "pray without ceasing," with continuity of casting ones’ self on God is of Christian order, 1 Thessalonians 5:17; 1 Peter 5:7.

Verse 6

1) "But she that liveth in pleasure" (he de spatalosa) "But the widow living wantonly, loosely, to gratify her own desires." The modern term is "she that liveth fast," in wastefulness and prodigality, "spending all in riotous living," Luke 15:13.

2) "Is dead while she liveth" (zosa tethneka) "Has died while still living," The term "dead" is used in the sense of barren, empty, unfruitful, or unproductive of good or holy fruit, -- Luke 15:32; 2 Peter 1:8-9; James 2:17; 1 Corinthians 9:27.


A Persian monarch asked an aged man, "How many of the sun’s revolutions hast thou counted?" "Sire," said the old man, "I am but four years of age." "What!" interrupted the king. "Fearest thou not to answer me falsely, or dost thou jest on the very brink of the tomb?" "I speak not falsely," replied the aged man; “eighty long years have I wasted in folly and sinful pleasures and in amassing wealth, none of which I can take with me when I leave this world. Four only have I spent in doing good to my fellow-man, and shall I count those years which have been utterly wasted? “

-Gray & Adams Commentary

Verse 7

1) “And these things give in charge" (kai tauta parangelle) "And these things charge thou (them)." The “them" refers to the younger generation of the widow or widows, that the younger are to care for or support them.

2) "That they may be blameless." (hina anepilemptoi hosin) "In order that they may be without reproach." This means in order that all Christians, especially of each congregation, should not be reproached or blamed for or burdened with the care of widows who have near relatives, James 1:26-27.

Verse 8

1) "And if any provide not for his own" (ei de tis ton idion ou pronoei) "And if anyone for his own people does not provide;" for such needs as food, clothing, and shelter, Romans 12:17.

2) "And specially for those of his own house" (kai malista oikeion). "And particularly his family members." The path of divine duty begins in ones own home, family. If he walk it not well or obediently there he is little likely to do God’s work much good elsewhere, 2 Corinthians 8:21.

3) "He hath denied the faith" (ten pistin ernetai) "The faith he has voluntarily or willfully denied or abandoned," of his own accord. The body of Christian truth, system of teachings of Christ require care for the physically needy in ones’ own family. To neglect such is to fall below the natural standards of the heathen, Matthew 25:41-45.

4) "And is worse than an infidel" (kai estin apistou cherion) "And is (exists in) a worse state or condition (morally and ethically) than an infidel," even heathen, unbelievers, and infidels are disposed to care for their own needy family members, Romans 2:14-16.

Verse 9

1) "Let not a widow be taken into the number" (chera katalegestho me) "Let not a widow be enrolled," or enlisted for church charity care.

2) "Under threescore years old" (helatton eton eksekonta) "Less than sixty years of age."

3) "Having been the wife of one man" (gegonuia henos andros gune) "Having become a wife of one man;” not a much-married, "grass-widow," not married a second time, 1 Corinthians 7:39.

Verse 10

1) "Well reported of for good works" (en ergois kalois marturoumene) "in good works being reported," with a testimony, witnesses, or reliable reports of her good works, having a good report for practical piety, as Dorcas was, Acts 9:36.

2) "If she have brought up children" (ei hetebnotrophesen). "If she has reared children." Care of tier may be given by the church --- she may be enrolled; if she have been a good mother, Acts 16:14-15.

3) "If she have lodged strangers" (ei eksenodochesen) "if she has entertained or cared for strangers," she may be enrolled for care, Hebrews 13:2; 1 Peter 4:9.

4) "If she have washed the saints’ feet" (ei hagion podas enipsen) "Of holy ones" (saints) feet she has washed," she may be enrolled for care. This was an act of Eastern social hospitality, considered necessary for reflection of good character, a matter practiced and approved by the Lord, John 13:5; John 13:14.

5) "If she have relieved the afflicted" (ei thlibomenois eperkesen) "If afflicted ones she has relieved," cared for, she may be enrolled for care or help. The widow indeed, worthy of church charity, must have been a person of tender Christian compassion, 2 Timothy 1:8; 1 Peter 5:9.

6) "If she have diligently followed every good work." (ei panti ergo agatho epekolouthesen) "If every (kind of) good work she has pursued," she may be enrolled for care as a widow indeed, Joshua 14:14-15; Ephesians 2:10; Matthew 25:34-40.

Verse 11

1) "But the younger widows refuse" (neoteras de cheras paraitou) "But younger widows Iess than sixty years of age) refuse, reject, or turn away from enrollment for church welfare, charity, or support."

2) "For when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ" (tan gar kataotreniasosin tou christou) "For whenever they grow wanton against Christ;" disregard their profession of faith and pledge to follow Him obediently; to "wax wanton against Christ" means to live in a manner in conflict with or opposition to Christ, Matthew 12:30.

3) "They will marry;" (gamein thelousin) "They compulsively wish to marry;" without regards to the will and Word of -God, headlong they will marry, even an unsaved person; to take the younger widow as a welfare full charity enrollee, so that she would be free to be idle, would contribute to her worldliness, forbidden in the Scriptures, 1 John 2:15-17; 2 Corinthians 6:14.

Verse 12

1) "Having damnation" (echousai krima) "Having or holding judgment or condemnation;" general disapproval from the world, because of hastily putting aside fidelity and respect for a former husband.

2) "Because they have cast off their first faith." (hoti ten proten pistin ethetesan) "Because their first (in order) faith (fidelity) they set aside:" 1) to Christ, their proper Bridegroom, and 2) to their first husband so hastily, Romans 2:14-15; 1 Corinthians 5:1.

Verse 13

1) "And withal they learn to be idle" (hama de kai manthanousin) "And at the same time they also learn to be idle;" to be idle bodes ill, but to become habituated to idle foreruns serious evil; idle tongues speak evil words, idle minds imagine evil deeds; idle feet lead to evil places; Proverbs 19:15; Matthew 12:36.

2) "Wandering about from house to house" (perierchomenai tas oikas) "Rambling around the houses," from one to another, unsettled, unstable, among the houses that made up the community, Titus 2:4-5; 2 Thessalonians 3:12.

3) "And not only idle, but tattlers also, and busy-bodies" (ou monon de argai alla kai phluaroi kai periergoi) "And not only idle, but also gossipers and busybodies, like wiggling maggots they become," babblers, meddlers, peddlers, and retailers of small talk, prying into other peoples’ matters.

4) "Speaking things which they ought not." (lalousai ta me deonta) "Saying, speaking, or spreading things that are not proper." Against encouraging, aiding, and abetting such ethical wrong Paul instructed Timothy to teach the churches to refuse to endorse or enroll young church member widows for church welfare payroll, charity, Galatians 6:7-8. This encouraged Christian relatives and individual Christians privately to assume Christian social and spiritual concern for one another, Galatians 6:2.

Verse 14

1) "I will therefore" (boulomai oun) "Therefore I will of my own considered accord or volition," considered judgment. The whole context concerns widows, not merely women in general. Paul gave practical directions after considered deliberation.

2) "That the younger women marry , (neoteras gamein) "Younger women to marry," those who cannot contain their strong sex urges or continence, 1 Corinthians 7:9.

3) "Bear children, guide the house" (teknogonein oikodespotein) "To bear or rear children, to be mistress of an household." There is no conflict between this counsel and that of 1 Corinthians 7:8, given concerning widows. This injunction concerns younger widows who "Have not continency," Hebrews 13:4.

4) "Given none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully." (medemian apormen didonai to antikeimeno loidorias charin) "To give to the ones opposing (adversaries of the church) no occasion (to oppose) on account of reproach," reproach brought about by a rambling, sex-wanting, church-supported young widow, gad-flying about from house to house as a gossiping busybody, 2 Peter 3:16; 2 Corinthians 11:12; Galatians 5:13.

Verse 15

1) "For some are already" (ede gar tines) "For some are at this moment," already. Some very young widows had already conducted themselves in the above forbidden manner to cause a scandal, bring reproach upon the church, to cause the Word to be blasphemed, Titus 2:8.

2) "Turned aside after Satan." (eksetrapeson opiso satana) "turned aside trailing, going after Satan." These young widows had apparently turned aside or away from: 1) their first love to Christ, 2) their fidelity to their former companion, 3) and were pursuing and chasing after sex pleasure, satisfaction of sex impulses, walking in the footsteps of Satan-in sin - to subsidize such young women, to keep them idle wanderers, would be to bring reproach on the church; This was worse than a second marriage, 2 Peter 2:10; Judges 1:7.

Verse 16

1) "If any man or woman that believeth have widows" (ei tis piste echei cheras) “If any woman has believing widows," members of the family, close relatives, Philippians 2:4.

2) "Let them relieve them" (eparkeito autais) "Let her relieve them," The type of relief here referred to is that of the poor, impoverished, without worldly goods to care for their own housing, clothing, and food. James 1:26-27.

3) "And let not the church be charged" (kai me bareistho e ekklesia) "And let not the church be burdened (down)," with social welfare, Matthew 6:33. The primary time, emphasis, finances, and talents of the church should be involved in spiritual services above the social welfare level, .

4) "That it may relieve them that are widows indeed." (hina tais ontos cherais eparkese) "In order that the really widows it (the church) may relieve." While the church is morally obligated to do charitable deeds in helping the needy, not all social welfare needs of even members of the church are to be met by the church treasury, James 1:26-27; Acts 6:1-7.

Verse 17

1) "Let the elders that rule well" (hoi kalos proestotes presbuteroi) "The elders that rule or stand forth - serve well." Note, no single bishop or elder is ever singularly charged to "rule" God’s church or local congregation. Bishops are overseers, but only a plurality of elders are to rule, Hebrews 13:7; Hebrews 13:17; Hebrews 13:24.

2) "Be counted worthy of double honour" (diples times akseousthosan) "Let be deemed, accounted, calculated, or computed worthy of double honor," or double pay, employed full time ordained workers, not merely pastors or bishops, 1 Peter 5:1.

3) ”Especially they who labour in the word and doctrine." (malista oi koprontes en logo kai didaskalia) "Especially the ones (elders, mature ordained brethren, whether for deaconship or the bishopric) laboring in speech and teaching," those actually engaged, laboring full time in preaching and teaching the system of faith of Jesus Christ; See Galatians 6:6; Full time ordained employees of a church, in whatever capacity they serve, are to be paid, as they labor in word and doctrine, 1 Timothy 5:12-13.

Verse 18

1) "For the scripture saith" (legei gar e graphe) "For the scripture says," or asserts: Equity and scriptural principles require that the church that cares for worthy, needy, aged widows must also care for full time church employees.

2) "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. (boun aloonta ou phimoseis) “An ox while threshing thou shalt not muzzle." Feed him, if you work him; and to be sure that a hungry or starving ox was not worked, the law forbad covering his mouth with a muzzle. Financial religious stewardship equity was even required under Moses’ Law, for the full time support of the full time Religious Workers.

3) "And, the labourer is worthy of his reward." (kai, aksios ho ergates tou misthou autou) "And the workman is worthy of his pay or wages or remuneration," for the work he does. Elders wholly given to the ministry of the Word, whether pastor, missionary devotee, or Bible teacher, like the first-born in Israel, should receive a double portion -- a two share pay for time and service, Deuteronomy 21:17; Deuteronomy 25:4; 1 Corinthians 9:7-14.

Verse 19

1) "Against an elder receive not an accusation" (kata presbuterou kategorian me paradechou) "Against an elder, a mature ordained brother in the church, do not accept, receive, or field an accusation or derogatory report," do not become party to "puffing up" a scandal on the basis of rumors, whisperings, reports of talebearers, Proverbs 16:28; Romans 1:29.

2) "But before two or three witnesses." (ektos ei me epi duo e trion maturon) "Except or unless it is on the word of two or three witnesses;" the type of testamentary evidence from reputable witnesses, required under law and sanctioned by Jesus Christ. Without such a reputation the influence of the Church and the reputation of her ordained brethren, all elders in the church, could be terribly scandalized, Deuteronomy 19:5; John 8:14-18; Hebrews 10:28;

While every pastor is a bishop, as such a general overseer of a congregation, it appears that administrative church government was directed by all elders of the church - the ordained; Hebrews 13:7; Hebrews 13:17; Hebrews 13:24.

Verse 20

1) "Them that sin rebuke before all" (tous amartanontas enopion panton elegche) "The ones going on progressively sinning, reprove or rebuke thou, in the presence of all." Timothy was charged to publicly, openly reprove and rebuke sinning professors, in public assembly. This appears to concern erring elders and laymen.

2) "That others also may fear. " (hina kai loipoi phobon echosin) " I n order that the rest (of the congregation) may also have fear." Public denunciation of specific kinds of sin, overt or covert sins, by the pastor, is designed to restrain the one tempted to sin, 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 2:15.

Verse 21

1) "I charge thee before God" (diamarturom ai enopion tou theou) "I solemnly witness before God, of my own accord," or I witness of my own accord in solemn face-to-face contact with God. Paul seemed to have charged heaven in prayer repeatedly on behalf of Timothy, that he preach with courage, without timidity, 1 Timothy 6:13.

2) "And the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels" (kai christou iesou kai ton eklekton angellon) "And Christ Jesus and the elect (chosen) angels." This petitionary charge of the aged apostle to the young minister had heaven’s chosen good angels to witness it, to help, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Hebrews 1:13-14.

3) "That thou observe these things" (hina tauta phulakses) "In order that thou mightest guard these things;" matters of a good pastor, elder, or minister’s responsibility as they relate to doctrines, morals, and ethical conduct of officers and laymen in the church, 2 Timothy 4:1-5; 1 Corinthians 4:2.

4) "Without preferring one before another" (choris prokrimatos) "Without or apart from prejudgment," or without having truth and the facts of cases on which to act, not hasty in judgment, biased, Deuteronomy 1:17; James 2:1.

5) "Doing nothing with partiality." (meden poion kata prosklesin) "Not one thing doing by way of inclination of the partiality of the flesh," or preferential treatment, Proverbs 16:10; Proverbs 24:13; 2 Corinthians 5:10-11.

Verse 22

1) "Lay hands suddenly on no man" (cheiras tacheos medeni epitithei) "Lay hands quickly (hastily) on no man;" the Jerusalem church did not, Acts 6:1-7. The Antioch church did not, Acts 13:1-4. Each observed or examined candidates for ordinate qualifications first.

2) "Neither be partakers of other men’s sins:" (mede koinonei hamartiais allotriais) "Nor share (condone, join in acquiescence) of sins of others." Do not sin by silence or endorsing a candidate for ordination by keeping silence if he is unqualified, Ephesians 5:6-7; Revelation 18:4.

3) "Keep thyself pure." (seauton agnon terei) "Keep or guard thyself as morally clean, pure, holy," one worthy of public leadership in the Word and work of God, 1 Corinthians 4:2; 1 Corinthians 9:26-27; 2 John 1:11.

Verse 23

1) "Drink no longer water" (meketi hudropotei) "Drink no longer water only." Much of the year water in the Middle East is still contaminated so badly that to drink it causes serious stomach problems. It is this problem that Timothy faced.

2) "But use a little wine" (alla oino oligo chro) "But use or take a little (limited amount) of wine." This instruction, to meet a medical, health need, was provided for in the ordinate charge "not given to or inclined to wine," 1 Timothy 3:3; 1 Timothy 4:4.

3) "For thy stomach’s sake" (dia ton stomachon) "On account of thy stomach (problem)," not merely to prop up morale or courage. Both wine and strong drink are to be avoided by Christians except for medical purposes or as death approaches, Proverbs 31:6-7.

4) "And thine often infirmities." (kai tas puknas sou astheneias) "And the frequent or recurring weaknesses you have." This is a medical remedy prescribed for a specific physical ailment of Timothy’s stomach, by inspiration of the apostle Paul, not an open-end package to just anyone for taking intoxicating alcohol arbitrarily.

Verse 24

1) "Some men’s sins are open beforehand" (tinon anthropon ai hamartiai prodeloi eisin) "The sins of some men are clear beforehand," in this life; open, overt, visible to all.

2) "Going before to judgment" (proagousai eis krisin) "Going before the judgment;" recorded and preceding the sinner to the hour of retribution judgment.

3) "And some men they follow after." (tisin de kai epakolouthousin) "But some indeed they follow on," they trail after them; these are covert, covered, hidden sins, never confessed. Here men err in judging overt or covert sins, but no error will be made at the final judgment hour, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; 2 Corinthians 5:10-12.

Verse 25

1) "Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand" (hosautos kai ta erga ta kala prodela) "Similarly also the good works of some are clear beforehand;" rewards for good works, rewards by men on this earth, are all that some will ever receive. Yet, there are other rewards offered in future life for faithful overt and covert good works, 1 Corinthians 3:8; 1 Corinthians 3:14-15; 1 Corinthians 9:17.

2) "And they that are otherwise" (kai ta allos echonta) "And the ones having been otherwise," those labors, deeds of devotion, of this life not clearly seen by men, shall not go unnoticed or unrewarded at the great homecoming day, Matthew 25:34-36.

3) "Cannot be hid." (krubenai ou dunantai) "Are not able to be hidden;" Sins hidden (lying, cheating, unchastity, adultery, old grudges) will all be brought out at the judgment, Ecclesiastes 11:9; Ecclesiastes 12:14; Matthew 12:36; Acts 17:30-31; Romans 2:16; Romans 14:10; Romans 14:12; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10.


An African chief had done something for which the English government wished to punish him and sent a gunboat for this purpose. A runner brought him word that the boat had entered the river. He had the courier killed. The next day a second runner arrived to tell him how far the boat had come up the river. This poor fellow also lost his head. And the same fate was met by the other couriers who arrived the following days, This did not, however, keep the English boat away nor delay the day of judgment. Suddenly the jungle echoed with thunder of cannon and the huts of his kraal collapsed as if made of cardboard. How do we treat the messengers of God who come to tell us of approaching judgment? We may have silenced them, but the judgment day is coming. You may have silenced your conscience, grieved the Holy Spirit, left unopened the Holy Bible, and turned your back to your Christian friends - but the judgment day is coming.

-The Sunday School Times

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 5". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/1-timothy-5.html. 1985.
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