Suggested Reading: 1 Timothy 5
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Key Verses: 1 Timothy 5:1, 17
Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, the younger men as brothers…Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.
Timothy was in a difficult position. As a very young man, he was appointed as Pastor of the church in Ephesus. We are not told that Timothy was not treating the older men with reverence, affection and respect, but Paul wanted to make sure young Timothy was showing the deference needed. Today there is what some call “a youth cult.” The media gives us the impression that anything worthwhile has to be new and that the most desirable time of life is “youth.” The Bible clearly teaches against this kind of upside-down thinking. It is no accident that leaders of the church are called “elders.” Yet at the same time Paul said to Timothy, “Let no one despise your youth” (1 Timothy 4:12a). There is a balance here that all, young and old, need to learn.
Yesterday we considered “a local church constitution.” The “rule” of the elders came not as an order from one person, but as a duly moved, seconded and carried motion. The admonition of Paul was not to an “elder” but to “elders.” We need to be able to say of decisions which “rule,” “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us” (Acts 15:28a). We may want to read Acts 15:22-29 and meditate on the way the church leaders made their decisions.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Dear Lord, I pray that today You will guide me to someone older than myself who needs a word of deep appreciation for their faithfulness and wisdom over the years. May I find an elder who has laboured in the Word and doctrine and creatively give “double honour.” In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen!!!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
I want to thank my fellow bloggers who did not “rebuke” me about the ministry of women in the Church, but exhorted me “as a father.” Nevertheless, I still believe that Paul, who wrote to one individual, Timothy, was giving specific instructions to that one person about his specific problems in Ephesus (home of one of the seven ancient wonders of the world, the Temple of Diana and its female cult), and not to all the other churches. A good example of this is the matter of the hairstyle and the wearing of “gold or pearls” (1 Timothy 2:9). It is my understanding that the prostitutes who served in the temple “braided” their hair with strands of gold woven into their hairdo. Paul is saying that Christian women, in Ephesus specifically, should not appear to be as the priestesses of Diana.
As a young woman in 1924 on her way by ship to Egypt (to marry my father who was already there), my mother was forbidden by the missionary society from wearing an engagement ring. She told my sister that if she had a ring on, it would have discouraged the attention she was receiving from some men on board the ship. This was a cultural requirement by a denomination, not one from Scripture. Otherwise how do we understand the story Jesus told of the prodigal son’s father saying, “Put a ring on his hand” (Luke 15:22)? I try always to remember, “Let the Bible interpret the Bible.”
Your fellow student of the Word,