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A. Double Honor Deserving to those Who Excel

1. Based on Ruling Well to Oversee the Church

“Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor”

This work of oversight is the main function of the elder (3:4-5); “Elder”, “bishop”, “pastor” — all refer to the same group of individuals.

“Rule” does not mean lord it over; simply refers to leadership and oversight.

Kent: “The work of the elder must not be taken for granted by the congregation. Evaluation must be made and when real excellence appears, it should be recognized and commended.”

2. Based on Working Hard to Proclaim the Word

“especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching”

B. Double Honor involves Respect and Remuneration

C. 2 Supporting Illustrations — based on Scripture — “For the Scripture says”

1. “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing” — Deut. 25:4; 1 Cor. 9:9

2. “The laborer is worthy of his wages” — (Deut. 24:15) Luke 10:7

Kent: “No other meaning can be gotten from Paul’s construction than that he places both quotations on the same level (joined by kai, and) and terms them Scripture (he graphe). Paul wrote this letter in A.D. 62-63, and Luke’s Gospel was probably written before A.D. 60. Hence this verse is further evidence that the writings we call New Testament Scripture were recognized as such during the lifetime of their writers, and we may suggest in many cases from the time of writing.”


A. (:19) Protection Against Frivolous Accusations

“Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses” Deut. 17:6; Matt. 18:16

Practically speaking, how is this possible without gossip and trying to enlist others to come with you?? Does this mean two or three coming to the elder board independently or at the same time?

Kent: “These witnesses are not thought of as appearing at the trial, but rather at the time when the disciplinary process is first contemplated. Unless the evidence is sufficient and practically certain, no action should be initiated against an elder. This safeguard of the elder is a wise one. No person is more subject to Satan’s attack in the form of gossip and slander than God’s servant.”

B. (:20) Public Rebuke When Necessary

1. Necessitated by Stubborn Rebellion

“Those who continue in sin”

Shows that there is opportunity given for them to repent

2. Requires Public Rebuke

“rebuke in the presence of all”

Must be a reference to the entire church, since the other elders are the ones administering the rebuke

Fernando: “Leaders are to be examples to God’s people of the beauty of virtue. But when they fail, they become examples of the ugliness of sin. So when a leader sins, it becomes a very serious concern for the church. The church must face up squarely to the fact that the one who was expected to be a model of godliness has become just the opposite, so he must be rebuked in front of those to whom he was a poor example. What an awesome responsibility leadership is!”

3. Protects the Other Elders (and the Flock) Against Sinning

“so that the rest also may be fearful of sinning”

a. Primarily the other elders are in view

Abuse of the office is always a potential

Elders can wrongly think that they are above God’s law

b. Also has application to the entire flock

C. (:21) Partiality Outlawed in Every Case

1. Seriousness of the Procedure

“I solemnly charge you in the presence of”:

a. “God”

b. “and of Christ Jesus”

c. “and of His chosen angels”

Stedman: ” Timothy might well have felt inadequate, but notice whom the apostle summons to his aid, whom he says is watching: “in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels.” God the Father is involved. He is at work in the congregation. He knows what is going on; nothing is hid from his eyes. Christ Jesus, Lord of the church, head of the body, is present also. Jesus can work from within. He can touch men’s consciences; he can get at their hearts. And the elect angels are involved, these personages whom the book of Hebrews tells us are as “ministering spirits sent forth to minister to those who shall be the heirs of salvation,” {Heb 1:14 KJV}. I do not know exactly what these angels do, but it is very important and significant. Paul tells Timothy not to be intimidated. If it requires action, act — patiently, lovingly, thoughtfully, carefully — but act.”

2. Impartiality Commanded — “to maintain these principles without bias”

3. Partiality Outlawed — “doing nothing in a spirit of partiality”


A. (:22) Caution: Don’t be Too Quick to Ordain an Elder

1. Warning Against Ordaining elders too quickly

“Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily”

2. Culpability — “and thus share responsibility for the sins of others”

3. Responsibility for Personal Purity — “keep yourself free from sin”

B. (:23) Aside: Holiness Does not Require Unwise Asceticism

“No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.”

Stedman: “In writing this, Paul very likely was reminded of something about Timothy that he felt needed correction. Timothy, evidently, was leaning too far toward total abstinence from wine. We know there was a lot of public drunkenness in Ephesus at that time. The reaction of almost all Christians to public drunkenness is, ‘I don’t want anything to do with that.’

There has sprung up in the church a widespread attitude that the Christian position about drinking should be one of total abstinence; that no Christian ought to drink at all. But that completely sets aside the record of the Scriptures that our Lord drank wine, and so did the apostles.

Paul is evidently warning Timothy about total abstinence, especially because it was affecting his health. Timothy had not taken a balanced position. Paul warns him, ‘For your health’s sake, don’t do this.'”

C. (:24-25) Explanation: Cautious Examination over Time will Reveal the Truth

1. Sins will eventually be Evident

a. “The sins of some men are quite evident, going before them to judgment”

b. “for others, their sins follow after”

2. Good Works will eventually be Evident

a. “Likewise also, deeds that are good are quite evident”

b. “and those which are otherwise cannot be concealed”

Stedman: “Some men are skillful at hiding sin. They appear to be very dedicated, committed people, but there is rotten evil in their hearts all the time. If you get into the habit of electing people to office or appointing them into some responsible position without giving time to observe them you will get into trouble. ‘Time will tell,’ the world’s proverb says. Let some time go by. God will bring it out. Get close to them. The closer you get the more obvious their evil will become.

But it works the other way too. Some men appear retiring and quiet, yet they may be very good men. Such men may make the very best elders. So do not rush men into leadership. If they have something good going on quietly in their lives, even when these are not conspicuous, Paul says, they cannot remain hidden. God will bring it all out if you get close to them. Abraham Lincoln’s famous dictum, ‘You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time,’ is a wise word in choosing elders.”