Awake & Alive: 1 Timothy Reading Plan

Day 23

1 Timothy 5:17-20

17Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. 18For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” 19Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 20As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. 1 Timothy 5:17-20

Paul instructs churches on how to interact with individuals at different stages of their Christian walk, turning his attention to church elders. This likely refers to those holding the official elder position, not simply older members. Though specific, this passage offers universal wisdom.

First, Paul emphasizes respect and honor for faithful elders. Gratitude and respect aren’t our natural inclinations, but they’re vital for believers. These qualities foster reverence for God and counteract our natural selfishness and desire for self-importance.

Second, Paul urges caution against gossip, especially accusations. Gossip always breeds division, hindering both believers and the church from accurately reflecting the Gospel. Respect for fellow believers, especially those who’ve served faithfully, should make us wary before spreading unsubstantiated accusations.

Finally, Paul reminds us of the seriousness of sin, especially unrepentant sin. Sin must be confronted and feared. Regardless of its perceived insignificance, sin steals believers’ joy and damages the Gospel’s witness. This applies equally to new believers and those with years of faithful service.