Thursday 20 September 2018

Bible Book:
1 Timothy

Do not ordain anyone hastily, and do not participate in the sins of others; keep yourself pure. (v. 22)

1 Timothy 5:17-22 Thursday 20 September 2018

Psalm: Psalm 142 



In previous chapters of Timothy, the writer of this letter has discussed a number of different kinds of church organisation and leadership roles. Now he turns his attention to a team or small group of elders and has interesting things to say about those who teach and preach and the remuneration they should receive.

The letter writer thinks that good work, preaching and teaching, which are of an excellent quality, should be recognised and rewarded. The writer then goes on to discuss the need for accountability to the congregations of those who are leaders. There is a need to verify information before accusations are made about anyone and an understanding that everyone, the whole congregation, needs to acknowledge and engage with difficulties and failures.

There is no encouragement to sweep mistakes ‘under the carpet’ in order to protect personal reputations or prevent shame – in fact, the opposite. The church and Timothy are encouraged to be honest and to face up to difficulties and mistakes. There is an expectation laid out in this passage that any difficulties will not be ignored by the Church community, but rather dealt with promptly and fairly with two or three witnesses required. Any delay that is encouraged in the Church community is about the process used to set some people aside through laying hands on them for formal authorised ministry in the Church. Such a ‘setting aside’ is life-long and so mustn’t be undertaken without a careful discerning of suitability by the whole Church community, and never done in haste.

The Church is urged not to be partial in its judgments and decisions, to keep distant from failings of others (rather than succumb to the worst behaviour of some) and to keep upright in conduct.


To Ponder

  • Why do we tend to put our leaders ‘on a pedestal’ and think they cannot, or will not, make mistakes?
  • How do you trust someone again in the life of the Church or in your life after you find out they have done something to harm another?
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