24 September 2021

I Timothy 5:17-22

‘Truly God is good to the upright, to those who are pure in heart’ (Psalm 73:1)

Psalm 73:1-14


As with yesterday’s passage, when we read today's text we have to imagine ourselves back in a time when the formal offices of bishop, presbyter and deacon were still in an embryonic stage and not yet fully developed. Many details are unclear. Are the elders referred to in verse 17 here church officers or simply older members of the congregation (compare verse 1), amongst whom some have been appointed to preach and teach and are therefore entitled to payment? We do not know, but it is clear from I Corinthians 9:1-15 (where, as in today’s passage, Deuteronomy 25:4 is quoted) that those who devoted their time to preaching and teaching were supported financially by those they served.

Verse 19 refers to the danger of malicious accusations to which leaders may be exposed.

To Ponder:

  • In today’s Church on what basis should we distinguish between offices that deserve payment and those which should be voluntary?
  • Should verse 20, which calls for publicly rebuking those who persist in sin,  be applied to today’s Church? What is the reason for your answer?

Bible notes author

The Revd Brian Beck

Brian Beck is a Methodist minister, now retired, and a former president and secretary of the Methodist Conference. A large part of his ministry has been spent in theological education, both in Limuru, Kenya, and in Cambridge, England.

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