November 9, 2011

Thursday after the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity

Lectionary

Morning - Ps.141, 142, 2 Kings 4:38-5:8, 1 Tim. 5:17-25
Evening - Ps. 137, 138, Eccles. 3:1-15, Mt. 21:1-6

Commentary
1Timothy 5:17-25

Paul turns from the financial support of widows within the congregation to the financial support of clergy (5:17-18). The double honour owed to the elder (presbyter/clergy) while carrying the meaning of respect and cooperation, also means financial support. It is the honouraria given to a person whose services are valued. It is the same word used in 1 Tim. 5:3, which leads into the instructions about providing for destitute widows. Verse 18 refers to the Old Testament principle of not muzzling the ox who treads the grain, for to do so is deprive him of his due compensation. If it is wrong to deprive the ox of his compensation, it is also wrong to deprive the clergy of his.

Having broached the treatment of ministers again, Paul says accusations against them are not to be lightly received. This refers to accusations of serious sin or heresy, which require disciplinary action. Two or three witnesses are required to verify the charge (5:19), and the guilty are to be rebuked before all (5:20) without partiality (5:21). "Justice is blind." The same principles apply to all members of the Church. We neither speak nor hear idle gossip, complaints, or accusations against our fellow servants of Christ.

Because the authority and responsibility placed upon the clergy is so great, Timothy is to take great care that he ordains (lays hands on) only those who have proven themselves faithful (5:22). They are to have faced a time of testing and examination so that their views and practices are well known. To ordain someone without this is to be a partaker of his sins, if he later proves to be of heretical views and unorthodox practices which he has spread to the people.

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