November 8, 2011

Wednesday after the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity

Lectionary

Morning - Ps.127, 130, 2 Kings 4:25-37, 1 Tim. 5:1-16
Evening - Ps. 135, Eccles. 2:18, Mt. 20:17

Commentary
1Timothy 5:1-16

Kindness and deference are to mark Timothy's treatment of others. Timothy is an important leader in the Church. He has authority to consecrate bishops and ordain clergy. He has authority to teach and command both clergy and congregations (4:11). Without doubt Timothy organised the churches in and around Ephesus into cohesive dioceses, consecrating bishops to oversee each. Thus, Timothy served not only as a representative of Paul, but as a kind of archbishop and a ruler of those who had rule of the Church. This is a position of great authority, worthy of great respect. Yet, he is not to be arrogant or puffed up. Instead he is to be humble, to remember that callings may differ, but people are equal. So he is to treat older men and women with the same loving respect he would show to his own father and mother. He is to treat younger Christians with the same love and respect he would give to his own sisters and brothers (see also 2 Tim. 2:24-26).

In Timothy's time, the Church provided for widows and orphans within the congregation. Naturally, some women joined the church just to get a handout, and Paul instructs Timothy that even widows are to provide as much for themselves as possible. Especially young widows should remarry and be provided for as a wife rather than as a ward of the Church (5:14). Those with families should be provided for by them (5:4, 16). But a true widow (destitute) of proven Christian faith, who has long been a member of the Church and demonstrated her faith in her life, was to be aided by the Church (5:16).