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Some Rules for Living with Other People

1Don’t speak angrily to an older man. But talk to him like he was your father. Treat the younger men like brothers.

2Treat the older women like mothers. And treat the younger women with respect like sisters.

3Give honor to (take care of) widows who are really alone.

4But if a widow has children or grandchildren, the first thing they need to learn is this: to show respect for their own family {by helping their parents}. When they do this, they will be repaying their parents or grandparents. That pleases God.

5If a widow is really alone and without help, then she hopes in God {to take care of her}. That woman prays all the time, night and day. She asks God for help.

6But the widow who uses her life to please herself is really dead while she is still living.

7Tell the believers there to do these things (take care of their family) so that no other person can say they are doing wrong.

8A person should take care of all his own people. Most important, he should take care of his own family. If a person does not do that, then he does not accept the {true} faith (teaching). That person is worse than a person who does not believe.

9To be added to your list of widows, a woman must be 60 years old or older. She must have been faithful to her husband.

10She must be known as a woman who has done good things. I mean good things like raising her children, accepting visitors in her home, washing the feet of God’s people, helping people in trouble, and using her life to do all kinds of good things.

11But don’t put younger widows on that list. When they give themselves to Christ, they are often pulled away from him by their strong physical needs. Then they want to marry again.

12And they will be judged for that. They will be judged for not doing what they first promised to do.

13Also, those younger widows begin to waste their time going from house to house. They also begin to gossip and be busy with other people’s lives. They say things they should not say.

14So I want the younger widows to marry, have children, and take care of their homes. If they do this, then our enemy will not have any reason to criticize them.

15But some of the younger widows have already turned away to follow Satan (the devil).

16If any woman who is a believer has widows in her family, then she should care for them herself. The church should not be troubled to care for them. Then the church will be able to care for the widows who have no living family.

17The elders who lead the church in a good way should receive double honor. This is especially true for those elders who do the work of counseling and teaching.

18Why? Because the Scriptures say, “When a work animal is doing the work of separating grain, don’t cover its mouth {and stop it from eating the grain}.” And the Scriptures also say, “A worker should be given his pay.”

19Don’t listen to a person who accuses an elder. You should listen to that person only if there are two or three other people who can say what the elder did wrong.

20Tell those who sin that they are wrong. Do this in front of the whole church. In that way the others will have a warning.

21Before God and Jesus Christ and the chosen angels I command you to do these things. But don’t judge people before you know the truth. And do these things equally to every person.

22Think carefully before you put your hands on any person, {making him an elder}. Don’t share in the sins of other people. Keep yourself pure.

23Timothy, stop drinking only water, and drink a little wine. This will help your stomach, and you will not be sick so often.

24The sins of some people are easy to see. Their sins show that they will be judged. But the sins of some other people are seen only later.

25It is the same with the good things people do. The good things people do are easy to see. But even when those good things are not easy to see, they cannot stay hidden.

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