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1DON'T reprimand a senior member of your church, appeal to him as a father. Treat the young men as brothers, and

2the older women as mothers. Treat the younger women as sisters, and no more.

3You should treat with great consideration widows who are really alone in the world.

4But remember that if a widow has children or grandchildren it is primarily their duty to show the genuineness of their religion in their own homes by repaying their parents for what has been done for them, and God readily accepts such service.

5But the widow who is really alone and desolate can only hope in God, and she will pray earnestly to him night and day.

6The widow who plunges into all the pleasure that the world can give her is killing her own soul.

7You should therefore make the following rules for the widows, to avoid abuses:

8[1] You should make it clear that for a man to refuse to look after his own relations, especially those actually living in his house, is a denial of the faith he professes. He is worse than a man who makes no profession.

9[2] Widows for your church list should be at least sixty years of age, should have had only one husband

10and have a well founded reputation for having lived a good life. Some such questions as these should be asked:has she brought up her children well, has she been hospitable to strangers, has she been willing to serve fellowChristians in menial ways, has she relieved those in distress, has she, in a word, conscientiously done all the good she can?

11[3] Don't put the younger widows on your list. My experience is that when their natural desires grow stronger than their spiritual devotion to Christ they want to marry again,

12thus proving themselves unfaithful to their first loyalty.

13Moreover, they get into habits of slackness by being so much in and out of other people's houses. In fact they easily become worse than lazy, and degenerate into gossips and busybodies with dangerous tongues.

14[4] My advice is that the younger widows should, normally, marry again, bear children and run their own households. They should certainly not provide the means for lowering the reputation of the church in the sight of our enemies.

15Some have already played into their hands.

16[5] As a general rule it should be taken for granted that any Christians who have widows in the family circle should do everything possible for them and not allow them to become the church's responsibility. The church will then be free to look after those widows who are alone in the world.

17Elders with a gift of leadership should be considered worthy of respect, and of adequate salary, particularly if they work hard at their preaching and teaching.

18Remember the scriptural principle: Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corns and The labourer is worthy of his hire.

19Take no notice of charges brought against an elder unless they can be substantiated by proper witnesses.

20If sin is actually proved, then the offenders should be publicly rebuked as a salutary warning to others.

21I solemnly charge you in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the holy angels to follow these orders with the strictest impartiality and to have no favorites.

22Never be in a hurry to ordain a man by laying your hands upon him, or you may be making yourself responsible for the sins of others. Be careful that your own life is pure.

23(By the way, I should advise you to drink wine in moderation, instead of water. It will do your stomach good and help you to get over your frequent spells of illness.)

24Remember that some men's sins are obvious, and are equally obviously bringing them to judgment. The sins of other men are not apparent, but are dogging them, nevertheless, under the surface.

25Similarly some virtues are plain to see, while others, though not at all conspicuous, will eventually become known.

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 <<  1 Timotius 5 >> 

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