Paul now instructs Timothy—and all church workers—regarding financial support. He also instructs how to approach church leader’s misconduct.

My translation and notes for 1 Timothy 5:17-21

Support the Ministry

17 Let the elders, who have effective leadership, be deserving of double honor, especially those who labor in word and teaching.

[The leaders have material and financial needs and should be supported for the hours they minister to the church (believers). All elders teach and lead. Some have the gifts of the Holy Spirit to teach (a more public ministry), while others have more of an administrative gift (a less noticeable ministry].

18 For the Scripture says, “Yous must not muzzle the ox who threshes the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his pay.”

[Deuteronomy 25:4, Matthew 10:10, and Luke 10:7]

19 Do not accept an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.

[The Greek word for ‘accept’ is παραδέχομαι paradéchomai (G3858). It means to accept and acknowledge. The accusation may be known to only a few or public. It may refer to doctrine, lifestyle, or dealings with society. It is serious. Some accusations may be private as in grooming or any type of abuse as bullying, sexual, financial, spiritual, etc. In these cases, the offense is a crime in most countries and so must be acknowledged. These victims must be believed. Also, it must be taken seriously because the one who is abused may lose their faith in Christ].

20 In the presence of all, rebuke those who sin, so the other [leaders] may also fear.

[There must be accountability. The error must be acknowledged by the one who did these things and the elder/leader rebuked. Some sins are such that the position of pastor can never be exercised by that individual again. Some of these sins are sexual offenses, murder, theft (including embezzlement), and other crimes. In committing these sins, they lose the following qualification—In addition, he must have a good reputation of those outside [the church], lest he fall into disgrace and the trap of the Devil (1 Timothy 3:7).

21 I testify before God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the chosen angels, that yous obey these things without prejudice doing nothing by favoritism.

[We must seriously live without favoritism. I show my wife and children favoritism over yours but in matters of the church, all individuals must be treated equally regardless of friendship or relationship. There is no excuse for crimes. Some excuses could be, “I’ve known him for years, and he/she would never do___.” “I’m sure this was just a mistake.” “He/she seduced the pastor.” There are many others. The crime must be viewed not somebody’s reputation or standing in society or the church].

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