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14. Protecting the Church's Reputation

1 Timothy 5:17-6:5

Day One Study

1.              Read 1 Timothy 5:17-20. What is the church’s responsibility toward elders who rule well?

Scriptural Insight: The Greek word for “honor” is the same word used in 1 Timothy 5:3, where it refers to respect and material support. The meaning of “double honor” is not certain but could refer to “pay”, especially for those who labored in preaching and teaching. Other passages where the word means “pay” include Matthew 27:6, Acts 4:34, Acts 7:16, and 1 Corinthians 6:20.” (Life Application Bible Study Guide, pg. 107 & The Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament, page 744)

2. According to 5:19, how should a church handle accusations against an elder?

3. Reading further, why do you think Paul would instruct the elders to be treated in this public way (if the sinful behavior continues)? What purpose would this serve to “the rest” of the members of the church, according to verse 20?

4. What effect would this procedure have on the spread of gossip?

5. What do you think happens when this isn’t handled correctly? How is the church as a whole viewed when this happens?

6. Read 1 Timothy 5:21.

·         What “solemn” charge does Paul give to Timothy here?

·         What is the spirit, or attitude that Timothy is to have?

7. Who does Paul say is in his presence as he gives this charge? Why do you think he mentions this?

8. In what sense, or in what way, do you think these beings were in Paul’s presence?

9. Favoritism or partiality is often denounced in scripture. Look up Leviticus 19:15, Romans 2:11, and James 2:1-13. What do these verses say about this subject?

10. Adorning Yourself: Do you tend to act (or has someone else acted toward you) with favoritism toward your children? In your church? In public? At work? How can you think and act more fairly in this area, knowing God’s view of favoritism?

Day Two Study

11. Read 1 Timothy 5:22, 24-25. (Verse 23 is a side note from Paul to Timothy.) Why do you think Timothy should not lay hands upon anyone, or ordain anyone as an elder, too hastily?

12. What do verses 24 and 25 say about a person’s sins and good deeds… in particular, will they remain hidden from other people? What would you say is the “bottom line”, in your own words, of these verses?

Historical Insight: In the Roman culture of Paul’s day, slavery was a deeply rooted institution. Slavery was economic rather than racially motivated. People usually became slaves as a result of war or poverty. A great social and legal gulf separated masters and slaves. Paul’s word choice, under the yoke, captures the essence of slavery—most slaves were treated no better than cattle, than mere property. But when a master and his slave became Christians, they became spiritual equals, brothers (and sisters) in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28). Equality in the church but inviolable separation at home obviously made for interesting interpersonal relations in and out of the church. (Life Application Bible Study Guide, pg. 114)

13. Read 1 Timothy 6:1-2.

·         What general principle does Paul lay out for slaves?

·         Why do you think he includes this?

14. How do you think Paul’s counsel for the master/slave relationship might be applied to an employer/employee relationship today?

15. Read 1 Timothy 6:3-5. From verse 4, list the three characteristics of a person who is a false teacher.

16. From verses 4 and 5, which behaviors arise out of false teaching?

17. When these behaviors are occurring in the church, how might they affect an outsider or a visitor’s view of the church? How do they affect the internal effectiveness of the work of the people of the church?

18. Adorning Yourself: What do you think your own part is, or could be, in helping maintain or protect the reputation of your church?

Related Topics: Curriculum

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