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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 5

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1 NEVER be harsh with an older man; appeal to him as if he were your father. Treat the younger men as brothers, 2the older women as mothers, and the younger as your sisters, in all purity.

3Enrol as widows only those who are widows in the fullest sense. 4If a widow has children or grandchildren, they should learn as their first duty to show loyalty to the family and so repay what they owe to their parents and grandparents; for that has God's approval. 5But a widow in the full sense, one who is alone in the world, puts all her trust in God, and regularly, night and day, attends the meetings for prayer and worship. 6A widow given to self-indulgence, however, is as good as dead. 7Add these instructions to the rest, so that the widows may be above reproach. 8And if anyone does not make provision for his relations, and especially for members of his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

9A widow under sixty years of age should not be put on the roll. An enrolled widow must have been the wife of one husband, 10and must have gained a reputation for good deeds, by taking care of children, by showing hospitality, by washing the feet of God's people, by supporting those in distress—in short, by doing good at every opportunity.

11Do not admit younger widows to the roll; for if they let their passions distract them from Christ's service they will want to marry again, 12and so be guilty of breaking their earlier vow to him. 13Besides, in going round from house to house they would learn to be idle, indeed worse than idle, gossips and busybodies, speaking of things better left unspoken. 14For that reason it is my wish that young widows should marry again, have children, and manage a household; then they will give the enemy no occasion for scandal. 15For there have in fact been some who have taken the wrong turning and gone over to Satan.

16If a Christian woman has widows in her family, she must support them; the congregation must be relieved of the burden, so that it may be free to support those who are widows in the full sense.

17Elders who give good service as leaders should be reckoned worthy of a double stipend, in particular those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18For scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain’; besides, ‘The worker earns his pay.’

19Do not entertain a charge against an elder unless it is supported by two or three witnesses. 20Those who do commit sins you must rebuke in public, to put fear into the others. 21Before God and Christ Jesus and the angels who are his chosen, I solemnly charge you: maintain these rules, never prejudging the issue, but acting with strict impartiality. 22Do not be over-hasty in the laying on of hands, or you may find yourself implicated in other people's misdeeds; keep yourself above reproach.

23Stop drinking only water; in view of your frequent ailments take a little wine to help your digestion.

24There are people whose offences are so obvious that they precede them into court, and others whose offences have not yet caught up with them. 25So too with good deeds; they may be obvious, but, even if they are not, they cannot be concealed for ever.

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