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1 Timothy

Chapter 5a Discussion Guide

 

Section A: Chapter 5:1-2 (CSB)

Don’t rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters with all purity.

Discussion Questions

Paul instructs Timothy to interact appropriately with people according to their age and gender.

  • How does this instruction reflect Christ?

  • Where in Jesus’ life can we see this instruction demonstrated?

  • In our lives today, how does sin affect:

    • Our interactions with those of the opposite gender?

    • Our interactions with those of different life stages?

  • What practical and specific ways can we carry out Paul’s instruction?

The Point:

Sin causes men to seek dominance over women, viewing them as less-than-human. As a result, men sinfully seek to “use” women as objects. Sin causes women to view men as incompetent, corrupt, and less-than-human. As a result, women sinfully seek to overtake man’s God-appointed position of headship, rather than trusting him to faithfully carry out the duty God assigned.

A God-honoring relationship between Man and Woman requires recognition that both are created in God’s image, as equals with differing roles, after the same goal: Representing God to Creation.

There is no need for a harsh rebuke when a mature Christian sins, as the Holy Spirit will be faithful to convict them. Instead, a loving response is to remind of our already-won victory in Christ, and encouragement to help them through repentance, back toward right relationship with God. If a Christian continues in their sin, a loving rebuke is appropriate regardless of maturity.

 

Section B: Chapter 5:3-8 (CSB)

Support widows who are genuinely in need. But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them learn to practice godliness toward their own family first and to repay their parents, for this pleases God. The widow who is truly in need and left all alone has put her hope in God and continues night and day in her petitions and prayers; however, she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. Command this also, so that they will be above reproach. But if anyone does not provide for his own family, especially for his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Discussion Questions

  • Is “delegating” or “outsourcing” acts of love always an indicator of sin?

  • Must I always act? What about when I’m truly too busy?

  • How can I know when I AM called to act?

  • What ways can we ACT in Love:

    • Toward the Church?

    • Toward NonBelievers?

The Point:

God knows the condition of our hearts, and the motivation behind our actions. Even Jesus needed to leave some unhealed while He walked the earth, in the pursuit of a bigger mission – we, likewise, are not called to solve every problem. By acting in Love, however, we are able to accomplish “greater things” because God can use ALL of us to do more than one physical man during one physical life could ever accomplish.

 

Section C: Chapter 5:9-13 (CSB)

No widow is to be enrolled on the list for support unless she is at least sixty years old, has been the wife of one husband, and is well known for good works — that is, if she has brought up children, shown hospitality, washed the saints’ feet, helped the afflicted, and devoted herself to every good work. But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when they are drawn away from Christ by desire, they want to marry and will therefore receive condemnation because they have renounced their original pledge. At the same time, they also learn to be idle, going from house to house; they are not only idle, but are also gossips and busybodies, saying things they shouldn’t say.

Discussion Questions

  • How can Paul both call the body to act in love, and also put restrictions on support?

  • What about those widows who don’t meet the criteria for support?

  • Is this condemnation for younger widows? Isn’t that kind of ‘judgey’ and un-Christlike?

The Point:

God created and ordered the universe. He’s fully aware of the purpose for which He created us, and the effects of Sin. God knows who will be tempted, and which situations are likely to create temptation. In His love, God gives instructions that steer the body away from temptation, and high-risk situations for Sin.

Practically, Paul also provides instruction to the body to ACT in Love according to need. This would “fill-in-the-gaps” left by the outliers who were ‘restricted’ from support, but truly are in need.

 

Section D: Chapter 5:14-16 (CSB)

Therefore, I want younger women to marry, have children, manage their households, and give the adversary no opportunity to accuse us. For some have already turned away to follow Satan. If any believing woman has widows in her family, let her help them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it can help widows in genuine need.

Discussion Questions

  • What about young widows who may not want to marry?

  • Isn’t it kind of mean to call those who need help a “burden”?

The Point:

Paul’s practical instructions for the church to ACT in Love, would “fill-in-the-gaps” left by those young widows who truly did not want to marry, and chose to honor a life of devotion to Christ, until such a time (Age sixty… or, close?) When the elders would in good faith, approve support for her.

In this case, the “burden” described is those who SHOULD NOT be “leaning” on the church, but instead be supported by their own work, or their own family.

 

Application

  • What do we learn about God from 1 Timothy, Chapter 5?

  • How can we ACT in Love toward each other? Our Church? Non-Believers?

  • How will we help each other to grow in Christlikeness this week?

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