The Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

1 Timothy 5:1-2

The Church as Family

As is the case with most all of Paul’s letters, the latter part is taken up with practical matters, in this case dealing with different groups within the church.  The first couple of groups concern the elder and the younger, and those two groups are further separated by gender.

Paul writes: “Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.”  What stands out in this brief instruction is how the Apostle views the church as a family using such terms as father, mother, brother, and sister.  This is all in a spiritual rather than a physical sense to be sure, but the reality is just the same as we are bound together in Christ.  And the blood of Christ is thicker than even familial bonds.  The church on earth is a type of the church in heaven where our brotherhood shall be even closer in a way that we can hardly imagine now.

And as a family, pastors should treat older men as fathers—with respect and honor.  Any sort of correction is to be done in the way of encouragement.  (Do bear in mind that we are not here dealing with the false teachers in the church who, regardless of age or gender, must be rebuked and if need be subjected to church discipline.)  The same goes for older women; they too should be paid the utmost respect as dignifies advanced womanhood and motherhood.  Younger men, or men the same age as Timothy, he should disciple as men who shall one day lead the church.  He should treat them as soldiers and train them in the godliness in which he is training himself, that they may endure temptation and trial.  He must steel them against the days ahead knowing that they shall likely be evil. 

And a pastor must treat younger women as sisters and, the Apostle adds, “in all purity.”  It is incumbent that pastors and all Christians not give reason for scandal, even in appearances.  Feminists are quite hostile to this idea thinking that it paints women as predators, an interpretation which is entirely unnecessary.  Sensible people understand that no one is above temptation and that pastors must not place themselves in compromising situations.  Indeed, such is the case for all Christians, but especially those in leadership both inside and outside the church.  In this way, Christian men and women treat one another with the respect (and unbelievers as well), honoring themselves and their spouses or future spouses; after all, “Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned?” (Proverbs 6:27 KJV).

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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