1 & 2 Timothy and Titus: Day 8

Support and Honor

by

Today's Text: 1 Timothy 5:1-6:2a, Matthew 18:15-20, 1 Corinthians 7:39-40

Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 5:1-6:2a, Matthew 18:15-20, 1 Corinthians 7:39-40

It was my first time driving in a funeral processional. I’d always been a passenger, not the driver. But on this day I was in the car alone, hazard lights flashing, trusting the cars in front of me to lead me safely to the funeral home. A couple dozen cars drove along, speeding up and slowing down in unnatural rhythm, trying our best to keep too much space from forming between each car in the line. A police officer in a black sedan with flashing lights would block an intersection until some of us passed, and then he’d speed up, siren blazing, to beat the lead car to the next intersection.

The last stretch of the drive took us down a busy four-lane highway where we came to a stop, assumedly due to afternoon Nashville traffic. But the cause of the delay soon showed itself: two long lines of cars had parted, moving to either side of the road and stopping in silent, reverent lines, waiting for us to pass. I felt like an Israelite driving through the Red Sea on dry ground, passageway granted by a supernatural turn of events. Maybe that sounds melodramatic, but in a world where we daily insist on our own truth and our own way, the gesture struck me as an unlikely bastion of decency in an individualistic society. The last shall be first. Those who mourn shall be comforted. It was the gospel in everyday clothes.

In our reading today, Timothy, a young pastor of a young church, was learning to lead his congregation in caring for one another. Paul, an older, more experienced brother in the faith, was writing to bolster Timothy’s faith and offer some practical advice. The headline of this particular part of his letter? Support and honor.

These are actions most of us agree to in theory. Support those in need; honor one another as fellow image-bearers of God. Those who do not know Jesus recognize these concepts too, even if they call them by a different name. It’s the reason the line of cars didn’t plow over the police officer that day and insist on their right to the road: we recognize there is a “right” thing to do. The problem comes in moving from theory to practice; we might agree that supporting those in need is good and important, but exactly who is “in need” and how to support them—there’s the rub.

The first two verses of today’s reading set the crucial premise for the detailed, context-specific instructions Paul gave Timothy on the subject: “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” (1 Timothy 5:1-2). Fathers, brothers, mothers, sisters. In other words, regard your fellow church members as family and act toward them accordingly.

The Church—the family of God—is to care for one another in love and sincerity. We are to move past good intentions and into action, even though it means risking tension, disagreement, and misunderstanding. If we are indeed family, then we can work it out together, forgiving our imperfections and ignorance along the way, gently helping one another grow in the ways of truth and love as imitators of Christ. And if we are followers of Christ and co-laborers in His gospel, then His reputation, not ours, is what is ultimately at stake.

As a family who knows the life-changing, life-giving grace of Jesus, may the countercultural support and honor we show one another cause the world to stop and wonder: Who taught them to love like this?   

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  • Diane McFalls

    I love that last line,”where did she learn to love like that.”

  • Monica Davis

    All caught up today!!! Praise the Lord!

  • Denise Powers Fabian

    They will know we are Christians by our love…can that be said about me?

  • Recently one of our beloved passed away. He was 98 and a half. He started coming to us when he lost his wife some 6/7 years ago now… he was always smartly dressed and tidy. Always smiling and he liked to tell us about his life and family…He always made it and always on his own.. He walked everywhere with his walker/ seat..
    He had two sons. But on the subject of them he would often say.. I haven’t seen them in a long time…
    So when we got the news that he had passed, we were surprised to be visited by a gentleman who introduced himself as our beloveds son.. He said he had wanted to meet us and see where his father had spent his days. He wanted to see where his father had talked about in telephone conversations of being happy and chatty with friends. He wanted to visit the places where dad talked about most…
    He burst into tears saying Dad was loved here wasn’t he…?
    With tears in my eyes I replied… Absolutely…
    He was a very special man..
    I just wonder if this son, in that moment of realization that His father was loved by us, didn’t think… ‘Who taught them to love like that…?

    Blessings Sisters.. with love…xxx

    • She Reads Truth

      We’re so sorry to hear this Tina. Praying for you today and are so grateful that you’re here. -Margot, The SRT Team

  • Ashley Nilles

    I for the longest time could not understand why my mom remarried after my dad passing. I needed to read this. So much more understanding now.

  • This was much needed but also hit me like a wall. I have been dealing with a dysfunctional family for my entire life but in the past 6 months my younger sister who I used to be close with has strayed further and further away. To quickly sum up, she has had boyfriend after boyfriend – not God honoring, and almost dropped out from the private university where she has an athletic scholarship to and she quit the sport she loved for these men. She has been with a new boyfriend for a couple of months and our family just found out that she is pregnant. My older sister has been struggling with infertility so for my younger sister to become pregnant outside of marriage has been devastating for her and I am feeling that pain with her. It is hard when my heart wants to hate her and have nothing to do with this pregnancy and this new life that is making me an aunt – but the Holy Spirit is telling me otherwise. I am feeling a lot of things: anger, embarrassment, worry, disappointment and many more that I can not find words for.

    Support and honor…I know I need to support her but I also feel I then positively reinforce her behaviors and poor life choices. It is hard to love and honor right now. Prayers please.

    • Liz C

      Prayers for you and your sister. And your older sister. So many emotions rolled up here. I hope that your faith in Jesus and help you sort them out.

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Carissa, thank you for sharing this. We’re praying for you during this time. -Margot, The SRT Team

    • Danya Ho

      Love covers a multitude of sins. She is empty inside and your love is what may just bring her into a be paradigm. For even while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
      I grew up a young girl who rebelled against het parents and declared she would have a baby. She did at the age of 16. It was hard it was embarrassing it was all the emotions eith eith you are struggling. But God replaced all those with a fierce love in my heart for her. It was the difference between further rebellion and a broken and contrite spirit. I will pray you

  • Praying for you Sarah D. in response to your request. May God grant you the peace of mind regarding the exam. May you trust in the Lord and know it will be alright. He knows what you need before you even ask. Will continue to pray for you tomorrow. Remember we are all God’s children helping one another. God bless you.

  • Lauren Demos

    Oh may it be asked of me—of all of us—“Where did she learn to love like that?”!

    • Kathy Hensley

      When I give up my selfishness I love so much deeper. Reducing my work hours to love my 13 year old daughter is now a priority. This time with her is precious.

  • Hey everyone, would appreciate some prayers, I have my third chemistry exam tomorrow, and just afraid that if I don’t pass this one I won’t pass chemistry at all. I’ve visited the professor and know what to do better on. Please pray that I will be able to focus today and for me to study my very best for this. I’ve been losing motivation and now I really need to make sure I have studied my hardest for this and put the effort in. Thank you! Love you all!

  • Susann Williams

    I thought the information about caring for widows was so challenging and informative! Younger women under 60 shouldn’t be put on the list, family members should care for the widows in their family before the church steps in. This makes perfect sense.

  • Victoria Park

    Some majorly convicting things in here. I’m glad this was the reading today. In dealing with my disfunctional family, I sometimes distance myself or come up with other projects in order the avoid the ministry opportunities right in front of me. Thankful for these enlightening and challenging devotionals.

  • Danielle Mutz

    Some challenging things here.

  • September Shaw

    I’ve always paid so much attention to Matthew 18:19-20 (“for wherever 2 or 3 gather…”) that I’ve jumped past my own lack of understanding on 18:18, the bind/loose part. So today I looked it up and found a deeper explanation that helped me in the YouVersion app. Sharing it here in case it helps any others:

    “Binding and loosing in scripture are in the context of opening the kingdom by preaching the gospel, and church discipline with the backing of heaven. Commonly misused verse by WOF.

    “What does the Bible mean by binding and loosing?

    “binding and loosingQuestion: “What does the Bible mean by binding and loosing?”

    “Answer: The concept of “binding and loosing” is taught in the Bible in Matthew 16:19: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” In this verse, Jesus is speaking directly to the apostle Peter and indirectly to the other apostles. Jesus’ words meant that Peter would have the right to enter the kingdom himself, that he would have general authority symbolized by the possession of the keys, and that preaching the gospel would be the means of opening the kingdom of heaven to all believers and shutting it against unbelievers. The book of Acts shows us this process at work. By his sermon on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-40), Peter opened the door of the kingdom for the first time. The expressions “bind” and “loose” were common to Jewish legal phraseology meaning to declare something forbidden or to declare it allowed.

    “Peter and the other disciples were to continue Christ’s work on earth in preaching the gospel and declaring God’s will to men and they were armed with the same authority as He possessed. In Matthew 18:18, there is also a reference to the binding and loosing in the context of church discipline. The apostles do not usurp Christ’s lordship and authority over individual believers and their eternal destiny, but they do exercise the authority to discipline and, if necessary, excommunicate disobedient church members.

    “It’s not that the apostles were given the privilege of changing God’s mind, as if whatever they decided on earth would be duplicated in heaven; rather, they were encouraged that, as they moved forward in their apostolic duties, they would be fulfilling God’s plan in heaven. When the apostles “bound” something, or forbade it on earth, they were carrying out the will of God in the matter. When they “loosed” something, or allowed it on earth, they were likewise fulfilling God’s eternal plan. In both Matthew 16:19 and 18:18, the syntax of the Greek text makes the meaning clear: “Whatever thou mayest bind upon the earth shall be having been bound in the heavens, and whatever thou mayest loose upon the earth shall be having been loosed in the heavens” (Matthew 16:19, Young’s Literal Translation). Or, as the Amplified Bible puts it, “Whatever you bind [forbid, declare to be improper and unlawful] on earth will have [already] been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose [permit, declare lawful] on earth will have [already] been loosed in heaven.”

    “Jesus taught that the apostles had a special task on earth. Their words of authority, as recorded in the New Testament epistles, reflect God’s will for the church. When Paul declared an anathema on those who pervert the gospel, then we know that anathema was already declared in heaven (see Galatians 1:8–9).”

    • Gina Glennon

      That was great! Yes, the notes in the John MacArthur Study Bible were also helpful to me and come alongside this commentary as well.

    • Gina Glennon

      I just downloaded the YouVersion app but cannot find where the commentary is. Does it depend on the Bible version chosen?

    • Gina Glennon

      I think the answer is that I have an android phone, not an Iphone.

    • Rebecca Leek

      Thank you so much for this explanation. I never knew this and it is very interesting and helpful, and I now can read this passage with greater understanding. Thank you!

  • I’m troubled by these lines. How is refusing to support a widow unless she is old and has no family and has only married once the right thing to do? How is publicly rebuking struggling church members leading with love? It all seems so judgmental, and definitely not how you would treat your own family.

    • Danielle Mutz

      Hi Liz. I think the section on widows is more meant that the family of a widow has a responsibility to look after her as they are able (keeping in mind the family oriented cultural context of first century Jerusalem), rather than leaving her to fend for herself or to fall back on the church for support. That way the church’s limited resources can be used to support widows with no family, who would otherwise have no other way to get what they need to live.

      To me. this section reads like a rebuke to people neglecting their duty and thus burdening others unnecessarily, rather than a prescriptive ‘only people in this situation can be loved.

    • Bee

      Paul isn’t saying that the widows should go unsupported. He’s saying that family members need to step up and take care of their own. This allows the church to focus on those who are truly in need. It’s prioritizing the church’s resources as well as making sure that ALL are taken care of.

    • Danielle Mutz

      And re public rebuking, the key phrase here is ‘persist in their sins’. I don’t think Paul is suggesting we expose people who are genuinely repentant and actively working on a particular issue, rather he is saying that someone who is flat out refusing to even acknowledge that what they are doing is sinful should be publicly rebuked as a last resort, after all other less public options have been used and been ineffective at resulting in repentance.

      Certainly this can be, and has been, done poorly/inappropriately, and this is why Paul instructed Timothy to take these sorts of actions carefully and without prejudice or bias.

  • Natasha Pavez

    Can I please ask for prayer? I’m struggling a bit with a particular sin, including and probably amped up by a lot of discontentment, and I am so over it. Thank you ladies ❤️

    • Evelyn Fahle

      Praying for you Natasha! You are an overcomer..speak against temptation with the word of God!

    • Lauren Bernhardt

      Hi Natasha! I just want to encourage you to tell close family or friends about this sin. It can help you overcome it by recognizing and admitting it!

      • Kendall

        Highly second this. Sin thrives in darkness, and bringing it to light takes away its power. I was struggling with a sin for six months before I confessed it to someone and it was so much easier to not do.

    • September Shaw

      Natasha, I pray for you that you can keep your heart on the Lord as your source of contentment, trust your own strength against temptation and sin when seeking first the kingdom, and the promises in 1 Corinthians 10:13, that “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” ( I have to remind myself of this one often!)

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Natasha, thank you for sharing. We’re praying for you during this time and are so grateful that you’re here. -Margot, The SRT Team

    • Brettany Sebolt

      Praying for you girl! I too have been struggling with a temptation, and after several years of it, I have been free from this temptation for 2 weeks now… I know it’s hard, but those weak and vulnerable moments will only bring you to your knees. Talk to God he will give you the greatest strength. ❤️

    • Natasha Reyes

      Praying for you, Natasha! – from another Natasha who also struggles with sin

  • Donna Parker

    I think it’s important to remember Gods character as we read this- that we have a God who loves and cares for the abused. I don’t believe he is telling us we just need to take it if there is abuse. I don’t think these verses are speaking on how we respond if someone is abusing someone but rather how we should treat people who are older than us. It goes on to say in the verses that we are not to be quick to appoint an elder because of the high calling it is. And that if someone we’re to sin to publicly rebuke them. Just my 2 cents. God is always good.

  • Churchmouse

    Perhaps there is nothing more tragic than “friendly fire” from within the church. The shrapnel can become embedded for years, causing persistent pain if unaddressed. The family of God should be a safe family, loving and nurturing. And it should be a place where differences can be calmly discussed and resolved. Alas, that is not always the case. Bullies are sometimes triumphant. Folks are left with hurt feelings and others simply walk away. Unity within the church often seems elusive. Jesus Himself prayed that the church would be one. I wonder how long it will be for His prayer to be answered?

  • Gretchen Stencil

    The book Peacemaker by Ken Sande offers great insight into Biblical conflict resolution. The author would agree that the 2 or 3 do not have to observe the event. There is also a topic index in the back and he has more insight on abuse. I highly recommend this book.

  • Kelly Chataine

    Support and honor. I have been taking care of and watching over my husband for six months, now. Recently, I have grown weary in well-doing and he has been going through a time of deeper struggle. Last night, for the first time, he was verbally cruel to me. I was crushed, cried, and wanted to lash back at him. As I laid next to him, he slept and slipped on my headphones and listened to three hours of teaching on HOPE. I felt the Spirit of God slowly chipping away at my anger, sadness, and defeated spirit. He showed me where I have erred in the situation and how I could do better. I have been supporting my husband but not honoring him lately. I know what is right, what to do or not do to help him. It is my mouth. I don’t say bad things but I send cloaked messages in a very annoying and passive aggressive manner. God heard my plea for forgiveness and granted me a clean slate. Now, I need to make way for the Spirit to empower me to do or not do and to say or not say what is right, edifying, and praise-worthy.
    Isn’t God amazing!

    • Carol Mylin

      Thank you for being so vulnerable…I love your heart…I’m sure that God does, too. Yes, God IS amazing…in you, and in all of us who seek Him, Praise His Holy Name!!

      • Irina

        Thank you for sharing your story and being honest about yourself. I can anticipate a lot with the choice of what goes out of my mouth. I too know what to say and what not to. Lately I pray that God would close my mouth at the moment when I have no strength to keep my passive-aggressive words inside. Your honest self observation encourages me to continue fighting with my sin. Thanks again

  • I love her final sentence, ‘As a family….cause the world to stop and wonder: Who taught them to love like this?
    We see examples of terribly disfunctional families in our society. Showing that the church universal is a loving and supportive family of God would indeed cause people to wonder who taught us to do that. We are human and get it wrong a lot, but I pray that we can follow the teachings of Paul and the example of Timothy and love our extended family, showing support and honor. People are hungry to be loved and we know how because we were taught by the Master.

  • Today’s reading made me reflect on the family of God. My thoughts were not limited to just the local church but also the global church. We were made for community. We were made to support and honor. Cultivating a practice of blessing others while getting our hands dirty is what we are called to do. Oh to be a fly on the wall as Paul mentored Timothy. I have a new appreciation for the book of Timothy.

  • 1 Timothy 5:19 is a verse I’ve struggled with for a long time so I’m wondering if anyone can help me.
    I don’t see why a church leader should not listen to an accusation against an elder unless it is confirmed by 2 or 3 witnesses. Of course they shouldn’t automatically believe an accusation, but surely they should listen and seek to discover the truth rather than ignoring it.
    I’m thinking especially of situations of abuse, where so often there isn’t another witness. There are so many cases where the abuser has been a well-respected church member, and it freaks me out that, on the basis of this verse, a church leader might not listen if someone in their congregation tried to speak out.
    I’m not referring to a specific situation here but that has always been my concern about this verse. Any insights you have appreciated.

    • Lisa Shelton

      I am going for the long shot here but, looking at this verse this statement is noted several times in the Bible.. Deuteronomy 17:6
      John 8: 17 and
      2 Corinthians 13:1
      Are a just few other instances.
      In the Jewish law a person had to have two or three witnesses and then this was considered a final judgement in which death was the sentence. Paul was telling Timothy not to jump to conclusions about and elder, (which did not technically mean an older gentleman but rather any one in charge of an office of the church) But instead, once he heard an accusation to make sure it was at the point he could rule this final judgement on the elder. Had Timothy heard only the first account of the matter he would have no cause for the type of sentencing it merits. Since this is a teaching reflected throughout the Bible Paul was teaching Timothy to carefully deal with this type accusation since it was an elder. In other words this type thing should be dealt with firmly and completely at the same time. I think if you look at it this way you will see, Gods makes no mistake in His word and in reality this verse describes the opposite of no justice, it is a final justice. As for those where there may not be more than one witness, God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit know everything and if we take those issues to Him it will be worked out. I hope this may shed some light on the verse.

    • Veronica

      Hey Lesley, to add a slightly different perspective (based on Matt. 18:25-20), I don’t think all three people have to bear physical witness to the event. Instead, I think here they *are support*- fellow brothers and sisters who come along side the victim/hurt and say ‘we stand with her.’ I say this because our God is a God of Justice, not just order, and a God who speaks of leaders who take advantage of others with lowest regard. (James 3:1, 2 Corinthians 5:10). Leaders already (supposedly) have led a careful, honorable life in Christ- so i think you are correct that they want to protect their reputation from falsities. I also think as teachers it’s easy for the abused- a person speaking on their own- to be disregarded. But when a person has truly been wronged – not just stirring up resentment or hurt that could be solved with just a simple conversation (some are that simple, and other things are much, much worse) – it’s almost a protection to bring others along side them. As support, as a judge, as a ‘We know, we believe, and we are here for justice’. Having those people stand with her/him give them security from any potential harm/threats and hope for change. That’s my two cents! ❤️

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