1 Timothy 5:17-24 Honor Elders, Drink Wine Instead of Water, Hidden Sin

The Ephesian church was in need of remodeling, hence the need for Paul to send Timothy ahead and appoint him leader of the body.

Along with the responsibility to recruit, train and oversee leaders, Timothy was called to teach everyone within the church about the courtesy we should all show our elders, among other biblical commandments concerning accusations or partiality with the church, as well as sin and works.

17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” (1 Timothy 5:17-18)

Paul refers not only to elders within the church, its “bishops” but also those who achieved wisdom along their extended passage through life. However the emphasis in this letter is on the leaders within the church, that they should be honored for their service to Yahweh, to advance the gospel and spread the good news about Yeshua, the Christ.

Timothy is also instructed here about laborers, within and outside the church, that those who toil should receive wages due to them, in tune to industry and skill level, for this is just and glorifying to God almighty.

19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.” (1 Timothy 5:19)

Paul understood no one was perfect, so should Timothy. Church leaders should be held accountable for their actions. As such, blame against them should be brought up and dealt with publicly, and used as a forging hammer to strengthen the church.

20 Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.” (1 Timothy 5:20)

Timothy was to teach church leaders that lessons learned within the body were to be used as learning experience for the entire congregation, when possible, that for God’s glory a harvest would pour out of the exposed sin, then by faith in Christ, the blessed redemption process that ensues.

21 I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality.” (1 Timothy 5:21)

Paul is firm on his delegation of authority over the things included in this letter. His applying this teaching was imperative to the growth and fruit of the Ephesian church at a much needed time when spiritual attacks abounded.

22 Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure.” (1 Timothy 5:22)

Here Paul instructs Timothy that elders should not be chosen according to their deeds, their lives and service to both God and His church. Bishops should be husbands of one wife, father to well tempered, respectable children and established within the body of Christ.

23 No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.” (1 Timothy 5:23)

Because the water is Ephesus was not entirely potable, much like Paul a decade before him, Timothy had fallen ill. Putting on a physician hat, the apostle advises the leader of the Ephesian church should replace to Ephesian water with low alcohol wine, known to sooth and cure digestive issues at the time.

24 Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later. 25 Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden.” (1 Timothy 5:24)

Paul now shifts his focus for Timothy’s instruction from a medical prescription to addressing sin in the lives of all men, including church leaders. The apostle compares the outward sin of men, which is judged on earth, to the hidden sin of hypocrites who will stand before the throne of the all knowing judge.

In turn, some will find rewards for their works on earth, many will receive the bulk of their wages in heaven, where jewels and crowns await those who obediently served God. Let us pray!

Father God;
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Paul,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.

Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.

God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.

May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.

We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.

Praise God,

This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre
Email: DanielStPierre@ThriveThroughChrist.com

Posted in Bible Studies.

Daniel St.Pierre


  1. Let us honor our elders in the church
    Drink wine but must not lead to debauchery
    And be firm with our integrity

  2. “Some will find rewards for their works on earth, many will receive the bulk of their wages in heaven, where jewels and crowns await those who obediently served God”

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