This bible study is part of a series on the book of 1st Timothy, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of 1st Timothy for other studies in this book.
When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.
Let’s start in verse twenty one of the fifth chapter of First Timothy.
Do not show partiality
1st Timothy 5:21 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality.
We have to deal swiftly, accurately and decisively with such things in the church as such things being allowed to fester and to rot will erode a man’s ability to serve, teach and whilst something hangs over his head, his very credibility will be in doubt. No one should be above correction as we are human and we are beings that have no “perfect” or “sinless” setting.
We have to be accountable, we have to know and let it be known that sin will be dealt with in a biblical basis, that we believe that the very words we speak, the words we read from, the holy and inerrant word of God is infallible and the standard in which we attempt to attain. We cannot shield or suppress that which would harm the ministry and we must be above reproach in all that we do.
I state that as the churches who do suppress, hide sin, defer discipline and spiral out of control are the ones who regularly crash and burn. They see man’s reputation and man’s opinion as above what we read in the holy word of God. That is a slippery slope as we cannot discard the bible in one area and vigorously defend it in another.
James talks of this in his epistle…
James 2:1 (ESV) My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2 For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3 and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4 have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called? 8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressor.
Really states and wraps up what I was saying much better than I ever could. (Remember the whole part about elevating leaders unto a pedestal)
Be careful who you promote into leadership
V22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure. 23 (No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.) 24 The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. 25 So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.
We have to be careful who we let into leadership, we have to choose men who have served diligently and are above reproach (see chapter three) there must not be a fast track dependent on who people are or prior reputation. (Often times it is pastors who want their sons in ministry with them or their family members) That we should let God move in our hearts and choose people who are called as opposed to those who are liked.
We have to allow the gifts to be demonstrated and be evident. Would we send someone who is not musically talented to be a worship leader? Then why would we allow someone who is not called to leadership to be a leader?
We have to keep ourselves pure and Paul gives an important reminder to Timothy here when he is assessing the gifts of others that he assesses himself and keeps himself clean. He has to be pure as to avoid any backchat from those he wishes to lead by stating “well what about xxx sin in your life?”
And to take this further as Paul does, he is not (we also) to share in other peoples sins, we cannot be pure if we are joining in a communal sin. We can be a bad example, we can sin in a way that would encourage them to fall, we can “respect persons” and reject others, we can reject the teachings of the word of God, we can fall into heresies, and there are countless ways this could be done.
Wine for the sake of your stomach
V23 (No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.) 24 The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. 25 So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.
Timothy was abstaining from alcohol in order to be a good example (see chapter three) and Paul would have known of any gastroenterological problems that were being caused by the water situation in Ephesus. Paul is stating here that it may be better to have something that is fermented and not just water in order to settle his stomach.
What this advice is not
Is an open door to take wine as a recreational drug, we have to have a balance of what Paul is saying here. Do you fall into the same situation that Timothy has here and do you not have access to clean drinking water? Whether you get it from a tap/faucet or by way of a bottle. Will the water you drink cause you to have internal problems causing sickness in your body?
If the answer is no then I would proceed with caution as you would most likely follow the guidelines in chapter three. If the answer is yes then I would still be cautious and drink carefully and sparingly. Alcohol is a very tricky drug and it is so easy t become addicted. Please take it from someone who knows.
What the advice is
Is an advice from one friend to another in order to ease his discomfort. He knew that Timothy would exercise moderation in his doses of the “medication” and would not be found lying under the table in a stupor. I can’t exercise enough the advice to be cautious and be very careful if you choose to medicate in this fashion.
V24 The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. 25 So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.
Let me state here first and foremost by stating I don’t have it down yet! I am not perfect and if you want testimony of that then please consult my wife. Some sins are more obvious than others and some can be concealed better. If you are like me and have had addiction problems you go into “survival mode” and do tend to conceal things much better than others, whether that be information, feelings or whatever it would be.
Paul makes the comparison between good works and sin and states that good works are conspicuous, that good works will not remain hidden. This gives me hope, but I do wish to implore you to do good works for good works sake, without the hope of being noticed. I say that as one who has done things with impure motives and been disappointed when I have not been recognized as I thought I should have been.
Exhortation for leaders
It is important to use God’s discernment and cover everything in prayer, not everything we see on the outside may follow what is going on the heart and if there is a check in your spirit then investigate fully. It is important to equip the saints for the work of the ministry and the leadership must be proactive in doing so. They must bring the right people in based on the callings and skills the LORD has blessed them with and always go for the called option as opposed the popular one.
If someone is trying to go in a way the LORD is not leading then the leadership has to be strong and encourage the believer in a direction that is more suitable to their capabilities and callings. That way both parties know where they stand, rather than just not developing that person and deferring more pain along the way. Leaders have to be pure as they can be so that they can do the work of the LORD without stain or blemish to God’s truth.
Thank you again for finding this article and I pray these bible studies are a blessing. Please feel free to comment, like or share as the LORD leads you to.