Paul continues to give Timothy, his representative to the church in Ephesus, specific instructions for “how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (3:15). While there is organization to the church, it is not merely an organization. The church is a body of baptized believers who covenant together to love, learn from, and labor for Jesus Christ.
There will be times when believers must be rebuked, so in God’s household they must be treated as family members, with love, honor, and respect (vv. 1-2). Widows without family support should receive care from the church if she is of godly character and sufficient age (vv. 3-16). Note that believers who have widows must care for their needy family members (v. 16); failing to do so shows no love for the Lord and His saints (v. 8). Pastors should work hard, fear sin, and be impartial in their relationships (vv. 17-25).
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- Churches must care for members who are widows. Because of various government programs it is easy to think widows’ needs are supplied. While such programs are a help, churches must be sure that their widows’ needs are met. There are more than just financial needs!
- The “elders who rule well…especially those who labor in the word and doctrine” refers to the same office, not two different offices (some point to this passage as supporting two offices, ruling and teaching elders). All elders must carry out their responsibilities well and all elders must be able to teach (3:2). This passage (vv. 17-18) teaches that pastors should be financially supported (1 Cor 9:7-15; Gal 6:6). Pray for your pastor that he will “rule well” and “labor in the word and doctrine”!