5
Responsibilities towards Believers
1Do not rebuke an older man, but appeal to him as if he were your father. Treat the younger men as your brothers, 2the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, with all purity.
3Show respect for widows who really are all alone. 4But if a widow has children or grandchildren, they should learn first to carry out their religious duties towards their own family and in this way repay their parents and grandparents, because that is what pleases God. 5A widow who is all alone, with no one to take care of her, has placed her hope in God and continues to pray and ask him for his help night and day. 6But a widow who gives herself to pleasure has already died, even though she lives. 7Give them these instructions, so that no one will find fault with them. 8But if anyone does not take care of his relatives, especially the members of his own family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
9Do not add any widow to the list of widows unless she is over sixty years of age. In addition, she must have been married only once#5.9 married only once; or faithful to her husband. 10and have a reputation for good deeds: a woman who brought up her children well, received strangers in her home, performed humble duties for fellow-Christians, helped people in trouble, and devoted herself to doing good.
11But do not include younger widows in the list; because when their desires make them want to marry, they turn away from Christ, 12and so become guilty of breaking their earlier promise to him. 13They also learn to waste their time in going round from house to house; but even worse, they learn to be gossips and busybodies, talking of things they should not. 14So I would prefer that the younger widows get married, have children, and take care of their homes, so as to give our enemies no chance of speaking evil of us. 15For some widows have already turned away to follow Satan. 16But if any Christian woman has widows in her family, she must take care of them and not put the burden on the church, so that it may take care of the widows who are all alone.
17The elders who do good work as leaders should be considered worthy of receiving double pay, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18#Deut 25.4Mt 10.10Lk 10.7For the scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox when you are using it to thresh corn” and “Workers should be given their pay.” 19#Deut 17.6Deut 19.15Do not listen to an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or more witnesses. 20Rebuke publicly all those who commit sins, so that the rest may be afraid.
21In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the holy angels I solemnly call upon you to obey these instructions without showing any prejudice or favour to anyone in anything you do. 22Be in no hurry to lay hands on anyone in dedication to the Lord's service. Take no part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.
23Do not drink water only, but take a little wine to help your digestion, since you are ill so often.
24The sins of some people are plain to see, and their sins go ahead of them to judgement; but the sins of others are seen only later. 25In the same way good deeds are plainly seen, and even those that are not so plain cannot be hidden.
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