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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


1 Tim 5:1-2 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; the elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.

In this lesson text, Paul gives young Timothy scriptural guidance on how he is expected to relate to all age groups that made up the congregation of the church of Christ in Ephesus. This also serves as a scriptural example for all young brethren in Christ throughout all ages. In each case, Timothy was told not to rebuke them, but intreat them. Entreat, is a different spelling, but carries the same meaning as"intreat"as used in the lesson text.To "rebuke" someone is to sternly reprove the action of another in a chastising manner. To "intreat" someone is to beseech, beg, and plead with them regarding actions unbecoming to that of a follower of Christ.

In each instance, the reason to do so is to cause a person to understand an erring action, and to make correction.and atonement for it. To rebuke is more severe and harsh form of reprimand. If it is used to correct the actions of one that is still a "babe in Christ," having less scriptural knowledge, it is less likely to be effective. To intreat is tempered with kindness and understanding, which tends to make a reprimand more receptive. To speak in an intreating manner, Paul says, accomplishes more than rebuking them for their erring ways. This is a lesson all Christians need to understand and practice.

Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father. Considering the context in which this command is given, the word here translated as "elder" includes, but is not restricted to one filling the office of eldership. As it is used here, it means older, more elderly, Christians. Any minister of Christ, and especially young preachers, must correct any false doctrine upheld by Christians of all ages. But in the case of an older Christian, but they are not to do so in a stern, harsh, reprimanding manner. Sure preachers should recognize and correct all scriptural error being practiced within the body of Christ, but in order for it to be corrected and accepted, it must be done in a kind, sympathetic, understanding manner - in the same respectful manner that one would teach his own father.

A young minister of Christ, such as Timothy, is to rebuke not ...the younger men, but intreat (them) brethren. Superiority of scriptural knowledge does not automatically give higher "ranking" or "more power" within the body of Christ. A young preacher can never reach a position higher than that of a fellow servant. An arrogant, haughty attitude of a young preacher cannot successfully persuade younger men to become, and remain, faithful Christians. As such, their example belies their voice of knowledge. The concern a young minister of Christ must demonstrate toward other younger Christians, is that of a caring brother, that is concerned only for their spiritual well being.

Young preachers must rebuke not ...elder women, but intreat (them) mothers. Whether for older men or older women, respect must be given shown to all elderly Christians. Although it happens all too often, a young son should never speak in an unfeeling, irreverent, or harsh manner to their biological mother. Paul tells us, that this same matronly attitude, must be demonstrated by a young preacher toward all elderly women within a congregation of God's people. Within the body of Christ, age demands respect by all. It is especially required by a young minister endeavoring to preach the pure word of God, and have it received by the hearts and minds of elderly women and, as well, by the entire congregation.

Finally, young ministers of Christ must rebuke not ...younger (women), but intreat (them) sisters. Generally speaking, brothers demonstrate a protective and tender loving concern for the physical welfare of biological sisters. Sure sibling rivalries exist between children of a family, but it takes mild manners, and a gentle demeanor, for true love, peace, and understanding to be the rule, rather than the exception, between brothers and sisters. So it must be between a young preacher and the younger women of a congregation of God's people. Although a minister may be relatively young, Christian women, that are also young in age, will come nearer accepting the gospel truths, which he peaches and practices, when they are treated as a good brother treats his sister.

A young preacher, such as Timothy, must demonstrate a loving, and caring, respect for all age groups within the church of Christ, with all purity. I believe the characteristic of purity applies to all four groups of Christians. In order to have the respect as a true, and effective, gospel preacher, he must show a sympathetic and understanding nature toward all members of the congregation. For the truths found in God's word to be accepted by all members of Christ's church, Paul told Timothy, and, by inference, tells young preachers of all ages, in order to be a fruitful minister for the cause of Christ, rebuke not, but intreat.