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1 Timothy 5:17 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and in teaching.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Let the elders that rule well, be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Let the elders who take the lead [among the saints] well be esteemed worthy of double honour, specially those labouring in word and teaching;
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Let, the well presiding elders, of double honour, be accounted worthy, especially they who toil in discourse and teaching;
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— The well-leading elders of double honour let them be counted worthy, especially those labouring in word and teaching,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Let the priests that rule well be esteemed worthy of double honour: especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Let the Elders that rule well, be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— Those presbyters who well conduct themselves shall be worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and in doctrine.
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— Let the elders who conduct themselves well, be esteemed worthy of double honor; especially they who labor in the word and in doctrine.

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Let y515
[0515] Standard
From G0514; to deem entitled or fit.
<0000> Grammar
The original word in the Greek or Hebrew is translated by more than one word in the English. The English translation is separated by one or more other words from the original.
the x3588
(3588) Complement

The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
elders 4245
{4245} Prime
Comparative of πρέσβυς [[presbus]] (elderly); older; as noun, a senior; specifically an Israelite Sanhedrist (also figuratively, member of the celestial council) or Christian 'presbyter'.
that rule 4291
{4291} Prime
From G4253 and G2476; to stand before, that is, (in rank) to preside, or (by implication) to practise.
<5761> Grammar
Tense - Perfect (See G5778)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Participle (See G5796)
Count - 193
well 2573
{2573} Prime
Adverb from G2570; well (usually morally).
be counted worthy 515
{0515} Prime
From G0514; to deem entitled or fit.
<5744> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Passive (See G5786)
Mood - Imperative (See G5794)
Count - 48
of double 1362
{1362} Prime
From G1364 and (probably) the base of G4119; two fold.
honour, 5092
{5092} Prime
From G5099; a value, that is, money paid, or (concretely and collectively) valuables; by analogy esteem (especially of the highest degree), or the dignity itself.
especially 3122
{3122} Prime
Neuter plural of the superlative of an apparently primary adverb μάλα [[mala]] (very); (adverb) most (in the greatest degree) or particularly.
they who labour 2872
{2872} Prime
From a derivative of G2873; to feel fatigue; by implication to work hard.
<5723> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Participle (See G5796)
Count - 2549
in 1722
{1722} Prime
A primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), that is, a relation of rest (intermediate between G1519 and G1537); 'in', at, (up-) on, by, etc.
the word 3056
{3056} Prime
From G3004; something said (including the thought); by implication a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive; by extension a computation; specifically (with the article in John) the Divine Expression (that is, Christ).
and 2532
{2532} Prime
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
doctrine. 1319
{1319} Prime
From G1320; instruction (the function or the information).
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

1 Timothy 5:17

_ _ The transition from the widow presbyteresses (1 Timothy 5:9) to the presbyters here, is natural.

_ _ rule well — literally, “preside well,” with wisdom, ability, and loving faithfulness, over the flock assigned to them.

_ _ be counted worthy of double honour — that is, the honor which is expressed by gifts (1 Timothy 5:3, 1 Timothy 5:18) and otherwise. If a presbyter as such, in virtue of his office, is already worthy of honor, he who rules well is doubly so [Wiesinger] (1 Corinthians 9:14; Galatians 6:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:12). Not literally that a presbyter who rules well should get double the salary of one who does not rule well [Alford], or of a presbyteress widow, or of the deacons [Chrysostom]. “Double” is used for large in general (Revelation 18:6).

_ _ specially they who labour in the word and doctrineGreek, “teaching”; preaching of the word, and instruction, catechetical or otherwise. This implies that of the ruling presbyters there were two kinds, those who labored in the word and teaching, and those who did not. Lay presbyters, so called merely because of their age, have no place here; for both classes mentioned here alike are ruling presbyters. A college of presbyters is implied as existing in each large congregation. As in 1 Timothy 3:1-16 their qualifications are spoken of, so here the acknowledgments due to them for their services.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

1 Timothy 5:17-25

_ _ Here are directions,

_ _ I. Concerning the supporting of ministers. Care must be taken that they be honourably maintained (1 Timothy 5:17): Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour (that is, of double maintenance, double to what they have had, or to what others have), especially those who labour in the word and doctrine, those who are more laborious than others. Observe, The presbytery ruled, and the same that ruled were those who laboured in the word and doctrine: they had not one to preach to them and another to rule them, but the work was done by one and the same person. Some have imagined that by the elders that rule well the apostle means lay-elders, who were employed in ruling but not in teaching, who were concerned in church-government, but did not meddle with the administration of the word and sacraments; and I confess this is the plainest text of scripture that can be found to countenance such an opinion. But it seem a little strange that mere ruling elders should be accounted worthy of double honour, when the apostle preferred preaching to baptizing, and much more would he prefer it to ruling the church; and it is more strange that the apostle should take no notice of them when he treats of church-officers; but, as it is hinted before, they had not, in the primitive church, one to preach to them and another to rule them, but ruling and teaching were performed by the same persons, only some might labour more in the word and doctrine than others. Here we have, 1. The work of ministers; it consists principally in two things: ruling well and labouring in the word and doctrine. This was the main business of elders or presbyters in the days of the apostles. 2. The honour due to those who were not idle, but laborious in this work; they were worthy of double honour, esteem, and maintenance. He quotes a scripture to confirm this command concerning the maintenance of ministers that we might think foreign; but it intimates what a significancy there was in many of the laws of Moses, and particularly in this, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treads out the corn, Deuteronomy 25:4. The beasts that were employed in treading out the corn (for that way they took instead of threshing it) were allowed to feed while they did the work, so that the more work they did the more food they had; therefore let the elders that labour in the word and doctrine be well provided for; for the labourer is worthy of his reward (Matthew 10:10), and there is all the reason in the world that he should have it. We hence learn, (1.) God, both under the law, and now under the gospel, has taken care that his ministers be well provided for. Does God take care for oxen, and will he not take care of his own servants? The ox only treads out the corn of which they make the bread that perishes; but ministers break the bread of life which endures for ever. (2.) The comfortable subsistence of ministers, as it is God's appointment that those who preach the gospel should live of the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:14), so it is their just due, as much as the reward of the labourer; and those who would have ministers starved, or not comfortably provided for, God will require it of them another day.

_ _ II. Concerning the accusation of ministers (1 Timothy 5:19): Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Here is the scripture-method of proceeding against an elder, when accused of any crime. Observe, 1. There must be an accusation; it must not be a flying uncertain report, but an accusation, containing a certain charge, must be drawn up. Further, He is not to be proceeded against by way of enquiry; this is according to the modern practice of the inquisition, which draws up articles for men to purge themselves of such crimes, or else to accuse themselves; but, according to the advice of Paul, there must be an accusation brought against an elder. 2. This accusation is not to be received unless supported by two or three credible witnesses; and the accusation must be received before them, that is, the accused must have the accusers face to face, because the reputation of a minister is, in a particular manner, a tender thing; and therefore, before any thing be done in the least to blemish that reputation, great care should be taken that the thing alleged against him be well proved, that he be not reproached upon an uncertain surmise; “but (1 Timothy 5:20) those that sin rebuke before all; that is, thou needest not be so tender of other people, but rebuke them publicly.” Or “those that sin before all rebuke before all, that the plaster may be as wide as the wound, and that those who are in danger of sinning by the example of their fall may take warning by the rebuke given them for it, that others also may fear.” Observe, (1.) Public scandalous sinners must be rebuked publicly: as their sin has been public, and committed before many, or at least come to the hearing of all, so their reproof must be public, and before all. (2.) Public rebuke is designed for the good of others, that they may fear, as well as for the good of the party rebuked; hence it was ordered under the law that public offenders should receive public punishment, that all Israel might hear, and fear, and do no more wickedly.

_ _ III. Concerning the ordination of ministers (1 Timothy 5:22): Lay hands suddenly on no man; it seems to be meant of the ordaining of men to the office of the ministry, which ought not to be done rashly and inconsiderately, and before due trial made of their gifts and graces, their abilities and qualifications for it. Some understand it of absolution: “Be not too hasty in laying hands on any; remit not the censure of the church to any, till time be first taken for the proof of their sincerity in their repentance, neither be partakers of other men's sins, implying that those who are too easy in remitting the censures of the church encourage others in the sins which are thus connived at, and make themselves thereby guilty.” Observe, We have great need to watch over ourselves at all times, that we do not make ourselves partakers of other men's sins. “Keep thyself pure, not only from doing the like thyself, but from countenancing it, or being any way accessary to it, in others.” Here is, 1. A caution against the rash ordination of ministers, or absolution of those who have been under church-censures: Lay hands suddenly on no man. 2. Those who are rash, either in the one case or the other, will make themselves partakers in other men's sins. 3. We must keep ourselves pure, if we will be pure; the grace of God makes and keeps us pure, but it is by our own endeavours.

_ _ IV. Concerning absolution, to which 1 Timothy 5:24, 1 Timothy 5:25, seem to refer: Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment, and some follow after, etc. Observe, Ministers have need of a great deal of wisdom, to know how to accommodate themselves to the variety of offences and offenders that they have occasion to deal with. Some men's sins are so plain and obvious, and not found by secret search, that there is no dispute concerning the bringing of them under the censures of the church; they go before to judgment, to lead them to censure. — Others they follow after; that is, their wickedness does not presently appear, nor till after a due search has been made concerning it. Or, as some understand it, some men's sins continue after they are censured; they are not reformed by the censure, and in that case there must be no absolution. So, also, as to the evidences of repentance: The good works of some are manifest beforehand. And those that are otherwise, whose good works do not appear, their wickedness cannot be hid, and so it will be easy to discern who are to be absolved, and who are not. Observe, 1. There are secret, and there are open sins; some men's sins are open beforehand, and going unto judgment, and some they follow after. 2. Sinners must be differently dealt with by the church. 3. The effects of church-censures are very different; some are thereby humbled and brought to repentance, so that their good works are manifest beforehand, while it is quite otherwise with others. 4. The incorrigible cannot be hid; for God will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of all hearts.

_ _ V. Concerning Timothy himself. 1. Here is a charge to him to be careful of his office; and a solemn charge it is: I charge thee before God, as thou wilt answer it to God before the holy and elect angels, observe these things without partiality, 1 Timothy 5:21. Observe, It ill becomes ministers to be partial, and to have respect of persons, and to prefer one before another upon any secular account. He charges him, by all that is dear, before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, to guard against partiality. Ministers must give an account to God and the Lord Jesus Christ, whether, and how, they have observed all things given them in charge: and woe to them if they have been partial in their ministrations, out of an worldly politic view. 2. He charges him to take care of his health: Drink no longer water, etc. It seems Timothy was a mortified man to the pleasures of sense; he drank water, and he was a man of no strong constitution of body, and for this reason Paul advises him to use wine for the helping of his stomach and the recruiting of his nature. Observe, It is a little wine, for ministers must not be given to much wine; so much as may be for the health of the body, not so as to distemper it, for God has made wine to rejoice man's heart. Note, (1.) It is the will of God that people should take all due care of their bodies. As we are not to make them our masters, so neither our slaves; but to use them so that they may be most fit and helpful to us in the service of God. (2.) Wine is most proper for sickly and weak people, whose stomachs are often out of order, and who labour under infirmities. Give strong drink to him that is ready to perish, and wine to those that are of heavy hearts, Proverbs 31:6. (3.) Wine should be used as a help, and not a hindrance, to our work and usefulness.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

1 Timothy 5:17

Let the elders that rule well — Who approve themselves faithful stewards of all that is committed to their charge. Be counted worthy of double honour — A more abundant provision, seeing that such will employ it all to the glory of God. As it was the most laborious and disinterested men who were put into these offices, so whatever any one had to bestow, in his life or death, was generally lodged in their hands for the poor. By this means the churchmen became very rich in after ages, but as the design of the donors was something else, there is the highest reason why it should be disposed of according to their pious intent. Especially those — Of them. Who labour — Diligently and painfully. In the word and teaching — In teaching the word.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

1 Timothy 5:17

(14) Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of (e) double honour, (f) especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

(14) Now he gives rules, and shows how he ought to behave himself with the elders, that is to say, with the pastors, and those who have the governance in the discipline of the church, who is president of their company. The first rule: let the church or congregation see to this especially, as God himself has commanded, that the elders that do their duty well, are honestly supported.

(e) We must be more concerned for them, than for the rest.

(f) There were two types of elders: the one dealt with the government only, and looked to the behaviour of the congregation; the other in addition to that, dealt with both preaching and prayers, to and for the congregation.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
the elders:

1 Timothy 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat [him] as a father; [and] the younger men as brethren;


1 Timothy 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
Matthew 24:25 Behold, I have told you before.
Luke 12:42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom [his] lord shall make ruler over his household, to give [them their] portion of meat in due season?
Romans 12:8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, [let him do it] with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; ... And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. [And] be at peace among yourselves.
Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of [their] conversation.
Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that [is] unprofitable for you.
Hebrews 13:24 Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.


1 Timothy 5:3 Honour widows that are widows indeed.
Acts 28:10 Who also honoured us with many honours; and when we departed, they laded [us] with such things as were necessary.
Romans 15:27 It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.
1 Corinthians 9:5-14 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and [as] the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? ... Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
Galatians 6:6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
Philippians 2:29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation:


2 Kings 2:9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.
Isaiah 40:2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins.
Jeremiah 16:18 And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double; because they have defiled my land, they have filled mine inheritance with the carcases of their detestable and abominable things.
Jeremiah 17:18 Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction.
Zechariah 9:12 Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare [that] I will render double unto thee;


1 Timothy 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
Matthew 9:37-38 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly [is] plenteous, but the labourers [are] few; ... Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Luke 10:1-2 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. ... Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly [is] great, but the labourers [are] few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.
Luke 10:7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.
John 4:38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.
Acts 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Romans 16:12 Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.
1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which [was bestowed] upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
1 Corinthians 16:16 That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with [us], and laboureth.
2 Corinthians 6:1 We then, [as] workers together [with him], beseech [you] also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
Philippians 2:16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
Philippians 4:3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and [with] other my fellowlabourers, whose names [are] in the book of life.
2 Timothy 2:6 The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.


1 Timothy 4:6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.
1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
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2K 2:9. Is 40:2. Jr 16:18; 17:18. Zc 9:12. Mt 9:37; 24:25. Lk 10:1, 7; 12:42. Jn 4:38. Ac 20:35; 28:10. Ro 12:8; 15:27; 16:12. 1Co 3:9; 9:5; 15:10; 16:16. 2Co 6:1. Ga 6:6. Php 2:16, 29; 4:3. 1Th 5:12. 1Ti 3:5; 4:6, 10, 16; 5:1, 3. 2Ti 2:6; 4:2. He 13:7, 17, 24.

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