Lesson 09 “Honoring Elders” 1 Timothy 5:17-24
ID: Inductive Questions (Asking the text questions like who, what, where, when, why, & how?”)
CR: Cross References (Comparing Scripture to Scripture, understanding the vague by the clear.)
WS: Word Study (Understanding definition, theological meaning, and usages in other passages.)
The WORD: What does the Bible say?
Context: Read 1 Timothy 5:9-6:10 to help understand the context. Then read 1 Timothy 5:17-24 in a more literal or more dynamic translation than you usually use. How does this passage relate to the previous one and what comes after?
1. ID: (5:17) What kind of elders are worthy of double honor? (Note the nuances of “rule.”)
2. WS/CR: (5:17-18) What is double honor (timē)? (Romans 15:27; 1 Corinthians 9:9; Galatians 6:6) What Old Testament Scriptures does Paul back up this statement with?
3. ID: (5:19-20) What two instructions did Paul give for rebuking an Elder? Are they different from guidelines for “normal” people in the church? Why? (Matthew 18:15-17; Galatians 6:1; Titus 1:13; 2.15; 3:10)
4. ID: (5:21-22) What cautions does Paul give Timothy? Do they relate to the instructions in verses 19-20? How?
5. CR: (5:23) Why did Paul encourage Timothy to drink some wine?
6. ID: (5:24-25) How do these verses relate to selecting elders in verse 22?
The WALK: What should I do?
1. How does your church honor their elders? Who are the men that receive double honor because they “rule well” and “labor in the Word” at your church?
2. Who are some men you’ve known who functioned especially well in the office of elder or pastor?
3. How long (months, years?) and how well should a church know a man before they make him an elder?
4. What are some attitudes, structural issues, etc. that could keep churches from dealing with a sinning elder in a Scriptural way and method?
5. CSBI: What is the difference between the meaning of the inspiration of artists and gifted authors, etc. and the theological meaning of inspiration when it is applied to Scripture? Why is this important to understand? What has helped you explain it to others?
Going Beyond: 1. What areas of theology are touched on in this passage?
q Bibliology q Theology Proper q Paterology q Christology q Pneumatology q Anthropology
q Soteriology q Ecclesiology q Angelology q Eschatology
THE WORD OF GOD AND INSPIRATION
Inspiration is the way in which God gave his Word to us through human authors, but how he did is a matter not fully understood. In this section of the Articles of Affirmation and Denial the framers of the document explicitly deny understanding the mode of inspiration. But they affirm, as Scripture itself also does (2 Tim. 3:16), that the Bible is the product of divine inspiration and that this work extended through the human writers to each section and even each word of the original documents. The process of inspiration did not make the biblical writers automatons, for their books reveal differences of vocabulary, style and other matters of variation be human author and another. But inspiration did overcome any tendency they may have had to error, with the result that the words they wrote were precisely what God, the divine author, intended us to have.
ARTICLE VII: INSPIRATION
We affirm that inspiration was the work in which God by His Spirit, through human writers, gave us His Word. The origin of Scripture is divine. The mode of divine inspiration remains largely a mystery to us.
We deny that inspiration can be reduced to human insight, or to heightened states of consciousness of any kind.
Article VII spells out in more detail what is implied in Article VI. Here clear reference is given to the human writers of the text. The human writers become the human instruments by which God’s Word comes to us. Classically the Holy Scriptures have been called the Verbum Dei, the Word of God, or even the vox Dei, the voice of God. Yet, at the same time, Holy Scripture comes to us as the words of men. In other words, there is an agency of humanity through which God’s divine Word is communicated; yet the origin of Scripture is divine.
What the framers of the document have in view here is the primary meaning of the word theopneustos in 2 Timothy 3:16, the word translated “inspired by God.” The word theopneustos means literally “God breathed” and has primary reference to God’s breathing out his word rather than breathing in some kind of effect upon human writers. So expiration is a more accurate term than inspiration with respect to the origin of Scripture. But we use the term inspiration to cover the concept of the whole process by which the Word comes to us. Initially it comes from the mouth of God (speaking, of course, metaphorically). From its origin in God it is then transmitted through the agency of human writers under divine supervision and superintendence. The next step in the process of communication is the apprehension of the divine message by human beings. It is explicitly stated in this article that the precise mode by which God accomplished inspiration remains a mystery. The document makes no attempt to define the “how” of divine inspiration or even to suggest that the method is known to us.
The word inspiration can be used and has been used in our language to refer to moments of genius-level insight, of intensified states of consciousness or of heightened acts of human achievement. We speak of inspired poetry, meaning that the author achieved levels of insight and brilliance that are extraordinary. However, in this dimension of “inspiration” no suggestion is at hand that the source of inspiration is divine power. There are human levels of inspiration reflected in heroic acts, brilliant insights, and intensified states of consciousness. But that is not what is meant by the theological use of the term inspiration. Here the statement is making clear that by divine inspiration something transcending all human states of inspiration is in view, something in which the power and supervision of God are at work. Thus, the articles are saying that the Bible, though it is a human book insofar as it is written by human writers, has its humanity transcended by virtue of its divine origin and inspiration.
This passage presents a balance between honoring pastors/elders and holding them accountable.
1. This verse also gives us some tips about what elders do.
3, 4, 6 These verses remind us that we should be very careful who we choose to be an elder and then be very careful about believing an accusation.
5. The issue here may be more one of taking care of yourself than of the merits or demerits of alcohol.
2. Hebrews 13.7 encourages us to “Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow…” This would be a good positive time for the men to remember and rehearse the characteristics of their church leaders that they have admired and been inspired by. Don’t forget to include their current leaders.
3-4 These have to do with the nut and bolts of how we do church. Keep the focus positive and constructive and don’t let is turn into a grip session.
5. The clarification of these two uses of the word inspiration will be helpful for the men as the think and teach about the Bible.