Paul also charges Timothy to take care in choosing leaders. Don’t choose novices for church leadership. They need to be tested over time as to their doctrine and spiritual maturity. Don’t be so quick to make someone a church leader simply because he is successful in his secular work, or because he is attending every church event from the moment he arrives, or because he has a winsome and outgoing personality. The church would be so much healthier if people would just follow what Paul tells Timothy. 

Now beginning in verse 17, Paul has a section where he talks about elders. He says that the elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching, for the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” In these verses he talks about two things, honor and monetary support. 

Beginning in verse 3, he begins to talk about a particular problem. There is the issue of the needy, and particularly the way in which the care of the church for the needy applies to widows. This must have become a significant problem, since Paul devotes quite a bit of space to it, in verses 3 through 16. He wants to lay down some principles here so that Timothy will have something to draw on as specific situations come. 

Paul says that these worldly approaches to relationships are not what our relationships are to be. Our relationships are to be as a properly functioning family. Each member is to receive due respect that pertains to the various relationships within the church. We are to treat older members honorably, as we would our own fathers and mothers. And when we deal with younger people, we want to regard them as brothers and sisters and to treat them with the kind of purity and respect that we would expect to use with members of our own family. 

As we now come to a new section, Paul begins to talk about relationships, which we can think of as a third major section of this letter. He began with doctrine, because that is the foundation. Then, second, he went on to say that doctrine will affect how one lives. Now we come to the third point, which is that how we live as Christians will inevitably affect our relationships with other people. Godliness, you see, is also to be expressed in human relationships, as well as in our relationship with God. If we claim to have a close relationship with God and yet have bad relationships with other people, Paul would ask, “Well, what kind of godliness is that?” You have to put true godliness to work, as it expresses itself in the interchanges of life.