1 Don’t speak angrily to an older man. But talk to him as if he were your father. Treat the younger men like brothers. 2 Treat the older women like mothers. And treat the younger women with respect like sisters.
Taking Care of Widows
3 Take care of widows who really need help. 4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, the first thing they need to learn is this: to show their devotion to God by taking care of their own family. They will be repaying their parents, and this pleases God. 5 A widow who really needs help is one who has been left all alone. She trusts God to take care of her. She prays all the time, night and day, and asks God for help. 6 But the widow who uses her life to please herself is really dead while she is still living. 7 Tell the believers there to take care of their family so that no one can say they are doing wrong. 8 Everyone should take care of all their own people. Most important, they should take care of their own family. If they do not do that, then they do not accept what we believe. They are worse than someone who does not even believe in God.
To be added to your list of widows, a woman must be 60 years old or older. She must have been faithful to her husband.* 10
She must be known for the good she has done: raising children, welcoming travelers into her home, serving the needs†
of God’s people, helping those in trouble, and using her life to do all kinds of good.
11 But don’t put younger widows on that list. When their strong physical needs pull them away from their commitment to Christ, they will want to marry again. 12 Then they will be guilty of not doing what they first promised to do. 13 Also, these younger widows begin to waste their time going from house to house. They also begin to gossip and try to run other people’s lives. They say things they should not say. 14 So I want the younger widows to marry, have children, and take care of their homes. If they do this, our enemy will not have any reason to criticize them. 15 But some of the younger widows have already turned away to follow Satan.
If any woman who is a believer has widows in her family, she‡
should take care of them herself. Then the church will not have that burden and will be able to care for the widows who have no one else to help them.
More About Elders and Other Matters
The elders who lead the church in a good way should receive double honor§
—in particular, those who do the work of counseling and teaching. 18
As the Scriptures say, “When a work animal is being used to separate grain, don’t keep it from eating the grain.”✡
And the Scriptures also say, “A worker should be given his pay.”✡
19 Don’t listen to someone who accuses an elder. You should listen to them only if there are two or three others who can say what the elder did wrong. 20 Tell those who sin that they are wrong. Do this in front of the whole church so that the others will have a warning.
21 Before God and Jesus Christ and the chosen angels, I tell you to make these judgments without any prejudice. Treat every person the same.
22 Think carefully before you lay your hands on anyone to make him an elder. Don’t share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.
23 Timothy, stop drinking only water, and drink a little wine. This will help your stomach, and you will not be sick so often.
24 The sins of some people are easy to see. Their sins show that they will be judged. But the sins of some others are seen only later. 25 It is the same with the good things people do. Some are easy to see. But even if they are not obvious now, none of them will stay hidden forever.