1 Timothy 5
Contemporary English Version

How To Act toward Others

1Don't correct an older man. Encourage him, as you would your own father. Treat younger men as you would your own brother, 2and treat older women as you would your own mother. Show the same respect to younger women that you would to your sister.

3Take care of any widow who is really in need. 4But if a widow has children or grandchildren, they should learn to serve God by taking care of her, as she once took care of them. This is what God wants them to do. 5 A widow who is really in need is one who doesn't have any relatives. She has faith in God, and she keeps praying to him night and day, asking for his help.

6A widow who thinks only about having a good time is already dead, even though she is still alive.

7Tell all this to everyone, so they will do the right thing. 8People who don't take care of their relatives, and especially their own families, have given up their faith. They are worse than someone who doesn't have faith in the Lord.

9For a widow to be put on the list of widows, she must be at least 60 years old, and she must have been faithful in marriage.+ 10She must also be well-known for doing all sorts of good things, such as raising children, giving food to strangers, welcoming God's people into her home,+ helping people in need, and always making herself useful.

11Don't put young widows on the list. They may later have a strong desire to get married. Then they will turn away from Christ 12and become guilty of breaking their promise to him. 13Besides, they will become lazy and get into the habit of going from house to house. Next, they will start gossiping and become busybodies, talking about things that are none of their business.

14I would prefer that young widows get married, have children, and look after their families. Then the enemy won't have any reason to say insulting things about us. 15Look what's already happened to some of the young widows! They have turned away to follow Satan.

16If a woman who is a follower has any widows in her family, she+ should help them. This will keep the church from having that burden, and then the church can help widows who are really in need.

Church Leaders

17Church leaders+ who do their job well deserve to be paid+ twice as much, especially if they work hard at preaching and teaching. 18 It is just as the Scriptures say, “Don't muzzle an ox when you are using it to grind grain.” You also know the saying, “Workers are worth their pay.”

19 Don't listen to any charge against a church leader, unless at least two or three people bring the same charges. 20But if any of the leaders should keep on sinning, they must be corrected in front of the whole group, as a warning to everyone else.

21In the presence of God and Christ Jesus and their chosen angels, I order you to follow my instructions! Be fair with everyone, and don't have any favorites.

22Don't be too quick to accept people into the service of the Lord+ by placing your hands on them.

Don't sin because others do, but stay close to God.

23Stop drinking only water. Take a little wine to help your stomach trouble and the other illnesses you often have.

24Some people get caught in their sins almost at once, even before the time of judgment. But other people's sins don't show up until later. 25It is the same with good deeds. Some are easily seen, but none of them can be hidden.


5.9 been faithful in marriage: Or “been the wife of only one husband.”
5.10 welcoming God's people into her home: The Greek text has “washing the feet of God's people.” In New Testament times most people either went barefoot or wore sandals, and a host would often wash the feet of special guests.
5.16 woman … she: Some manuscripts have “man or woman … that person.”
5.17 church leaders: Or “elders” or “presbyters.”
5.17 paid: Or “honored” or “respected.”
5.22 to accept people into the service of the Lord: Or “to forgive people.”

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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