1 TIMOTHY 5
1 Rebuke not an elder but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
In context, the reference is to an elderly person in the Church in need of censure. Affection, respect, and brotherliness must be present even in difficult situations. Sometimes, a person needs to be rebuked. The word used here (epiplesso [ep-ee-place’-so) means “to chastise”, that is, to upbraid, with words, not fists, not acts of violence, not financial penalties, or shunning.
Rebuking is a proper practice, but it must be done with love. Church discipline must be exercised, but with the right attitude. More often than not, a person becomes angry before saying something that could have been said in a calmer way.
This passage reminds the Church that God looks not only at what we do, but how we do what we do. The Lord looks at our spirit, as well as our words, and deeds. Therefore, the heart must be guarded against jealousy, anger, and bitterness. Christians are reminded to be respectful to elders, including pastoral leadership, and to those who are young.
As it is easy for young people to be short, sassy, and flippant towards older people, so it is tempting to disrespect young people with dismissive names.
“You young whipper-snapper”, was once a popular insult.
This derisive term dates back to the 17th century, when youthful idles hung around in public with nothing better to do than snap whips for entertainment.
2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.
As elders, and young people, are to be treated with respect, so are elderly women. Older Christian women are to be treated as mothers. The assumption is that mothers are normally treated with kindness, long suffering, and gentleness. Jesus set the example of how mothers are to be treated by meeting the need His mother presented to Him at the wedding in Cana. At Calvary, Jesus made sure Mary was provided for, and protected, by the disciple named John.
In general, Christianity has always honored and exalted women. There are religions that suppress women, abuse, exploit, and try to make them all but disappear. There are cultures that compel women to hid behind hideous heavy clothing, such as the burka. Laws are passed prohibiting women from owning property, driving a car, or being seen with a man who is not a family member.
There are societies in which men glory in dominating and controlling women. In contrast, Christianity has always been a liberating force for women, within boundaries. Consider the evidence.
Mary, the mother of the humanity of Jesus, is declared to be highly favored among women.
Jesus spent time in private with Mary and Martha, and communicated to them important theological truths.
God elevated the position of women in the Christian community by allowing them to be the first to report the resurrection of Jesus. They were the first to hear the news from an angel, that Christ rose from the dead.
Paul spoke highly of the mother and grandmother of Timothy who taught him the way of salvation from his youth.
Priscilla and her husband Aquila helped Saul of Tarsus understand the Scriptures after his conversion, and the change of his name to Paul.
Galatians 3:28 declares there is “neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Paul command men to love their wives as Christ loves the Church and gave Himself for it.
The Holy Spirit indwells every woman, and gives each person a spiritual gift to use for the glory of God, and the good of the Church.
Because much temptation is associated with youth, another exhortation is given to regard the younger ladies in the Church as sisters, with all moral purity.
This exhortation is needed in every generation because the passions in people are strong, and they especially rage in young people.
The sensual passions are design by God for pleasure, procreation, and the perpetuation of the family. But certain passions must be contained within the framework of marriage. Therefore, every effort must be made to keep the young ladies morally pure. Young men can help by exercising basic social manners.
From the earliest age, males should be taught to say, “Yes ma’am”, and, “No Ma’am” to an older woman.
Young boys should be taught to stand to greet a lady, and open a door for her. Cheverly need not be dead.
There are some other rules for young men to remember.
Say “please”, and “thank you.”
Apologize when you have done something wrong, and then, just to be safe, apologize even when you have not done anything wrong.
Wait your turn to speak in a conversation.
Keep your hands to yourself and do not grab things out of people’s hands.
Say, “Excuse me”, when you need to interrupt, or if you accidentally bump into someone.
Ask permission to do things.
Write thank you notes to people who give you gifts.
Make eye contact in every conversation.
Shake hands when greeting someone new.
Use proper table manners when eating.
Refrain from texting, and using social media, when talking to people face-to-face.
Do not answer calls when you are in the middle of a face-to-face conversation.
Use appropriate language, and answer a question when asked.
Take care of basic hygiene.
Avoid slang expressions, and never use profanity. Any word or action that takes away from the grace, charm, and dignity of any lady, of any age, is to be rejected.
The teachings of radical feminists do not like this Christian idea regarding women, but it must stand if there is to be any chance for personal safety, and moral purity in the Church.
If a young man needs a reason for holding women in high esteem, the Bible provides the best reason of all.
Women are made in the image of God. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Gen. 1:27). “Women like to be treated in a certain way; they want to be treated with respect. A lot of men, in this culture are taught by movies, and even friends, to treat women like they are objects. This, however, is very wrong. Women are people just like us. God calls us to respect all people, especially women. We should also respect women because God respects women. We are all made in the image of God; so we are all equal” (Lloyd Woods).
Another reason to treat a woman with kindness, and love, is that they respond in kind. It is the law of the universe, that like produces like.
This is true in nature, and it is true in the soul. A person who is treated with love, humor, and tenderness, will respond in a positive way.
Therefore, let the Church teach its men, young and old, to show respect to all women.
Specifically, to show respect to a woman, do the following:
(1) Pay attention to her. Look at what she is doing, the little things, as well as the big.
(2) Communicate with her. Texting while a woman is talking, reading the newspaper, watching TV to the exclusion of all else, is not showing respect. Listen to what she has to say.
(3) Show affection and appreciation. A gentle hug goes a long way.
(4) Remember important dates: birthdays, anniversaries, and milestones in life.
(5) Compliment her often. Look for opportunities to say something positive. Build her up, and never tear her down. Be careful of negative humor.
(6) Give little gifts that lets her know you are thinking of her.
(7) Tell her you love her, often, and at the right time.
(8) Be honest with her.
(9) Do not argue.
There is much more to be said on this topic, but the general command can be easily remembered: women are to be treated with respect.