Honouring the Deserving - Bible Study



TEXT: 1TIMOTHY 5:17-18


Honour and appreciation is what God approves and man admires. Faithful Church Leaders should be supported and appreciated. They often sy=uffer undue criticism and vilification from the people they minister to.

Paul instructed Timothy, his son, and all believers with him – to count worthy of double honour elders who rule well, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. Listen to what Paul says in 1Timothy 5:7; “Elders who provide effective Leadership must be counted worthy of double honour, especially those who work hard in speaking (i.e., Preaching) and Teaching.” The three terms episkopos, presbuteros, and poimaino are used for the same individual. Elders are bishops who are also Pastors. In the Church, every elder must function as a Shephard. The one who is called the Pastor must be an elder. All of the elders in the New Testament are Pastors. The Pastor is an overseer who is an elder! In the New Testament usage, an elder is a Pastor and a Pastor is an elder. However, in ECWA the Pastor is a full-time worker. There is no doubt that the thrust of this passage centres on according honour to Spiritual Leaders. The question before us today is: What does this passage teach us about honouring the deserving? In response, we observe that it teaches us three things:

1. The Recipient of the Honour.

2. The Measure of the Honour.

3. The Ground of the Honour.


Paul does not leave us wondering about who deserves to be honoured; does he? He opens our passage with the identity of those to be publicly acknowledged: “Elders who provide effective Leadership” and then follows it up with a qualifying statement or description “especially those who work hard in speaking and teaching.” Though the adverb that introduces the qualifying statement or description “especially” may be taken to introduce another group of Spiritual Leaders who are at once part of the first general group- “elders” and at the same time distinct from them – those among the elders “who rule well;” it is better to understand the adverb in the sense of further describing what Paul means by “effective leadership” “or rule well.” From the description of the recipients of the honour in our passage, we can establish what the Spiritual Leaders of the Church are to engage themselves in:

I. They must rule.

II. They must preach, and

III. They must teach.

The term used for “rule” which further qualified with the adverb “well” to define how they must rule refers to the administrative responsibilities of the Church’s Spiritual Leaders. The term means to “rule,” “to direct the affairs,” or “to serve.” When the two senses are combined, the force of the two suggests that Church administrators must be servant leaders (cf. Matt. 20:25-28). The Church’s Spiritual Leaders must be preachers. Literally, the term employed here means “in word.” The sense “word” has in this context is clearly that of “a communication whereby the mind finds expression.” Within the context of our passage, the reference is to words of exhortation or preaching (cf. 2Tim. 4:2). Finally, the Church’s Spiritual Leaders must be teachers. As teachers, elders are spiritual instructors and theologians. As teachers, they must counter false (i.e. heretical) teachings and promote orthodoxy by teaching sound doctrine. They must continue what the apostles began. They must propagate the apostolic tradition (cf. Acts 2:42). We have elders after the manner of John the apostle’s use of the designation in 2John 1 & 3John 1. Elders were all saddle with the task of ruling or directing the affairs of the Church. Among them, were those who not only governed the Church affairs but also devoted their life labouring in the preaching and teaching of the word.

· Such men should receive “double” honour as Paul very eloquently commands.

· They deserve to be honoured as they Labour day and night as they direct the affairs of the Church.


i. Who are the elders and what are their roles?

ii. What instruction does Paul give Timothy about Pastors and elders? How can we apply this instruction? 1Timothy 5:17-18

Our passage does not just tell us the recipients of the honour, it also indicates for us what the measure of the honour should be.


Paul asserts that such elders as we have described earlier “are worthy of double honour” (v. 17). The term “double” means “two folds.” Hence, it means a double portion of honour. We may ask, what does “double honour” mean? To answer this question, we must first look at how “honour” is used in the entire section within which our passage falls, i.e., 1Tim. 5:1-6:2a where Paul gives instructions on how to relate to or treat specific groups. The key term in all of this section is “honour.” In 5:3, widows must be honoured. “Honour widows who are truly in need.” Paul commands the Church in 5:17, he asks that deserving elders be considered worthy of “double honour.” In