Never speak harshly to an older man, a but appeal to him respectfully as though he were your own father. Talk to the younger men as you would to your own brothers.
Treat the older women as you would your mother, and treat the younger women with all purity as your own sisters.
The church should care for any widow who has no one else to care for her.
But if she has children or grandchildren, their first responsibility is to show godliness at home and repay their parents by taking care of them. This is something that pleases God very much.
But a woman who is a true widow, one who is truly alone in this world, has placed her hope in God. Night and day she asks God for help and spends much time in prayer.
But the widow who lives only for pleasure is spiritually dead.
Give these instructions to the church so that the widows you support b will not be criticized.
But those who won't care for their own relatives, especially those living in the same household, have denied what we believe. Such people are worse than unbelievers.
A widow who is put on the list for support must be a woman who is at least sixty years old and was faithful to her husband. c10
She must be well respected by everyone because of the good she has done. Has she brought up her children well? Has she been kind to strangers? Has she served other Christians humbly? d Has she helped those who are in trouble? Has she always been ready to do good?
The younger widows should not be on the list, because their physical desires will overpower their devotion to Christ and they will want to remarry.
Then they would be guilty of breaking their previous pledge.
Besides, they are likely to become lazy and spend their time gossiping from house to house, getting into other people's business and saying things they shouldn't.
So I advise these younger widows to marry again, have children, and take care of their own homes. Then the enemy will not be able to say anything against them.
For I am afraid that some of them have already gone astray and now follow Satan.
If a Christian woman has relatives who are widows, she must take care of them and not put the responsibility on the church. Then the church can care for widows who are truly alone.
Elders who do their work well should be paid well, e especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching.
For the Scripture says, "Do not keep an ox from eating as it treads out the grain." And in another place, "Those who work deserve their pay!" f19
Do not listen to complaints against an elder unless there are two or three witnesses to accuse him.
Anyone who sins should be rebuked in front of the whole church so that others will have a proper fear of God.
I solemnly command you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus and the holy angels to obey these instructions without taking sides or showing special favor to anyone.
Never be in a hurry about appointing an elder. Do not participate in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.
Don't drink only water. You ought to drink a little wine for the sake of your stomach because you are sick so often.
Remember that some people lead sinful lives, and everyone knows they will be judged. But there are others whose sin will not be revealed until later.
In the same way, everyone knows how much good some people do, but there are others whose good deeds won't be known until later.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)