31This is a true saying: if a man is eager to be a church leader, he desires an excellent work. 2
A church leader must be without fault; he must have only one wife,3.2 have only one wife; or be married only once. be sober, self-controlled, and orderly; he must welcome strangers in his home; he must be able to teach; 3he must not be a drunkard or a violent man, but gentle and peaceful; he must not love money; 4he must be able to manage his own family well and make his children obey him with all respect. 5For if a man does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of the church of God? 6He must be mature in the faith, so that he will not swell up with pride and be condemned, as the Devil was. 7He should be a man who is respected by the people outside the church, so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the Devil's trap.
8Church helpers must also have a good character and be sincere; they must not drink too much wine or be greedy for money; 9they should hold to the revealed truth of the faith with a clear conscience. 10They should be tested first, and then, if they pass the test, they are to serve. 11Their wives3.11 Their wives; or Women helpers. also must be of good character and must not gossip; they must be sober and honest in everything. 12A church helper must have only one wife,3.12 have only one wife; or be married only once. and be able to manage his children and family well. 13Those helpers who do their work well win for themselves a good standing and are able to speak boldly about their faith in Christ Jesus.
14As I write this letter to you, I hope to come and see you soon. 15But if I am delayed, this letter will let you know how we should conduct ourselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth. 16No one can deny how great is the secret of our religion:
He appeared in human form,
was shown to be right by the Spirit,3.16 was shown to be right by the Spirit; or and, in spiritual form, was shown to be right.
and was seen by angels.
He was preached among the nations,
was believed in throughout the world,
and was taken up to heaven.
41The Spirit says clearly that some people will abandon the faith in later times; they will obey lying spirits and follow the teachings of demons. 2Such teachings are spread by deceitful liars, whose consciences are dead, as if burnt with a hot iron. 3Such people teach that it is wrong to marry and to eat certain foods. But God created those foods to be eaten, after a prayer of thanks, by those who are believers and have come to know the truth. 4Everything that God has created is good; nothing is to be rejected, but everything is to be received with a prayer of thanks, 5because the word of God and the prayer make it acceptable to God.
6If you give these instructions to the believers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, as you feed yourself spiritually on the words of faith and of the true teaching which you have followed. 7But keep away from those godless legends, which are not worth telling. Keep yourself in training for a godly life. 8Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is valuable in every way, because it promises life both for the present and for the future. 9This is a true saying, to be completely accepted and believed. 10We struggle4.10 struggle; some manuscripts have are reviled. and work hard, because we have placed our hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of all and especially of those who believe.
11Give them these instructions and these teachings. 12Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example for the believers in your speech, your conduct, your love, faith, and purity. 13Until I come, give your time and effort to the public reading of the Scriptures and to preaching and teaching. 14Do not neglect the spiritual gift that is in you, which was given to you when the prophets spoke and the elders laid their hands on you. 15Practise these things and devote yourself to them, in order that your progress may be seen by all. 16Watch yourself and watch your teaching. Keep on doing these things, because if you do, you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
51Do not rebuke an older man, but appeal to him as if he were your father. Treat the younger men as your brothers, 2the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, with all purity.
3Show respect for widows who really are all alone. 4But if a widow has children or grandchildren, they should learn first to carry out their religious duties towards their own family and in this way repay their parents and grandparents, because that is what pleases God. 5A widow who is all alone, with no one to take care of her, has placed her hope in God and continues to pray and ask him for his help night and day. 6But a widow who gives herself to pleasure has already died, even though she lives. 7Give them these instructions, so that no one will find fault with them. 8But if anyone does not take care of his relatives, especially the members of his own family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
9Do not add any widow to the list of widows unless she is over sixty years of age. In addition, she must have been married only once5.9 married only once; or faithful to her husband. 10and have a reputation for good deeds: a woman who brought up her children well, received strangers in her home, performed humble duties for fellow-Christians, helped people in trouble, and devoted herself to doing good.
11But do not include younger widows in the list; because when their desires make them want to marry, they turn away from Christ, 12and so become guilty of breaking their earlier promise to him. 13They also learn to waste their time in going round from house to house; but even worse, they learn to be gossips and busybodies, talking of things they should not. 14So I would prefer that the younger widows get married, have children, and take care of their homes, so as to give our enemies no chance of speaking evil of us. 15For some widows have already turned away to follow Satan. 16But if any Christian woman has widows in her family, she must take care of them and not put the burden on the church, so that it may take care of the widows who are all alone.
17The elders who do good work as leaders should be considered worthy of receiving double pay, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18
For the scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox when you are using it to thresh corn” and “Workers should be given their pay.” 19
Do not listen to an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or more witnesses. 20Rebuke publicly all those who commit sins, so that the rest may be afraid.
21In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the holy angels I solemnly call upon you to obey these instructions without showing any prejudice or favour to anyone in anything you do. 22Be in no hurry to lay hands on anyone in dedication to the Lord's service. Take no part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.
23Do not drink water only, but take a little wine to help your digestion, since you are ill so often.
24The sins of some people are plain to see, and their sins go ahead of them to judgement; but the sins of others are seen only later. 25In the same way good deeds are plainly seen, and even those that are not so plain cannot be hidden.