Questions to Consider
1. Notice the section heading at the beginning of this chapter and be reminded of the purpose and audience of this epistle. Who is the individual Paul is primarily addressing? What is his position in the church? What do these instructions pertain to?
2. How does God instruct Timothy (and every pastor) to treat the older/younger men and older/younger women he shepherds? (1-2) How do these instructions, if followed, benefit and protect the pastor, the church at large, and individual church members? Give a practical example of how a pastor could treat an older man, a younger man, an older woman, and a younger woman the way this passage instructs.
What does this passage not mean? For example – what if an older man is living in open sin? Does verse 1 mean the pastor should not confront him about that? What if a pastor is single and he and a woman five years his junior desire to get married? Does verse 2b prohibit that? Is there anything else this passage does not mean? Explain your answers with applicable Scripture.
3. Examine verses 3-16. What is the two word phrase used in both verse 3 and verse 16, that “bookends” this passage? Make a list of the things that qualify a woman as “truly” a “widow”. (4-16a) Now, go back over your list and highlight the character traits and activities that a godly woman will be exemplifying or practicing, and the ungodly traits and activities she will avoid, even before she becomes a widow. How can you continue to, or begin to, exemplify or practice each of these godly traits and activities and avoid the ungodly ones?
Compare the list of personal requirements and character qualifications of those who are “truly widows” (3-16) with the list of personal requirements and character qualifications for pastors and deacons in 3:1-13. What are the similarities and differences? How does this speak to the necessity of these men and women leading by setting a godly example in their character and practices for the rest of the church, and the rest of the church following their example? Explain how the role of leading by example is a vital role of leadership women must carry out in the church. How can women and men in the church learn from a godly woman who sets a good example?
What are the examples God gives of things women should be busying themselves with (14,16) in order not to fall into sin and set a bad example (11-13,15)?
4. Note how many times Paul speaks of the family’s duty to care for their widowed family members in 3-16. What are the various responsibilities of the family that he mentions? How are godly women particularly well suited to this kind of ministry? (16) What is the role of the pastor (7,9,11) and the church (16b) in this passage?
5. In 1 Timothy 2, (lesson 3, link above) God explained the two ways women may not minister in the church. What are those two ways? In 5:3-16, God lists many ways women can and must minister in the church. Make a list of each of those ways, and give a practical example of how a woman could carry out each of those ways in the church today (ex: What might “washing the feet of the saints” look like in the church today?) while still being obedient to God’s instructions for women in chapter 2.
6. Examine verses 17-20. Explain the church’s responsibilities regarding godly elders who righteously carry out their duties (17-18) as well as the church’s responsibilities regarding elders who persist in sin (19-20). (Use your cross-references.) Compare the instructions in verses 19-20 to the current idea in some corners of evangelicalism of “touch not My anointed“. How would you refute this false teaching from verses 19-20?
7. Explain the meaning of the charge God gives in verse 21, and the gravity and weightiness it conveys to pastors. Make a mental note of this, as this kind of charge will come up again in 1&2 Timothy.
8. After the weighty charge of verse 21, do the rapid fire instructions in verses 22-25 seem like a “P.S.” (and a P.P.S., a P.P.P.S, etc.) to a letter? Explain each instruction and why it was important to Paul and to the Holy Spirit to make sure it was included.
Think about a recent, sinful, evangelical “current event” (or an incident from your own church) you’re familiar with. For example: the egalitarian movement, a pastor falling into sin and having to step down, sexual abuse in the church, pastors spiritually abusing (intimidation, anger, threats, manipulation, etc.) their church members or congregation, false doctrine in the church, etc.
How could obedience to one or more of God’s instructions to pastors and to the church (from today’s lesson or previous lessons) have partially or completely prevented this incident?
Suggested Memory Verse