1 Timothy 5:19
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses.

New Living Translation
Do not listen to an accusation against an elder unless it is confirmed by two or three witnesses.

English Standard Version
Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses.

New American Standard Bible
Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses.

King James Bible
Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Don't accept an accusation against an elder unless it is supported by two or three witnesses.

International Standard Version
Do not accept an accusation against an elder unless it is supported "by two or three witnesses."

NET Bible
Do not accept an accusation against an elder unless it can be confirmed by two or three witnesses.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Do not accept an accusation against an Elder, but upon the mouth of two or three witnesses;

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Don't pay attention to an accusation against a spiritual leader unless it is supported by two or three witnesses.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Against an elder do not receive an accusation, unless there are two or three witnesses.

King James 2000 Bible
Against an elder receive not an accusation, unless before two or three witnesses.

American King James Version
Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

American Standard Version
Against an elder receive not an accusation, except at the mouth of two or three witnesses.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Against a priest receive not an accusation, but under two or three witnesses.

Darby Bible Translation
Against an elder receive not an accusation unless where there are two or three witnesses.

English Revised Version
Against an elder receive not an accusation, except at the mouth of two or three witnesses.

Webster's Bible Translation
Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

Weymouth New Testament
Never entertain an accusation against an Elder except on the evidence of two of three witnesses.

World English Bible
Don't receive an accusation against an elder, except at the word of two or three witnesses.

Young's Literal Translation
Against an elder an accusation receive not, except upon two or three witnesses.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

5:17-25 Care must be taken that ministers are maintained. And those who are laborious in this work are worthy of double honour and esteem. It is their just due, as much as the reward of the labourer. The apostle charges Timothy solemnly to guard against partiality. We have great need to watch at all times, that we do not partake of other men's sins. Keep thyself pure, not only from doing the like thyself, but from countenancing it, or any way helping to it in others. The apostle also charges Timothy to take care of his health. As we are not to make our bodies masters, so neither slaves; but to use them so that they may be most helpful to us in the service of God. There are secret, and there are open sins: some men's sins are open before-hand, and going before unto judgment; some they follow after. God will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make known the counsels of all hearts. Looking forward to the judgment-day, let us all attend to our proper offices, whether in higher or lower stations, studying that the name and doctrine of God may never be blasphemed on our account.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 19. - Except at the mouth of for but before, A.V. An elder; here clearly a presbyter, as the context proves. Receive (παραδέχου); give ear to, entertain; as in Acts 22:18, "They will not receive thy testimony." At the mouth of, etc. There is a reference to the law in Numbers 35:30; Deuteronomy 19:15, and elsewhere (to which our Lord also refers, John 8:17), and St. Paul applies the principle of the law to Timothy's dealings with presbyters who might be accused of not "ruling well." He was not to encourage delatores, secret accusers and defamers, but if any one had a charge to make against a ruler, it was to be done in the presence of witnesses (ἐπί with a genitive). A doubt arises whether" the witnesses" here spoken of were to be witnesses able to support the accusation, or merely witnesses in whose presence the accusation must be made. The juxtaposition of the legal terms κατηγορία and ἐπὶ μαρτύρων favors the strict meaning of μαρτύρων, witnesses able to support the κατηγορία. And, therefore, the direction to Timothy is, "Suffer no man to accuse a presbyter unless he is accompanied by two or three witnesses who are ready to back up the accusation." The italic the mouth of, in the R.V., is not necessary or indeed justified. There is no ellipsis of στόματος. Ἐτὶ δύο ῃ} τριῶν῞ μαρτύρων, "before two or three witnesses," is good classical Greek.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Against an elder receive not an accusation,.... A charge of any crime:

but before two or three witnesses; good sufficient ones, who are capable of well attesting the fact: a charge against a pastor of a church is not to be easily received; it should not be listened to privately, unless it clearly appears by such a number of witnesses; nor should it be brought publicly before the church, until it is privately and previously proved, by a sufficient number of credible witnesses, that it is really fact. The sense is, not that judgment shall not pass against him but by such a number of witnesses, or that the evidence upon his trial shall consist of such a number; for this is no other than what ought to be in the case of a private member, and of every man, according to Deuteronomy 19:15. But the sense is, that the affair of an elder shall not be put upon a trial, much less sentence pass, until it has been privately proved against him, by proper testimonies, beyond all exception; only in such a case, should a church admit a charge against its elder. The reason of this rule is, because of his high office and the honour of the church, which is concerned in his, as well as of religion; for it carries in it some degree of scandal for such a person to be charged, even though he may be cleared; as also because of his many enemies, who through envy, malice, and the instigation of Satan, would be continually pestering the church with charges, could they be easily admitted.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

19. Against an elder—a presbyter of the Church.

receive not—"entertain not" [Alford].

but before two or three witnesses—A judicial conviction was not permitted in De 17:6; 19:15, except on the testimony of at least two or three witnesses (compare Mt 18:16; Joh 8:17; 2Co 13:1; 1Jo 5:6, 7). But Timothy's entertaining an accusation against anyone is a different case, where the object was not judicially to punish, but to admonish: here he might ordinarily entertain it without the need of two or three witnesses; but not in the case of an elder, since the more earnest an elder was to convince gainsayers (Tit 1:9), the more exposed would he be to vexatious and false accusations. How important then was it that Timothy should not, without strong testimony, entertain a charge against presbyters, who should, in order to be efficient, be "blameless" (1Ti 3:2; Tit 1:6). 1Ti 5:21, 24 imply that Timothy had the power of judging in the Church. Doubtless he would not condemn any save on the testimony of two or three witnesses, but in ordinary cases he would cite them, as the law of Moses also allowed, though there were only one witness. But in the case of elders, he would require two or three witnesses before even citing them; for their character for innocence stands higher, and they are exposed to envy and calumny more than others "Receive" does not, as Alford thinks, include both citation and conviction, but means only the former.

1 Timothy 5:19 Additional Commentaries
Context
Honoring Elders
18For the Scripture says, "YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING," and "The laborer is worthy of his wages." 19Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. 20Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.
Cross References
Deuteronomy 17:6
On the testimony of two or three witnesses a person is to be put to death, but no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.

Deuteronomy 19:15
One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

Matthew 18:16
But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.'

Acts 11:30
This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.

1 Timothy 4:14
Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

1 Timothy 5:17
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.
Treasury of Scripture

Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

receive.

John 18:29 Pilate then went out to them, and said, What accusation bring you …

Acts 24:2-13 And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, …

Acts 25:16 To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver …

Titus 1:6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children …

before. or, under. two.

Deuteronomy 17:6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that …

Deuteronomy 19:15,18,19 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or …

Matthew 18:16 But if he will not hear you, then take with you one or two more…

John 8:17 It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.

2 Corinthians 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or …

Hebrews 10:28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

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