|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.
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 Parallel Commentaries
1 Timothy 5:19 NIV
1 Timothy 5:19 NLT
1 Timothy 5:19 ESV
1 Timothy 5:19 NASB
1 Timothy 5:19 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible