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.
21. I charge thee—rather as Greek, "I adjure thee"; so it ought to be translated (2Ti 4:1).
before—"in the presence of God."
Lord—omitted in the oldest manuscripts God the Father, and Christ the Son, will testify against thee, if thou disregardest my injunction. He vividly sets before Timothy the last judgment, in which God shall be revealed, and Christ seen face to face with His angels
elect angels—an epithet of reverence. The objects of divine electing love (1Pe 2:6). Not only "elect" (according to the everlasting purpose of God) in contradistinction to the reprobate angels (2Pe 2:4), but also to mark the excellence of the angels in general (as God's chosen ministers, "holy angels," "angels of light"), and so to give more solemnity to their testimony [Calvin] as witnesses to Paul's adjuration. Angels take part by action and sympathy in the affairs of the earth (Lu 15:10; 1Co 4:9).
these things—the injunctions, 1Ti 5:19, 20.
without preferring one before another—rather as Greek, "prejudice"; "judging before" hearing all the facts of a case. There ought to be judgment, but not prejudging. Compare "suddenly," 1Ti 5:22, also 1Ti 5:24.
partiality—in favor of a man, as "prejudice" is bias against a man. Some of the oldest manuscripts read, "in the way of summoning (brethren) before a (heathen) judge." But Vulgate and other good authorities favor the more probable reading in English Version.