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.
22. Lay hands—that is, ordain (1Ti 4:14; 2Ti 1:6; Tit 1:5). The connection is with 1Ti 5:19. The way to guard against scandals occurring in the case of presbyters is, be cautious as to the character of the candidate before ordaining him; this will apply to other Church officers so ordained, as well as to presbyters. Thus, this clause refers to 1Ti 5:19, as next clause, "neither be partaker of other men's sins," refers to 1Ti 5:20. Ellicott and Wiesinger understand it of receiving back into Church fellowship or absolution, by laying hands on those who had been "rebuked" (1Ti 5:20) and then excommunicated (Mt 18:17); 1Ti 5:20 favors this. But as in 1Ti 4:14, and Ac 6:6; 13:3; 2Ti 1:6, the laying on of hands is used of ordination (compare however as to confirmation, Ac 8:17), it seems better to take it so here.
suddenly—hastily: 1Ti 5:24, 25 show that waiting for a time is salutary.
neither be partaker of other men's sins—by negligence in ordaining ungodly candidates, and so becoming in some degree responsible for their sins. Or, there is the same transition from the elders to all in general who may sin, as in 1Ti 5:19, 20. Be not a partaker in other men's sins by not "rebuking them that sin before all," as well as those that are candidates for the presbytery, as also all "that sin."
keep thyself pure—"thyself' is emphatic. "Keep THYSELF" clear of participation in OTHER men's sin by not failing to rebuke them that sin (1Ti 5:20). Thus the transition is easy to 1Ti 5:23, which is concerning Timothy personally; compare also 1Ti 5:24.