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Pastoral Principles

January 8, 2009

1 Timothy is a letter about the church.

  • Chapter 1 deals with the doctrine of the church.
  • Chapter 2 delineates the public worship of the church.
  • Chapters 3 and 4 discusses the leaders of the church.

But in chapter 5, Paul the apostle describes the care of the church. In this, we find some principles for pastoral care:

1 . Pastoral care is the responsibility of everyone (v 1-2)

“Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.”

2) Pastoral care should have a particular focus on those in real need (v 3-15)

“Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need…”

3. Pastoral care should be administered within families wherever possible, so as to lessen the burden on the church (v 16)

“If any woman who is a believer has widows in her family, she should help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who really are in need.”

4. Pastoral care should extend to leaders too (v 17-18 )

“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honour…”

5. Pastoral care should include pastoral discipline, even of leaders if necessary (v 19-20)

“Those [elders] who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.”

6. Pastoral care should be administered with an awareness of the potential of falling into sin (v 22, 24-25)

“…and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.”

7. Pastoral care should often involve practical, as well as spiritual advice (v 23)

“Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illness.”

4 comments

  1. Excellent thoughts and a sound understanding of that passage: faithful to the text and explaining how I can love God and his church more by obeying it. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Those are great observations. Some friends and I were just recently talking about the principles of the “widow indeed” ourselves.

    I would rename number 3 to “Pastoral care should be administered within families wherever possible, so as to lessen the burden on the *rest of the* church”. 🙂


  3. Colin,
    Very good thoughts. Thanks very much. I always enjoy your blog.


  4. […] Colin Adams post on the care of the church in 1 Timothy 5 1 . Pastoral care is the responsibility of everyone (v 1-2) […]



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