by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 3 Study # 1 Lincolnton, NC January 08, 2006
17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
1901 ASV Translation:
17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and in teaching.
18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his hire.
I. The Elders Who Rule Well.
A. Except for two references, the word translated "rule" is only used in the New Testament in the letters of Paul to Timothy and Titus.
1. The meaning of "rule" is revealed by a careful look at the way Paul used the term in the various contexts.
a. In 1 Thessalonians 5:12, he associated "ruling" with "laboring" and "admonishing".
b. In 1 Timothy 3:4, he associated "ruling well" with being able to keep the younger set under authority "with gravity" (also 3:12).
c. In the next verse he associated "ruling" with "taking care of" the church.
d. In Titus 3:8, Paul uses the word in association with the believer's responsibility to "maintain" good works.
e. In Titus 3:14 he did the same thing again.
2. There is an "assumption" in the text that "elders" will have plenty of work to do.
B. The issue for Paul is that elders be treated properly.
1. One "issue" in "honor" is probably established by the same terminology in 5:3 where he called for the church to take on the support of true widows. What is at stake is the extent and quality of "work" that the elders are supposed to be doing and how that impacts their capacity to provide for their own.
2. The issue of "double" honor probably does not mean "pay them twice as much as whoever else the church is "honoring" gets paid. It likely means that "honor" (which is more than a "one issue" concept) is supposed to exist in the hearts of those being "ruled" so that they make sure of "two" things: that the "elder" has no lack of needful things; and that the elder's task is not made more difficult by illegitimate "resistence" to his exercise of his task.
a. Illegitimate resistence is simply resisting non-essential decision issues. Everyone has an agenda -- including elders. The fact is that God is going to lead the church through the elders' corporate agenda. The only time that agenda ought to be resisted is when it compromises the expression of the Truth in Love.
b. Elders are to set the example both in the material compensation realm as well as in the application of legitimate Bible study.