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Guidelines for Dealing with Other Christians

Never use harsh words when you correct an older man, but talk to him as if he were your father. Talk to younger men as if they were your brothers, older women as if they were your mothers, and younger women as if they were your sisters, while keeping yourself morally pure.

Honor widows who have no families. The children or grandchildren of a widow must first learn to respect their own family by repaying their parents. This is pleasing in God’s sight.

A widow who has no family has placed her confidence in God by praying and asking for his help night and day. But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead although she is still alive. Insist on these things so that widows will have good reputations. If anyone doesn’t take care of his own relatives, especially his immediate family, he has denied the Christian faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Any widow who had only one husband and is at least 60 years old should be put on your list ⌞of widows⌟. 10 People should tell about the good things she has done: raising children, being hospitable, taking care of believers’ needs, helping the suffering, or always doing good things.

11 Don’t include younger widows ⌞on your list⌟. Whenever their natural desires become stronger than their devotion to Christ, they’ll want to marry. 12 They condemn themselves by rejecting the Christian faith, the faith they first accepted. 13 At the same time, they learn to go around from house to house since they have nothing else to do. Not only this, but they also gossip and get involved in other people’s business, saying things they shouldn’t say.

14 So I want younger widows to marry, have children, manage their homes, and not give the enemy any chance to ridicule them. 15 Some of them have already turned away to follow Satan. 16 If any woman is a believer and has relatives who are widows, she should help them. In this way the church is not burdened and can help widows who have no families.

17 Give double honor to spiritual leaders [a] who handle their duties well. This is especially true if they work hard at teaching God’s word. 18 After all, Scripture says, “Never muzzle an ox when it is threshing [b] grain,” and “The worker deserves his pay.”

19 Don’t pay attention to an accusation against a spiritual leader unless it is supported by two or three witnesses. 20 Reprimand those leaders who sin. Do it in front of everyone so that the other leaders will also be afraid.

21 I solemnly call on you in the sight of God, Christ Jesus, and the chosen angels to be impartial when you follow what I’ve told you. Never play favorites.

22 Don’t be in a hurry to place your hands on anyone ⌞to ordain him⌟. Don’t participate in the sins of others. Keep yourself morally pure.

23 Stop drinking only water. Instead, drink a little wine for your stomach because you are frequently sick.

24 The sins of some people are obvious, going ahead of them to judgment. The sins of others follow them there. 25 In the same way, the good things that people do are obvious, and those that aren’t obvious can’t remain hidden.


  1. 5:17 Or “pastors,” or “elders.”
  2. 5:18 Threshing   is the process of beating stalks to separate them from the grain.

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