1 Don't rebuke a man who is older than you. Instead, encourage him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers,
2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with the highest standards of decency.
3 Help widows who don't have a family.
4 For the Christian responsibility of a widow's children or grandchildren is to do their duty for their own family, and repay their parents by helping them out. This is what pleases God.
5 Now a real widow, having no family, alone and without support, puts her hope in God and prays for help night and day.
6 But a widow who concentrates on pleasing herself is already dead, even though she's still physically alive.
7 Give people these instructions so that they will be above criticism.
8 But those who don't look after their relatives, especially their own family, have denied their beliefs, and are worse than those who don't believe.
9 Only widows over sixty who have been faithful to their husbands should be put on the list.
10 The widow should have a reputation for doing good. Did she bring up children properly? Has she been hospitable? Has she washed the feet of church members? Has she helped those who were in trouble? Has she really tried to do good in every way?
11 Don't take on widows who are younger, because when their physical desires make them want to re-marry they abandon their dedication to Christ.
12 In this they are guilty of breaking their previous commitment.
13 They also get used to a lazy life, just visiting each other in their homes. Not only lazy, but they gossip and meddle, talking about things they shouldn't.
14 So my best advice is that younger widows marry and have children and take care of the home. That way there's no opportunity for criticism from the Enemy.
15 However, some have already gone the way of Satan.
16 Any Christian woman who has widows in the family should help them, so that the church is not burdened with the responsibility, and can help those widows who are truly in need.
17 Elders who direct the church well should be seen as doubly valuable, particularly those who work in speaking the Word and in teaching.
18 As Scripture says, “Don't muzzle the ox when it's threshing out the grain.” Also, “The worker deserves to be paid.”
19 Don't entertain any accusation against an elder unless two or three witnesses support it.
20 Censure those who sin in front of everyone as a warning to others as well.
21 Before God and Christ Jesus, and the holy angels, I instruct you to follow these instructions without bias. Don't do anything from an attitude of favoritism.
22 Don't be in a hurry to lay hands on anyone; and don't get involved in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.
23 Don't just drink water, but use a little bit of wine because of your bad stomach—you're sick so often!
24 The sins of some people are really obvious, and they are clearly guilty, but the sins of others are not seen until later.
25 Similarly some good works are obvious, and even those that are hidden won't be for long.