Fifth and final in a series of studies in 1 Timothy 5
“I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality. Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure” (1 Timothy 5:21-22).
Paul concludes his instruction to Timothy about relationships by telling him about his relationship with himself, so to speak. He is to take seriously Paul’s teaching and carry it out with the realization that divine beings are watching him. Timothy himself is accountable.
Timothy is not to allow personal relationships nor preference for one person over another, not even one elder over another, to deter him from consistently following this teaching. If he does so, he then becomes a participant in the sins of the one he is preferring.
To “lay hands on anyone hastily” contextually refers to Timothy’s acting too quickly to unsupported accusations against an elder. To “share in other people’s sins” means to fail to act quickly enough in responding to situations of which he has become aware.
Timothy must be true to himself and to the calling he has accepted. His behavior must always be such that allows him to remain personally detached from any situation with which he must deal, thus retaining his credibility as an evangelist among the people he serves.
In all of the categories of people mentioned in this chapter, Paul has taught the young evangelist about appropriate relationships and appropriate treatment of others—older men, older women, younger men, younger women, widows, elders.
All are to be treated with love, care, and respect. Following such teaching, even in today’s chaotic world, will find us in good stead with divinity and with peaceful, harmonious relationships among ourselves.