Today’s reading: 1 Tim 5
In today’s reading, we see further evidence that the early Church already had leaders and a hierarchy. Paul writes:
Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” 1 Timothy 5:17-18
So the elders, particularly those who are preaching and teaching, are to receive double honor. Obviously, that means they are to be respected more than others. Not in the natural way in which everyone deserves respect, but in a formal way as good rulers.
Notice also, here Paul is quoting Luke and/or Matthew (Luke 107 and Matthew 10:10) and already refers to them as “scripture”. Thus, the very early Church was already recognizing that some writings were inspired and equivalent to the Old Testament. This recognition by the early Church would become a tradition and would form the basis, in part, as to how the Church later canonized the Bible.
There is also another interesting passage later on:
Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, 1 Timothy 5:22
We have already seen that the laying on of hands is how authority was passed on to another person. Here we see Paul reminding Timothy to be fastidious in who he chooses to convey authority. This is strong proof that the Apostles (Paul) passed authority to the next generation (Timothy) and intended for them to continue to pass authority on going forward.
Tomorrow: 1 Tim 6