1 Timothy 5:17 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Timothy 5:17, NIV: The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.

1 Timothy 5:17, ESV: Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.

1 Timothy 5:17, KJV: Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

1 Timothy 5:17, NASB: The elders who lead well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.

1 Timothy 5:17, NLT: Elders who do their work well should be respected and paid well, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching.

1 Timothy 5:17, CSB: The elders who are good leaders are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.

What does 1 Timothy 5:17 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This verse begins a new section turning from the needs of widowed women to the treatment of elders. Here, Paul addresses the "elders who rule well." The Greek word used is proestōtes, which most literally means "to oversee, superintend, or manage." In context, this appears to be the same group as the elders or overseers discussed in 1 Timothy 3:1–7. Those who oversee appropriately are worthy of "double honor." This likely is meant to imply both respect as well as financial support. Verse 18 makes the payment aspect of this "double honor" clear. This is a key passage in understanding the New Testament stance on those who earn their living through service to the church (1 Timothy 5:18).

This two-sided honor is especially for those whose primary task is pastoral: "those who labor in preaching and teaching." Both preaching and teaching are considered important work for an elder. An elder has other biblical expectations as well, especially prayer (Acts 6:1–7) and congregational care (1 Peter 5:1–3). However, preaching and teaching are areas specifically worthy of mention when considering financial support. Paul earned money as a tentmaker at times in addition to sharing the gospel (Acts 18:1–4), but whenever possible gave his full time and energy to preaching. Paying elders may have been especially appropriate given the large size of the Ephesian church and the size of the city.