The Scriptorium

Love and Purity

Love and purity are defining marks of Christian community. 1 Timothy 5.1, 2

The Pastoral Epistles: 1 Timothy 5 (1)

Pray Psalm 146.1, 2

Praise the LORD!
Praise the L
ORD, O my soul!
While I live I will praise the L
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

Read and meditate on 1 Timothy 5.1, 2.


1. What is Paul guarding against here? What is he trying to preserve?

2. To whom does Paul address these words?

Paul turns now to address certain important matters of life together in the believing community (chapters 5 and 6).

He begins with a general exhortation to keep charity as the hallmark of our relationships. He is writing to Timothy, but we remember that Timothy is to be an example to all the people of the church. Thus, by instructing Timothy directly, Paul instructs us indirectly.

In focus here is how we communicate with one another. In general, we must guard against rebuking people. The Greek word ε
̓πιπλήσσω(epiplesso) means to express strong disapproval, to denounce, to reproach or rebuke. It may well be that some word of correction is in order – whether with an older man, a younger man, or an older or younger woman. Even so, we must guard against denouncing people who are, with us, members of the Body of Christ. Instead, Paul says, let encouragement be the watchword of our confrontations. A rebuke condemns; encouragement points the way to improvement. Rebuke vaunts the one who rebukes; encouragement brings him alongside the one he confronts. Encouragement is what the Holy Spirit does, and we should model our ways on His.

A sharp rebuke may be necessary at times (cf. Gal. 2); however, in the main, we must strive to make grace and edification the guiding tone in our communications (Col. 4.6; Eph. 4.29).

And when it comes to women, Paul emphasizes the importance of maintaining purity in conversation, and in all facets of such relationships. Love and purity go together. Love promotes purity; purity expresses love. Let both continue in the church. 

1. Why is it important to make sure our communications are loving and edifying within the Body of Christ?

2. Why is it especially important that pastors lead the way in this?

3. How are love and purity linked?

Admonition in its own nature tends to be offensive, particularly when it is addressed to an older man, and when it proceeds from a young man, too, there is an intensified impression of forwardness. By the manner and mildness of it, therefore, one had best soften it. For it is possible to correct without offense, if one will only make a point of this: it requires great discretion, but it may be done. John Chrysostom (344-407), Homilies on 1 Timothy 13

Lord, let all my speech be seasoned with grace and edifying, especially today as I…

Pray Psalm 146.1-4.

Give thanks to God for your salvation, and for the believers you will see today – that you may affirm and encourage them in the Lord.

Sing Psalm 146.1-4, 10.
Psalm 146.1-4, 10 (Hallelujah! What a Savior!: Man of Sorrows)
Praise the Lord, my soul, give praise! 
While I live, His Name I’ll raise! 
And exalt Him all my days –
God forever reigns in Zion!

Trust we not in prince or man – 
no salvation’s in their hand; 
Death shall take them, breath and plans –
God forever reigns in Zion!

T. M. Moore

Men, we encourage you to follow Paul’s exhortation and to join our Men’s Prayer Movement. Watch this brief video (
click here), then download the brochure that accompanies it. Get started praying more consistently, and enlisting other men to pray, by ordering two copies of If Men Will Pray, a fuller exposition of 1 Timothy 2. 1-8, by clicking here.

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Scriptorium as a free resource for your walk with the Lord, please consider supporting our work with your gifts and offerings. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button  at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.