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1st TIMOTHY 5:17-18


"Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward."


 A Preacher in his Study







Our Goal is clear, to study word by word this great Text about honoring the Men of God! However, in reaching that goal we need to first understand that, according to Scripture, others also must be honored by each of us! And the list of honorees just may surprise you!

We begin with a preparatory list of Verses, studying each in some detail. May the Lord bless our time in His Word!


LESSON 1, MATTHEW 10:41-42 ...

The Text is Matthew 10:41-42.

Look at the three levels of involvement it asks of us Christians.

"He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward."

Here we are taught that one can show respect to a Prophet of God, he being over us in spiritual authority.

Then we can honor a Righteous Man, he being equal with us in spiritual authority.

Lastly, we are encouraged to give to the Little Ones, those under us in spiritual authority.

See the three levels?

We shall return to them later in this Series of Bible Studies, a group of Lessons that will be focusing on the subject of Honor!

Whom should I honor?

According to the Scriptures, to whom do I owe that great character trait, honor? The answer, answers really, will surprise you.

Now back to our introductory Text, that verb "receiveth," used four times in the Paragraph, is spelled "dechomai" in Greek. It means "to accept" something or someone. But usually with this nuance of meaning, to accept willingly and with heartiness! Gladly, fervently receiving someone!

If you will allow me the use of a synonym here, we have just been taught the three levels of individuals whom we are to receive? Yes! Accept? Yes! Gladly "take up," another King James rendering? Yes!

But all these verbs can be harmonized to mean "honor!"

Honor those above you, who are real Preachers of God! Our leaders in Christ!

Honor those equal to you, brothers and sisters in Christ!

And honor those under your authority, children and grandchildren and others!

If we obey these words, and it's a promise, we shall be "rewarded!"

All three times the noun "reward" surfaces in today's Text, the word "misthos" is used. It means "wages, hire or payment," as well as "reward!" Again, they often are synonyms anyway.

If all this seems too complicated, forget the "levels" of honor that we owe ... and just obey 1st Peter 2:17, which says, "Honour all men."


The best reason is that God commanded it of us! He will be glorified by our honoring those whom He specifies!

The second best reason is that such honour will help others in many ways, encouraging them and maybe pointing them to Christ!

And then the least best reason, but still good, is that we ourselves will be rewarded!

Any of the above will serve as sufficient motive to honor those around us!

Not hate them!

Not curse them!

Not ignore them!

Not belittle them!

Not gossip about them!

In some way, searching until a nugget of good is found, I must honor them!

Even that drunk on the street, for whom Christ Jesus died!

He, filthy and smelly now, could some day be saved by the Grace of God and eventually die and go to Heaven! A citizen of Glory!

What honor that would be!

Before you do the next "task" on your list today, go find someone and respectfully honor him or her!

Oh, I just thought! That person may be your wife! Or husband!

Yes, "He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward."

Live an honorable life for Jesus!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



LESSON 2, 1st TIMOTHY 5:3 AND 1st PETER 3:7 AND 1st SAMUEL 2:29 ...

"Live and let live," the world often says!

And maybe, just maybe, a saved man would go so far as to espouse, "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men." Romans 12:18

But in the Spirit of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, something "more" might be asked! "More" as in, "And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain." That is, continued our Lord, "But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." And, "And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also." Furthermore, "Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away."

What kind of living is this?

Not only "co-existing" with a man, but also treating him with respect!

Not just "getting along," but more, lots more!

The word I want to use is "honor!"

In the old English, in "King James" Language, it's spelled "honour."

Honoring others?


Others you might at first ignore!

Or disregard!

Or even despise for that matter!

Here are some verses to help us meditate through this issue.

"Honour widows that are widows indeed." Here 1st Timothy 5:3 requires, using a verb in the imperative mood, our "respecting" or "placing great value" upon the widow ladies, the godly ones. This verb, "timao," is derived from a root word that means "precious, esteemed, dear, held in reputation, of great price!"

Normally in Greek and Roman first-century life a widow was a "nobody!" Insignificant! Unprotected! Left to fare for herself!

But the New Testament, Jesus really, changed all that!

Widows now, even though once near the bottom of the social scale, are elevated and supported and yes, honoured by the people of God! The verb "honour" often in the Bible carries with it the idea of financial aid also!

Now here's another verse, altogether different. "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered." 1st Peter 3:7, when first inspired and written, would have been absolutely revolutionary, unheard-of teaching!

Honour one's wife?

The participle for "giving" honour is "aponemo." It means "according to law!" The Holy Spirit's Laws I think! It's a way of life, a new standard, a fresh habit branded into the hearts of Christian husbands!

Honour your wife, sir!

Want some synonyms? "Nourisheth and cherisheth" says Paul about the subject! Meaning, "to provide and feed"  and then "to keep warm with tender love!"

That's really honoring her!

And in keeping with the principle that God rewards such honoring of others, here especially those usually overlooked, a "benefit" is promised! Your prayers will be heard! "That your prayers be not hindered." Amen!

But what about the children?

No, Preacher Bagwell, the kids are to honor their parents!

Yes, that's true and we will cover such facts later.

But for now, incredibly so, parents are to honor their very children! Listen to God's rejection of the old Priest Eli. "Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?" 1st Samuel 2:29 clearly chastises Eli for honouring his sons more than he honoured the Lord! But it does not forbid a parent loving and honoring his or her child, not at all! It's just that such honour must be less that the honour and adoration given to God!

Honour the children!

Jesus did! "Jesus said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them." Mark 10:14

We are to do so as well. "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Then later, "Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged." Paul's the preacher here. Now David writes, "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward." Psalm 127:3

Anyone doubt that this is "honour" for the little children? Once children are dishonoured, abortion is on the way!

Honor the widows!

Honor the wives!

Honor the children!

And, if we had more time, masters are to honor their servants too! Employers their employees! Just a quick example, "Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven." Colossians 4:1, without using the exact word "honour," certainly teaches an attitude of respect and worth and esteem! That is honour, really!

Widows, wives, children, "kids," and even "slaves," as they would have beeen called in Paul's day!

Yes, all those who usually would have been consider "below" the norm in social status, should be honored!

So says the great God we serve, Whose Son Jesus died that we might be saved!

In sum, "Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God." Peter's words here all fit together it seems!

Let's quit for today. Most of us men probably need to go do something "honorable" anyway!

"Honey, where are you?"

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




When a Preacher announces the topic of "Honor" as his Bible Study subject, many gasp! To Bible students anyway, the "premier" Bible Text on honor, the one most used by the dear Men of God, just might be 1st Timothy 5:17. And that is a good one!

It speaks of our honoring those who preach the Word of God, faithfully so. "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine."

However, before we can ever get to that Verse and other Passages like it, we must lay a proper foundation. Many, again I say many, deserve our honor according to the Bible! Plus, 1st Timothy 5:17 is really not the preeminent Verse in Scripture on honor! Surely 1st Samuel 2:30 is, where God says: "Them that honour Me I will honour, and they that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed." What could supercede that?

But first let's study some whom we are to honor, this time folks who are pretty much equal to us on the spiritual social scale. Our "peers" in the Lord. These of course will be "horizontal" relationships.

For example, fellow Christians, "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another." Romans 12:10 uses two words for love, blending them, expressing them as "being kindly affectioned." "Philos" and "storge" both mean "love," but with a slight difference. "Philos" is love and respect and fondness for one's friends. While "storge" is usually love for one's family. Here we are being taught to both "like, appreciate or enjoy" and treat as a "brother or sister" the folks down at Church who love Jesus too! And obviously this kind affection is being used here as a synonym for "honour." Again using "philos," this time as a verb, "phileo," the expression "brotherly love" is spelled like this in Greek, "philadelphia." Then "preferring" is "proegeomai," actually "to go ahead" of someone else. The idea, I think, is "to try to out-perform" one another when it comes to honor!


Now here's yet another "honor" Verse for our fellow Christians. Psalm 15 lists twelve things a man can do to ensure stability in the Christian life! Incorporate these and you will "abide in God's tabernacle" and "dwell in His holy hill," constantly! One of the dozen is, word for word, "He honoureth them that fear the LORD." Psalm 15:4 clarifies our first choice in honorees! Fellow Believers! Like Paul said, "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." Galatians 6:10


But then again, there's this Verse, thanks to 1st Peter 2:17, "Honour all men." No man is trash! He is created in the image of God, no matter how far he may have slipped! Even the drunk can be saved! Nor are the handicapped or chronically ill of less value than the man who is a perfect specimen of health! If Jesus died for a man, and He did, that man should be honored! For that fact alone I mean! "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

A meal for a homeless person, clothes for the needy, a smile to that new Church Member who lives on "the wrong side of the tracks," all are in order for the growing Christian!

Again, "honor all men!"

And, just in case we have missed someone today, Scripture adds this: "Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour." Romans 13:7 here uses the word "dues." The noun "opheile" means a "debt," or "that which is owed!" We are obligated to honor certain folks, a lot of them it seems! The noun "tribute" is "phoros," a rare word found only five times in the Bible. It means "taxes!" Ever thought of paying taxes as a form of honor? "Fear" or "phobos" here means "respect." And "honor" is again "time" in Greek, an expression of worth and value and preciousness!

Honor fellow saints!

Honor the barber who cuts your hair and the person who delivers the mail, even the lost ones! Now this does not mean we make this crowd our closest confidants! Honor their positions, even when their character must sometimes be avoided. 

And be aware, others might deserve our honor, others not yet discerned by our spiritual eyes and ears and heart! To "honor to whom honor is due" must be an expected task from time to time.

Honoring horizontally!

More of this godly little trait and the world would be a better place to live!

Yet, grievously, when Jesus came to earth He was not even given proper honor by His fellow citizens of Nazareth, His very home town. Nor by most of His kinsfolk either! He said one day, "A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house." Matthew 13:57

How sad!

Christian friends, let's make up for that disrespect today. Honor Jesus, adore Him, love Him! Then even go further than that! Worship Him with all your heart! Say to Him as did Thomas of old, "My Lord and my God." John 20:24

This Bible Lesson got "big" on us in a hurry! It has a vast scope! Honor the saints! To whatever degree possible, honor even the non-saints! And for sure honor the Lord who was so hated two thousand years ago!

Oh, by the way, there is a reward for so honoring others! In nearly every Bible Text about honoring these groups of people, you will find quite nearby a promise! A promise of God's blessings ... if we obey His great principle of honor!

After all, "He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward." Matthew 10:41-42


                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




It is taking quite a while to reach our Textual destination, 1st Timothy 5:17.

Much foundational material, all from the Bible, must be discussed. The Preachers among us, God's Men who handle His Word seriously and powerfully and accurately, are not the only ones we are commanded to honor.

For example, others "over" us in authority, the policeman or the supervisor at work or the judge in his courtroom, are to be honored also.

Paul the Apostle, in Ephesians 6, quoting both Jesus in Matthew 15 and Moses in Exodus 20, writes: "Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth." Notice the two rewards that accompany such respect!

Biblically speaking, honor always brings with it the goodness of God, His blessings and benefits!

Honor the elderly, especially those godly senior saints! "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD." And to Leviticus 19:32 add Proverbs 16:31. "The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness." In American society today the old folks are increasingly seen as burdens and risks to the economy! That's the very opposite attitude, wrong according to Scripture! The expression "hoary head" is spelled "seybah" in Hebrew and means "gray hair."

Paul calls them "servants," but in his day they were "slaves" really. That's what the word "doulos" implies. It's derived from the verb "deo," to tie or bind someone with a chain or rope! In our day the idea is more like an employee on the job or a student in a classroom or a player under his coach's authority. Any way you illustrate it, "Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed." 1st Timothy 6:1 commands honor!

And what about wives to their husbands? Peter answers. "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands." Be adorned with "a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price." Then Paul adds, "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord." Certainly "as unto the Lord" suggests honor!

And concerning the laws of the land, apparently including those who write and enact those laws, we are instructed: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God." Even adding, "For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers." Governors and Lawmakers and other elected officials are indicated by Romans 13:1, which is inspired by the Holy Spirit! And, surprisingly, when Paul wrote these very words one of the most wicked despots to ever occupy a throne was reigning in Rome, Nero himself! I guess Paul believed Proverbs 21:1, "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will."

Honor is certainly more a valid subject for the Christian to discuss than first meets the eye!

But, does God bless this kind of honor? Family honor and civic honor and legal honor?

Let's see! Again we to to Paul. "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty." 1st Timothy 2:1-2

See the command? Honor these men, prayerfully and thankfully!

See the reward? A quiet and peaceable life will ensue!

Instead of grumbling and rebelling and questioning God's Wisdom in allowing certain things to happen, maybe we had better just submit ... and honor those whom He places "above" us!

We might be doing ourselves a favor!

After all, in one of its "classic" comparison statements, the Bible says, "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry." 1st Samuel 15:23

In summary, "Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour." Romans 13:7

To which we believers can only say, "Amen!"

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

To "honor" governmental leaders does NOT mean that we agree with them in every respect! In fact, they are often wrong!  Downright sinful at times too! To honor such people does not mean that we can't respectfully voice our complaints either, true valid constructive criticism. But once we've taken our "stand" on an issue, we must put things in the Hands of God! We must respect the positions of authority those officeholders occupy, knowing that all real power belongs to God anyway! Those three young Hebrew men in Daniel chapter three responded well when they honorably told the King, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." And, needless to say, God rewarded their actions! Handsomely so! He always does!



LESSON 5, JOHN 5:23 AND 12:26 AND PROVERBS 3:9-10:

Of course the Apex of God's "Honor System" is the Lord Himself!

Yes, we are to honor widows, the poor and needy ones especially!

And our peers too, fellow Believers in Christ Jesus!

Plus those who have authority and rank over us, the Governor for example!

But, at the top of list, at the top of every good list, comes our Heavenly Father!


In 1st Samuel 2:30 God Himself says, "For them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed."

That's great!

See the "reward" divinely built into the promise? If we honor, adore, worship, revere, value and dote upon God, He will in turn honor us as well! He honors us as humans of course, but humans made in His image!

This is not the first commandment with promise! It's not even the first "honor" commandment with promise! Ephesians 6:2 tells us, "Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth." But, still, it does have a built-in promise!

Even Jesus, in John 5:23-24, links honor with a promise! "That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." This much is sure, without honor for God and toward God no sinner will ever repent! A lost man or woman will likely never even listen to God's Word without some kind of respect having been born in his or her heart. The heart that reverently recognizes God is the heart that's a candidate for salvation! Let me say it this way. The Holy Spirit, probably in His first stirrings in a lost soul, plants a seed of "honor" toward God. Without that, a man will probably die lost! You can't trust a Saviour Whom you do not honor!

Here's honor in another form. Still, Jesus is preaching. "If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour." That verb "serve" here in John 12:26 is spelled "diakoneo" and means to "minister" to someone with respect and dignity. That strongly implies honor! 1st Timothy 6:1 exemplifies that. And what if I do "serve" Jesus with honor and loyalty? The Father will "honor" that submissive disciple! With a handsome reward! Proverbs 27:18 plainly says, "He that waiteth on his master shall be honoured."

Then let's notice this passage. "Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine." Solomon, here in Proverbs 3:9-10, teaches us a good way to honor the Lord, with our money! Traditionally and historically "honor" has been associated with cash! With financial remuneration. Years ago a "love offering" given a Preacher at the end of a Revival Campaign was called an "honorarium!" But today's point is that God receives a "symbolic" gift of honor every time I get paid! A "tithe" of my income! That's truly, like the old saying goes, putting your "money" where your "mouth" is! Give to God first also! He is not to get merely the "leftovers!" And if one does so? Rewards! Something about your barns being filled with plenty, talk about inventory!

Don't misunderstand.

We do not love God for what we can get out of Him!


Frankly, upon reading the Scriptures, seeing the Lord in all His Beauty and Glory and Power and Essence, one really can't help honoring Him! Jesus said, "Search the scriptures ... they are they which testify of Me." John 5:39

But such honor, born of completely unselfish motives, always results in blessings upon its possessor!

To know God is to be the recipient of, well, let me think. Oh, yes! "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." Jesus is again quoted here, his words being found in John 17:3.

And if some today think that God is not interested in such honor, "A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you?" Malachi 1:6

Make it a goal!

Honor the Lord more and more with your life!

And see what happens!

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



LESSON 6, 1st TIMOTHY 5:17, THE "ELDERS" ...

Now we come to the "elders."

They also are to be honored. "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine." 1st Timothy 5:17

That noun, "elders," is spelled "presbuteros" in Greek. It can mean one of two things. Generally it represents a person who is advanced in age. A person whom we often call "elderly." But also it can mean a person advanced in rank! One with authority, like the captain of a ship or the instructor in a class.

Obviously, one who is the leader at Church is being implied here. And since he, this being a masculine noun, ministers the Word of God, this must be the Preacher, the Pastor!

If our interpretation is correct, maybe we can find another Passage where the Preacher, an "Elder" here, is entitled to such respect and honor! "And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake." 1st Thessalonians 5:12-13 uses the Greek verb "hegeomai" for "esteem," built upon the stem "ago," meaning "to go ahead" or "to lead" someone! Literally, "to be first" in showing honor to your Preacher! To set the example! To stretch the limits! To prime the pump!

The "elders" of whom Paul spoke are the Preachers he had left in the various Churches, assemblies founded by the Apostle. Pastors, in other words!

We are here told a couple of things required if a man, a Pastor, is to be treated with "double honour."

He must "rule well" those under his authority!

His family!

The Church, especially its wayward members!

Even the Deacons, who look to him for leadership anyway!

The verb "rule" translates "proistemi," to "stand out" in "front" of  a group of God's people! A Pastor simply must provide leadership to his congregation! He must be the "under-shepherd" some would say. And when it's preaching time, he indeed is compelled to be in the pulpit, filled with the Holy Spirit of God! This whole idea of a Pastor "ruling" is foreign to many Churches any more! Yet listen to Hebrews 13:7,"Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation." That's certainly talking about the Pastors! Then nearly immediately, just ten verses later, the Lord adds, "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you." These words exclude so-called "Pastors" who are too timid and cowardly to take a "stand" for Truth! To oppose ungodliness and worldliness!

And to rule "well" translates "kalos," meaning "lovely, excellent, pleasant, choice, admirable!" Here are Preachers who take strong "positions," yet as much as possible maintain sweet "dispositions!"

And the verb "labour" is "kopaio" in Greek. It is derived from "kopos," very strenuous labor! Back-breaking! Exhausting work!

But how does one so "labour" in the Word?

Just try studying it a few hours! Exegete a Passage! Prepare for an expository Message! Hours are involved, often many hours! Listen to Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:12. "And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh." See that last part? "Book" work can be hard work too!

But this Man of God, the doubly honoured one, not only PREACHES well, laboring in the Word ... he's a TEACHER too! The noun "doctrine" is spelled "didaskalia" and means "instruction." The systematic themes of Scripture must be expounded, which of course happens when a man leads his people through the Bible, verse by verse! "Didaskalia" or "doctrine" comes from a little Greek verb, "dao," which means "to learn." Paul tells us elsewhere that one of the requirements for the Pastor is his being "apt to teach!"

Yes, if your Preacher loves God and has the courage to really "lead" the flock, preaching and teaching in a bold and impartial way, expounding God's Word carefully, he deserves your honor!

Sit under his ministry!

Grasp his every word!

Realize what a gift God has sent your way!

Then, tell him, the Pastor, about your new-found respect! Honor that Preacher as a Man of God, really!

Thank God for the Elders, the true Bible Preachers of the land!

And Preacher friend, as best you can, sometime today get your Bible and head for the woods or somewhere. Once there, study the Word!

Study yourself full!

Then, preach yourself empty!

And watch what God does!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Some modern day Baptists no doubt would re-write this verse. They would have the Pastor not excelling in the Word of God and its vital doctrines like the Virgin Birth and Blood Atonement, but in other things! They might want to give "double honour" to the Pastor with the biggest smile! Or the Pastor who makes the most visits! Or forms the most committees! Surely the one who builds the largest Church, a "mega-church" these days, must be included in the "new" list! And, contrary to the old "Elijah" and "John the Baptist" models, give us a man for the times, one who is not so old-fashioned and negative! Plus, a Pastor if he is to be really honored anymore must be a good fund raiser! Gifted in taking offerings! And this contemporary list is an ever-growing one too! The latest "requirement" can be added anytime too, by any brother ... or sister ... no matter how long they've been saved or how godly they live!

Really, I've decided that I'll just stick with Paul's advice, which truthfully is from the Lord Himself. "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine." This pretty well says it all!




Let's study a verb!

It is a rather lackluster word, except God has chosen to use it in Scripture. That makes any word special!

And this verb is placed by the Holy Spirit in one of the greatest "Church" Texts in all the Bible.

Our word is capitalized here. "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine." 1st Timothy 5:17

That dear Man of God, your Bible-believing godly-living Pastor, is here to be "counted worthy" of certain things! Especially those who lead well, opposing sin and exalting Jesus! Especially those who preach and teach the unadulterated Word of God!

Living lives open to inspection twenty-four hours a day, Preachers' lifestyles are well known to all. "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation." Here in Hebrews 13:7 the noun "conversation" is "anastrophe," which means "manner of life" or "conduct." In Greek "strepho" means "to twist or turn" something! "Conversation" in this sense means one's "going and coming and turning about" as he pursues his daily activities. "And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake." 1st Thessalonians 5:12-13 says about the same thing, too. As Pastors' daily lives remain consistent, genuine to the core, we "count them worthy!" Or in some sad cases, "count them unworthy" of honor and respect. One's "walk" simply must match his "talk." Right preaching must be backed up by the right kind of character!

Yes indeed, real BIBLE Preachers are to be evaluated highly!

Hence, "counted worthy."

Here are just a few of the seven times "axioo" is used in the New Testament. They are enlightening.

"Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling ...."  Here in 2nd Thessalonians 1:11 God counts the saints worthy!

"For this man (Jesus) was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house." And Hebrews 3:3 has the saints counting Jesus, God the Son, worthy!

Here's an even more interesting one! "But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest," said the Jews to Paul one day! Acts 28:22 then encourages us to be eager to hear God's Word! Hear what your Pastor, when his utterances are filtered through the Word of God, thinks and says!

Who reading here today, knowing your godly Pastor well, could claim for him true honor?

I surely know some Preachers whom I'd classify as being "counted worthy" of godly respect and reward.

Some well-known ones!

Some nearly unknown ones too!

By the way, your Preacher will not likely "fit" into the "average" category! Lukewarm! Not if you're in the right kind of Church!


But faithful Biblical Men, rare as they are becoming nationally, are to be "counted worthy" of great honor!

"Axioo," having been declared "right, fitting, proper, appropriate," should have been the heritage of every true Bible Preacher! After all, the devil's crowd generally hates real Preachers!

Men of God, Bible Preaching ones, we salute you today!

It's spiritually appropriate to do so!

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Anyone who is now constructing a "profile" on your Preacher, be careful! He deserves God's Best! And, even if not immediately, he will be eventually awarded much honor, even "double honor," according to our Text! "When we all get to Heaven" for sure! If not now, then!



LESSON 8, 1st TIMOTHY 5:17, "HONOUR" ...

The noun is spelled "time" and pronounced "tee-may" in Greek. It 's that short little word "honour," still in its lovely old English form, in today's Text Verse. That's 1st Timothy 5:17. "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double HONOUR."

A search of the word's history is interesting. Early on it meant "worth." That is, the "value" of a person or thing. In it's earliest stages it was apparently even used for "appraisal" purposes.

It's root verb seems to be "tio," meaning "to esteem highly!"

Now two further details must be mentioned.

In those early days one's "honor" or "worth" depended largely on his or her "character." The word had a "strong ethical connotation" we are told. A man's manner of life, his very morality, determined the esteem he enjoyed! Maybe that's why Paul includes certain "qualifications" for the "doubly honoured" Minister here! "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine." See them? They "rule well." They "labour in the Word," great preaching! They also "labour in doctrine," great teaching!

A second quality concerns, of all things, "money!" The word is often found to mean such things as "compensation!" Or even "price!" It has a definite "material" slant at first! In Paul's day the word could have meant, equally so, either "esteem" ethically or "value" financially! To this day we still use it that way, remuneratively! When a Revival Preacher comes to one's Church and proclaims the Word of God for four or five night, the "love offering" given him at the end of the Meeting is often called an "honorarium!" Money paid for services rendered, based largely on the value of the material shared!

One lexical source says that "earthly goods" were nearly always associated with this early aspect of "honour."

One more thing could be added. It seems to me that, upon careful search, "time" is often in the New Testament associated with "doxa!" That's "honour" linked to "glory!" Sixteen times, in fact! As we honor the Man of God, the right kind of Preacher, we also heap a certain amount of "glory" on the Gospel Ministry!  I do not mean God's Glory either. That He shares with no one! "I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images." Isaiah 42:8

The world wrongly attaches "glory" to Hollywood actors! And to national news personalities! And to politicians at times! Not to mention sports figures! These people are elevated far too highly by our sick culture.

But for me and my house, we shall place honor and glory on the Bible Preaching Ministry by which God has propelled His Work through the many centuries of time!  "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." 1st Corinthians 1:21

They are linked! Honor to God's Man! Glory to the great God Who called and equipped him to preach!

Then, based on a standard Textbook that is not too friendly to Fundamentalism either, this is said about our Text, 1st Timothy 5:17. It is implied that the interpretation of "honour" here is "disputed!" Remember, "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour."

One possibility they allege is just that Preachers, good ones, are to be respected and esteemed more than average Church Members because of their faithful outstanding service. The other possibility, even likelihood, is that they are to receive "double payment" for their work!

Thank about that!

Paul may not just be saying, "Love your Preacher!" He may be suggesting, "Give him a raise, a big one!"

And for those of you are are now in a state of shock, read this verse. Where Paul also associates the Man of God with gifts from his hearers! "Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things." He who "hears"is to "communicate," to share or to distribute or to give materially, to the one who taught him the Word of God!


Does your Church follow this plan?

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

And, yes, "double" there means just what it says, "double honour!" The Greek is "diplous," meaning "twofold!" It probably blends "dis," meaning "twice" and "pleon," meaning "more!" I don't want to become irritating today, but if the average career person in the congregation makes $39,000.00 a year, for example, the Preacher would at least be thought worthy of $78,000.00. Oh, goodness! I'm pretty sure several Deacons right now have had to run to the shelf and take an extra dose of their blood pressure medication!




Some "loose ends" need to be tied up more neatly.

Based on the context here, 1st Timothy 5:17 and 18, Paul does have in mind some financial considerations for the faithful Pastor!

Watch. "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine." Then, immediately the Apostle illustrates. "For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward."

See the linkage?

Twice at least in the New Testament, other than in our immediate context I mean, we find this association, "honour" and "reward or financial support."

Paul, when talking about widows in the Church, suggests that they are to be "honored." Read this: "Honour widows that are widows indeed." And by using that term "honour" he means material help and financial assitance. "But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God." If the widow lady still has family who can take care of her, let them do so! Then the Church is not responsible. They are free to help others, more needy. Further proof that Paul is talking about material "provision" can be found a verse or two later: "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." 1st Timothy 5:3f

Secondly, in Acts 28, recounting the shipwreck on Melita, Paul healed the sick father of the "chief man" on the island. Such kindness was met with much "honour" toward the Apostle. Here's Verse 10: "Who also honoured us with many honours." Then, immediately Paul relates, "And when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary." See the gifts that are associated with the honour!

Then Verse 18 of our 1st Timothy 5 Text, ""For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward." Financial and remunerative to its very heart!

Paul here quotes Deuteronomy 25:4, nearly word for word. "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn. He has already used this Verse as a proof Text in 1st Corinthians 9:9, with the same subject in view, caring for the Preacher! The Apostle may also have Jesus' words in Luke 10:7 in mind. "And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house."

Paul often blends Scripture to make a pertinent point. He in a number of Epistles adapts the Word of God to meet the behavioral needs of his people!

So, twice we have seen the nexus. "Honour" and "money!" Although it remains a very sensitive subject, it must be preached and taught.

Short Lesson today, I just thought we might need some further Biblical reinforcement here.

Isn't the Bible an amazing Book? The Psalmist says of it, "O Lord, Thy commandment is exceeding broad." Psalm 119:89


From money to mercy!

The Bible does it all!

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." Second Timothy 2:15-16 teach us that the Bible is both "profitable" and "practical!"




LESSON 10, 1st TIMOTHY 5:18 ...

Today's notes might seem a bit strange!

Yet the principles I plan to discuss come right from the Word of God!

We've been talking lately about "honor," especially as it's revealed in the Bible. Naturally, God first of all deserves and seeks our honour! Listen to Him in 1st Samuel 2:30. "Them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed."

But humanly speaking, the apex or zenith or high point of Bible honor centers on a man, a godly man for sure, but still a man. He's the Pastor or Shepherd or Overseer or Elder of that Church you attend! I use the word "elder" because that's what 1st Timothy 5:17, our Text, calls him. "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine."

Now, did you see that about "honour" too?

Double honour!

And here's the strange thing. In addition to "honour" meaning "respect or esteem," it also occasionally means "reward or value or price!"

It's a financial term! Has been for centuries, right back to Paul's day.

It's first use in Scripture, Acts 5:2 in the King James Bible, translates "time" (pronounced tee-may'), the Greek noun for "honour," as "price!" Look! "And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet."

The word often means "money!"

Listen to what Paul is really saying. He is actually declaring that those godly Preachers, the Pastors who preach well and teach faithfully the precious Word of God, should receive "double pay!"

How often through the years have many of us seen poor Pastors struggling to pay their bills! Driving an old beat-up car! Wearing wrinkled clothes and shoes with holes in them!

Now if their Church is small and financially weak, all they can do is all they can do. But even then I wonder if everyone is truly tithing their income as taught by the Lord! But more often than not, the Church can do much better, much more for the Pastor!

Give him a raise Sunday!

But wait a minute!

How do we know that Paul is talking about financial reward, about cash, when he uses the term "double honour?" By the way, Paul did not use that term. The Holy Spirit did really! It's that "Inspiration of Scripture" thing!

Here's how we know. Not just by the meaning of the word "honour." But even more so, by the following verse, Verse 18, clearly in our context!

Listen again. "For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward."

Paul defaults to the Authority of the Bible! It's a living Book to Him! It can talk! "Saith" is "lego" in Greek, to speak with forethought and logic and deliberation! The Bible is indeed the very mind of God! His thoughts are wrapped in those 1,189 chapters of inerrant Writing!

Then, quoting Deuteronomy 25:4, Paul illustrates from the world of nature. An ox, when plowing the very field of grain that he had sown weeks earlier, wheat or barley or oats that now are grown and ripe, can eat of those delicious stalks of nourishment any time he pleases! And do not stop him, commands the Lord! He worked! He can eat! Eat of his own labours!

The verb "muzzle" or "phimoo" just means "to shut or close" a mouth, rendering it inoperative for conversation or eating or whatever!

The noun "ox" is spelled "bous," taken from "bosko," meaning "to feed" the hungry!

To "tread corn," in Greek "aloao," means "to thresh," or "to grind" the grain upon a threshing floor! The picture here is likely one of an ox helping grind the grain and stalks, separating the one from the other, the edible from the inedible, until the real kernels of precious food are ready to gather!

Even so, when winnowing the crop, the working animal is certainly allowed to eat any of the oats or barley he desires! This is important too! It's a direct command of God!

"All he can eat!"

It's his pay!

His reward!

His remuneration!

His honorarium, really!

Then, if that's not proof enough, Paul adds, "The labourer is worthy of his reward," quoting Jesus in Luke 10:7. Don't tell me Paul didn't know Jesus, His Words that is.

Any worker gets paid for his faithful services!

Even in the animal kingdom!

That being so, what about Preachers?

They were Paul's subject here anyway!


They get rewards too!

They must be rewarded financially for their diligent labours!

And here's the surprise!

Unions and seniority and politics aside, the God-called Pastor is to be given "double honour," or as the Text implies, "double pay" for his work!

I hope you don't think today's Lesson is carnal!

Pay the Preacher!

True, that's not why he serves the Lord!

My soul! Many of God's Men are slim as a rail anyway!

Feed them!

Just as they daily seek a "double portion" of the Spirit of God in their lives ... so should their Congregations share a "double portion," a true "double payment" financially for all they do!

Some of you still don't believe it!

Then, here's the same truth with other words, "Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things." Galatians 6:6 is not hard to understand either! If God's Man has taught you the Bible ... then reciprocally share back with him some good things too, like food and shelter and salary!


I don't know how those marks got on the above line!

You Pastor's can't say much about this Verse, this "double honour" business ... but we Evangelists sure can!

Pastors, fundamental Servants of the Lord, we salute you indeed!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




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