Lesson for March 27, 2011: Compassionate Service (1 Timothy 5:1-8, 17-22)

This week’s treatment of the International Sunday School Lesson (for March 27) is written by Robert Woolfolk who serves with Agape Christian Church in Denver, Colorado.


Compassionate Service (1 Timothy 5:1-8, 17-22)

By Robert Woolfolk

As we read Paul’s instructions to the young preacher Timothy, we gain wisdom about godly relationships in the church, which is the body of Christ.


Godly family interaction is important to the health and vitality of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. How we treat one another speaks louder than anything we teach, preach, or counsel. Paul’s instructions still reverberate 20 centuries later.

Have we learned how to respect our elders? Whether or not they hold an official position in the church, we need to conduct ourselves properly and decently around our elders. The elders can teach us how to be respectful, helpful, and compassionate.

Elder care is beneficial to the elderly and others in the body of Christ and the community. One of the larger churches in my community operates a seniors activity center. Senior citizens can participate in exercise, computer, and dance classes, and receive meals and nutrition assistance.

Some people differentiate males and females in the body of Christ, but Paul instructs Timothy to provide compassionate care toward both: “Exhort him [the older man] as if he were your father” and “treat . . . older women as mothers” (vv. 1, 2).

Paul is emphasizing a spirit of family within the church. “Treat younger men as brothers . . . and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity” (vv. 1, 2). The in-depth need for a godly family mixture within the church runs counter to the unwholesome family dynamics that might come from a sensual society.

Gentleness toward one another is what we need to show to the world. Abruptness, discourteousness, and ungodly behavior is unbecoming as Christians.


Transitioning from the elderly to the “elders” who have leadership responsibilities in the family of God (v. 17), Paul continues to stress the importance of proper treatment.  Paul says the “elder who directs the affairs of the church well” deserves double honor. “The worker deserves his wages” (v. 18).

How does the congregation determine proper compensation for servants who fill the preaching, teaching, and counseling role? The preachers, ministers, pastors, and teachers who serve the church should be compensated according to the standard of the congregation and the agreement with the workers. These folks have been called from the world into the family of God. When questions arise concerning their sinfulness in relationship to other members of the body of Christ, gentleness needs to be exerted toward those in leadership.

Just as no harshness should be shown to the elderly and younger men and women, the church should be careful in dealing with accusations against those in leadership.


*Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, unless otherwise indicated.

March 21: Acts 6:1-6
March 22: Luke 12:35-40
March 23: Mark 7:9-13
March 24: Leviticus 19:31-37
March 25: Mark 12:41-44
March 26: 1 Timothy 5:9-16
March 27: 1 Timothy 5:1-8, 17-22

ABOUT THE LESSON WRITER: Robert Woolfolk has been involved with Agape Christian Church in Denver, Colorado, for 37 years, and has served as pastor-teacher for 35 years. The church works with the Community Outreach Service Center to provide such services as alcohol/drug abuse counseling, GED preparation, job counseling, a clothing bank, and housing referrals.

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  1. March 22, 2011 at 10:16 am

    I have learned a lot through this website, although my pastor teaches out of the lesson book. The website has given a detailed lesson. Continue to allow the Lord to use you and may you be blessed in all that you do for the work of the Lord.

  2. Deacon Clarence Williams
    March 23, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Tremendous complement to my church’s Power For Living Adult Sunday School literature. This website offers a powerful, persuasive, and promising dimension for each weekly lesson. Continue to execute the work of him who sent you while it is day; for night cometh when no man can work.

  3. March 25, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    These weekly lessons have helped me so much with studying. Keep up the great work.

  4. King Cason III
    March 26, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    This is a great treatment of the lesson gets straight to the issues about the church body as a family…and that mindset will be a blessing no matter what Bible-believing church you attend.

  5. lamaireascott
    March 27, 2011 at 12:25 am

    i love this

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