on 1-timothy 5 :17
Let the elders that rule well - Elder is probably here the name of an ecclesiastical officer, similar to what we now term presbyter. See on 1 Timothy 5:1 (note). Dr. Macknight has remarked that, "in the first age, the name πρεσβυτερος, elder, was given to all who exercised any sacred office in the Church, as is plain from Acts 20:28, where the persons are called επισκοποι, bishops, who, Acts 20:17, were called πρεσβυτεροι, elders. The same thing appears from Titus 1:5, where those are called elders who, Titus 1:7, are named bishops; and from 1 Timothy 4:14, where, collectively, all who held sacred offices in Lystra are called πρεσβυτεριον, the presbytery or eldership, and are said to have concurred with St. Paul in setting Timothy apart to the ministry."
Double honor - Διπλης τιμης. Almost every critic of note allows that τιμη here signifies reward, stipend, wages. Let him have a double or a larger salary who rules well; and why? Because in the discharge of his office he must be at expense, in proportion to his diligence, in visiting and relieving the sick, in lodging and providing for strangers; in a word, in his being given to hospitality, which was required of every bishop or presbyter.
Especially they who labor in the word and doctrine - Those who not only preach publicly, but instruct privately, catechize, etc. Some think this refers to distinct ecclesiastical orders; but these technical distinctions were, in my opinion, a work of later times.
on 1-timothy 5 :17
Let the elders that rule well - Greek, πρεσβύτεροι presbuteroi, Presbyters. The apostle had given full instructions respecting bishops 1 Timothy 3:1-7; deacons 1 Timothy 3:8-13; widows 1 Timothy 5:3-16; and he here proceeds to prescribe the duty of the church toward those who sustain the office of elder. The word used - "elder" or "presbyter" - properly refers to age, and is then used to denote the officers of the church, probably because the aged were at first entrusted with the administration of the affairs of the church. The word was in familiar use among the Jews to denote the body of men that presided in the synagogue; see the Matthew 15:2 note; Acts 11:30; Acts 15:2 notes.
That rule well - Presiding well, or well managing the spiritual interests of the church. The word rendered "rule" - προεστῶτες proestōtes - is from a verb meaning to be over; to preside over; to have the care of. The word is used with reference to bishops, Titus 1:5, Titus 1:7; to an apostle, 1 Peter 5:1; and is such a word as would apply to any officers to whom the management and government of the church was entrusted. On the general subject of the rulers in the church; see the notes on 1 Corinthians 12:28. It is probable that not precisely the same organization was pursued in every place where a church was established; and where there was a Jewish synagogue, the Christian church would be formed substantially after that model, and in such a church there would be a bench of presiding eiders; see, on this subject, Whately's "Kingdom of Christ delineated," pp. 84-80. The language here seems to have been taken from such an organization. On the Jewish synagogue, see the notes on Matthew 4:23.
Be counted worthy of double honour - Of double respect; that is, of a high degree of respect; of a degree of respect becoming their age and office; compare 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13. From the quotation which is made in 1 Timothy 5:18, in relation to this subject, it would seem probable that the apostle had some reference also to their support, or to what was necessary for their maintenance. There is no improbability in supposing that all the officers of the church, of whatever grade or rank, may have had some compensation, corresponding to the amount of time which their office required them to devote to the service of the church. Nothing would be more reasonable than that, if their duties in the church interfered with their regular employments in their secular calling, their brethren should contribute to their support; compare notes on 1 Corinthians 9.
Especially they who labour in word and doctrine - In preaching and instructing the people. From this it is clear that, while there were "elders" who labored "in the word and doctrine," that is, in preaching, there were also those who did not labor "in the word and doctrine," but who were nevertheless appointed to rule in the church. Whether, however, they were regarded as a separate and distinct class of officers, does not appear from this passage. It may have been that there was a bench of elders to whom the general management of the church was confided, and that a part of them were engaged in preaching; a part may have performed the office of "teachers" (see the Romans 12:7 note; 1 Corinthians 12:28 note), and a part may have been employed in managing other concerns of the church, and yet all were regarded as the προεστῶτες πρεσβύτεροι proestōtes presbuteroi - or "elders presiding over the church." It cannot, I think, be certainly concluded from this passage, that the ruling elders who did not teach or preach were regarded as a separate class or order of permanent officers in the church. There seems to have been a bench of elders selected on account of age, piety, prudence, and wisdom, to whom was entrusted the whole business of the instruction and government of the church, and they performed the various parts of the duty as they had ability. Those among them who "labored in the word and doctrine," and who gave up all their time to the business of their office, would be worthy of special respect, and of a higher compensation.
on 1-timothy 5 :17
5:17 Let the elders that rule well - Who approve themselves faithful stewards of all that is committed to their charge. Be counted worthy of double honour - A more abundant provision, seeing that such will employ it all to the glory of God. As it was the most laborious and disinterested men who were put into these offices, so whatever any one had to bestow, in his life or death, was generally lodged in their hands for the poor. By this means the churchmen became very rich in after ages, but as the design of the donors was something else, there is the highest reason why it should be disposed of according to their pious intent. Especially those - Of them. Who labour - Diligently and painfully. In the word and teaching - In teaching the word.