19 Unless sufficient evidence to establish his guilt is produced, no charge against an elder is to be entertained. A single witness may be mistaken, or biased: he must be corroborated by one or more others. When, however, an elder's guilt is clearly established, his sin is to be made public. Such a punishment will deter others from similar offenses.
21 Prejudice and partiality should have no place in the judicial acts of an ecclesia. Natural inclination should be laid aside and all done in view of the Invisible.
22 The imposition of hands for the impartation of some grace (2Tim.1:6) was to be done deliberately, without haste, so that only those who would honor the gift might receive it.
23 At this juncture in the apostle's ministry we begin to note the decline of physical blessings. His own thorn in the flesh was not removed (2 Cor.12:7), Timothy, his nearest and dearest friend, is affiicted with frequent infirmities. Instead of healing him, or recommending such a course, he suggests a remedy.
Paul's ministry was divided into four periods separated by three crises. The first crisis occurred in Antioch when he was severed from the rest (Ac.13:2). The second crisis occurred while Paul is at Ephesus, and is brought before us in the words "As these things were fulfilled" (Ac.19:21). The third was at Rome, when the Jews finally refused the kingdom (Ac.28 25-28). We have found that this letter was written at the second, central crisis in his career. Then it was that he no longer knew anyone according to the flesh. Except in the lingering testimony to the kingdom, all physical blessing vanishes. Otherwise he surely would have cured Timothy and Epaphroditus (Phil.2:26). When once the progress of Paul's ministries is recognized, from glory to glory (2Co.3:18), away from the earthly and physical to the celestial and spiritual, healing and other gifts will be seen to be among those things which belong to immaturity.
1 A slave with a believing owner was sometimes above his master in faith, and would be tempted to forget his subordinate position. They are exhorted to take their true place as slaves, in the flesh, even though they are brethren in spirit.
5 The tendency to make capital out of religion has greatly increased since the apostle's day. Devoutness as a means to material gain is one of the most insidious of sins, which finds its followers everywhere. From the "rice Christians" of China to the very highest ecclesiastical dignitaries, its baneful influence has paralyzed God's testimony. One of the great benefits of persecution is to purge the saints of this sin.
6 Material gain, beyond what is needed for sustenance and shelter, is not true capital. It cannot give contentment in the present, and is a total loss in the future. True capital is contentment, which gives happiness now, and devoutness, which insures a reward in the life to come. These, indeed, are great capital—far greater than the billions which men amass, but which they cannot use, and which they are sure to lose. The really rich man is he who, having provided for shelter from the elements, a house and clothing and sustenance in the form of food and drink, banks the balance in such a way that it will follow him into the future.
9 Those who refuse this course will find that they lose in every way. Riches do not give contentment, but breed foolish and harmful longings, the gratification of which is destructive to happiness and lead away from the faith. Money getting and the hoarding of means not needed for our own welfare, not only is a prolific source of evil, but robs the rich of happiness now, and only increases our loss in the life to come.
13 To make alive or vivify does not refer to the giving of life in creation, but is always used of the impartation of immortality and incorruption when used of mankind (Ro.4:17; 1Co.15:36) .