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1Do not rebuke an older man but exhort him as you would a father; treat younger men like brothers, 2older women like mothers, younger women like sisters, in all purity.

3Honor widows who are real widows. 4If a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn their religious duty to their own family and make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God. 5She who is a real widow, and is left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day; 6whereas she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. 7Command this, so that they may be without reproach. 8If any one does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

9Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband; 10and she must be well attested for her good deeds, as one who has brought up children, shown hospitality, washed the feet of the saints, relieved the afflicted, and devoted herself to doing good in every way. 11But refuse to enrol younger widows; for when they grow wanton against Christ they desire to marry, 12and so they incur condemnation for having violated their first pledge. 13Besides that, they learn to be idlers, gadding about from house to house, and not only idlers but gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. 14So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, rule their households, and give the enemy no occasion to revile us. 15For some have already strayed after Satan. 16If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her assist them; let the church not be burdened, so that it may assist those who are real widows.

17Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching; 18for the scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” 19Never admit any charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 20As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. 21In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without favor, doing nothing from partiality. 22Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor participate in another man’s sins; keep yourself pure.

23No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.

24The sins of some men are conspicuous, pointing to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. 25So also good deeds are conspicuous; and even when they are not, they cannot remain hidden.

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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