1 Timothy Chapter 5
We will begin this lesson in 1 Timothy 5:1 “Rebuke not an elder, but intreat [him] as a father; [and] the younger men as brethren;”
“Rebuke”: Some translations add “sharply to the word “rebuke,” which fills out the intensity of the Greek term. An older sinning believer is to be shown respect by not being addressed with harsh words (2 Tim. 2:24-25).
“An elder”: In this context, the Greek is indicating older men generally, not the office of elder. The younger Timothy was to confront sinning older men with deference and honour, which is clearly inferred from Old Testament principles (Leviticus 19:32; Job 32:4, 6; Proverbs 4:1-4; 16:31; 20:29).
“Intreat”: This Greek word, which is related to a title for the Holy Spirit (paracletos; John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7), refers to coming alongside someone to help. It may best be translated strengthen. We are to strengthen our fellow believers (Galatians 6:1-2), in the same way, the Scripture (Romans 15:4), and the Holy Spirit do.
“Elder” here denotes, not a man holding the church office of overseer or elder, but a man older than Timothy. He is to deal with older men as though each was his father.
Paul spoke of Timothy’s youth in the last chapter. This is saying since Timothy is young, he must have respect for those older than himself. It is saying also, not to come against this older person in a sharp manner. We are taught throughout the Bible, to honour our father and mother.
In saying to treat him like a father, he is saying, honour his old age. Timothy is to look on others as his equal and not look down on them. All believers are brothers in Christ.
1 Timothy 5:2 “The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.”
This is just explaining the role Timothy is to take with all of the congregation. He should not be looking at the young women to lust after them but should think of them as his sisters. The older women are to be held in respect as if they were his mother.
Verses 3-16: This section supports the mandate of Scripture that women who have lost the support of their husbands are to be cared for (Exodus 22:22-24; Deuteronomy 27:19; Isaiah 1:17). God’s continual compassion for widows only reinforces this command (Psalms 68:5; 146:9; Mark 12:41-44; Luke 7:11-17).
1 Timothy 5:3 “Honour widows that are widows indeed.”
“Honour” “To show respect or care,” “to support,” or “to treat graciously.” Although it includes meeting all kinds of needs, Paul had in mind here not only this broad definition but primarily financial support (Exodus 20:12; Matthew 15:1-6; 27:9). Not all widows are truly alone and without resources. Financial support from the church is mandatory only for widows who have no means to provide for their daily needs.
“Honour” in this context signifies the expressing of esteem by material and financial support. “That are widows indeed” (or, “who are really widows”): The following verses set forth three prerequisites for a widow to qualify for church aid:
(1) She must be desolate, having no family to care for her;
(2) She must possess certain spiritual qualities;
(3) She must be a certain age.
God has always provided for the widows and orphans. If we are to be like Christ, then we must help them too. Paul is saying, not all women who have lost their husbands are truly widows. Honour those who are really widows.
1 Timothy 5:4 “But if any widow has 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 any widow has children or nephews”: Families, not the church, have the first responsibility for their own widows. Children and grandchildren are indebted to those who brought them into the world, reared them, and loved them. Fulfilling this responsibility is a mark of godly obedience (Exodus 2:12).
A widow’s “children” or “nephews” (grandchildren), are to show respect (“show piety at home”), by caring for her (“requite their parents”). This prevents the church from being unnecessarily burdened financially. The responsibility for supporting a widow lies first with her family, second with the church.
This is far from what is going on in our society today. Children are neglecting their parents. We see so many young people who do not want the bother, or the expense, of caring for their elderly parents. Children should honour their parents and show love and charity toward them.
Parents should not be the responsibility of the outside world or the church, to care for. This should be thought of as an honour to do for your parent. The church should help, when they are without children to help.
1 Timothy 5:5 “Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.”
“Desolate” (See note on verse 3). The form of the Greek word denotes a permanent condition of being forsaken and left without resources. She is “really” a widow since there is no family to support her.
“Trusteth in God”: A continual state or settled attitude of hope in God (1 Kings 17:8-16; Jeremiah 49:11). Since she has no one else, she pleads with God as her only hope.
A widow deserving of church aid is “desolate” (has no family to care for her); “trusteth in God” (lives the Christian life faithfully); “continueth in supplications” (constantly prays for her support and for the church’s ministry).
This is speaking of a widow, such as Anna, who was in the temple in Jerusalem when Jesus was carried there for the dedication. True widows are not interested in dating or getting married again. They will probably remain single.
In this case, they are a great help to the church, because they pray for the church. I have said before; the church is just as strong as the prayers that go up for it. These widows are ministers in the church and the church should support them.
1 Timothy 5:6 “But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.”
“Dead while she liveth”: A widow who lives a worldly, immoral, ungodly life may be alive physically, but her lifestyle proves she is unregenerate and spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1).
This may be paraphrased, “But the widow who indulges in luxurious living, though physically alive, is spiritually dead.”
1 Timothy 5:7 “And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.”
“Above reproach” (see notes on 3:2; Philippians 2:15). “Above reproach” means “blameless,” so that no one can fault their conduct.
Timothy is to ensure that the church complies with the directives of (verses 3-6), so “they” [the widow and her relatives], “maybe blameless” in the matter of widow care.
As we have said so many times before, this was the beginning of the church, and they had to deal with each problem that arose without too much guideline. This is something Paul wants Timothy to teach in the church as a doctrine.
1 Timothy 5:8 “But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
“If”: Better translated, “since.” Paul negatively restated the positive principle of (verse 4), using the Greek construction that implies the condition is true, suggesting that there were numerous violations of that principle at Ephesus.
Any believer who fails to obey this command is guilty of
(1) Denying the principle of compassionate Christian love (John 13:35; Romans 5:5; 1 Thess. 4:9); and
(2) Being “worse than an unbeliever.” Most pagans naturally fulfil this duty, so believers who have God’s command and power to carry it out and do not, behave worse than pagans (1 Corinthians 5:12).
“Any” family member or relative who fails to care “for his own” widow, especially “for those of his own house” (in his immediate family), disavows Christianity (“hath denied the faith”). He is morally “worse than an infidel” (unbeliever), for even unbelievers generally assume responsibility for aged parents.
By not caring for your mother or father who was elderly and could not help themselves, you would actually be going against the teachings of the Bible. This is a strong statement about denying the faith, but we cannot take part in God’s teachings and leave the rest behind.
God teaches to honour our parents. This would include caring for their needs that they could not provide for themselves. An infidel is someone who does not believe. If we do not heed God’s Word, we really do not believe.
Verses 9-10: A widow qualifies for church aid is she;
(1) Is at least 60 years in age,
(2) Was faithful to her husband, and
(3) Has done good works. “The wife of one man” does not forbid remarriage.
For Paul would hardly exclude here a widow from receiving church assistance who; on his advice (in verse 11), had remarried and later become a widow again. This phrase denotes marital fidelity.
1 Timothy 5:9 “Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man,”
“Let not a widow be taken”: This was not a list of those widows eligible for specially recognized church support (all widows in the church who had no other means of support were; verse 3), but rather those eligible for specially recognized church ministry (Titus 2:3-5).
“Under threescore years old”: In New Testament culture, 60 was considered retirement age. By that age, older women would have competed for their child-rearing and would have the time, maturity and character to devote their lives in service to God and the church. They also would not be likely to remarry and become preoccupied with that commitment.
“The wife of one man”: Literally “one-man woman” (3:2, 12). It does not exclude women who have been married more than once (verse 14; 1 Corinthians 7:39), but it refers to a woman totally devoted and faithful to her husband. A wife who had displayed purity of thought and action in her marriage.
It appears that Paul is saying, the widow must be 60 years old before she would classify as a widow. I believe he is saying, they would probably still be interested in marrying again before that age. It does not mean that a woman must be over 60 years old before she can join the church. It means for the church to take over her support as a widow, she must be over 60.
The wife of one man means that she has not been jumping from one marriage to the other. She has been a faithful wife.
1 Timothy 5:10 “Well reported of for good works; if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers if she has washed the saints’ feet if she has relieved the afflicted if she has diligently followed every good work.”
“Have brought up children”: This views the godly widow as a Christian mother who has nourished or reared children that have followed the Lord (see note on 2:15).
“Washed the saints’ feet”: The menial duty of slaves. It is used literally and metaphorically of widows who have humble servants’ hearts (see notes on John 13:5-17).
“Every good work” (Dorcas in Acts 9:36-39).
Let your light so shine before men that they can see your good works and glorify the Father. We see in all of Paul’s teachings, and in fact, throughout the Bible, that if a person is a Christian, it will be obvious to the world by the good works they do. These restrictions, again, are for being taken care of as a widow by the church.
All the things mentioned above make up the personality of a humble servant of God. You may tell me that you are a Christian, but if I do not see some of these things in your life, I would doubt that you are truly a Christian.
1 Timothy 5:11 “But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;”
“Wax wanton”: This is an expression that includes all that is involved in the marriage relationship, including sexual passion.
Paul saw the danger that younger widows might want to escape from their vows to remain single (see note on verse 12), and be devoted only to God’s service (Numbers 30:9). He knew the negative impact such feelings could have on your widows’ personal lives and ministry within the church.
Such women were also marked out by false teachers as easy prey (2 Timothy 3:6-7), causing them to leave the truth (verse 15).
The church is to “refuse” to financially support “younger widows,” that is, those below 60 years of age. “Wax wanton” means that some younger widows rebel “against Christ”, in that “they will marry” outside of His will. That is, marry people of whom He disapproves.
This is speaking of the younger woman desiring to be married again. There is nothing wrong in wanting to be married again. There is something wrong with putting your hand to the plough and turning back. This is speaking of someone, who in their grief had dedicated themselves to the work of God in the church.
When their grief for their loved one is over, they start yearning to be married again. It is not wrong to want to be married. It is wrong to proclaim yourself as a widow who will never marry, and then want to turn back into worldly life.
1 Timothy 5:12 “Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.”
“Cast off their first faith”: This refers to a specific covenant young widows made when asking to be included on the widows’ list. Likely, they promised to devote the rest of their lives in service to the church and the Lord. Though well-meaning at the time of their need and bereavement, they were sure to desire marriage again (see verse 11), and thus renege on their original pledge.
When a widow marries outside of Christ’s will (verse 11), she then incurs judgment (“damnation”), from others “because” she has broken (“cast off”), her “first faith,” or primary pledge to obey Him.
This is speaking of someone who has vowed to live single and work for God and has gone back on that promise. They have turned away from their faith in God to go back into a world of sin and lust.
1 Timothy 5:13 “And withal they learn [to be] idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.”
“Tattlers” are gossips. Such people speak nonsense, talk idly, make empty charges, or even accuse others with malicious words. This idleness and talk also made them suitable targets for false teachers (1:6). With time on her hands and no responsibilities, a young widow financially supported by the church is likely to illustrate that “idleness is the Devil’s workshop.”
“Busybodies”: Literally “one who moves around.” The implication is that such people pry into things that do not concern them; they do not mind their own business.
Anyone who does not stay busy doing constructive things has too much time to get into trouble. Those who gossip, whether married or unmarried, need to get busy doing something constructive, and they will not have time to gossip. If you are idle, you are wasting your time.
You can never get those moments back. Be sure to use every moment of your time constructively. Tattlers and busybodies are not busy at doing anything, but wagging their tongue.
1 Timothy 5:14 “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”
“I will” denotes strong intention based on thorough deliberation.
“Bear children”: The younger widows were still of childbearing age. Although they had lost their first husbands, there was still the potential privilege and blessing of remarrying and having children (see notes on 2:15; Psalm 127:3, 5).
“Guide the house”: The Greek term denotes all the aspects of household administration, not merely the rearing of children. The home is the domain where a married woman fulfils herself in God’s design (see notes on Titus 2:4-5).
This is speaking of young widows, not women in general. These young women have experienced family life, and will probably not be happy single. The devil is the adversary spoken of here. He goes about seeking every Christian he can to accuse of anything. He accuses us before the Father, but we have a High Priest (Jesus Christ), who represents us before the Father.
It is best to stay as far away from sin as possible. Paul says then, it would be better to marry again than to burn with desire for a man.
1 Timothy 5:15 “For some are already turned aside after Satan.”
Some of the young widows had given up their commitment to serve Christ (see notes on verses 11-12). Perhaps either by following false teachers and spreading their false doctrine or by marrying unbelievers and bringing disgrace upon the church.
“Satan”: The devil, the believer’s adversary (see notes on Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7; Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:12-15; Revelation 12:9).
“Turned aside after Satan:” Some younger widows have rejected chaste living, propriety, and proper second marriage. Pursuing, in accord with Satan’s wishes, a carnal, self-indulgent, self-willed life.
The battle has always been between the desires of the flesh and the spirit. Those who do not get their flesh under obedience to the spirit will finally listen to the flesh and sin.
When you obey the flesh and not the spirit, you have turned aside after Satan. The very best thing to do is to make Jesus not only your Saviour but your Lord. Then the spirit will rule over the flesh. Let Christ live in you.
1 Timothy 5:16 “If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.”
“Woman”: Paul restates the message of (verses 4-8), with the addition that as the situation warrants, Christian women are included in this responsibility for support of widows.
A Christian “man” or “woman” with a widow in the family is to support (“relieve”), her. This prevents “the church” from being unnecessarily burdened (“charged”), freeing it to aid widows in more dire need.
This is just saying if you can help your relative who is a widow, do not put this burden off on the church. There will be enough widows who have no one to help them for the church to take care of.
Verses 17-25: The source of much of the Ephesian church’s difficulties was the inadequacy of the pastors. So, Paul explains to Timothy how to restore proper pastoral oversight. He sets forth the church’s obligations regarding honouring, protecting, rebuking, and selecting elders.
1 Timothy 5:17 “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.”
“Elders”: This identifies the “overseer” (3:1), or bishop, who is also called pastor (Ephesians 4:11; see notes on 3:1-7; Titus 1:6:9).
“Rule well”: Elders are spiritual rulers in the church (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:7, 17).
“Double honour”: Elders who serve with greater commitment, excellence, and effort should have greater acknowledgement from their congregations. This expression does not mean such men should receive exactly twice as much remuneration as others, but because they have earned such respect they should be paid more generously.
“Especially”: Means “chiefly” or “particularly.” Implicit is the idea that some elders will work harder than others and be more prominent in ministry.
“Who labour”: Literally “work to the point of fatigue or exhaustion.” The Greek word stresses the effort behind the work more than the amount of work.
“Word and doctrine” (see note on 4:13). The first emphasizes proclamation, along with exhortation and admonition, and calls for a heart response to the Lord. The second is an essential fortification against heresy and puts more stress on instruction.
“Elders” are the same as the “bishops” or overseers of (3:1-7), who are charged with the spiritual oversight of the church. Those devoting full time to the ministry are to receive “double honour.” That is esteem for the office held, as well as financial remuneration compensating for the loss of income sustained in fulfilling their duties.
This is speaking of the respect that should be shown to those who have spent their time serving others in the church. It seems Paul is saying that teachers of the Word of God and the doctrine of the church should be held in very high esteem.
We have mentioned before the self-sacrifice that is necessary to do these things. That should not go unnoticed by the members. Elders in a church watch over the spiritual health of the church. They must be very familiar with the Word of God to do this.
1 Timothy 5:18 “For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer [is] worthy of his reward.”
“For the scripture saith”: A typical formula for introducing biblical references. In this instance both an Old Testament (Deuteronomy 25:4), and the New Testament (Luke 10:7), one. It is also very significant that this is a case of one New Testament writer (Paul), affirming the inspiration of another by referring to Luke’s writing as “Scripture” (2 Peter 3:15-16). Which shows the high view that the early church took of New Testament Scripture.
Those that serve of the temple should of the temple receive their living. This past statement was true in the Old Testament. It should be the rule for the church, as well. A minister of the Word of God needs to spend his time in prayer and study of the Word of God. He would have to take time away from the things of God to make a living if he did not live with assistance from the church.
The minister, labouring for the church should be paid by the church. It is not a sin to take a salary from the church. It would be a sin to take an extravagant amount that the church could not afford. We should be good stewards of God’s money. Pay your preacher well, but not so much as to cause him or her to sin.
1 Timothy 5:19 “Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.”
“Two or three witnesses”: Serious accusations against elders must be investigated and confirmed by the same process as established (in Matthew 18:15-20; see notes there). This process for the whole church also applies to elders. This demand does not place elders beyond accusation, but protects them from frivolous, evil accusers, by demanding the same process of confirmation of sin as for all in the church.
We may translate the verse: “Don’t ever accept [as true], an accusation against an elder unless verified by the evidence of two or three witnesses.”
First, an elder is very familiar with the Word of God and would know the consequences of sin. It would be highly unlikely this person would be involved in sin. Secondly, someone might have a personality conflict with someone and use accusations against that person to get back at them. Thirdly, what someone sees or thinks he sees or hears, may not be what it appears.
This then is saying, to be sure of the error, before you accept the accusation. Two or three different people are more apt to be accurate in their accusations.
1 Timothy 5:20 “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.”
“Them that sin” refers to elders guilty of persistent, flagrant sin, and against whom an accusation has been proven (verse 19). Such is to be publicly censured before the church, “that others” (the remaining elders and all believers), may not sin.
Elders who continue in any kind of sin after the confrontation of 2 or 3 witnesses, especially any that violates the qualifications to serve (3:2-7).
“Before all”: The other elders and the congregation. The third step of confrontation, established (in Matthew 18:17), is to tell the church so that they can all confront the person and call him to repentance.
Public reprimand would be the thing to do because it would keep someone else from doing the same thing. It is worse for an officer of the church to be caught up in sin. The elders should know better.
One important reason for the public rebuke is that others would not think the elder was getting away with the sin. It would show that they are subject to God, as well as the member of the church. To be chosen out for special greatness brings great obligation with it.
1 Timothy 5:21 “I charge [thee] before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.”
“Charge … God … Jesus Christ” (6:13; see note on 2 Tim. 4:1).
“The elect angels”: The unfallen angels, as opposed to Satan and his demons. This indicates that
God’s sovereign purpose to choose those beings who would be part of His eternal kingdom included angels whom He chose to eternal glory. Christians are also called “elect” (Rom. 8:33).
All discipline of elders is to be done fairly, without prejudgment or personal preference, according to the standard of Scripture.
The apostle strictly commands Timothy to comply with (“observe”), the directives (of verses 1-20). He is to do so both “without preferring one before another” (without prejudging a matter ahead of the facts), and without “partiality” (preferential treatment is to be shown no one).
Just because someone is a good friend, or because they are in a high position in the church, does not excuse sin. The punishment must be totally impartial for it to be just. We must remember the fact that Timothy is very young. He would probably hesitate to reprove someone who was his elder in the service of the church.
Paul makes it very clear that this cannot be the reason for not reproving them. Paul mentions God, The Lord Jesus, and the elect angels to show the seriousness of not letting someone off because of a position of importance. They must be judged fairly, but justly.
1 Timothy 5:22 “Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.”
“Lay hands suddenly on no man” cautions Timothy against hastily ordaining a man as an elder. Otherwise, Timothy will “be partaker of” this unqualified elder’s “sin” if he acts irresponsibly in office. Timothy can “keep” himself “pure” by not putting such men into office prematurely.
The ceremony that affirmed a man’s suitability for and acceptance into public ministry as an elder/pastor/overseer.
This came from the Old Testament practice of laying hands on a sacrificial animal to identify with it (Exodus 29:10, 15, 19: Leviticus 4:15; Numbers 8:10; 27:18-23; Deuteronomy 34:9; Matthew 19:15; Acts 8:17-18; 9:17; Hebrews 6:2). “Hastily”, refers to proceeding with this ceremony without a thorough investigation and preparation period to be certain of the man’s qualifications (as in 3:1-7).
“Neither … partaker … other men’s sins”: This refers to the sin of hasty ordination, which makes those responsible culpable for the man’s sin of serving as an unqualified elder, and thus misleading people.
“Keep thyself pure”: Paul wanted Timothy, by not participating in the recognition of unqualified elders, to remain untainted by others’ sins. The church desperately needed qualified spiritual leaders, but the selection had to be carefully executed.
“Laying on of hands” has to do with the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the ordaining of someone to an office in the church. Quick decisions are sometimes repented in leisure. You must know a person for a good while before you can understand what type of person they really are. Sometimes a person’s true character takes a little time to surface.
Another way to look at this would be if this person were giving Timothy trouble over the reprimand and wanted to fight. Paul could be saying, Timothy, don’t let your temper get out of control and hit someone, you would be guilty of sin along with them in that case.
Perhaps his advice is for Timothy to stay above sin of this nature. Timothy would also, have to try to stay neutral so he could give an unbiased judgment.
1 Timothy 5:23 “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.”
“Drink no longer water”: “Water” in the ancient world was often polluted and carried many diseases. Therefore, Paul urged Timothy not to risk illness, not even for the sake of a commitment to abstinence from wine. Apparently, Timothy avoided wine, so as not to place himself in harms’ way (see note on 3:3).
“Use a little wine … infirmities”: Paul wanted Timothy to use wine which, because of fermentation, acted as a disinfectant to protect his health problems due to the harmful effects of impure water. With this advice, however, Paul was not advocating that Timothy lowers the high standard of behaviour for leaders (Numbers 6:1-4; Proverbs 31:4-5).
This verse may be rendered, “Stop drinking only water, but periodically use a little wine for the sake of your digestion and frequent sicknesses.”
This is like many of the things Paul said in his writings. This drinking of wine was not for all ministers of the Word of God to do but was for Timothy. Timothy was to stay away from the foul water that was in the area. Bad water brings stomach problems. Paul is advising Timothy not to drink the water to keep from getting the virus.
In an area where the water was good, this would certainly not be good advice. It appears that Timothy had been sick quite a bit. This stops all this present-day talk of those who are right with God never being sick. The sickness was not because of sin Timothy had committed, but because the water was bad. Notice also, the word “little”.
Verses 24-25: Reinforcing the command to “suddenly” ordain no one to leadership (verse 22), these verses are applied to Timothy by analogy.
The “sins” of some men are obvious (“open”), declaring in advance (“beforehand”), the judicial decision to be passed upon them by God in “judgment;” the sins of others are not so obvious, but will catch up (“they follow after”), with them in judgment. Whether sins are conspicuous or inconspicuous, God will find them out.
Similarly, the “good works” of some are easily seen (“manifest”), while those of others are not. Nevertheless, ever good works that are undetected by man will eventually be made known in judgment.
The point is that thorough examination exposes all deeds, good and bad, known, and unknown. The application is that if Timothy and the church will not hastily install men into office, but carefully examine each elder candidate, his true character and fitness for office can eventually be determined.
1 Timothy 5:24 “Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some [men] they follow after.”
“Sins … are open beforehand”: The sins of some people are manifest for all to see, thus disqualifying them out of hand for service as elders.
“Going before to judgment”: The known sins of the unqualified announce those men’s guilt and unfitness before all. “Judgment” refers to the church’s process for determining men’s suitability to serve as elders.
“Follow after”: The sins of other candidates for the elder will come to light in time, perhaps even during the scrutiny of the evaluation process.
We see that some people who sin, do a good job of covering up their sin for a while. Their sin will be found out, but it may be found out long after the sin was committed. On the other hand, some sins are obvious to everyone even as they are being committed.
It is best not to make quick judgments. Wait until all the facts are in, then judge. All sins will be revealed when we stand before the Lord in judgment.
1 Timothy 5:25 “Likewise also the good works [of some] are manifest beforehand, and they that are otherwise cannot be hidden.”
The same is true of good works. Some are evident; others come to light later. Time and truth go hand in hand. The whole emphasis in this instruction regarding choosing elders, according to the qualifications of (3:1-7), is to be patient, fair, impartial, and pure (verses 21-25). Such an approach will yield the right choices.
This is just saying that some deeds are obviously good as they are being done, and they are no secret. Other good deeds may never be recognized until we stand before the Lord Jesus and hear Him say, well done, thy good and faithful servant. This type of good deeds are laying up treasures in heaven where they will be waiting for us.