The reward, discipline, and installation of Church leaders : an examination of 1 Timothy 5:17-22
This dissertation investigates the practices of reward, discipline, and installation of leaders in the church as portrayed in 1 Timothy 5: 17-22. The text itself is examined, finding that well-governing congregational leaders were to be honoured for their labour and provided with tangible support, that leaders were to be protected from unsubstantiated accusations, that a leader whose misconduct was established was to be disciplined publicly, and that care was to be taken to put only worthy persons into positions of leadership. These practices are compared to those seen in the disputed and undisputed Pauline texts, the remainder of the New Testament, and the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, establishing significant similarities as well as differences, some of these reflecting the development from itinerant to resident leaders in the churches. The practices of cognate groups such as synagogues, the Essenes, and voluntary associations, seen in Jewish and Greco-Roman literature and inscriptions of the contemporary period (ending with the Apostolic Fathers), are investigated for similarities and differences. The study finds that, although there are some similarities to Jewish practices, these groups substantially differed from the instructions of 1 Timothy 5: 17-22 in their practices of reward, discipline and installation of leaders. In the Gracco- Roman context, in particular, leaders in these cognate groups were essentially immune from accusations made by group members and any resulting discipline. Similarly, the idea that leaders were to receive financial support from those below them was foreign to normal practice in these groups and was deemed not 'honourable'. The conclusion reached is that these congregational practices regarding leaders, while conceptually quite similar to principles given regarding itinerant Christian workers in the undisputed Paulines, are quite distinct from practices employed in the cultural milieu of the Pastoral Epistles. Some of these differences appear problematic, given the Pastoral Epistles' concerns about maintaining a good reputation among outsiders and not hindering the spread of the gospel.