1 Timothy 5:20 (ESV) reads
“As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all,
so that the rest may stand in fear.”
My readings leads me to believe that “all” represents an entire congregation and “rest” is either other elders or all other congregants. My question is about who the “all” group is.
Commentators tend to disagree on this – with Barnes, JFB, and Poole saying it’s the entire church and Ellicott, Gill, Meyer saying it’s limited to just elders. (It should be noted that more commentators interpret “all” to be the entire church.)
I think the argument is stronger that “all” means the entire congregation, for the following reasons:
- the difficult nature of the command fits the charge in v21 to be impartial (which I assume would be man’s nature to withhold consequences for a fellow brother and church leader);
- it is similar to general discipline instructions in Matthew 18;
- albeit given lesser weight, it is similar to Rabbinic tradition.
Can anyone provide further support for either interpretation?