17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.
18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,”and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”
19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.
20 Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.
21 I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality.
elders (v.17) — same as “bishops” in 1 Timothy 3:1-7
rule (v.17) = lit. “stand before” — lead, be over — with the sense of “maintaining”
honor (v.17) — financial support
labor (v.17) = grow weary, toil, exhausted, tired
doctrine (v.17) — teaching — those elders who study the Word and teach it
You shall not muzzle an ox … (v.18) — from Deuteronomy 25:4 (see 1 Corinthians 9:9)
The laborer is worthy … (v.18) — from Luke 10:7 (Luke was a frequent companion of Paul)
accusation against an elder (v.19) = a formal accusation before a tribunal — because of their position, elders are likely to receive accusations from those who don’t like their teaching (Titus 1:9)
from (v.19) = upon — upon the authority of
two or three witnesses (v.19) — from Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15
sinning (v.20) — tense indicates persistent sin
rebuke (v.20) = a reproof that is likely to result in conviction
before all (v.20) = before the rest — the other elders
God and the Lord Jesus Christ (v.21) — The words “God” and “Lord Jesus Christ” are in a construction which is called Granville Sharp’s rule which makes the words “God” and “Lord Jesus Christ” refer to the same individual. It is “our God, even Christ Jesus.” “Lord” is not in the text. “Our” is from the article before “God.” The expression is polemic [a strong verbal attack against], the apostle having in mind the institution of emperor worship, the state religion of the Roman Empire, in which the emperor was worshiped as a deity. He was called “lord,” “savior,” and “god.” — Wuest, page 87
elect angels (v.21) — those who didn’t fall with Satan — The angels observe the church so they might understand God’s wisdom (Ephesians 3:10)
observe (v.21) = keep watch over, guard