Traditionally, the phrase “lay hands on anyone” in 1 Tim 5:22 has been interpreted as a reference to ordination (identification or appointment). However, others think that it refers to the reception back to membership of erring individuals and lately some argue that the reference is in regard to the practice of accusation.1 Some scholars that depart from the tradition argue that this verse signals a new paragraph and hence a transition from the topic of elders to that of the erstwhile believers.2 This argument aligns with the interpretation of re-admission of erring persons. On the other hand, Brian P. Irwin argues that the same verse serves as a summary and caution that is projected in v. 22 and hence speaking to the aspect of accusation.3 The key aspect is that, if vv. 21-22 are connected to v. 20, then tαῦτα refers to the “instructions given in 19f and then v. 22 probably has to do with the ordination of presbyters.”4 But, “if, on the other hand, v. 22 is unconnected with what has gone before, then the reference is to the readmission of sinners or heretics.” 5 In this debate, the understanding of the phrase “laying on of hands” (1Tim 5:22) could be predicated on how one understands v. 21 and particularly the phrase tαῦτα which is a structural marker. The questions to guide the quest are: (1) what is the functional and discourse value of tαῦτα in v. 21 in light of the structural function in the corpus of 1Timothy? (2) How does this function inform the interpretation of laying on of hands in v. 22? This study explores the structural and functional value of tαῦτα in 1Timothy and its possible contribution to the understanding and interpretation of the unit of 1 Tim 5:17-25.
Nwaomah, Sampson M. and Bitamazire, Nicholas B.
"Reconsidering the Meaning of the “Laying on of Hands” in 1Timothy 5:22 through a Structural Approach: The Use of Ταῦτα in 1Timothy,"
Journal of the Adventist Theological Society: Vol. 32:
1, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/jats/vol32/iss1/3