Working through 1 Timothy 5:1-2 (“Do not rebuke an older man but rather appeal to him as a father…”) brought me back to reflection regarding the last phrase pf verse 2, “and the younger women, in all purity.” While in my opinion must discussion of “purity” ignorantly splash about the pool of well-intentioned self-refutation. But a few men have taken up the subject with profundity. Consider this quote by A. T. Robertson,
No sort of behavior will so easily make or mar the young preacher as his conduct with young women.
On the same passage, Barnes writes,
Nothing could be more characteristic of Paul’s manner than this injunction; nothing could show a deeper acquaintance with human nature. He knew the danger which would beset a youthful minister of the gospel when it was his duty to admonish and entreat a youthful female; he knew, too, the scandal to which he might be exposed if, in the performance of the necessary duties of his office, there should be the slightest departure from purity and propriety. He was therefore to guard his heart with more than common vigilance in such circumstances, and was to indulge in no word, or look, or action, which could by any possibility be construed as manifesting an improper state of feeling. On nothing else do the fair character and usefulness of a youthful minister more depend, than on the observance of this precept. Nowhere else does he more need the grace of the Lord Jesus, and the exercise of prudence, and the manifestation of incorruptible integrity, than in the performance of this duty. A youthful minister who fails here, can never recover the perfect purity of an unsullied reputation, and never in subsequent life be wholly free from suspicion[…]
Matthew Henry adds,
If Timothy, so mortified a man to this world and to the flesh and lusts of it, had need of such a caution as this, much more have we.
Robertson, Archibald Thomas. Word Pictures in the New Testiment. 1 Timothy 5:2
Barnes, Albert. Notes on the Whole Bible. 1 Timothy 5:2
Henry, Matthew. Commentary on the Whole Bible. 1 Timothy 5:2