1 Timothy chapter 3

Paul details the requirements for becoming a bishop, and for becoming a deacon. He sees the local assembly as the pillar and foundation of the truth. [UPDATED]

 


 

REQUIREMENTS FOR BECOMING A BISHOP

 

VERSE 1. This is a faithful saying: someone who seeks to be an overseer desires a good work.

if a man seeks the office of an overseer. That is, superintendent, or bishop. It is OK to want to be a bishop.

 

VERSE 2. The overseer therefore must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, modest, hospitable, good at teaching;

the husband of one wife. A bishop is required to be married.

The Bible does not prohibit Church leaders from marriage. The Catholic notion of celibacy emerged about a thousand years later.

good at teaching. Many of today’s bishops are more politician than teacher. But biblically, the qualification is that they be good at teaching. Presumably that includes:

  • Teaching the Bible
  • Teaching the ways of Christian discipleship to recent converts

Titus 2:2. that older men should be temperate, sensible, sober minded, sound in faith, in love, and in perseverance:

 

VERSE 3. not a drinker, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous;

not quarrelsome. Many Christian leaders are more politician than teacher of the faith. They pick fights with other leaders who have different opinions.

 

VERSE 4. one who rules his own house well, having children in subjection with all reverence;

rules his own house well. An important consideration is the members of the candidate’s family.

 

VERSE 5. (but how could someone who doesn’t know how to rule one’s own house take care of God’s assembly?)

 

VERSE 6. not a new convert, lest being puffed up he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.

 

VERSE 7. Moreover he must have good testimony from those who are outside, to avoid falling into reproach and the snare of the devil.

good testimony from those who are outside. If a candidate has a terrible reputation elsewhere, why would you bring all that into your own church?

 

REQUIREMENTS FOR BECOMING A DEACON

 

VERSE 8. Servants, in the same way, must be reverent, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for money,

Servants. That is, Deacons.

not addicted to much wine. They are not required to be tee-totalers. Rather, they are not to be addicted.

not greedy for money. The history of the Christian movement is littered with leaders who abused their office of leadership in order to get rich.

Titus 2:2. that older men should be temperate, sensible, sober minded, sound in faith, in love, and in perseverance:

 

VERSE 9. holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

 

VERSE 10. Let them also first be tested; then let them serve if they are blameless.

 

VERSE 11. Their wives in the same way must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, and faithful in all things.

Their wives. The text mentions “wives” as if it is a given that a deacon is married. The Bible does not prohibit Church leaders from marriage.

Titus 2:3. and that older women likewise be reverent in behavior, not slanderers nor enslaved to much wine, teachers of that which is good,

 

VERSE 12. Let servants be husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

 

VERSE 13. For those who have served well gain for themselves a good standing, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

great boldness in the faith. Boldness in the faith is a great thing!

 

THE PILLAR AND FOUNDATION OF THE TRUTH

 

VERSE 14. These things I write to you, hoping to come to you shortly;

 

VERSE 15. but if I wait long, that you may know how men ought to behave themselves in God’s house, which is the assembly of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the First Letter to Timothy and from the entire Bible.

God’s house. We Christians believe that the household of God is the community of believers. We see that belief reflected in other passages:

1 Timothy 3:15. but if I wait long, that you may know how men ought to behave themselves in God’s house, which is the assembly of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

Hebrews 3:6. but Christ is faithful as a Son over his house. We are his house, if we hold fast our confidence and the glorying of our hope firm to the end.

Hebrews 10:21. and having a great priest over God’s house,

1 Peter 2:5.  You also, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 4:17. For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God. If it begins first with us, what will happen to those who don’t obey the Good News of God?

which is the assembly. The local church assembly is God’s household.

Elsewhere, Paul says that our own bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. This is not ruled out.

the pillar and ground of the truth. The local church assembly is the pillar and foundation of the truth.

However, the lived reality is often quite distant from that ideal.

And the local church assembly is the pillar and foundation. It is a platform for the truth. It is NOT the truth itself. Jesus Christ is the truth:

John 14:6. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.

 

VERSE 16. Without controversy, the mystery of godliness is great: God was revealed in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, and received up in glory.

 


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1 TIMOTHY

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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


 

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