1 Timothy 3

3:1 Here is a trustworthy saying [cf. 1 Tim. 1:15]: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer [Gr. “episkopos”; sometimes used interchangeably with “elder” (cf. Acts 20:17,28; Titus 1:5-7; refers to the leader on the local level; resembled role of pastors today], he desires a noble [valuable] task.

3:2 Now the overseer must be above reproach [blameless; does not mean perfection; nothing in his life should discredit him or the message], the husband of but one wife [“a one-woman man” faithful to his one wife], temperate [self-controlled in regard to alcohol, passion, lust, money], self-controlled, respectable [life worthy of dignity and honor; behavior is appropriate at all times], hospitable [cf. Rom. 12:13], able to teach [imperative in order to expose false doctrines and equip believers in sound doctrine],

3:3 not given to [addicted to] drunkenness, not violent [bully who manipulates others through threats and intimidation; one who strikes another] but gentle [one who willingly gives consideration to others], not quarrelsome [a person who starts fights], not a lover of money [greedy; cf. 1 Tim. 6:9-10].

3:4 He must manage [to rule or govern; authority exercised with compassion and sensitivity] his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect [dignity].

3:5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family [home is training ground for ministry], how can he take care of God’s church?)

3:6 He must not be a recent convert [or a novice; stresses importance of spiritual maturity; be careful to not mistake spiritual potential for spiritual wisdom], or he may become conceited [prideful] and fall under the same judgment as the devil [God’s judgment against the Devil; God will hold believers accountable].

3:7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders [unbelievers; cf. Col. 4:5], so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

3:8 Deacons [literally means “servant”], likewise, are to be men worthy of respect [character and spiritual commitment should merit respect of others], sincere [not hypocritical], not indulging in much wine [cf. Eph. 5:18], and not pursuing dishonest [cutting moral corners for financial gain] gain [greedy for money].

3:9They must keep hold [be grounded in] of the deep truths [or mystery (the revelation of God in Christ)] of the faith [phrase refers to the content of the biblical message; sound doctrine] with a clear conscience [by obeying God willingly].

3:10 They must first be tested [involved proven intellectual knowledge of God’s Word and a lifestyle consistent with its teachings]; and then if there is nothing against them [above reproach], let them serve as deacons.

3:11 In the same way, their wives [can impact the effectiveness of their husbands’ deacon ministry] are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers [slanderers from Gr. “diabolos”; included gossip and insults] but temperate [self-controlled rather than impulsive] and trustworthy in everything [refers to scope of their reliability and trustworthiness].

3:12 A deacon must be the husband of but one wife [must be completely dedicated to one woman as his wife] and must manage his children and his household well.

3:13 Those who have served well [1] gain an excellent standing [has a good reputation before God and others] and [2] great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

3:14 Although I [Paul] hope to come to you [to Timothy in Ephesus] soon [in order to confront the false teachers who caused confusion in the church], I am writing you these instructions so that,

3:15 if I am delayed [we don’t know if Paul ever made this visit], you will know how people ought to conduct themselves [the qualifications listed in this chapter for pastors and deacons should apply to all Christians; what is good for the pastor in the pulpit is good for the people in the pews] in God’s household [Christians are part of God’s family], which is the church of [belongs to] the living [as opposed to lifeless gods worshiped by pagan Ephesians] God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.

3:16 [a summary outline of Christian truth…] Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.

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