1 Timothy 3 - Church Leadership
1 Timothy 3
1This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
2A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
4One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
6Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
7Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
8Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
9Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
10And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
11Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
12Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
13For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
14These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
15But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
16And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
Today's Scripture Meaning
The qualifications and behaviour of gospel bishops. (1-7) And of deacons and their wives. (8-13) The reason of writing about these, and other church affairs. (14-16)
Verses 1-7: If a man desired the pastoral office, and from love to Christ, and the souls of men, was ready to deny himself, and undergo hardships by devoting himself to that service, he sought to be employed in a good work, and his desire should be approved, provided he was qualified for the office. A minister must give as little occasion for blame as can be, lest he bring reproach upon his office. He must be sober, temperate, moderate in all his actions, and in the use of all creature-comforts. Sobriety and watchfulness are put together in Scripture, they assist one the other. The families of ministers ought to be examples of good to all other families. We should take heed of pride; it is a sin that turned angels into devils. He must be of good repute among his neighbours, and under no reproach from his former life. To encourage all faithful ministers, we have Christ's gracious word of promise, Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world, (Mt 28:20). And he will fit his ministers for their work, and carry them through difficulties with comfort, and reward their faithfulness.
Verses 8-13: The deacons were at first appointed to distribute the charity of the church, and to manage its concerns, yet pastors and evangelists were among them. The deacons had a great trust reposed in them. They must be grave, serious, prudent men. It is not fit that public trusts should be lodged in the hands of any, till they are found fit for the business with which they are to be trusted. All who are related to ministers, must take great care to walk as becomes the gospel of Christ.
Verses 14-16: The church is the house of God; he dwells there. The church holds forth the Scripture and the doctrine of Christ, as a pillar holds forth a proclamation. When a church ceases to be the pillar and ground of truth, we may and ought to forsake her; for our regard to truth should be first and greatest. The mystery of godliness is Christ. He is God, who was made flesh, and was manifest in the flesh. God was pleased to manifest himself to man, by his own Son taking the nature of man. Though reproached as a sinner, and put to death as a malefactor, Christ was raised again by the Spirit, and so was justified from all the false charges with which he was loaded. Angels ministered to him, for he is the Lord of angels. The Gentiles welcomed the gospel which the Jews rejected. Let us remember that God was manifest in the flesh, to take away our sins, to redeem us from all iniquity, and to purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These doctrines must be shown forth by the fruits of the Spirit in our lives.
Today's Scripture Application
Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of 1st Timothy with Chapter 3 and in our text we see Paul outlining the standards of church leaders as he says that those who desire these offices desire a good thing. In making application we see that leaders in the Church are to have a higher standard but that we should all strive to work in and through the Church. How about you? Are you apart of the local Church? Let us learn from our text today and the reminder of Paul to see that the leaders to our Churches are held to high standards but we are all to work within the Body of Christ doing the will of the Father.
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Dr. David Burnette
Director, The United States Bible Society, Inc.