Those having places of authority in the church must be blameless, not lying under any scandal, watchful against Satan, moderate in all their actions, proving their ability to care for God’s people by keeping a Godly and well-governed household, holding the truths of the faith in a pure conscience.
I Timothy 3
1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
4 One 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?)
6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
13 For 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.
14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
15 But 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.
16 And 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.
I Timothy 3:1 – J. Vernon McGee
I Timothy 3:2 – J. Vernon McGee
I Timothy 3:3-7 – J. Vernon McGee
I Timothy 3:8 – J. Vernon McGee
I Timothy 3:8 cont. – J. Vernon McGee
I Timothy 3:9 – J. Vernon McGee
I Timothy 3:10-13 – J. Vernon McGee
I Timothy 3:14-15 – J. Vernon McGee
I Timothy 3:16 – J. Vernon McGee
1 Timothy 3:1-7 – Fitness for Christian Leadership
One of Timothy’s most urgent duties was to take care that those who held office in the churches were beyond reproach. The tone of a Christian community is largely that of its leaders. The bishop of the early Church was an overseer or presbyter. See Acts 20:28. God’s minister must not only be irreproachable as far as the outside world is concerned, but exemplary in his domestic relations. Such was the facility of divorce among the Jews that it was a common thing for a man to have more than one woman living who had been his wife: but by Paul’s ruling this would debar him from holding office, unless his divorce be for cause as provided in Matthew 19:9.
Notice how often those words grave, sober, not given to wine occur in this chapter. The effect of a good sermon will be spoiled if a man yields to foolish levity or intemperate habits. Moderation, serenity of temper, freedom from love of money, a well-ordered household, an obedient and reverent family—these are signs that a man may aspire to the sacred work of the ministry; and these are the qualities which people should look for in candidates for pulpits, more than those of rhetoric, brilliance, or outward attractiveness. —Through the Bible Day by Day
1 Timothy 3:8-16 – Qualifications of Church Officials
Younger men, referred to as deacons, were appointed to subordinate tasks, especially the relief of the poor, Acts 6. Though their service was less important, their character must be of the highest quality. The strength of a church is as much in the godliness of those who fill subordinate offices, as in its acknowledged leaders. The caretaker of a church should be a man of as high ideals as its chief pastor. Nothing is common or unclean, nothing trivial and unimportant, where Christ’s honor and glory are concerned. In the prophet’s vision the very snuffers of the candlestick were of gold.
The women mentioned here are deaconesses, Romans 16:1. Governor Bradford, describing the church of the Pilgrim Fathers, says of a deaconess: “She honored her place and was an ornament to the congregation. She did frequently visit the sick and weak, and would gather relief for them. She was obeyed as a mother in Israel.”
The Church is the earthly dwelling-place of God. It lifts up and maintains the standard of truth in the midst of men, therefore it is hated. It is most necessary that Christians should bear witness to the truth, collectively as well as individually. The facts given us to witness to are enumerated here in the six clauses of an ancient antiphonal chant. —Through the Bible Day by Day
I Timothy 3:16—Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness.
It is more than likely that this is a fragment of one of the earliest hymns of the Church. In her hymns, and maintenance of the ordinances, she thus becomes the pillar and ground of the truth. The words “mystery of godliness” are probably a general heading which is further unfolded and expanded in the six following sentences, which may have been sung antiphonally:–
“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.”
The Extremes of Manifestation. — The Eternal Word was manifested in the flesh. But it was not simply a physical manifestation; we cannot forget the descent of the Holy Spirit at his baptism, or the authentication of his words which the Spirit gave in signs and wonders, and convinced hearts, and converted lives.
The Extremes of Created Intelligence. — Angels worship Him; and Gentiles, sunk in heathen darkness, hear the story of his wondrous love. Jesus is the centre of all worlds: from heaven’s bright spaces they come to Him on the one hand; from earth’s dark sins they come on the other. In Him meet angels and men.
The Extremes of Space. — Glory is above: He was “received up into glory.” The world is but a speck, a mote in the beam of eternity. How great the space between the two! But the feet of our Emmanuel have trodden its low pavement, and He has now taken to Himself his former glory. Like Jacob’s ladder, He links earth with the throne of God. (Meyer)