1 Timothy 3:1-7

1 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.

2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach;

3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous;

4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence

5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?);

6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.

7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

true (v.1) = faithful, trustworthy

desires (v.1) = aspire, passionately long for — with no pejorative sense

position (v.1) — not in the original text — lit. “desires overseership”

bishop (v.1) = to look over, oversight — used originally for a foreman or supervisor in secular life — one charged with seeing that what others do is right — with emphasis on character of the service, not the position. The same service as “elder.”

good (v.1) = kalos, intrinsically good

The Greek kalos, in “a good thing,” has, like our own English word “good,” a very broad usage, so that the sense in which a thing is good must be determined by the nature of the thing so called.

Thus the “good Shepherd” is the kind Shepherd; a “good soldier” is a brave soldier and one who willingly endures hardship; a “good foundation” is a solid foundation; “good measure” is abundant measure; “good works” are works which are morally right; “good fruit” is sound, healthy fruit; a “good steward” is a faithful steward; “goodly stones” and “goodly pearls” are stones and pearls of high quality, hence valuable. In each case the subject referred to as kalos, or good, excels in its own particular way. — Stam, page 70

then (v.2) — therefore — Since the work is good, the bishop must be blameless, etc.

blameless (v.2) = lit. “not to be laid hold upon” — not open to blame in the (subjective) estimate of men — giving no grounds for accusation

husband of one wife (v.2) — lit. “a one-woman sort of man” Some commentators think this forbids remarrying if a bishop’s wife dies. I think it’s more likely to be a statement about loyalty and against polygamy or divorcing and remarrying.

temperate (v.2) = sober, in disposition, circumspect, calm

sober-minded (v.2) = lit. “of sound mind” — self-controlled

of good behavior (v.2) = modest, orderly, dignified, not uncouth

hospitality (v.2) = lit. “loving stranger”

The hospitality spoken of here found its occasion in the fact that in the days of the great Roman persecutions, Christians were banished and persecuted, and rendered homeless. Or, in the case of traveling preachers and teachers, ministering from church to church, these servants of God were to be received and cared for by the bishop. Or, because in the early centuries, the local churches had no church edifice in which to worship, the church met in the home of an individual. The bishop should be glad to thus open his home for this purpose. — Wuest, page 55.

able to teach (v.2) = with an aptitude for imparting knowledge, skilled

not given to wine (v.3) = not “to sit long at it” — not likely to be drunk and exhibit the violent behavior that results

not violent (v.3) = not given to fighting

gentle (v.3) = fair, forbearing — not contentious, not a brawler (next word) or quarrelsome

not greedy for money (v.3) = lit. “fond of silver” — not regarding money for its own sake.

Lucre [money] is simply gain. Any “lucrative” enterprise is a gainful one. Thus he warns prospective bishops against taking any course of action for base personal gain. Some, as in Paul’s day, have departed so far from this injunction that they have actually convinced themselves that “gain is godliness” (6:5), that personal gain is an evidence of God’s blessing. But Paul could say for himself and for Titus, in writing to the Corinthians, “did I make a gain of you? … Did Titus make a gain of you?” (2 Corinthians 12:17-18) — Stam, page 73

rules his own house (v.4) = lit. “to stand before” — care for, attend to, rule — with emphasis on “his own” to compare it to God’s (v.5)

well (v.4) = beautifully, excellently

submission (v.4) = lit. “to arrange under, subordinate” — a military term for arranging soldiers in order

reverence (v.4) — same word as “sober-minded” in v.2

church of God (v.5) — church = called out body of individuals — “church of God” is only used of local assemblies

novice (v.6) = lit. “newly planted” — used of palm trees —  recent convert, lacking experience

puffed up (v.6) = lit. “wrapped in smoke” — blinded

condemnation (v.6) = verdict, sentence pronounced — So, the prideful bishop would fall under the same verdict that Satan is under for his pride.

those who are outside (v.7) — unbelievers

testimony (v.7) = witness, good report

This verse (v.7) protects against the tendency to discount a man’s reputation in the community because the people holding it aren’t saved. A worthy man will have a good report outside the church as well as inside.

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