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1. Qualifications for Elders 1 - 7
1Ti 3:1 This saying is trustworthy: "If someone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a good work."
Paul begins his instructions concerning elders and deacons by stated that it is a sure word that if a man seeks to hold the office of an overseer (literal meaning, usually translated bishop, an elder is the equivalent in most churches today, some take it to mean pastors) the desire for an honorable work is right. Whatever the name it is clearly the spiritual oversight that is meant.
1Ti 3:2 The overseer then must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher,
However, he lays down the qualifications required for a person to be appointed as an elder. He is to be without reproach, that is there must not be any occasion where a finger of accusation can be pointed at him of disgrace or shame. (Excepting bearing the reproach of Christ (Luke 6: 22 AKJ). He must have only one wife, this certainly rules out the polygamy practiced by some in Pauls day and in some religions today. It also rules out divorce and remarriage. It does not include however remarriage after the death of a partner (Rom. 7:3). Temperate, not extreme in behaviour, sober-minded, self controlled, is not ruled by his passion but reason's things out sensibly. Of good behaviour, behave in an orderly and respectful manner, hospitable, having a disposition to treat guests and strangers with friendliness and generosity. Able to teach, capable of expounding and instructing in the Word of God.
1Ti 3:3 not a drunkard, not violent, but gentle, not contentious, free from the love of money.
Not given over to the habit of drinking wine or prone to be violent, nor one who has an insatiable desire (impossible to satisfy) for money. But rather of a gentle nature, not quarrelsome or covetous.
1Ti 3:4-5 He must manage his own household well and keep his children in control without losing his dignity. But if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for the church of God?
He must be able manage the affairs of his household and to have his children obedient to him and having a respect for him. If he is unable to manage his own affairs and keep his family in order he will certainly not be able to take care of the church of God.
1Ti 3:6 He must not be a recent convert or he may become arrogant and fall into the punishment that the devil will exact.
He is not to be a new convert because might be so proud of being chosen to such a position so soon as to be blinded by conceit and so fall into the same condemnation as the Devil (Isaiah 14:12-14).
1Ti 3:7 And he must be well thought of by those outside the faith, so that he may not fall into disgrace and be caught by the devil's trap.
He must have a good reputation outside the church so that he will not be disgraced and fall into a trap of the Devil (1 Thes. 4:11-12 and Col. 4:5).
2. Qualifications for Deacons 8 - 13
1Ti 3:8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not two-faced, not given to excessive drinking, not greedy for gain,
Turning his attention to deacons he says these too must be of the same standard as elders. The word used for deacon generally means a servant. They were first appointed in the church to release the apostles from distributing relief provisions to widows so that they could give themselves wholly over to ministering the word of God and prayer (Acts 6:1-4). He adds a few more conditions however, i.e. They are to be of a serious mind not to be deceitful, saying one thing and meaning another. As with the elders they are not to indulge in wine nor grasping for money.
1Ti 3:9 holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
They are to hold firmly to the truth of the gospel and truth that had been revealed to them but hid from the world (Rom. 16:25 and Col. 1:26) with a pure conscience.
1Ti 3:10 And these also must be tested first and then let them serve as deacons if they are found blameless.
Before being appointed as a deacon a person has to be proved in all the points of qualifications that Paul has given and found to be sound in the faith and doctrine.
1Ti 3:11 Likewise also their wives must be dignified, not slanderous, temperate, faithful in every respect.
The qualification for a deacon also embraces the conduct of their wives. They are to be worthy of respect, of a serious mind not false accusers (the word for slanderers in the Greek is diabolos the same word used for the devil, see Eph. 6:11 so in reality "She-devils). They are to be self-controlled and worthy to be trusted in everything.
1Ti 3:12 Deacons must be husbands of one wife and good managers of their children and their own households.
Again as with elders they must have only one wife and be able manage their children and the business of their own homes.
1Ti 3:13 For those who have served well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
Those who fulfill the office of a deacon well will acquire for themselves a good standing and much confidence in their faith in Christ.
3. The Great Mystery 14 - 16.
1Ti 3:14-15 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you in case I am delayed, to let you know how people ought to conduct themselves in the household of God, because it is the church of the living God, the support and bulwark of the truth.
Paul had written these instructions as a guide until he could visit Timothy that he hoped to do as soon as possible. In case he was delayed these would be sufficient for Timothy to know what he should do in directing the church at Ephesus. To bring home the necessity for everything to be done meticulously correct in the church he makes the point with some strength that the church was not a manmade institution but is the church of the Living God and subject to it's Head that is Christ and is the pillar and foundation of the Truth (Eph. 5:23).
1Ti 3:16 And we all agree, our religion contains amazing revelation: He was revealed in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among Gentiles, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
Following on from the word Truth Paul acknowledged that it is a great mystery. "The content of this truth or mystery is Christ, revealed in the gospel as the Savior" Vincent (Rom. 16:25-26). He unveils this truth in six statements;
1. God was manifest in the flesh in His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Justified by the Spirit - "declared to be the Son of God," by his resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4).
3. "Seen by angels" - The word seen as used here is to gaze (that is, with wide open eyes, as at something remarkable (Strong). The angels saw God was manifest in the flesh as Jesus Christ the Saviour of the world and saw the plan of salvation unfold (1 Pet. 1:10-12).
4. Preached among the Gentiles (Col. 1:26-27).
"The Jews regarded the rest of mankind as excluded from the covenant mercies of God, and it was one of the principal stumbling blocks in their way, in regard to the gospel, that it proclaimed that all the race was on a level, that that middle wall of partition was broken down, and that salvation might now be published to all people" Barnes (Eph. 2:14).
5. Was believed on as the Son of God and accepted as Saviour in the world.
6. Was received up again to His glory in heaven (Mark 16:19).