Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on 1 Timothy 3:1-7

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Select Men of Exemplary Christian Character as Elders. - 1 Timothy 3:1-7

The Greek word, episkopos, is functionally descriptive, meaning supervisor or overseer. Near the end of the 2nd century, this term came to be used for the bishop, who supervised leaders from all the churches in a city or region. But, at the time of Paul's writing to the Philippians (Phil 1:1), Timothy and Titus (Tit 1:5-7), episkopos was used interchangeably with presbeyteros or elder (cf. Acts 20:17, 28) to identify mature men of proven character, who managed their relationships lovingly and distributed their household goods equitably. Paul avoided the terms 'ruler' (archōn) or 'master' (kurios), choosing more familial terms, 'elder' and 'servant,' for leadership in God's household.

If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer - 1 Timothy 3:1

This saying is trustworthy. See note on 1:15. This is the second instance of this reinforcing phrase designed to elicit closer attention from listeners to what immediately follows. He desires a good work. False teachers at Ephesus were bringing reproach on the church and on its leaders, undermining the dignity of this crucial role. As indicated by the same root here (kalos) and in 5:17 (kalōs), Paul underscored that those who desire this role and do it 'well' are worthy of double-honor.

Without reproach - 1 Timothy 3:2

without reproach. This general qualification is listed first because it is most important in the Ephesian context where false teachers have damaged the church's reputation. The seven positive qualities and five negations which follow (3:2-6) elaborate its meaning in detail. These qualities sum up the 'good reputation' that is needed to bear true witness to the gospel before church members and 'outsiders' (3:7). He must. The Greek word (dei) provides the grammatical structure of the entire section of qualifications for testing church leaders in 3:2-12. The subgroups are clearly parallel: 'It is necessary that an overseer' (3:2-7); 'likewise, deacons' (3:8-10); and, 'likewise, women' (3:11) be exemplary. A husband of one wife. 'A one-woman man' translates the Greek more clearly and brings out Paul's emphasis on marital faithfulness, which prohibits polygamy or remarriage after a divorce not based on biblical grounds. The phrase cannot mean that only married men qualify as candidates, as the same sort of strictly literal reading would also demand that only fathers with multiple children can qualify. Hospitable, and able to teach. While most requirements of overseers are character qualities, three key practices are vital to their work—hospitality, teaching, and household management

He Should Manage His Own Household Well- 1 Timothy 3:4

He should manage his own household well. Overseers must welcome people into their lives and homes, that they may disciple them not only by their words but also by their loving deeds as they steward the relationships and material goods of their household

Care for a church of God- 1 Timothy 3:5

Care for a church of God. Good character produces good relations and practices. The purpose of testing and selecting good overseers is to care well for God's household. For candidates who are being tested for the office of elder/overseer, members of their own household are important witnesses to their character.

He must not be a recent convert- 1 Timothy 3:6

He must not be a recent convert. While the word 'elder' (presbeuteros) means older, mature man, the focus here is on spiritual maturity, not chronological age. See note 3:7 and 4:12.

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