The Gift New Testament

A free online Bible study resource

1 Timothy

3:1This saying is trustworthy.

Whoever wants to guard has a lofty aspiration.3:2So it is necessary, then, for the guardian to be blameless, faithful in marriage, sober, sensible, orderly, hospitable, qualified to teach,3:3not a drunkard or a brawler but peaceable, and not greedy.3:4They must also watch over and provide well for their own household, with children who are supportive and dignified,3:5for if they don’t know how to care for their own home, how would they take care of God’s Congregation?3:6And they can’t be a novice, otherwise they might become conceited and come under the False Accuser’s judgment.3:7Further, they must have a good reputation with outsiders so that they don’t fall into disgrace, the trap of the False Accuser.1

3:8Likewise, attendants must be dignified, not be two-faced, not given to excessive drinking, and not be profiteers,23:9holding to the secret of the faith in good conscience.3:10These must first be tested; only after they have been proved to be above reproach can they serve.3:11(The same goes also for the women; they are to be dignified, not false accusers, sober, and trustworthy in everything.)3:12The attendants must be faithful in marriage, watching over their children and households well.3:13Those who serve well earn a high rank and great boldness in the faith of Anointed Jesus.

3:14I am writing these things to you though I expect to come to see you soon.3:15But if I don’t, this will guide you as to how you must conduct yourself in God’s household, which is the Congregation of the living God, the base and pillar of truth.

3:16Surely this devout secret is vast:3 He was revealed in flesh, justified in spirit, examined by Messengers, heralded among the non-Judeans, believed in the world, and taken up in honor.

  1. 1The emphasis is on character, not authority, and on a proven track record; that is, the guardian must already have attained a high level of spiritual maturity and unsoiled reputation before serving in this capacity. And in the Greco/Roman society of the first century, where men were expected to be promiscuous, the requirement for men to be faithful to their wives was especially unusual. This list of qualifications, then, is restrictive on the basis of character and not societal class, ethnicity, gender, or any other factor.
  2. 2The charge for these attendants (whose duties are never clearly defined in scripture) not to be profiteers is significant if they were benefactors for the community of believers. As with guardians, the emphasis is on character, not authority. Also, both men and women are addressed and have identical requirements; women are neither excluded nor given a pass.
  3. 3This “secret” is, of course, revealed in the One being described here. The word is not “mystery,” meaning something that cannot be figured out, but a fact that had been kept hidden. Note that it is followed by what the Spirit is saying “openly.”