1 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.
Next Paul gives very specific teaching to Timothy to remind him what is involved in looking after Gods people. He says, If is a faithful saying that if a man wants to be recognised as an overseer, then he is wanting to do a very great work. Paul lists the various types of qualifications for the overseer. There must be no public questions about his character. He is to be married in a way that is honourable. He is to be aware of the affairs of the world and the church. He is to be a man of level headed thinking. He is to be a man of careful godliness. He is to be a man who always gives aid to the lonely and needy taking them into his home. He is able to teach the word of God effectively. He is not a man who is addicted to alcohol. He is not a brawler. He is not greedy for filthy gold. But he is forbearing. He is not argumentative. Nor money-loving. He manages his own household well having his children under proper control. (After-all if a man cannot manage his own house then how will be manage the church of God?) He is not a new christian, so that he will not become full of pride and fall into a trap set by the Devil. And more than this, says Paul, he must have a good testimony to those outside the church. Because if he doesn’t unbelievers will despise him and he will be trapped in a snare of the Devil. Next Paul turns his attention to the deacons – servants who work on behalf of the church. (These men serve the church in a non-teaching role) First a deacon must be a serious person, he is not be a person who says one thing to one person but another thing to another person. He is to be free of Alcoholic abuse, not greedy for money and possessions but understanding and possessing a clear understanding of the truth of the Apostles doctrine (both in theory and practical christian living) with a clear conscience. And he who wishes this office must be tested first over a period of time and be found to be blameless. And the deacon’s wife is to be of the same godly christian character. The man is to have one wife and he must run his own home well. Those that perform well in this office will have earned a good reward and they will be confident at the judgement seat of Christ. I am hoping to see you soon Timothy but because it might be a long while before l see you, l thought l might write this letter so that you will know how to behave yourself in the church of God. The church comes from the living God. It is the pillar and the ground of truth. The place of devotion and the place where the foundation is found which is the Apostles doctrine. There is no dispute that the Apostles doctrine is ‘The mystery of Godliness’. Which is that - God was manifested in flesh. He (Christ) was declared to be righteous by the Spirit, He revealed himself to angels, He was preached among the nations, He was believed on in the world and He was received up into glory.