Verse 7. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without. Who are without the church; that is, of those who are not Christians. This includes, of course, all classes of those who are not Christians—heathens, infidels, Jews, moral men, and scoffers. The idea is, that he must have a fair reputation with them for integrity of character. His life must be in their view upright must not be addicted to anything which they regard as inconsistent with good morals. His deportment must be such that they shall regard it as not inconsistent with his profession. He must be true, and just, and honest in his dealings with his fellow-men, and so live that they cannot say that he has wronged them. lie must not give occasion for scandal or reproach in his intercourse with the other sex, but must be regarded as a man of a pure life and of a holy walk. The reason for this injunction is too obvious. It is his business to endeavour to do such men good, and to persuade them to become Christians. But no minister of the gospel can possibly do such men good, unless they regard him as an upright and honest man. No matter how he preaches or prays; no matter how orthodox, learned, or apparently devout he may be, all his efforts will be in vain unless they regard him as a man of incorruptible integrity. If they hate religion themselves, they insist justly that since he has professed it, he shall be governed by its principles; or if they feel its importance, they will not be influenced to embrace it by a man that they regard as hypocritical and impure. Go to a man whom you have defrauded, or who regards you as having done or attempted wrong to any other one, and talk to him about the necessity of religion, and he will instinctively say, that he does not want a religion which will not make its professor true, honest, and pure. It is impossible, therefore, for a minister to over-estimate the importance of having a fair character in the view of the world, and no man should be introduced into the ministry, or sustained in it, who has not a fair reputation. See Barnes "Col 4:5"; See Barnes "1 Th 4:12".


Lest he fall into reproach. That is, in such a way as to bring dishonour on the ministerial character. His life will be such as to give men occasion to reproach the cause of religion.

And the snare of the devil. The snare which the devil lays to entrap and ruin the ministers of the gospel and all good men. The snare to which reference is here made, is that of blasting the character and influence of the minister of the gospel. The idea is, that Satan lays this snare so to entangle him as to secure this object, and the means which he uses is the vigilance and suspicion of those who are out of the church. If there is anything of this kind in the life of a minister which they can make use of, they will be ready to do it. Hence the necessity, on his part, of an upright and blameless life. Satan is constantly aiming at this thing; the world is watching for it; and if the minister has any propensity which is not in entire accordance with honesty, Satan will take advantage of it, and lead him into the snare.

{d} "them which are without" Ac 22:12; 1 Th 4:12 {e} "snare or the devil" 1 Ti 6:9; 2 Ti 2:26

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