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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL TO TIMOTHY - Chapter 3 - Verse 11

Verse 11. Even so must their wives be grave. Chrysostom, Theophylact, Grotius, Bloomfield, and many others, suppose that by the word wives, here, gunaikav, the apostle means deaconesses. Clarke supposes that it refers to women in general. The reason assigned for supposing that it does not refer to the wives of deacons, as such, is, that nothing is said of the qualifications of the wives of bishops —a matter of as much importance as that of the character of the wife of a deacon; and that it cannot be supposed that the apostle would specify the one, without some allusion to the other. But that the common interpretation, which makes it refer to the wives of deacons, as such, is to be adhered to, seems to me to be clear. For,

(1,) it is the obvious and natural interpretation.

(2.) The word here used—wives—is never used of itself to denote deaconesses.

(3.) If the apostle had meant deaconesses, it would have been easy to express it without ambiguity. Comp. See Barnes "Ro 16:1".

 

(4.) What is here mentioned is important, whether the same thing is mentioned of bishops or not.

(5.) In the qualifications of bishops, the apostle had made a statement respecting his family, which made any specification about the particular members of the family unnecessary. He was to be one who presided in a proper manner over his own house, or who had a well-regulated family, 1 Ti 3:4,5. By a comparison of this passage, also, with Tit 2:3,4, which bears a strong resemblance to this, it would seem that it was supposed that the deacons would be taken from those who were advanced in life, and that their wives would have some superintendence over the younger females of the church. It was, therefore, especially important that they should be persons whose influence would be known to be decidedly favourable to piety. No one can doubt that the character of a woman may be such, that it is not desirable that her husband should be an officer in the church. A bad woman ought not to be intrusted with any additional power or influence.

Grave. See Barnes "1 Ti 3:4".

 

Not slanderers. Comp. Tit 2:3, "Not false accusers." The Greek word is diabolouvdevils. It is used here in its original and proper sense, to denote a calumniator, slanderer, or accuser. It occurs in the same sense in 2 Ti 3:3; Tit 2:3. Elsewhere in the New Testament, it is uniformly rendered devil, See Barnes "Mt 4:1"; and is given to Satan, the prince of the fallen angels, (Mt 9:34,) by way of eminence, as the accuser. Comp. See Barnes "Job 1:6, and following; See Barnes "Re 12:10".

Here it means that they should not be women who were in the habit of calumniating others, or aspersing their character. Mingling as they would with the church, and having an opportunity to claim acquaintance with many, it would be in their power, if they chose, to do great injury to the character Of others.

Sober. See Barnes "1 Ti 3:2".

 

Faithful in all things. To their husbands, to their families, to the church, to the Saviour.

{e} "wives be grave" Tit 2:3

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