7. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
7. oportet enim episcopum sine crimine esse sicut Dei dispensatorem non superbum non iracundum non vinolentum non percussorem non turpilucri cupidum
8. But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
8. sed hospitalem benignum sobrium iustum sanctum continentem
9. Molding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
9. amplectentem eum qui secundum doctrinam est fidelem sermonem ut potens sit et exhortari in doctrina sana et eos qui contradicunt arguere
"That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to conduct thyself in the house of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth."
(1 Timothy 3:15.)
This passage plainly shows that there is no distinction between a presbyter and a bishop; for he now calls indiscriminately, by the latter name, those whom he formerly he employs both names in the same sense, without any distinction; as Jerome has remarked, both in his Commentary on this passage, and in his Epistle to Evagrius. And hence we may perceive how much greater deference has been paid to the opinions of men than ought to have been paid to them; for the language of the Holy Spirit, has been set aside, and the custom introduced by the arbitrary will of man has prevailed. For my own part, I do not find fault with the custom which has existed from the very beginning of the Church, that each assembly of bishops shall have one moderator;1 but that the name of office which God has given to all, shall be conveyed to one alone, and that all the rest shall be deprived of it, is both unreason able and absurd. Besides, to pervert the language of the Holy Spirit -- in such a manner that the same words shall have a different meaning from what he intended -- is excessive and profane hardihood.2
I have chosen to translate
But what is meant by according to instruction or doctrine?3 The meaning is, that it is useful for the edification of the Church; for Paul is not wont to give the name of "doctrine" to anything that is learned and known without promoting any advancement of godliness; but, on the contrary, he condemns as vain and unprofitable all the speculations which yield no advantage, however ingenious they may be in other respects. Thus, "He that teacheth, let him do it in doctrine;" that is, let him labor to do good to the hearers. (Romans 12:7.) In short, the first thing required in a pastor is, that he be well instructed in the knowledge of sound doctrine; the second is, that, with unwavering firmness of courage, he hold by the confession of it to the last; and the third is, that he make his manner of teaching tend to edification, and do not, through motives of ambition, fly about through the subtleties of frivolous curiosity, but seek only the solid advantage of the Church.
This is remarkable applause bestowed on the word of God, when it is pronounced to be sufficient, not only for governing the teachable, but for subduing the obstinacy of enemies. And, indeed, the power of truth revealed by the Lord is such that it easily vanquishes all falsehoods. Let the Popish bishops now go and boast of being the successors of the apostles, seeing that the greater part of them are so ignorant of all doctrine, as to reckon ignorance to be no small part of their dignity.
1 "Un gouverneur ou superintendaet." "A governor or superintendent."
2 "Those whom he formerly called presbyters he now calls bishops, (which means overseers or superintendents,) and he gives this name to all whose duty it is to preach the word of God. And so it was a corruption and abuse in Popery-that is, in the ancient Church-that one individual was called bishop; for that was to change the language of the Holy Spirit, and we ought to speak in accordance with the Scripture. Now we see that Satan labors incessantly to draw us aside from the simplicity of the word of God."-Fr. Ser.
3 "Selon instruction ou doctrine."