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Qualifications of Bishops


The saying is sure: whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task. 2Now a bishop must be above reproach, married only once, temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an apt teacher, 3not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, and not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way— 5for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church? 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may be puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil.

Qualifications of Deacons

8 Deacons likewise must be serious, not double-tongued, not indulging in much wine, not greedy for money; 9they must hold fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10And let them first be tested; then, if they prove themselves blameless, let them serve as deacons. 11Women likewise must be serious, not slanderers, but temperate, faithful in all things. 12Let deacons be married only once, and let them manage their children and their households well; 13for those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

The Mystery of Our Religion

14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that, 15if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth. 16Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great:

He was revealed in flesh,

vindicated in spirit,

seen by angels,

proclaimed among Gentiles,

believed in throughout the world,

taken up in glory.


3 Not addicted to wine. By the word πάροινον, 5656     “Some expositors, ancient and modern, take this to be equivalent to ὑβριστὴν or αὐθάδη; which is, indeed, much countenanced by three vices in this clause, standing opposed to the three virtues in the next. But considering that we have at 1 Timothy 3:8 the expression μή οἴνῳ προσέχοντας used of the deacons, here at least the physical sense must be included; and, according to every principle of correct exegesis, it must stand first. In the word πάροινος, the παρὰ means beyond, denoting excess. So the expression in Habakkuk 2:5, ‘he transgresseth by wine.” — Bloomfield. which is here used, the Greeks denote not merely drunkenness, but any intemperance in guzzling wine. And, indeed, to drink wine excessively is not only very unbecoming in a pastor, but commonly draws along with it many things still worse; such as quarrels, foolish attitudes, unchaste conduct, and other things which it is not necessary to describe. But the contrast which is added shortly afterwards, shews that Paul goes farther than this.

Not a striker, not wickedly desirous of gain 5757     “Ne convoiteux de gain deshonneste.” — “Not covetous of dishonourable gain.” As he contrasts with “a striker” one who is not quarrelsome, and with him who is covetous of dishonest gain (ἀφιλάργυρον) one who is not covetous, so with τῷ παροίνῳ, him who is addicted to wine, he contrasts one who is gentle or kind. The true interpretation is that which is given by Chrysostom, that men of a drunken and fierce disposition ought to be excluded from the office of a bishop. As to the opinion given by Chrysostom, that “a striker” means one who wounds with the tongue, (that is, who is guilty of slander or of outrageous reproaches,) I do not admit it. Nor am I moved by his argument, that it will be no great matter, if the bishop do not strike with the hand; for I think that here he reproves generally that fierceness which is often found in the military profession, and which is utterly unbecoming in the servants of Christ. It is well known to what ridicule they expose themselves, who are more ready to strike a blow with the fist, and — we might even say — to draw the sword, than to settle the disputes of others by their own sedate behavior. Strikers is therefore the term which he applies to those who deal much in threatenings, and are of a warlike temperament.

All covetous persons are wickedly desirous of gain; for, wherever covetousness is, there will also be that baseness of which the apostle speaks. “He who wishes to become rich wishes also to become rich soon.” 5858     “Dives fieri qui vult, Et cito vult fieri.” — Juvenal. The consequence is, that all covetous persons, even though this is not openly manifest, apply their minds to dishonest and unlawful gains. Accordingly, he contrasts with this vice the contempt of money; as there is no other remedy by which it can be corrected. He who will not patiently and mildly endure poverty will never escape the disease of mean and sordid covetousness.

Mild and not quarrelsome He contrasts with “the striker” the man who is “not quarrelsome.” Mild — which, we have said, is contrasted with being “addicted to wine” — is the term applied to him who knows how to bear injuries with a gentle and moderate disposition, who forgives much, who passes by insults, who neither makes himself be dreaded through harsh severity, nor exacts with full rigor. Not quarrelsome, one who avoids disputes and quarrels; for, as he elsewhere writes,

“the servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome.”
(2 Timothy 2:24.)

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