1 Timothy Chapter 3 provides a description by Paul to Timothy as to the necessary qualifications of gospel bishops and their required behavior. The requirements are preceded by the belief that this position is an honorable one and desirable.
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It goes on to cover these same areas as they pertain to deacons and their wives. The last part of the chapter explains the reasons for writing about these subjects and discusses other church affairs too.
Qualifications for an Elder
The prerequisite qualities of being an elder in the church include being a man of high character and possessing a strong belief in Christian virtues. The man must have shown a propensity to be the leader of his own household before ruling within the church of God.
The position is described as one that is best served by an older man, versus a younger one who may be a victim to youthful temptations. He must relate well to non-Christians because part of his responsibilities will be to bring them into the flock. His integrity must be unquestioned.
Qualifications for a Deacon
As for the deacons, 1 Timothy Chapter 3 states that these men should be candid, temperate and serious, while holding to the gospel doctrines. It must be proved through their past actions that they are worthy of working in the church. These men shall not be polygamists and their wives must also be of pure virtues.
Paul Instructs Timothy Further
Toward the end of the chapter Paul relays that this information was important for Timothy to know before occupying this important office. It was crucial that Timothy be well aware of the duties of the position from the start. Subsequently, Paul hoped to return and complete the work which he had begun at Ephesus.
Importance of a Church Office
First Timothy Chapter 3 concludes with a statement that the church is the great defender of truth on earth. The magnitude of a position within the cathedral cannot be minimized as it directly relates to the incarnation of the Son of God and his accomplishments in the world.
1 Timothy 3 (King James Version)
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.