Overseers and Deacons
3 This is a faithful and trustworthy saying: if any man [eagerly] seeks the office of [a]overseer (bishop, superintendent), he desires an excellent task. 2 Now an overseer must be blameless and beyond reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not addicted to wine, not [b]a bully nor quick-tempered and hot-headed, but gentle and considerate, free from the love of money [not greedy for wealth and its inherent power—financially ethical]. 4 He must manage his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity [keeping them respectful and well-behaved] 5 (for if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?). 6 and He must not be a new convert, so that he will not [behave stupidly and] become conceited [by appointment to this high office] and fall into the [same] condemnation incurred by the devil [for his arrogance and pride].(A) 7 And he must have a good reputation and be well thought of by those outside the church, so that he will not be discredited and fall into the devil’s trap.
8 [c]Deacons likewise must be men worthy of respect [honorable, financially ethical, of good character], not double-tongued [speakers of half-truths], not addicted to wine, not greedy for dishonest gain, 9 but upholding and fully understanding the mystery [that is, the true doctrine] of the [Christian] faith with a clear conscience [resulting from behavior consistent with spiritual maturity]. 10 These men must first be tested; then if they are found to be blameless and beyond reproach [in their Christian lives], let them serve as deacons. 11 [d]Women must likewise be worthy of respect, not malicious gossips, but self-controlled, [thoroughly] trustworthy in all things. 12 Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households. 13 For those who have served well as deacons gain a high standing [having a good reputation among the congregation], and great confidence in the faith which is [founded on and centered] in Christ Jesus.
14 I hope to come to you before long, but I am writing these instructions to you 15 in case I am delayed, so that you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. 16 And great, we confess, is the mystery [the hidden truth] of godliness:
He (Jesus Christ) who was revealed in human flesh,
Was justified and vindicated in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the nations,
Believed on in the world,
Taken up in glory.
- 1 Timothy 3:1 Or bishop.
- 1 Timothy 3:3 I.e. like a bully.
- 1 Timothy 3:8 Though the Greek word for “deacon” does not occur in Acts (only Paul uses it), it is generally thought that the origin of the office or ministry is found in Acts 6:1-6, where Luke reports that seven men were appointed to assist the church leaders in serving and ministering to members of the congregation.
- 1 Timothy 3:11 In Greek, the same word is used for both woman and wife. This verse may refer specifically to either deacons’ wives or deaconesses, rather than the congregation in general.