Setting the Example
I Timothy 3:1-13
June 16, 2019
In ch. 2, Paul provided instruction to men and women in the church regarding
what they should do and how they should live.
Here in ch. 3, Paul addresses the need for qualified individuals to serve as
pastors (elders, bishops, overseers) and deacons.
vs. 1-7, parallel Titus 1:6-9
The Clergy (vs. 1-16)
It was one of the weightiest duties laid upon Timothy, when called to be
spiritual ruler of the
and deacons were men well qualified for their holy office. The condition of
a congregation depends so largely upon the spiritual character of those
who minister to it, that the choice of fit persons to serve in the sacred
ministry of God’s Church is a matter of vital importance to the welfare of
the people, and demands the utmost wisdom and fidelity of those who have
the chief oversight of the house of God. Accordingly Paul lays down
with great care the qualifications of priests and deacons respectively. For
the priest an irreproachable character amongst those outside as well as
those inside the Church, in order to ensure respect exhibits:
· a life of chastity, that his example may give no countenance to a
· strict temperance in the use of meat and drink, both for his own sake
and as an example to others;
· a respectable, sober mind and demeanor, as becomes one who lives near
to God, and handles holy things;
· a large hospitality, as one who counts all he has to belong to the Church,
whose servant he is;
· aptitude to teach the doctrines of the gospel, and a delight in teaching;
· a placable, gentle disposition, abhorring brawls and quarrels, and studying
peace with all men;
· the absence of all greediness and covetousness, as one whose
conversation is in heaven, and, all his dealings with men;
these are the things needful for one who is a priest in the
besides these strictly personal qualifications he must have a well-ordered house.
His family must bear the traces of a gentle but firm parental discipline. He that is a
ruler in the house of God must show that he can rule his own children and servants;
and a portion of the gravity and sobriety of the man of God must be seen in the
members of his household. With regard to deacons, they too must be grave
in their demeanor and conversation; in all their private relationships with the
members of the Church where they serve, they must be conspicuously
honest and ingenuous. In all social intercourse they must show themselves
temperate and abstemious. In handling the public money, and ministering
the alms of the faithful, they must make it clear that none sticks to their
own fingers, and that they have no eye to gain in the ministrations they
undertake. The spirit of their ministrations must be “all for love and
nothing for reward.” Nor must they be only honest men; they must be
devout believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, thoroughly instructed in the
mystery of the Christian faith, and adorning that faith by their personal
holiness. As regards their families, the same rule applies to them as to the
priests. Like the priests, they hold office in the
minister in that temple where God’s pure truth is fixed and established for
ever; they are the expounders, with the priests, of the great mystery of
godliness, the incarnate Word, the preached Jesus, the glorified Christ.
What, then, ought their character to be; how high above things earthly,
how closely assimilated to the glorious holiness of heaven!
v. 2 - "blameless" - without reproach - leave no part of the body
exposed to the adversary!
"the husband of one wife" - attitude of that time in Roman
culture - common for a man to have more than one living
wife - a distinct breach of God's original law - Gen. 2:24
Watchful, sober, sane, decorous, hospitable (gr. lover of strangers)
“apt to teach” – II Timothy 2:24-26
v. 3 - three negative qualities - three positive qualities
“not given to wine”
“no striker” - brawler – literally tarrying at wine – the effects of
wine bibbing (drinking)
v. 4 – in control of his house/home/family.
v. 6 - "Not a novice" - one recently converted & received
into the church - lest he be puffed up and fall into
the condemnation of the devil - lightness, emptiness,
(condemnation into which the devil fell through pride)
v. 7 - "good testimony" - importance of character in the
“reproach” - defamation
v. 8 and v. 3 - "filthy lucre" - Baalam, Gehazi, Judas Iscariot,
Achan - scripture examples,
When lucre (gain) is the price for doing wrong, it is filthy
When lucre is sought on occasions when none is due,
it is filthy (greedy! When the desire of just gains are excessive,
it ceases to be clean!
v. 9 - "a pure conscience" - great stress laid on this
v. 10 - "blameless" - importance of a holy and
blameless conversation even in deacons.
v. 15 - "that thou mayest know how thou ought to
behave thyself in the house of God, which is
the church of the Living God"
There must be reverence - reverence is the root of
all religion. Flippancy of manner, indevoutness of
heart, will ruin the best service.
"ye shall keep my sabbaths and reverence my
sanctuary: I am the Lord" - Lev. 19:30
v. 16 - Christ the mystery - "Christ in you - in Christ"
Ephesians 3:1-12 Colossians 1:27
The question is: Is this meant only for spiritual leaders?
Does these words not apply to you and me as laymen?
Blameless: absence of a charge or accusation against a person.
Is your life one that even if you were accused of something bad,
no one would believe it. Have you ever known anyone like that?
Husband of one wife?
Vigilant: watchful; read Mark 13:32-37
Sober: sound mind (from two Greek words - to save; the mind ), sane,
Good Behavior: manner of life (current nomenclature: life style)
decorum, conduct (in the old days on report cards
there were grades on this and they were important
to parents and to the child if the grade was bad!)
This definitely has a role in the interpretation
of current society.
Hospitality: (gr. lover of strangers) Entertain – to receive as a guest
Apt to teach: II Timothy 2:24-26)
“not given to wine” - “Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who
hath contentions? who hath babbling?
who hath wounds without cause? Who
hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long
at the wine. (Read Proverbs 23:30-35; see
Isaiah 5:11, 22-25)
“no striker” - one who smites; ( in the common vernacular - wife beater;
“no ....brawler” – literally tarrying at wine – the effects of
wine bibbing (drinking)
“patient” - means gentle, equitable, fair, moderate, forbearing.
“not covetous:” – free from the love of money
“One that ruleth his own house well” – rule: to stand before, to lead,
attend to with care and diligence.
“having his children in subjection” – subjection: to rank under; be under
obedience - “Honor thy father and
thy mother.” In a day with the
onslaught of the home, this is a
very hard one, i. e. Satan being
loosed (Revelation 20) and in the
last times, children being “disobedient
to their parents.” (II Timothy 3:2)
“faithful children” –
“not accused of riot” – riot: wastefulness, prodigal; profligate (reckless, wasteful
“or unruly” - unruly: not subject to rule; disobedient.
“not self-willed” – Self pleasing; One dominated by self-interest and
inconsiderate of others, and arrogantly asserts his own way.
“not soon angry”
“just” – right in the fulfillment of duties towards God and men and in
accordance with things that are right.
“holy” – Religiously right, holy, as opposed to what is unrighteous or polluted.
Commonly associated with righteousness.
“temperate” - Self-control. “He that ruleth his spirit is better than he
that taketh a city.”
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