I Timothy 3


1 “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he

desireth a good work.”   Desire.  (ojre>getai oregetaiseeks;

craves; ); literally, stretches out his hands after. It is peculiar in

the New Testament to the pastoral Epistles and the Epistle to the Hebrews,

though common in classical Greek (see ch.6:10; Hebrews 11:16). The noun

o]rexiv opexis - appetite, desire (which is found several times in

the Septuagint), is used once by Paul (Romans 1:27). The office of a

bishop; meaning here, as everywhere else in Scripture, that of a presbyter,

or priest. jEpiskoph> - episkopae - in the sense of “the episcopate,” occurs

only here and Acts 1:20, where it is rendered “bishopric” in the Authorized

Version and “overseer-ship” in the margin of the Revised Version, being the

translation in the Septuagint of Psalm 108. (109., Authorized Version) of the

Hebrew wOtd;qup], “his office.” Elsewhere (Luke 19:44; I Peter. 2:12; 5:6) it means

“visitation.” But ejpi>skopov episkopos -  bishop (v. 2) — except in I Peter. 2:25,

where it is applied to Christ — always means the overseer of the particular flock, —

the presbyter (Acts 20:28; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:7); and ejpiskopei~n - episkopein

the functions of such ejpi>skopov (I Peter 5:2 compared with 1). It was not till the

sub-apostolic age that the name of ejpi>sjopov was confined to the chief overseer

who had “priests and deacons” under him, as Timothy and Titus had. Possibly

this application of the word arose from the visits of the apostles, and afterwards of

men sent by the apostles, as Timothy and Titus, Tychicus and Artemas, were,

to visit the Churches, being occasional and temporary only, as those of Visitors.

For such occasional visitation is implied in the verb ejpiske>ptesqai

episkeptesthaivisited - (Matthew 25:36, 43; Luke 1:68, 78; Acts 7:23; 15:36;

James 1:27). Afterwards, when the wants of the Churches required permanent

oversight, the name ejpi>skopov - became universal for the chief overseer

of the Church. A good work (kalou~ e]rgou kalou ergougood work –

 Kalou> means honourable,” “becoming,” “beneficial,” and the like.


2 “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant,

sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach;”

Blameless (ajnepi>lhptov anethilaeptos – blameless; without reproach);

only here and ch.5:7 and 6:14 in the New Testament; not found anywhere in the

Septuagint, but used by Thucydides, Euripides, and others, in the sense of “not

open to attack.” The metaphor is said (though denied by others)to be from

wrestling or boxing, when a man leaves no part of his body exposed to the attack

of his adversary. The husband of one wife (compare Titus 1:6). Three senses are

possible.  The passage may be understood


  • as requiring a bishop, (or presbyter) to have a wife, and so some took

it even in Chrysostom’s time (though he does not so understand it), and so

the Russian Church understands it;

  • as prohibiting his having more than one with at a time;
  • as prohibiting second marriages for priests and bishops.


Vigilant.   (nhfa>lion naephaliontemperate; sober); peculiar to the pastoral

Epistles (see v. 11 and Titus 2:2), but found in classical Greek. The verb nh>fein -

naephein - means “to be sober” (I Thessalonians 5:6; II Timothy 4:5; I Peter. 1:13;

4:7; 5:8). It denotes that temperate use of meat and drink which keeps the mind

watchful and on the alert, and then the state of mind itself so produced.

The opposite state of mind is described in Luke 21:34.  Sober.  (sw>frona

sophrona - sober-minded; sane; of a sound mind); in the New Testament only

here and in Titus 1:8; 2:2, 5. But swfrone>w sophroneo be of sound mind –

is found in the Gospels and Epistles;  swfroni>zw  –– sophronizoto make

of sound mind; teach -  swfronismo>v – sophronismos – discipline; self-

control; sound mind -  swfro>nwv sophronossoberly; moderately –

 in the pastoral Epistles; and swfrosu>nh - sophrosunaesoberness;

sobriety -   in ch.2:15 (where see note). Of good behavior.  (ko>smion

 kosmionorderly; decorus; of good behavior -  see ch.2:9, note). Given to

hospitality (filo>xenon - philaxenon hospitiableas Titus 1:8 and

I Peter 4:9). The substantive filoxeni>a philoxenia – given to hospitality –

is found in Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:2. Apt to teach (didaktiko>n  didaktikon

apt to teach) ; only here and II Timothy 2:24.   The classical word is didaskaliko>v –

didaskalikosdoctor; master; teacher - though chiefly applied to things. In the

above-quoted passage in I Peter 4:7,  the gifts of speaking and ministering

are, as here, placed alongside that of hospitality.



The Positive Qualifications of the Christian Pastor (v. 2)


The apostle first sets forth those qualifications which respect the personal

life of the pastor, and afterwards those which affect his family life. His

personal qualifications are those of a spiritual and moral order presented



  • HE OUGHT TO BE BLAMELESS. It may be hard for a faithful man

to avoid the censure of a critical society, but he must be irreproachable as

being guilty of no scandal, and, above all, free from the vices enumerated

under the negative aspect of his qualifications. He must be held in high

moral repute by the community around him.




Ø      This condemns the rule of celibacy in the Church of Rome. It is

quite absurd to say that the “one wife’ is the Church; for the

context regards the minister as having relation both to a Church

and to a wife (v. 5). Besides, this Roman idea would make the

Church the wife of many husbands.  Where the apostle, in the

seventh chapter of I Corinthians, seems to favor a celibate

condition “on account of the present distress” (I Corinthians

7:26), it is not on account of any superior holiness belonging

to the unmarried state, but because it sometimes affords a better opportunity for pursuing Christian work under trying conditions.


Ø      It does not necessarily compel pastors to marry, like the Greek

Church, which yet inconsistently reserves its bishoprics for

unmarried monks. But it clearly gives the preference to a married



Ø      It does not mean that a pastor is to avoid a second marriage

as the Greek Fathers generally understood it under the growing

influence of Eastern asceticism — because a remarrying does

not make a pastor more than the husband of one wife.


Ø      It seems, then, to mean that the pastor was to be “the husband

of one wife,” avoiding the polygamy that was then so common

among the Jews, and the system of divorce still so common in

that age, and remaining faithful to the wife of his choice.


  • SOBER. He must be not only so in eating and drinking, but watchful

over himself, his work, and his actions.


  • DISCREET. With a sound judgment and good understanding, capable

of directing himself wisely in the midst of difficult situations.


  • ORDERLY. With a due proportion in his life, modest in deportment,

courteous to all, of a calm temper and grave demeanor.


  • GIVEN TO HOSPITALITY. In an age when Christians traveled from

place to place, and were exposed to the risks of evil companionship in

public inns, it was important that pastors should be able to show

hospitality, and assist with their counsel as well as with the necessaries

of life.


  • APT TO TEACH. The pastor must have the capacity to impart

Christian knowledge, the ability to interpret Scripture, to explain its

doctrines, to enforce its precepts, and to defend it against errorists of

every class. He must possess the gifts of utterance and knowledge.

He must have both “skill and will, ability and dexterity, being

neither ignorant of his duty nor negligent in the performance of it.”


3 “Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient,

not a brawler, not covetous;”  Not given to wine - (mh< pa>roinon - mae paroinon

not given to wine; no brawler ); only here and Titus 1:7; but, as well as paroi>niov

paroinios -  common in classical Greek, in the sense of “quarrelsome over wine.” In

Matthew 11:19 and Luke 7:34 “wine-bibber” is oijnopo>thv oinopotaes.   In

I Peter 4:3 the word for “excess of wine” is oijnoflugi>aoinophlugia

drunkenness. No striker.  (mh< tlh>kthn mae tlaektaen) - only here and Titus 1:7.

It is used, though rarely, in classical Greek for a “striker,” “brawler.” There is but

weak manuscript authority for the reading in the Textus Receptus., mh<

aijscrokerdh~ -  mae aischrokerdae -  not given to filthy lucre, which is

thought to have been derived from Titus 1:7 (q.v.). The internal evidence, however,

is in its favor, as something is wanted to correspond to ajfila>rguron -  aphilarguron

not covetous -  just as pa>roinon – given to wine-  and plh>kthn–-  striker

correspond to ejpieikh~ - epieikaepatient  and a]macon - amachon  - brawler –

respectively.  Patient (ejpieikh~); as Titus 3:2. So also it is rendered in the Authorized

Version of James 3:17; I Peter 2:18. It is very common in classical Greek, in the sense

of “fair,” meet,” “suitable,” of things; and of “fair,” “kind,” “gentle,” of persons.

The substantive ejpieikei>a - epieikeiapatient means “clemency,”gentleness,”

(Acts 24:4; II Corinthians 10:1). Not a brawler - (a]macon amachon - contentious);

only here and Titus 3:3 in the New Testament.  Its more common meaning in classical

Greek is “invincible.”  Not covetous -  (ajfila>rguron  - aphilarguronno lover of

money); only here and Hebrews 13:5.  Afilarguri>a aphilarguria – not covetous –

 occurs in Hippocrates. The positive fila>rgurov philarguros – money loving;

filarguri>a, philarguria – love of money - occurs in ch.6:10; II Timothy 3:2;

Luke 16:14. Neither the Authorized nor Revised Versions quite preserve the form of

the original sentence, where the three negative qualities (mh< pa>roinon mh<

plh>kthn mh< aijscrokerdh~, - Not given to wine, no striker, not given to

filthy lucre.) are followed by three positive qualities (ejpioikh~ a]macon

ajfila>rguron — “gentle,” “peaceful,” and “indifferent about money”).



The Negative Qualifications of the Christian Pastor (v. 3)


  • NOT VIOLENT OVER WINE. In allusion not so much to drunkenness

as to the noisy and quarrelsome temper which is generated by wine

bibbing. The word impliedly condemns both cause and effect.


  • NO STRIKER. In evident allusion to the previous temper. The pastor

must never lift his hand in anger or violence.


  • FORBEARING. Reasonable and gentle, rather disposed to take

wrong than avenge it.


  • NOT CONTENTIOUS. Neither litigious nor quarrelsome, seeking

peace with all men.


  • NO LOVER OF MONEY. He must appear to be perfectly

disinterested, not mercenary in his aims, not seeking his own things

rather than the things of Jesus Christ; but, on the contrary, he must

himself be generous and hospitable and kind, with a heart and a

hand ever ready to relieve distress.


4 “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with

all gravity;” One that ruleth well his own house. The ejpi>skopov - episkotos -

is one who has to preside over and rule (proi>stamenon proistastamenon

one ruling; presiding ) the house of God (ch.5:17; Romans 12:8; I Thessalonians 5:12),

as the high priest was called “ruler of the house of God” (I Chronicles 9:11;

Nehemiah 11:11). So in Justin Martyr the bishop is called oJ proestw~v tw~n ajdelfw~n

– ho proestos ton adelphon (‘Apology,’ 11) and simply oJ proestw~v, and similarly in

Hebrews 13:7 the clergy are oiJ hJgou>menoi uJmw~n – hoi haegoumenoi humon

they which have the rule over you.” How needful, then, is it that he should rule

well his own house, and have his own children in subjection! The testimony given

in this passage to a married clergy is too clear to need any comment. In subjection

(ejn uJpotagh~|  - en hupotagae); as above, ch.2:11, where see note.

For the sense, compare Titus 1:6, which leads us to apply the words,

with all gravity (semno>thtov semnotaetos), the contrary to “riot,”

ajswti>a asotia), to the children. The children of the ejpi>skopov are to exhibit

that seriousness and sobriety of conduct which is in accordance with their

father’s office, meta> - meta - together with, as in ch.1:14.


5  (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care

of the church of God?) 



The Christian Pastor in His Home Life (vs. 4-5)


The apostle here turns to the family life of the pastor as an important

element affecting the public examination of his character.



“One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection

with all gravity.”


Ø      The pastor is no ascetic recluse, but shares in the everyday life

 of the world.  Jesus prayed “I pray not that thou shouldest

take them out of the world, but that thou shuldest keep

them from the evil.”  (John 17:15)


Ø      He must have firmness and authority to rule his family

wife, children, and servants; not slack in his rule like old Eli

(I Samuel 3:12-14), but faithful as Abraham, who not only

taught but commanded his children and household to keep

the way of the Lord.  (Genesis 18:19)


Ø      He is to rule gently yet firmly, so as, while securing

subjection in his household, he creates that gravity of

deportment which is the accompanying grace of obedience

in children reared under wise and loving mastery.



FOR THE RULE OF THE HOUSE OF GOD. “For if a man know not

how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the Church of God?”


Ø      The argument is from the less to the greater. The family is the lesser

sphere, the Church the larger family. The family needs much prudence,

care, forethought, affection. But while it is the narrowest sphere, it is

governed with peculiar advantages, arising from the feelings of love

and dependence on the part of the children. If there is failure here,

there is a self-evident unfitness for the wider and more complex administration of the Church.  (It is much easier to lead your

children into Sodom than out of it) 


Ø      The Church of God is to be a subject of anxious care to the pastor.

The Greek word epimelaesetai - epimelaesetaihe shall be

Caring for - implies this thought. The apostle himself had the

care of all the Churches upon him. But the pastor has a care for the individual members of his flock:


o       to seek the conversion of sinners,

o       to instruct the ignorant,

o       to guide the perplexed,

o       to comfort the doubting,

o       to check the wayward, and

to defend the flock against errorists.


“Who is sufficient for these things?” (II Corinthians 2:16)


6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall  into the condemnation

of the devil.” A novice (neo>futon - neophuton); only here in the New Testament,

but found repeatedly in the Septuagint in its literal sense of “a tree” or “plantation”

newly planted (Psalm 127:3 (128:3, A.V.); 144:12; Isaiah 5:7). Here the novice or neophyte is one recently converted and received into the Church (compare

I Corinthians 3:6; Isaiah 61:3). As such he is not yet fit to be a ruler and a

teacher of the brethren. The reason follows. Lest being lifted up with pride

he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Tufwqeiv Tuphotheis  -

 puffed up, is peculiar in the New Testament to the pastoral Epistles  (ch.6:4;

II Timothy 3:4), from tufo>v tuphos - smoke (compare li>non tufo>menon

linon tuphomenon - “smoking flax,” Matthew 12:10). The idea seems to be

“lightness,” “emptiness,” and “elation.” Some add that of “obscuration” as by smoke;

tufo>w tuphoo -  to wrap in smoke; tetu>fwmai  - tetuphomai  - to be wrapped

in clouds of conceit and folly. The condemnation of the devil. A somewhat

obscure phrase. It means either:


·        the same condemnation as that into which the devil fell through pride,


·        the condemnation or accusation of the devil. In the latter case kri~ma

krima - sentence; verdict; condemnation - would be used in the same

sense as kri>siv krisis – judgment; accusation; condemnation –

in Jude 1:9, and would mean the charge preferred against him by

“the accuser of the brethren” (compare Job 1:9; 2:4-5). One of the

senses of kri>nw krino – condemn -  is “to accuse” — like kathgorei~n

kataegorein – speak against; accuse.  And this view agrees with

ojneidismo<n kai <pagi>da tou~ diabo>lou oneidismon kai pagida tou

 diabolou – reproach and snare of the devil in v. 7, which means, not the

trap into which the devil fell, but the trap laid by the devil. It remains

doubtful which is the true sense, but this last paragraph seems, on the whole,

the most probable. The devil (tou~ diabo>lou) can only mean Satan

(Matthew 4:1; 13:39), though possibly conceived of as speaking by the

mouth of traducers and vilifiers of the Church, as in v. 7.



The Pastor Must not be a Novice (v. 6)



Apostle does not refer to youth, but to inexperience. Yet the qualification

must be regarded relatively; for a longer or a shorter probation might be

required, according to circumstances. The Church at Ephesus had been

long enough established to admit of a selection being made out of men of Christian experience and wisdom. It is significant to remark that no

definite age is assigned for candidates for the ministry. In a Church like

that of Ephesus, threatened with heresy within and violence without, it

was necessary that the elders should be men with a rare understanding

of the mysteries of the faith, and with a large fund of sanctified experience.



“Lest, being lifted up with pride, he should fall into the condemnation of

the devil.”


Ø      The risk of the novice is an undue self-elation, arising from the

thought of the dignity of his office and of the estimation in which

he is held on account of his gifts. His judgment would thus

become clouded, and he would fail to see the true relation of things.


Ø      The consequence would be his falling under the very

condemnation pronounced upon the devil. Thus a blinding pride

would receive its just retribution.


Ø      It is evident that the apostle believed in the existence of a personal

evil spirit, the adversary of God and man. It is equally evident that

he regarded the fall of the devil as due to pride, and that he regarded

him as the tempter of man.


7 “Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without;

lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”  Good report.

 (marturi>an kalh>n - marturian kalaen – good report; good testimony; 

see ch.5:10). So it is said of Timothy himself that ejmarturei~to emartureito

“he was well reported of by the brethren” (Acts 16:2). In accordance with

this rule, letters of testimonial are required of all persons to be ordained, to the

importance of character in a clergyman (compare II Corinthians 6:3). Them that

 are without (tw~n e]xwqen - ton exothenthe ones outside); used in Matthew

23:27; Luke 11:39; I Peter 3:3; Revelation 11:2, etc., of that; which is outside

or external literally, as the outside of the cup, the outer ornament of the body, the

outside of the sepulcher, the outer court of the temple. It is synonymous

with the more common form, e]xw  exo – outward; without.  (For the phrase,

“they that are without” (oiJ e]xw – hoi exo), as applied to those who are not

members of the Church, see Mark 4:11; John 9:34-35; I Corinthians 5:12-13;

Colossians 4:5; I Thessalonians 4:12.) The opposite is e]sw e]swqen eso esothen

within; inward (1 Corinthians 5:12; Matthew 23:25, etc.). So exoteric

and esoteric, of doctrines intended respectively for the outside world or the

inner circle of disciples. (For the following paragraph, refer back to v. 6 – CY –

2013).  Reproach (ojneidismo>n  - see v. 6) the reproaches and revilings

cast upon him by unbelievers (Romans 15:3; Hebrews 10:33; 11:26; 13:13).

The verb ojneidi>zein has the same sense (I Timothy 4:10; Matthew 5:11; Mark

15:32; Luke 6:22;  I Peter. 4:14), and so in classical Greek. This reproach is further

described as the snare of the devil (compare ch.6:9; II Timothy 2:26), because it is

through these revilings that the devil seeks to impair the power of his ministry

and frighten him from the exercise of it. The genitive tou~ diabo>lou (the devil)

depends only upon pasi>da  (snare) not upon ojneidismo>n. The kai< does not

indicate that there are two separate things into which he falls, but adds, as a description

of the ojneidismo>v, that it is “a snare of the devil.” The idea in I Peter. 5:8 is

analogous. There it is by afflictions that the devil seeks to devour the disciple

who is weak in faith. Those afflictions might well be described as pagi>da tou

~diabo>lou,” a snare of the devil,” SET FOR WEAK SOULS!



   The Pastor Must Have an Honest Preparation before the World (v. 7)


He must stand well both without and within the Church.



“But he must also have a good testimony from them that are without.”


Ø      It is a mistake to ignore or defy the opinion of the world in

Matters falling fairly within its judgment. What we do

ought not only to be “acceptable to God, but approved of men”

(Romans 14:18). “Let not your good be evil spoken of” (Ibid.

v.16). The world understands the principles of natural justice.

The minister cannot violate these without loss of reputation

and influence.


Ø      A blameless life is calculated to make a deep impression

on the world.  Let your light so shine before men, that they,

seeing your good works, may glorify your Father which is

in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Your holy walk ought to attract

“those that are without” into the happy communion of the



Ø      It is a great evil to blast the reputation if Christian ministers,

 for it undermines their influence for good.



WORLD. “Lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” It

Would be a great risk to introduce into the ministry one who had once

followed a loose life, because those who were familiar with his history

would be ready to suspect the purity of his congregation from the

blemished reputation of its pastor. The effect in the minister might be



Ø      He might be excited to an angry resentment of such

disagreeable attacks.


Ø      He might fall into despair, and thus become reckless,

and ultimately justify  the worst imputations of the world.


Ø      He might cease to reprove transgressors because he had

not the courage to condemn faults which were only too

observable in himself. Thus the devil would set its snares

around him for his undoing. When George III.was asked to

give a bishopric to a clergyman who had made a serious lapse

from virtue, and was told that the clergyman had long ago

repented of it, his appropriate answer was, “I would rather

appoint bishops who had not that particular sin to repent of.”


8 “Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double-tongued, not given

to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;” Grave (semnou>v - Semnous ); in

Philippians 4:8 rendered “honest” in the Authorized Version, and honourable

in the Revised Version, and “venerable” in the margin. None of the words are

satisfactory, but “honest” in the sense of “respectable,” “becoming the dignity

of a man,” comes nearest to the meaning of semno>v.  ]Anhr semno>v Anaer

 semnos is a man who inspires respect by his conduct and deportment. It occurs

again in v. 11 and in Titus 2:2.  Double-tongued (dilo>gouv dilogous); only

here in the New Testament, or indeed anywhere. The verb dilogei~n dilogein

and the noun dilogi>a are found in Xenophon and Diodorus Siculus, but in a

different sense — “to repeat,” “repetition.” Here di>logov dilogia is used

in the sense of di>glwssov diglossos  (Proverbs 11:13 - “a slanderer,”

“a false-tongued man,” who thinks one thing and says another (Reminds me

of the media and many politicians today – CY – 2013), and says different things

to different people. The caution here given is of incalculable importance to

 young curates. They must not allow themselves to be either receptacles or

vehicles of scandal and detraction.  Their speech to rich and poor alike must

be perfectly sincere and ingenuous. Not given to much wine. The effect of the

best sermon may be undone, and more than undone, if the preacher sinks into the

pot-companion of his hearers. He at once ceases to be semno>v, to inspire

respect (compare Titus 2:3 where the additional idea, most true, of the

slavery of drunkards, is introduced). Greedy of filthy lucre

(aijscrokerdei~v aischrokerdeis); only here and in v. 3 and Titus 1:7. The

adverb aijscrokerdw~v aischrokerdos – avariciously; for vile gain -

occurs in I Peter. 5:2, and is one of many points of resemblance between the

pastoral Epistles and I Peter. Balaam, Gehazi, and Judas Iscariot are the

three prominent examples of professed servants of God being lovers of

 filthy lucre. Achan (Joshua 7:21) is another (see ch.6:10). When lucre is

the price for doing wrong, it is “filthy.” When lucre is sought on occasions

where none is due, it is “filthy;” and when the desire of even just gains is



9 “Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.”

 Musth>rion - mustaerion - a mystery, is that which, having been long hidden,

is at length disclosed, either to men generally or to elect disciples. It is derived

from mue>w - mueo - to initiate, of which the passive mue>omai mueomai

 to be instructed or initiated, is found in Philippians 4:12, and is common in

classical Greek, being itself derived from mu>w muo - “to close the lips as

 in pronouncing the syllable mu~ – mu – the Greek letter, whence also

mutus. The idea is of something secret, which might not be spoken of. In the

New Testament we have “the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven”

(Matthew 13:11; Luke 8:10; Mark 4:11); and Paul brings out the full force

of the word when he speaks (Romans 16:25) of “the mystery which was

 kept secret (sesighme>nou sesigaemenou – kept secret; having been

hushed) since the world began... but is now made  known to all nations

 for the obedience of faith” (see too Ephesians 3:3-6; Colossians 2:26-27).

“The faith” is equivalent to “the gospel,” or “the kingdom of heaven,” or

the “godliness” of v. 16 (where see note); and “the mystery of the faith”

might be paraphrased by “the revealed truth of Christianity”. What is added,

“in a pure conscience,” teaches us that orthodoxy without personal holiness

is little worth. Holding “the truth in unrighteousness” is severely condemned

by Paul (Romans 1:18). He says of himself (Acts 23:1), “I have lived in all good

conscience before God until this day” (compare Acts 24:16; II Corinthians 1:12;

ch.1:5, 19). It is much to be observed how Paul, the great teacher of

the doctrine of grace, lays constant stress upon the functions of the

conscience, and the necessity of having a pure conscience.



The Qualifications of Deacons (vs. 8-9)


The apostle next proceeds to direct Timothy respecting the character and

appointment of another class of office-bearers.




Ø      Their origin. We find the first trace of the order about two years

after the Ascension (Acts 6:1-4). It owed its origin to a necessity

that arose from the extension of the Church. Seven deacons were appointed as almoners. They are not so called, but their name is

traceable in the two terms which indicate the sphere of their office, “ministry” (diakoni>a  - diakoniaministry; service; dispensation)

and serving tables (diakonei~n trape>zaiv - diakonein trapezais

serve tables).


Ø      Their sphere of duty. It is expressly distinguished from the

ministry of the Word” and “prayer” (Ibid. v. 4), and was therefore,

as the “serving of tables” signifies, an office for the care of the

poor and strangers who might be connected with the Church. The deaconship was, therefore, a purely secular office.


Ø      Historic notices of deacons. The earliest notices of the order are

apparently in Romans 12:7, “Or ministry (deaconship), let us

 wait on our ministering” (deaconship); in I Corinthians 12:28

 (ajntilh>yeiv - antilaepseis -  helps; supports); and at a later time

in I Peter 4:11, “If any man minister” (diakonei~ - diakonei

minister; serve; dispense). We read in Philippians 1:1 of “the bishops

and deacons,” and in Romans 16:1 of Phoebe as “a deaconess” of the

Church at Cenchrea.




Ø      “Grave.” Of a serious demeanor, befitting the position of

responsibility held by them.


Ø      “Not double-tongued.” Not saying one thing to one person

and another to another, under the pressure, perhaps, of

applications for assistance; or, not promising aid which is

afterwards withheld. Misunderstandings would

necessarily arise from any kind of prevarication.


Ø      “Not addicted to much wine.” The deacons must not be given to

pleasures of the table, which render people unfit for disagreeable

duty, and tempt to the consumption of the wealth committed to

their keeping.


Ø      “Not lovers of base gain.” There might otherwise arise a

Judas among the deacons to embezzle the Church funds.


Ø      “Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.”


o       The mystery is what faith is conversant with — a thing

once secret, but now revealed by Christ’s gospel; called

variously “the mystery of God,” “the mystery of Christ,”

“the mystery of His will,” “the mystery of godliness,” and

“the mystery of the gospel,” which is the great subject of

gospel-preaching. It was the mystery of redemption



o       The mystery of faith was not to be speculatively, but

practically, held and maintained. “In a pure conscience.”

The deacons were to be sincerely attached to the truth,

and to realize its practical power in their life and



o       They are to “hold the mystery,” not to preach it. There is

no intimation that the deacons, as such, were preachers,

though two of them (Stephen and Philip) are afterwards

found acting as evangelists.  (Acts 7 and 8).


  • THE METHOD OF THEIR APPOINTMENT. “And these also let

them first be proved; then let them serve as deacons, if they are without



Ø      The election of the seven deacons was left in the hands of the

Christian people themselves. (Acts 6:3.)


Ø      There is no formal method prescribed for testing their

 qualifications.  Their fitness could be easily judged of without

any regular investigation.  The moral element, however, was

to be supreme in such appointments; for they were not chosen

unless they were “without blame.”


Ø      Their formal appointment to service. Let them serve in the

various branches of their office as deacons.


10 “And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a

deacon, being found blameless.” And let these also, etc. There is an ambiguity

in the English here. It is not “these also” — these in addition to others, i.e. the

bishops before named — but “these be also first proved.” Their general

character, as described in vs. 8-9, must not be taken upon loose hearsay,

but must be put to the test by examination, by special testimony, by

inquiry, and then, if they are ajne>gklhtoi - anegklaetoi – unimpeachable;

not accused, not open to just blame, blameless, let them be admitted to serve

as deacons (see v. 13, note). The Church of England scrupulously acts up to

these directions by requiring written testimonials, by personal inquiries made by

the bishop, by the Si quis, by the appeal to the congregation in the Ordination

Service, Brethren, if there be any of you who knoweth any impediment, or

notable crime, in any of these persons presented to be ordained deacons, for

the which he ought not to be admitted to that office, let him come forth in

the name of God, and show what the crime or impediment is;” as well as by

the careful examination of the candidates. Blameless  - ajne>gklhtov   - anegklaetos

 (compare Titus 1:6-7); rendered in the Vulgate nullum crimen habentes (which

seems to explain the “notable crime” of the Ordination Service), and in

Colossians 1:22 unreprovable both in the Authorized and Revised Versions.

The whole passage, from v. 2 to v. 13, shows the supreme importance of a

holy and blameless conversation (manner of life) in the Christian clergy.


11 “Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in

all things.”  Wives.  gunaikav gunaikaswives/women.  What is meant

by these women? Certainly not women in  general, which would be quite out of

harmony with the context. The choice lies between:


  • the wives of the deacons, as in the Authorized Version.;
  • the wives of the bishops and deacons;
  • deaconesses. (The word (dia>konon  - diakonon) is found in Romans 16:1

(Authorized Version "servant") associated with a female name, and this

has led to the conclusion that there existed in the apostolic age, as there

undoubtedly did a little later, an order of women bearing that title, and

exercising in relation to their own sex functions which were analogous to

those of the deacons. On this hypothesis it has been inferred that the

women mentioned in (Romans 16:6, 12) belonged to such an order.

The rules given as to the conduct of women in (ch.3:11; Titus 2:3)

have in like manner been referred to them, and they have been

identified even with the "widows" of (ch. 5:3-10)  (Smith’s

Bible Dictionary)


This last interpretation above, on the whole, is the most probable. The male deacons

had just been spoken of, and so the apostle goes on to speak of the female deacons

(dia>konon  - diakonon -  Romans 16:1). He conceives of the deacon’s office as

consisting of two branches:


·        the deacons,

·        the deaconesses;


and gives appropriate directions for each. It must he remembered that the

office of the early deacon was in a great measure secular, so that there is

nothing strange in that of the deaconess being coupled with it. The return

in v. 12 to the male deacon is in favor of understanding “the women” of

the deaconesses, as showing that the subject of the diaconate was not done

with. Chrysostom (who says, “He is speaking of those who hold the rank

of deaconesses”) and all the ancient commentators, and De Wette,

Wiesinger, Wordsworth, Alford, and Ellicott among the moderns, so

understand it. Grave (semna<v; see ver. 8, note). Not slanderers

(mh< diabo>louv mae diabolous) corresponding to the mh< dilo>gouv

of v. 8). This use of dia>bolov diabolos -  slanderer -which is the classical

one, is peculiar in the New Testament to the pastoral Epistles (see II Timothy 3:3;

Titus 2:3).  Sober (nhfali>ouv naephalious) see v. 2, note). It corresponds

here to the mh< oi]nw| pollw~| prose>contav - not greedy of filthy lucre - v.. 8.

Faithful in all things (pista<v ejn pa~din -  pistas en padin) This seems to

refer specially to their being the almoners of the Church charities, and so favors

the explanation of “women” as meaning deaconesses. Pisto>v - pistosfaithful –

means especially “trusty” (Matthew 24:45; 25:21; Luke 12:42; 16:10).



The Qualifications of Deaconesses (v. 11)


“Women in like manner must be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all

things.” The allusion is evidently not to the wives of deacons, but to

deaconesses. Why should the duties of deacons’ wives be set forth when

there is no allusion to the duties of ministers’ wives? The omission of all

mention of domestic duties in this case is significant.


·        THE ORDER OF DEACONESSES. There was evidently such an order

in the primitive Church. Phoebe of Cenchrea (Romans 16:1), Euodias

and Syntyche (Philippians 4:2), and probably the association with

which Dorcas was connected at Joppa (Acts 9:36-41), seem to have

belonged to the order. The order did not cease to exist till the fifth century

in the Latin Church, and till the twelfth in the Greek Church. It had its

origin, probably, in the extreme jealousy which guarded the relations of the

sexes in early times, for women were comparatively secluded from the

society of men. Deaconesses were, therefore, appointed to maintain the

religious relationships of Christian women with a Church whose

ministrations were in the hands of men.




Ø      “Grave.” Not given to levity or loose manners, but sober in speech,

gesture, and dress.


Ø      “Not slanderers.” Not too ready to take up an accusation against the

poor, or too ready to use the tongue in the way of false insinuation.


Ø      “Sober.” Not to be given to pleasures of the table, but showing a

seemly abstemiousness.


Ø      “Faithful in all things.” Faithful in all ecclesiastical duties.


o       Faithful to the poor, whose secrets are to be jealously kept;

o       faithful to the Church, which entrusts its funds to their wise

and discriminating distribution; and

o       faithful to God in all religious obligations whatsoever.


12 “Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children

and their own houses well.”  Husbands of one wife (see above, v. 2, note).

Ruling - (proista>menoi proistamenoi - being at the head of, presiding

 over) (see v. 4, note). In Romans 12:8 and I Thessalonians 5:12 it is applied to

the spiritual ruler, the ejpi>skopov episkoposbishop; overseer; or

presbuterov –-  presbuteroselder - of the Church.  Elsewhere only in

the pastoral Epistles (above, vs. 4 and 5; ch. 5:17; Titus 3:8, 14).

Their own houses (above, v. 5). “Their own” is in contrast to “Gods house.”


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.”   Used the office of a deacon well - (diakonh>santev

 diakonaesantesserved… as deacons);  as in v. 10.  In this technical sense

only found in these two passages; which well agrees with the late date of this Epistle,

when the technical sense of dia>konov was established.  Purchase to

themselves a good degree - Gain to themselves a good standing. The sense

of the passage depends a good deal upon the exact meaning of baqmo>v bathmos

rank; degree; stage; step in a career.  In I Samuel 5:4-5, in the Septuagint, baqmo>v

is the rendering of ˆT;p]mi (rendered ai]qrion - aithrion – threshold - in Ezekiel 9:3;

10:4), a somewhat unusual word for a “threshold.” In II Kings 20:9-11, it is the

rendering of hl;[}m", “a degree on the sun-dial.” This latter seems to suit better

the verb peripoiou~ntai peripoiountaiare procuring; purchasing;

they gain or acquire, which suggests the idea of advancement. It does not follow

that Paul had in his mind their advancement from the “inferior office” to “the higher

ministries in the Church” (Ordination Service); he may merely have meant to say

that the discharge of the duties of a deacon in an efficient and exemplary manner

raised a man to high estimation in the Church, and so gave him confidence

in confessing the faith of Jesus Christ both by word and deed. Gain to

themselves (peripoiou~ntai); acquire by purchase or otherwise. Frequent

in the Septuagint; but only elsewhere in the New Testament in Acts 20:28.

Boldness (parrhsi>an -  parraesian - very common in the New Testament

(compare Acts 4:13, 29, 31; Ephesians 6:19; Philippians 1:20),

where it is especially applied to boldness in preaching the gospel of Christ.

This seems to imply that Paul contemplated preaching as a part of the

deacon’s work. We know that Philip the deacon and Stephen the deacon

were both preachers.



The Domestic Duty of Deacons (vs. 12-13)


The apostle here returns to add some further injunctions about deacons, as

well as to suggest a reason for exacting the qualifications already described.




Ø      “Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife.” The same

qualification is needed for deacons as for bishops, for their

houses were to be examples of purity, peace, and orderliness.


Ø      “Ruling their children and their own houses well.” The father

of a loving household would be best fitted for the sympathetic administration of funds allocated to the poor, while the pious

order of his family would enhance the public confidence in the

reality of his religious character.



“For those who have done the work of a deacon well obtain for themselves

a good degree, and much boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”


Ø      The good degree does not refer to promotion to higher

ecclesiastical office. The idea, indeed, would be quite an



Ø      It refers to the place of honor and distinction that will be

given to the faithful deacon in the day of final recompense.

The doctrine of rewards is that of Scripture, and especially

of our Lord’s parables (Matthew 25:45; Luke 19:11-27).


Ø      There is the further idea of the joyful confidence toward God

which would characterize him in view of a faithful discharge

of his duties a confidence springing out of faith resting in

Jesus Christ.


14 “These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:”

To come unto thee; to Ephesus, where Timothy was (ch.1:3).


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.”  To behave thyself (ajnastre>fesqai - anastrephesthai

to be behaving -  variously rendered, both in the Authorized and Revised Versions,

to have one’s conversation,” “to live,” “to pass (one’s time),” “to be used”

(Hebrews 10:33). It is literally “to go up and down” a given place, “backwards

and forwards,” hence “to dwell in it.” The substantive ajnastrofh>  - anastrophae -

in the thirteen places where it occurs in the New Testament, is always rendered

“conversation” in the Authorized Version; in the Revised Version, “manner of life,”

“life,” “issue of life,” “manner of living,” behavior,” “living.” It is a favorite

word in the two Epistles of Peter, where it occurs eight times.  The house of God.

This phrase here denotes, as it is explained in the following words, the Church on

earth. So Hebrews 3:6, Christ as a Son over His house; whose house are we,”

where the reference is to Numbers 12:7, My servant Moses... is faithful in all

 mine house.” The Church of the living God. Here is again a

somewhat remarkable resemblance to the phraseology of the Epistle to the

Hebrews, “Ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living

God.... to the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn” (Hebrews

12:22-23). However, the phraseology is not peculiar to the Epistle to the

Hebrews. Thus we read in II Corinthians 6:16, Ye are the temple of

the living God.” The phrase, the living God,” occurs seven times in

Paul’s Epistles, and four times in the Epistle to the Hebrews. It occurs

three times in the Gospels, once in the Acts of the Apostles, and once in

the Revelation. Here it is used by Paul to enhance the obligation to a

holy and blameless walk in those who have the oversight of his Church.

The pillar and ground of the truth. Some apply these words to Timothy

himself, after the analogy of Galatians 2:9, where James, Cephas, and

John are said to be (stu>loi stuloi -  “”pillars), and Revelation 3:12, where

it is said of him that overcometh, “I will make him a pillar (stu>lon stulon)

in the house of my God.” But the metaphors of “a pillar” and “a foundation”

do not all suit the verb ajnastre>fesqai anastrephesthaito be behaving –

 and it is well argued that the absence of the pronoun se – se – thee; thou;

thy -  is unfavorable to the application of “the pillar and ground of

the truth” to the subject of the first clause. It is therefore better to

understand this clause as descriptive of the Church of God. The Church is

THE PILLAR OF TRUTH!   It supports it; holds it together — binds together

its different parts. And it is the ground of the truth. By it the truth is made

fast, firm, and fixed. The ground (eJdrai>wma edraioma). This word only

occurs here at all; eJdrai~ov edraios common both in the New Testament, the

Septuagint, and in classical Greek, means “fixed,” “firm,” or  “fast.” In the

Authorized Version of I Corinthians 7:37 and 15:58, “steadfast;” Colossians

1:23 (where it is coupled with teqemeliwme>na tethemeliomena  - “settled.” ),

Thence eJdraio>w edraioo in late Greek,“to make firm or fast,” and

eJdrai>ma edraima -   the “establishment” or “grounding” of the truth;

that in and by which the truth is placed on a sure and fixed basis.



Behavior in Church (v. 15)


“That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house

of God.” “Behavior” seems a commonplace word enough, and we often

assign it a subordinate place in religion. It is, however, a word large as

character.” It is a vocabulary in itself. It is not “do” havior, but “be”

havior! What I do may be accidental; what I am is everything. Paul has

been addressing pastors, deacons, women professing godliness, and wives.

He has dealt with marriage, and the ruling of children; and now he speaks

to the Church about the conduct of men in church.


·        WHAT IS BEHAVIOR? A man’s behavior reveals much of what he is.

Earnest or frivolous; gentle or hard; forgiving or unforgiving; selfish or

generous; pitiful or censorious; appreciative or unthankful BEHAVIOR

IS AN EVERY HOUR SERMON!   It corrects the notion that a man’s

religion is mainly in his doctrine or opinions, his ritual or ceremonial.

Manners are not to be put on like a garment, nor can we masquerade in

them and pretend to be what we are not.


Ø      Bending the knee is nothing, if we are not reverent at heart.

Ø      A gift is nothing, unless given from love.

Ø      Prayer is nothing, unless our life is a prayer.

Ø      Praise is nothing, unless our life be a garment of praise.

Ø      Manners are not etiquette, nor best dresses, nor courtesies

of speech; they are the expressions of a life.


In this aspect their potency is wonderful. In church we

are to behave well; not to give ourselves airs, as rich, or learned, or

superior people, but to remember that we are bought with a price.

(I  Corinthians 6:20)  But behavior is not much thought about. There

is an idea that some men are good at heart, though they are brusque,

if you knew how to approach them. This is nonsense. The flower does

not wait for me to unfold it; it does not say, “If you knew how to tempt

my kindness, I would give you fragrant incense.” It is a flower everywhere,

to everybody.


·        WHAT CHURCH MEANS.  “In the house of God, which is the Church

of the living God.” The idea of what the Church is, is to regulate what our behavior is. The word “church” comes from the Greek words  Kuriov oikov -

Kurios oikos  - the Lord’s House.  These two words abbreviated make “church” or “kirk.”



MUST BE REVERENCE. Reverence is at the root of all religion.

Flippancy of manner,  non-devoutness of heart, will destroy the best service.

We read the old command, “Ye shall reverence my sanctuary, saith the

Lord” (Leviticus 26:2); and wherever we meet together, even in the

humblest church, “THE LORD IS IN HIS HOLY TEMPLE (and we are

to “keep silence” or “be reverent” before Him.  (Habakkuk 2:20)


·        BEHAVIOUR MEANS LIFE. It is the Church, not merely of the God

of Abraham, or Isaac, or Jacob, but of THE LIVING GOD!  We do not

build temples as monuments of a past glory. Christ said, “Do this in

remembrance of me.”  (Luke 22:19).  Before His departure He said,

“I go away and come again” (John 14:28); and wherever two or three

are gathered together in His Name, there He is in the midst of them.

(Matthew 18:20)  This Church of God is further described as the

pillar, or ground and stay, of the truth; that is to say, that no sacred

books will preserve religion without a sacred life. Men may answer

an argument or adopt a theory, but the victory of the early Church was

won by THE CHURCH’S LIFE OR BEHAVIOR!   “See how these

Christians love one another.” (Tertullian)  Learn, then, the great lesson,

that behavior is everything. “How unblamably we behave ourselves,”

 says Paul to the Thessalonians (I Thessalonians 2:10).  “I will behave

 myself wisely in a perfect way,” says the psalmist.  (Psalm 101:2)


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.”  Without controversy (oJmologoume>nwv homologoumenos);

only here in the New Testament, but used in the same sense in the Septuagint

and in classical Greek, “confessedly,” by common confession. Great is the

 mystery of godliness.  This is said to enhance the glory of the Church just

spoken of, to whom this mystery has been entrusted, and so still further to

impress upon Timothy the vital necessity of a wise and holy walk in the

Church. The mystery of godliness is all that truth which “in other ages

was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto

His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit” (Ephesians 3:5).  Godliness.

(th~v eujdebei>av taes eudebeias ); i.e.” the Christian faith;” what in ch.6:3 is

called “The words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the doctrine which is

according to godliness (th~| kat aujsebei>an didaskali<a| – tae kat

 ausebeian didaskalia – which is according to godliness; devout teaching),”

and in Titus 1:1, “The truth which is according to godliness.” In v. 9

it is “the mystery of the faith, where thjv pi>stewv ae pisteos – the faith –

 is equivalent to hJ aujsebei>a hae ausebeia - godliness. Bishop Ellicott,

however, does not admit this objective sense of hJ pi>stiv or hJ aujsebei>a

but explains the genitive as “a pure possessive genitive,” the mystery

appertaining to, or the property of, subjective faith and godliness; but this is

a use not borne out by any passage in which the word “mystery” occurs.

It is always mysteries (or mystery) of the kingdom of God, of Christ, of God,

of the gospel, and the like. In the following passages the objective sense of

hj pi>stiv is either necessary or by far the most natural: Acts 13:8; 14:22;

16:5; Galatians 1:23; Ephesians 4:5; Philippians 1:27; Colossians 1:23; 2:7;

ch. 1:19; 5:8; 6:10,21; II Timothy 4:7; Titus 1:13; James 2:1; Jude 1:3.

Having thus exalted the “mystery of godliness,” Paul goes on to expound it.

He who (o[v hos). This is generally adopted now as the true reading, instead

of Qeo>v Theos – God -  (OS – OS instead of QS - THS). Bishop Ellicott

satisfied himself, by most careful personal examination, that the original reading

of the Codex Alexandrinus was OS, and that it had been altered by a later hand

to QS. The Codex Sinaiticus  certainly has o[v, and to this all the older versions

agree. (My Greek New Testament agrees – CY – 2013)  The Vulgate has quod,

agreeing with sacramentum and representing the Greek oJ – ho.  Accepting this,

then, as the true reading, we proceed to explain it. [Ov, who, is a relative,

and must, therefore, have an antecedent. But there is no expressed

antecedent of the masculine gender for it to agree with. The antecedent,

therefore, must be understood, and gathered from the preceding words, to<

musth>rion th~v eujsebei>av - to mustaerion taes eusebeias – mystery

of godliness. IT CAN ONLY BE CHRIST!   The mystery of the

whole Old Testament, that which was wrapped in types and hidden under

veils, was Christ (Colossians 1:27). Moses spake of Him, the Psalms

speak of Him, the prophets speak of Him; but all of them spake darkly. But

in the gospel “THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST (<510403>Colossians 4:3)

IS REVEALED!   Christ is the Mystery of Christianity. It is, therefore, no

difficult step to pass from “the mystery” to “Christ,” and to supply the

word “Christ” as the antecedent to “who.” Was manifested (ejfanerw>qh

- ephanerothae); a word frequently applied to Christ (John 1:31; I John 1:2;

3:5, 8, etc.). The idea is the same in John 1:14. .  Justified in the spirit. This

is rather an obscure expression. But it seems to describe our Lord’s spotless

righteousness, perhaps with special reference to the declaration of it at his

baptism, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew

3:17).  We have the same contrast between the flesh and the Spirit of Christ in

I Peter 3:18. And between the flesh and the spirit of a Christian man in

Romans 8:10, “The body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life

because of righteousness.” To this clause apparently the remark of

Chrysostom applies, “God became man, and man became God.” “The

spirit seems to mean the moral nature — the inner man. Seen of angels.

Perhaps the multitude of the heavenly host who welcomed the birth of

Christ were permitted to see the new-born Babe, as he seems to have done

who described Him to the shepherds as “wrapped in swaddling clothes”

(Luke 2:12-14). Angels ministered unto Him after the temptation

(Mark 1:13), and in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:43,

where the word w]fqh - ophthae -  appeared; was seen - is used), and

at His resurrection (Matthew 28:2). The special interest of angels in the

great mystery” is referred to in I Peter 1:12; Hebrews 1:6. Preached

unto the Gentiles  (ejkhru>cqh ejn e]qnesin ekaeruchthae ethnesin

heralded among the heathen).   Compare Ephesians 3:6, 8, where, in

the apostle’s view, the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles,

that they might be fellow-heirs with the Jews of the promises of God, is

one main feature of the mystery (compare ch.2:7). Believed on

in the world. The next step in this ascending scale is THE ACCEPTANCE

OF CHRIST AS THE SAVIOUR thereof. The language here is not stronger

than that of Colossians 1:5-6, “The word of the truth of the gospel,

which is come unto you; even as it is also in all the world, and beareth

fruit.” And in (Ibid. v.:23) , “The gospel which was preached in all

creation under heaven” (compare Romans 1:8). The statement in

Mark 16:15-20 might almost have been in Paul’s mind. Note the

use there of the words khru>xate ejkhru>xan kaeruxate ekaeruxan, -

 hearld; proclaim; preach; heralded; proclaimed; preached, to<n ko>smon

 ton kosmon – the world  - oj pisteu>sav  - o pisteusas – he that believeth –

pisteu>sasin  - pisteusasinthe that believe -   ajnelh>frh

anelaephraereceived up into heaven.  . Received up into glory.

Mark has it, “He was received up into heaven, and [there] sat down

at the right hand of God,” fulfilling John 17:5. This grand burst of dogmatic

teaching is somewhat like that in ch.2:5-7. There is no adequate evidence of

its being, as many commentators have thought, a portion of a hymn or creed

used in the Church. It rather implies the same tension in the apostle’s mind

which is apparent in other parts of the Epistle (compare ch.6:11 and

following verses).



  The Treasure of Truth Committed to the Church’s Guardianship (v. 16)



GODLINESS. This implies that He is the Revelation of God to man; for

God “has made known what is the wealth of the glory of this mystery

among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the Hope of glory”

(Colossians 1:27). Thus CHRISTIANITY IS CHRIST!   HE IS

THE CENTER of Christian theology, as HE IS THE OBJECT

 of Christian faith and love.



forth as the Life of the Church, and if He were not God as well as man, the

mystery would not be so obvious to our understanding.


Ø      He was manifested in the flesh.” This very expression implies the

divinity of Christ; for it would be superfluous, if not absurd, to say

these words of any mere man. The words imply:


o       that it was essential Deity that was manifested;

o       that it was a manifestation made, not to our understanding,

but to our senses;

o       that there was a real incarnation, for He was manifest in

the flesh, or, as John says, “The Word was made flesh.”

It was not only by the flesh, but in the flesh.

Ø      He was justified in the spirit.” He was approved to be righteous

in the higher principle of spiritual life within Him. There is no

allusion to the Holy Spirit. The spirit here is the counterpart of the

flesh. Christ fulfilled all righteousness. If His manifestation in the

flesh exhibited His true and real humanity, His justification in the


passage consists of a series of parallel clauses, of which every

two form a connected pair.


Ø      He was seen of angels.” In the sense of showing Himself to

them in His incarnation.


o       They announced His advent, (Luke 2:13-14)

o       they ministered to His wants, (Matthew 4:11)

o       they heralded His resurrection, (Mark 16:5-7)

o       they attended Him in His triumphant return to heaven,

(Acts 1:9-11)

o       they now see Him in His glorified humanity.


Ø      He was preached among the Gentiles.” Here, again, is another

pair of opposites:


o       the angels inhabitants of a holy heaven,

o       the Gentiles inhabitants of a sinful earth.


It was one of the six glories of our Redeemer that He was

to be a “Light to the Gentiles” (Isaiah 49:6).


Ø      He was believed on in the world.” Christianity is a world-wide

religion, embraced by men of all nationalities; unlike

Mohammedanism and Buddhism, which are restricted to the

East. The gospel finds acceptance alike in East and West.


Ø      He was received up in glory.” In reference to Christ’s

historical ascent to heaven amidst circumstances of marvelous

glory (Acts 1:9).  The last pair of opposites is the WORLD and

GLORY.   How far they are apart! Yet they are brought nigh by

THE BLOOD OF CHRIST!   (“That in the dispensation of

the fullness of times He might gather together in one all

things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are

on earth; EVEN IN HIM!”  (Ephesians 1:10)  This passage,

from its antithetical structure, would seem to have been an

ancient hymn of the Church, setting forth the leading facts

of the Messianic story.



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