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 – oregetai – seeks;
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 –
episkeptesthai – visited - (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 ergou – good 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
it even in Chrysostom’s time (though he does not so understand it), and so
Vigilant. (nhfa>lion – naephalion – temperate; 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 –– sophronizo – to make
of sound mind; teach - swfronismo>v – sophronismos – discipline; self-
control; sound mind - swfro>nwv – sophronos – soberly; moderately –
in the pastoral Epistles; and swfrosu>nh - sophrosunae – soberness;
sobriety - in ch.2:15 (where see note). Of good behavior. (ko>smion –
kosmion – orderly; decorus; of good behavior - see ch.2:9, note). Given to
hospitality (filo>xenon - philaxenon – hospitiable –as 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 –
didaskalikos – doctor; 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
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.
over himself, his work, and his actions.
of directing himself wisely in the midst of difficult situations.
courteous to all, of a calm temper and grave demeanor.
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
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>a – oinophlugia –
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~
- epieikae – patient
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 - epieikeia – patient 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 - aphilarguron –no 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
are followed by three positive qualities (ejpioikh~
ajfila>rguron — “gentle,” “peaceful,” and “indifferent about money”).
The Negative Qualifications of the Christian Pastor (v. 3)
as to the noisy and quarrelsome temper which is generated by wine
bibbing. The word impliedly condemns both cause and effect.
must never lift his hand in anger or violence.
wrong than avenge it.
peace with all men.
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
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
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
The Greek word epimelaesetai - epimelaesetai – he 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
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
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
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 exothen – the 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
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
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
excessive, IT CEASES TO BE CLEAN!
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 - diakonia – ministry; service; dispensation)
and serving tables (diakonei~n trape>zaiv - diakonein trapezais –
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
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
THROUGH THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST!
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).
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 – gunaikas – wives/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:
(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
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 - pistos – faithful –
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.
· THE QUALIFICATIONS OF DEACONESSES.
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
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 – episkopos – bishop; overseer; or
presbuterov –- presbuteros – elder - 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 “God’s 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 –
diakonaesantes – served… 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 – peripoiountai – are 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.
· THE DEACONS’ DOMESTIC RELATIONS.
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.
· REASON FOR THE VARIOUS QUALIFICATIONS DESCRIBED.
“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
14 “These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:”
To come unto thee; to
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
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 – anastrephesthai – to 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
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,
· 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.”
IF IT BE THE
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
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
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
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
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 - pisteusasin – the that believe - ajnelh>frh –
anelaephrae – received 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
The Treasure of Truth Committed to the Church’s Guardianship (v. 16)
· IT IS CHRIST IN ALL HIS RELATIONS AS THE MYSTERY OF
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
of Christian faith and love.
· THE MANIFESTATION OF THE PERSON OF CHRIST. He is set
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
spirit exhibited HIS HOLINESS ANDPERFECTION! 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,
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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