Read 1 Timothy 3 at Bible Gateway.
Most of 1 Tim 3 forms a single chiastic structure:
1 Tim 3:1-13
1a) 1 Tim 3:1, If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work;
1b) 1 Tim 3:2-5, Qualifications of a bishop;
1c) 1 Tim 3:6, Not a novice, lest he be prideful/ fall into the same condemnation as the devil;
central axis) 1 Tim 3:7, Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside;
2c) 1 Tim 3:7, Lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil;
2b) 1 Tim 3:8-12, Qualifications of a deacon;
2a) 1 Tim 3:13, Those who have served as deacons obtain good standing + great boldness in the faith.
A bishop is in the Greek, an overseer. This would be our equivalent of a pastor or elder. A deacon is an interesting word in Greek. It is from the root that means, to run on errands, and itself means, one who executes the commands of another. Deacons help the pastors and elders minister to the saints, so that the pastors and elders can devote themselves to the Word of God and to prayer (Act 6:1-6).
The qualifications for a bishop and a deacon are similar. Both are required to be blameless. This is the opposite idea from lawless, which we were looking at last week. It does not mean that a bishop or elder never slips or sins or has a lapse. A blameless man is one who submits himself to the Word of God and the Law of God, to live in a manner which pleases God, just as a lawless man refuses to submit to the Word of God and the Law of God, so that he may live in a manner pleasing to himself.
They both must be men, and we know, because they are to be husbands of one wife. You know, there is wisdom in the Word of God — in the New Testament — that offends people, and not only secular people, it is offensive to believers also. If anyone reading 1 Tim 3 is offended that bishops and deacons must be first, men, and second, husbands of one wife, (i.e., not divorced), then ask, Why the offense?
Think about this for a moment. A man who has been faithful to one imperfect woman with patience and grace, has displayed a proven character quality of faithfulness, loyalty, gentleness, patience and grace, which God desires His shepherds to have for His flock. There are many lost sheep out there today who have been hurt by the callousness or hardness or pride of people in authority in the church. You cannot remain the husband of one wife, if your character qualities are callousness, hardness, or pride. Either you will leave her, or she will leave you. Beloved, if the church refused to appoint people in authority, except for those who displayed the qualifications in 1 Tim 3, we might have less lost and wounded sheep wandering around out there.
Take care when the offense rises up within us, when we read something hard in the Word of God. Come to the Word with the attitude that it is holy, just, and good; that it is providing protection, correction, and direction that fallen man needs, from the God who is perfect in love for us, and perfect in His excellent wisdom. And God will be able to speak to us, in that case, and defend Himself and His Word to our hearts.
Leave a Reply