3:1 This 1 [is] a true saying, 2 If a man a desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
(1) Having completed the treatise of doctrine and of the manner of handling of it, as well also of public prayer, he now in the third place comes to the persons themselves, speaking first of pastors, and afterwards of deacons. And he uses a preface, so that the church may know that these are certain and sure rules. (2) The office of bishop, or the ministry of the word is not an idle dignity, but a work, and that an excellent work: and therefore a bishop must be furnished with many virtues both at home and abroad. Therefore it is necessary before he is chosen to examine well his learning, his gifts, his abilities, and his life. 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of b one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
(a) He does not speak here of ambitious seeking, of which there cannot be a worse fault in the Church, but generally of the mind and disposition of man, prepared and disposed to help and edify the Church of God, when and wherever it will please the Lord.
(b) Therefore he that shuts out married men from the office of bishops, only because they are married, is antichrist. 3:3 Not c given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
(c) A common drinker and one that will often partake of it. 3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the d condemnation of the devil.
(d) Lest by reason that he is advanced to that position, he takes occasion to be proud, which will undo him, and so he fall into the same condemnation that the devil himself has fallen into. 3:8 3 Likewise [must] the e deacons [be] grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
(3) Likewise the deacons must first be proved, that there may be a good trial of their honesty, truth, sobriety, mind void of covetousness, that they are well instructed in the doctrine of faith, and to be short, of their good conscience and integrity. 3:9 Holding the f mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
(e) These are those that had to look after the poor.
(f) The doctrine of the Gospel, which is indeed a mystery: for flesh and blood do not reveal it. 3:11 4 Even so [must their] wives [be] grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
(4) Regard must also be had for the pastors and deacons wives. 3:12 5 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
(5) They that have than one wife, at one time, must neither by called to be ministers, nor to be deacons. 3:13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good g degree, and h great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
(g) Honour and estimation. 3:14 6 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
(h) Bold and assured confidence without fear.
(6) Paul purposing to add many particular things pertaining to the daily office of a pastor, speaks first a word or two concerning his coming to Timothy, that he should be so much the more careful, lest at his coming he might be reproved of negligence. 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the 7 house of God, which is the church of the living God, the i pillar and ground of the truth.
(7) The pastor always has to consider how he carries out his duties in the house of the living God, in which the treasure of the truth is kept. 3:16 8 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, k justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
(i) That is, with regard to man: for the Church rested upon that cornerstone, Christ, and is the preserver of the truth, but not the mother.
(8) There is nothing more excellent than this truth, of which the Church is the keeper and preserver here among men, the ministry of the word being appointed to that end and purpose: for it teaches us the greatest matters that may be thought, that is, that God has become visible in the person of Christ by taking our nature upon him, whose majesty, even though in such great weakness, was manifested in many ways, in so much that the sight of it pierced the very angels. And to conclude, he being preached to the Gentiles was received by them, and is now placed above in unspeakable glory.
(k) The power of the Godhead showed itself so marvellously in the weak flesh of Christ, that even though he was a weak man, yet all the world knows he was and is God.