1 Timothy 3:8-16

8 In the same way, deacons[a] are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain.
9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience.
10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
11 In the same way, the women[b] are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well.
13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

Reasons for Paul’s Instructions

14 Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that,
15 if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.
16 Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit,[c]was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.

1 Timothy 3:8-16 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO 1 TIMOTHY 3

In this chapter the apostle treats of the qualifications of officers of churches, bishops and deacons, and of their wives; and points at the principal reason of writing this epistle to Timothy: and first, he commends the office of a bishop, as a good and desirable one; and asserts it to be such in the strongest manner, 1Ti 3:1 and then follow the qualifications for it, some of which are of the economical or domestic kind, and regard him as an husband and parent, and the head of the family; others of a moral nature, and relate to sobriety, hospitality, temperance, patience, and liberality; and others of the ecclesiastical sort, as aptness to teach, and that he should not be a novice in religion; and in general, that he should be a man of a blameless life, and of good report in the world, 1Ti 3:2-7, next an account is given of the qualifications of deacons; some which concern their moral character; others their soundness in the faith; and others their domestic affairs, and their conduct in their families; about which they should be first examined, before they were put into their office; the characters of their wives are also given; and for their encouragement in the faithful performance of their office, it is observed, that they hereby obtain a good degree of honour and boldness in the faith of Christ, 1Ti 3:8-13. And the end of the apostle's writing this epistle, and particularly of giving Timothy this account of the qualifications of the officers of the church of God, is, that he might know whom to appoint over it, and how to conduct himself in it; which he commends from its being the house of God, the church of the living God, and the pillar and ground of truth, 1Ti 3:14,15. Of which truth he gives a summary, in several particulars of it, which open the great mystery of godliness, 1Ti 3:16.

1 Timothy 3:8-16 In-Context

6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.
7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
8 In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain.
9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience.
10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
11 In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well.
13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.
14 Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that,
15 if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.
16 Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit,was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.

Cross References 15

  • 1. Philippians 1:1
  • 2. 1 Timothy 5:23; Titus 1:7; Titus 2:3
  • 3. S Acts 23:1; 1 Timothy 1:19
  • 4. 1 Timothy 5:22
  • 5. 2 Timothy 3:3; Titus 2:3
  • 6. ver 2
  • 7. ver 2
  • 8. ver 4
  • 9. ver 5; S 1 Corinthians 10:32; Ephesians 2:21
  • 10. S Matthew 16:16
  • 11. S Romans 16:25
  • 12. S 1 Timothy 2:2
  • 13. S John 1:14
  • 14. Psalms 9:11; Colossians 1:23
  • 15. S Mark 16:19

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. The word "deacons" refers here to Christians designated to serve with the overseers/elders of the church in a variety of ways; similarly in verse 12; Romans 16:1 and Phil. 1:1.
  • [b]. Possibly deacons’ wives or women who are deacons
  • [c]. Or "vindicated in spirit"