1 Timothy 3:1

1 The saying is sure: whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task.

1 Timothy 3:1 Meaning and Commentary

1 Timothy 3:1

This is a true saying
Some think this clause belongs to the last verse of the preceding chapter; and then the sense is, this is a doctrine that is true, and to be believed, that there is salvation through the birth of a Son, or through the incarnate Son of God, for men and women that believe in him, and continue in the faith of him, and love to him, joined with works of righteousness and holiness. And so the same phrase seems to belong to what goes before in ( 1 Timothy 4:8 1 Timothy 4:9 ) ( 2 Timothy 2:10 2 Timothy 2:11 ) . Though it regards what follows in ( 1 Timothy 1:15 ) and so it seems that it should be considered here; and is used to excite attention, and suggests that what was about to be said was of moment and importance, and what was without controversy, and unquestionably true. The apostle, having denied to women the work and office of teaching, proceeds to observe, that though this belonged to men, yet not to every man; and therefore he gives the qualifications of such; which might serve as a direction to churches, in the choice of them; as well as be a means of stirring up persons in such an office, to a proper regard to themselves and their work:

if a man desire the office of a bishop;
which is the same with that of a pastor or elder; and so here the Syriac version renders it, "if a man desires presbytery, or eldership"; and it lies in preaching the word, administering the ordinances of the Gospel, and taking care of the discipline of the church, and in the visiting, inspection, and oversight of it; as the word (episkoph) , "episcopacy", here used, signifies; and this work and office may be lawfully and laudably desired, with a view to the glory of God, and the good of immortal souls. Nor should any undertake it, but such who find in themselves an hearty desire, and inclination to it, on such principles, and a real delight and pleasure in it; and such an one

he desireth a good work:
the office of a bishop, elder, or pastor of a church, "is a work", and a very laborious one; wherefore such are called labourers in the word and doctrine: it is not a mere title of honour, and a place of profit, but it is a business of labour and care; yet a good one, a famous and excellent one; it being an employment in things of the greatest excellency in themselves, and of the greatest usefulness for the good of men, and the honour of God; as the doctrines, ordinances, and discipline of the Gospel; and so must be excellently, honestly, pleasantly, and profitably a good work.

1 Timothy 3:1 In-Context

1 The saying is sure: whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task.
2 Now a bishop must be above reproach, married only once, temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an apt teacher,
3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, and not a lover of money.
4 He must manage his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way—
5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how can he take care of God's church?

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Some interpreters place these words at the end of the previous paragraph. Other ancient authorities read [The saying is commonly accepted]
  • [b]. Or [overseer]