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Bible Commentaries
1 Timothy 3

Luscombe's Commentary on Selected Books of the NTLuscombe's NT Commentary

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Verse 1

1. This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

1. Desire - How important is it for a man to desire to serve as an elder? Should men be appointed even if they do not desire the office?

2. Office - What does this word mean? Does it allude to a room with a desk, file drawers and a phone? Does it involve your name on the letterhead?

3. Bishop - What is the work of a bishop? Why do we NOT use this word in studies of the leadership in the church? What other terms are used to refer to this office?

Verse 2

2. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

1. Must - Are the following terms absolutes? Must a man possess these qualities to be a leader in the local congregation?

2. Blameless - How can we be blameless? Don't all men sin? Do we not all make mistakes? Does this word demand perfection?

3. One wife - Can one be a bishop and never be married? Can a divorced man serve as an elder? Can a man widowed and remarried be appointed to this office? If an elder's wife dies, does this disqualify him for continued service?

4. Vigilant - Describe this word. For what must an elder be vigilant?

5. Sober - Does this prohibit an elder from laughing, telling funny stories?

6. Behavior - What type of behavior would be prohibited here?

7. Hospitality - Does this mean that an elder must have each family of the church in his home for a meal? What is hospitality? Is there a relation to the word - hospital?

8. Apt - What is required for one to be "apt" to teach? Must an elder teach a class each Sunday to qualify? Does this require public teaching and preaching? Can an elder teach in private settings and meet this requirement?

Verse 3

3. Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;

1. Given - Can an elder drink any alcoholic beverages?

2. Striker - Does this prohibit an elder from joining a union? How would you describe a striker?

3. Greedy - What is prohibited by this qualification? Does this bar a business owner because he seeks to make a profit? Does this qualification conflict with the desire for the office? Can one desire the office and not be greedy for the power associated with it?

4. Patient - Who among us has all the patience he needs? Is this an absolute? Can men have patience of varying degrees?

5. Brawler - How would you describe a brawler? Can a man fight for principles, doctrine, truth and not be a brawler?

6. Covetous - What is included in covetousness?

Verse 4

4. One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;

1. Ruleth - What is the obligation of the man in the operation of a home? Does this require a man to be a "dictator" with his family?

2. Children - Why is this requirement given? Does this obligate the man to have more than one child? Does having only one child disqualify a man from this office? What if the man or his wife are not physically able to have children? Can the children be adopted, foster children?

3. Subjection - To whom should the children be in subjection - God or the father? What if a grown child, after they leave home, become rebellious? Can a man be an elder with a rebellious child? Can parents do all the right things to train, teach and instill faith in their children and still have them leave the faith? Can parents do all the wrong things and still have children turn out strong in the faith and active in the church?

Verse 5

5. (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall be take care of the church of God?)

1. House - What is included in "ruling his own house"? Why is this an important qualification for an elder?

2. Take care - What is the duty of an elder? What must he "take care" of? How does his management of the home demonstrate his ability or lack of ability?

Verse 6

6. Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

1. Novice - When does one cease being a novice? Does this word apply to the spiritual status, their occupation, or their mental and emotional maturity?

2. Pride - What is wrong with pride? Is it sinful to be proud of our work or accomplishments? Is there a good type of pride? What are the dangers of pride?

3. Condemnation - What is the condemnation of the devil? Can such a fate befall a Christian? How does this affect a novice more than one who is more mature in Christ?

Verse 7

7. Moreover he must have good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

1. Report - Who makes out this report? How does one gain a good report? What would result in a bad report?

2. Without - To what does this word refer? Does it describe those who have less material goods (food, clothes, shelter)? Explain this word in Rev_22:14-15 .

Verse 8

8. Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, nor greedy of filthy lucre;

1. Deacon - What is the difference in this work and that of an elder? Are deacons "junior elders" in some area of work? What does the word "deacon" mean?

2. Grave - What does this word mean? How can you tell if a man is grave or not? What qualities would show a person to be grave?

3. Double-tongued - Is this similar to the Indian phrase "forked-tongue"? Why are some people double-tongued? What is the danger in a deacon being double-tongued?

4. Wine - Is there a difference in the requirement for elders and deacons? What is prohibited here? Can a deacon take a "social drink" while an elder must be a "tea totaler"?

5. Filthy lucre - What is filthy lucre? Is there such a thing as clean lucre? What behavior shows a person to be greedy? Does this quality prohibit greed or using the office for personal gain?

Verse 9

9. Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience,

1. Mystery - What is the mystery mentioned here? How is this term used in other passages? See - Eph_3:3-6 ; Col_1:26-27 ; 1Ti_3:16 .

2. Conscience - What is the conscience? How do we develop a "pure" conscience? What other types of conscience can a person have?

Verse 10

10. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.

1. Proved - What must a deacon do to be proved? Why is this an important requirement?

2. Blameless - Is there a person who is "blameless"? How can a man be blameless as this passage requires?

Verse 11

11. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.

1. Wives - Why are qualifications given for the wife?

2. Slanderers - What is a slanderer? How could a slandering wife harm the work of a deacon?

3. Faithful - Does this phrase refer to her spiritual faithfulness? Does this require her to be faithful to her marriage vows? Does this require her to be faithful to the work of the local congregation?

Verse 12

12. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling well their children and their own houses well.

1. Husbands - Can a man serve as a deacon and never be married? Can a man serve as a deacon whose wife has died and he has remarried?

2. Children - Since this term is in the plural does it require each deacon to have more than one child? What is the purpose in this requirement?

3. Ruling - How is a man expected to "rule" his children? How does a man "rule" his house? What behavior would show a man not qualified in this area?

Verse 13

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.

1. Used - How does one "use" an office? Is this office to be used as a stepping stone to move up to service as an elder?

2. Degree - Does this word designate an award of higher learning, (college degree, for example)? Does this term imply a stage or step in one's career?

3. Boldness - What is the relationship of boldness and faith? Can one have a strong faith and lack boldness? Can one have boldness and lack faith?

Verse 14

14. These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:

1. Write - Was this letter the work of Paul or God? Does this phrase deny inspiration of the Holy Spirit? Is this letter just the thoughts and ideas of Paul?

2. Hoping - What is the difference in a wish and a hope? Is it proper for Paul to hope for things of a material nature like seeing a friend?

Verse 15

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.

1. Behave - Does this term apply to all actions of Timothy? Is there a spiritual meaning to this word?

2. In the house of God - Is Paul discussing behavior in the church building? Does this verse prohibit running the halls, eating in the building, etc.?

3. Church of the Living God - Is this phrase a title for the church? Could we put "Grundy Street Church of the Living God" on the sign in front of our building?

4. Pillar - How is the word pillar used here? Does God expect all church buildings to have pillars? How is the church a pillar? Can people be pillars? (See Gal_2:9 )

5. Ground - How is the church to be the ground of truth? What is intended by this term?

Verse 16

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.

1. Godliness - What is godliness? Can we be godly? How can we possess godliness when we are sinful?

2. God - Who is being described in this passage? Is Jesus God? If Jesus is God, then who is the Father? Is the Holy Spirit God? To what does the word "God" allude?

3. Flesh - How is flesh used in the Bible? Does this word always mean our physical body of bone and muscle?

4. Justified - How are we justified? Since Jesus was without sin, why was he justified?

5. Angels - List some times that angels helped Jesus while he was on earth. what is the work of an angel? Are angels active in the world today?

6. Preached - What is the purpose of preaching? Do most sermons fulfill the purpose God intended?

7. Gentiles - Who are Gentiles? What makes preaching to Gentiles different from the Law of Moses?

8. Believed - How do we come to believe? Why do some not believe? Does belief alone save us? List some kinds of faith mentioned in the New Testament.

9. Glory - What is the glory described here? What is glory? Who will be received into glory? Who will not enter glory?

Bibliographical Information
Luscombe, Manly. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 3". Luscombe's Commentary on Selected Books of the NT. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mlc/1-timothy-3.html. 2021.
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