3:1 This saying 1 is trustworthy: “If someone aspires to the office of overseer, 2 he desires a good work.” 3:2 The overseer 3 then must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, 4 temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher, 3:3 not a drunkard, not violent, but gentle, not contentious, free from the love of money. 3:4 He must manage his own household well and keep his children in control without losing his dignity. 5 3:5 But if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for the church of God? 3:6 He must not be a recent convert or he may become arrogant 6 and fall into the punishment that the devil will exact. 7 3:7 And he must be well thought of by 8 those outside the faith, 9 so that he may not fall into disgrace and be caught by the devil’s trap. 10
3:8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, 11 not two-faced, 12 not given to excessive drinking, 13 not greedy for gain, 3:9 holding to the mystery of the faith 14 with a clear conscience. 3:10 And these also must be tested first and then let them serve as deacons if they are found blameless. 3:11 Likewise also their wives 15 must be dignified, not slanderous, temperate, faithful in every respect. 3:12 Deacons must be husbands of one wife 16 and good managers of their children and their own households. 3:13 For those who have served well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves 17 and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. 18
3:14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions 19 to you 3:15 in case I am delayed, to let you know how people ought to conduct themselves 20 in the household of God, because it is 21 the church of the living God, the support and bulwark of the truth.
2 tn Grk “aspires to oversight.”
3 tn Or “bishop.”
sn Although some see the article with overseer as indicating a single leader at the top of the ecclesiastical structure (thus taking the article as monadic), this is hardly necessary. It is naturally taken generically (referring to the class of leaders known as overseers) and, in fact, finds precedent in 2:11-12 (“a woman,” “a man”), 2:15 (“she”). Paul almost casually changes between singular and plural in both chapters.
4 tn Or “a man married only once,” “devoted solely to his wife” (see 1 Tim 3:12; 5:9; Titus 1:6). The meaning of this phrase is disputed. It is frequently understood to refer to the marital status of the church leader, excluding from leadership those who are (1) unmarried, (2) polygamous, (3) divorced, or (4) remarried after being widowed. A different interpretation is reflected in the NEB’s translation “faithful to his one wife.”
5 tn Grk “having children in submission with all dignity.” The last phrase, “keep his children in control without losing his dignity,” may refer to the children rather than the parent: “having children who are obedient and respectful.”
6 tn Grk “that he may not become arrogant.”
8 tn Or “have a good reputation with”; Grk “have a good testimony from.”
9 tn Grk “the ones outside.”
11 tn Or “respectable, honorable, of serious demeanor.”
12 tn Or “insincere,” “deceitful”; Grk “speaking double.”
13 tn Grk “not devoted to much wine.”
14 sn The mystery of the faith is a reference to the revealed truths of the Christian faith.
15 tn Or “also deaconesses.” The Greek word here is γυναῖκας (gunaika") which literally means “women” or “wives.” It is possible that this refers to women who serve as deacons, “deaconesses.” The evidence is as follows: (1) The immediate context refers to deacons; (2) the author mentions nothing about wives in his section on elder qualifications (1 Tim 3:1-7); (3) it would seem strange to have requirements placed on deacons’ wives without corresponding requirements placed on elders’ wives; and (4) elsewhere in the NT, there seems to be room for seeing women in this role (cf. Rom 16:1 and the comments there). The translation “wives” – referring to the wives of the deacons – is probably to be preferred, though, for the following reasons: (1) It would be strange for the author to discuss women deacons right in the middle of the qualifications for male deacons; more naturally they would be addressed by themselves. (2) The author seems to indicate clearly in the next verse that women are not deacons: “Deacons must be husbands of one wife.” (3) Most of the qualifications given for deacons elsewhere do not appear here. Either the author has truncated the requirements for women deacons, or he is not actually referring to women deacons; the latter seems to be the more natural understanding. (4) The principle given in 1 Tim 2:12 appears to be an overarching principle for church life which seems implicitly to limit the role of deacon to men. Nevertheless, a decision in this matter is difficult, and our conclusions must be regarded as tentative.
17 sn The statement those who have served well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves is reminiscent of Jesus’ teaching (Matt 20:26-28; Mark 10:43-45) that the one who wishes to be great must be a servant (διάκονος [diakonos], used here of deacons) of all, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve (διακονέω [diakonew], as in 1 Tim 3:10, 13).
18 sn In the phrase the faith that is in Christ Jesus, the term faith seems to mean “what Christians believe, Christian truth,” rather than personal trust in Christ. So the whole phrase could mean that others will come to place greater confidence in them regarding Christian truth; but the word “confidence” is much more likely to refer to their own boldness to act on the truth of their convictions.
19 tn Grk “these things.”
20 tn Grk “how it is necessary to behave.”
21 tn Grk “which is” (but the relative clause shows the reason for such conduct).