1 Timothy 3

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Behaviour in the house of God


I. Some considerations regarding elders (verses 1-7), emphasising:

1. The commendable desire (v. 1). (It is a desire to serve God’s people, 1 Cor. 16:15).
2. The essential qualifications (v. 2, 3).
3. The importance of ‘home-testimony (v.4, 5).
4. The value of adequate experience (v. 6a).
5. The danger of pride (v. 6b).
6. The need of a good reputation in the community (v.7).

II. The qualifications for deacons (verses 8-13), emphasising:

1. The similar requirements (v. 8-12).
2. The expectable reward, here and hereafter (v. 13). 

III. Paul’s motive for writing (verses 14, 15)

1. Advance notice of a coming personal visit (v. 14). (See also Chapter 4:13.)
2. A deep concern over Timothy’s responsibilities (v. 15).

IV. The immensity of our beliefs (verse 16)

Basically, it is all a matter of the chronology of Christ Himself; from His amazing incarnation to His fullest glorification. He Himself is the mystery of what we believe; the comprehensive secret of God’s heart, hidden for a season, but now revealed from heaven.

Key comment

The matter of church order is again touched upon in this chapter with its mention of elders (spiritual shepherds), deacons (helpers in practical assembly matters). Desiring these offices, of course, does not allow of any personal proud ambitions or aspirations, but simply denotes a humble willingness to serve our brethren in any way possible. Whatever the office might entail, it is basically a matter of being willing and humble servants of others. It reminds certain ones at Corinth who had addicted themselves to ministry of (serving) the saints (1 Cor. 16:15). And it certainly accords with what the Lord Himself said about spiritual authority in Math. 20:25-27, something very differend from the way the world thinks.

Regarding the elders themselves, the point that stands out is the one in verses 4 and 5, regarding the need for exemplary test in their own homes. This is far from easy in our present decadent and disorderly society, but the requirement still stands, and, thank God, grace sufficient is still available. It will be discovered, moreover, that the Christian home is often the best training ground for prospective preachers and church leaders (e.g. family prayers), and, in all respects we do well to welcome this wise and gracious and divine requirement.

And how remarkable is the closing verse of our chapter (v. 16), where, unexpectedly, we have a complete chronology of Christ all in one sentence! Let us note, Christ was:
– Manifest in the flesh. His birth and incarnation.
– Justified in the Spirit. His earning and receiving divine approval both as to His public ministry (see Math. 17:5), and then to His redeeming work (see Rom. 1:4).
– Seen of angels (i.e. appointed messengers). His repeated appearances to His apostles after His resurrection.
– Preached unto the Gentiles (nations). Meaning the present continuing proclamation of the gospel.
Believed on in the world. The response of believers everywhere.
– Received up into glory. This seems, at first, to be out of sequence, as if referring back to His personal ascension after the forty days. But is it not blessedly true that Christ is only fully and finally glorified when His church, His body is caught up to be with Him? So the chronology is in best sequence after all, and we are graciously included.

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