1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, lesson 4

Lesson 4


Heavenly Father, we pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to help us in the exegesis and hermeneutics of scripture. We pray for wisdom in unlocking the meaning of controversial and difficult passages, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

1 Timothy 3: 1-16, criteria for selecting overseers and deacons

VV 1-7, 1 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he falls into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Greek for bishop is “episcopos”, which means overseer. A bishop must have a desire for the position. Greek for sober-minded is ‘’nepho”, which means not intoxicated by wine. Paul spelled out the criteria required for selecting a bishop. He must be without reproach, monogamous, self-controlled, not intoxicated by wine, of good character, hospitable, has teaching capability, gentle, abstain from wine, not violent, not money greedy, and not covetous. He must show good family leadership with children with good character. He must have a good testimony among non-believers and must not be a novice in the Christian faith.

VV 8-13, 8 Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. 10 But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. 11 Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Greek for deacon is “diakonos”, which means servant. Greek for a double tongue is “dilogos”, which means deceitful. Greek for slanderer is “diabolos”, which means backbiter. Paul listed out the criteria for selecting a deacon. He must be respectable, not deceitful, not a drunkard, not money greedy, and has a pure conscience. Their wives must be respectable, not a backbiter, self-controlled, and faithful. Deacons must be monogamous and had raised their families beyond reproach.

VV 14-16, 14 These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; 15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.

Paul hoped to visit Timothy soon. Paul encouraged Timothy to conduct himself above reproach in godliness in the church of the living God. Jesus is God manifested in the flesh through incarnation. He is justified by the Holy Spirit, seen by angels, preached to the Gentiles, believed by the world, and ascended to heaven in glory.


Paul spelled out the criteria for selecting bishops and deacons. Congregations should follow these criteria when selecting these leadership positions. These criteria are very strict but had to be followed. We are to conduct ourselves above reproach in godliness. Jesus is God manifested in the flesh, fully God and fully man. He died, buried, resurrected, glorified, ascended to heaven, and will return to earth again in His second coming.


Heavenly Father, thank You for spelling out the criteria for selecting bishops and deacons of the church. We pray for divine enablement to live godly lives beyond reproach as we await the second coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, in Jesus’ name, Amen.