1 Timothy 3:1
This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desires a good work.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
III.

(1) This is a true saying.—There is no reason why the rendering of this formula adopted in 1Timothy 1:15, “faithful is this saying,” should be altered here. The “faithful saying” here refers to the wish for high and arduous work in the Church of Christ, and declares such a wish to be a noble one; for the office in question was a beautiful one, and honourable, and in those days meant stern and ceaseless work, grave and constant danger. It was no doubt one of the well-known sayings among the brethren of the first days, and not improbably, with the other “faithful sayings” of this group of Epistles, formed a part of their liturgy, and was woven into some of their special prayers offered in public. Perhaps this “faithful saying” was a portion of a prayer offered not unfrequently in the public assembly, asking that volunteers might be moved by the Holy Ghost to present themselves for the then dangerous office of ordained ministers of the Word.

“Well might a man desire the office of chief pastor; it was indeed a good work;” but, in the first place, such a dignity could only be held by one possessing many qualities, then and there enumerated.

If a man desire the office of a bishop.—More accurately rendered, If a man seeketh. In the . . Pastoral Epistles the Greek words rendered “bishop” and “presbyter” or elder (episcopos, presbuteros), are applied indifferently to the same person, for up to this period (A.D. 65-6) no necessity had arisen in the constitution of the Church for the appointment of a special order of superintending presbyters. The numbers of the members of the brotherhood, though every year showing a vast increase, were still, comparatively speaking, small. St. Peter, St. Paul, St. James and St. John, and certainly the majority of the apostolic college, were still living; while, till A.D. 70, the Jerusalem congregation still acted as the central authority of the Church, and grave questions continued to be referred to the Fathers resident there.

Early in the second century, however, there is not a shadow of doubt that the episcopal office, as we understand it, was widely established. During the last thirty years, then, of the first century, this great change in Church organisation must have been effected—that is, during the life-time of St. John. How this was brought about is admirably stated by Professor Rothe, of Heidelberg, as quoted by Canon Lightfoot in his dissertation on the Christian ministry (Commentary on the Epistle to the Philippians), who, without accepting all the details suggested, still in the main agrees with the famous Heidelberg professor in his theory respecting the very early establishment of episcopacy in the Catholic Church. After painting the distractions and growing dissensions of the Church, occasioned by the jealousies between the Jewish and Gentile brethren, and the menacing apparition of the Gnostic heresy, Rothe states how, in the face of this great emergency, St. Peter, St. Paul, and St. James were carried away by death almost at the same time; while, with the overthrow of Jerusalem very shortly after, the visible centre of the Church was removed, the keystone of the fabric was withdrawn, and the whole edifice was threatened with ruin. There was a crying need for some organisation which should cement together the diverse elements of Christian society, and preserve it from disintegration. Out of this need the Catholic Church in its episcopal character arose. From notices in Eusebius, Irenæus, and Clement of Rome, Rothe (quoted by Lightfoot) concludes “that, immediately after the fall of Jerusalem, a council of the surviving Apostles and first teachers of the gospel was held to deliberate on the crisis, and to frame measures for the well-being of the Church. The centre of the system thus organised was episcopacy, which at once secured the compact and harmonious working of each individual congregation, and, as the link of communication between the separate brotherhoods, formed the whole into one undivided Catholic Church. Recommended by this high authority, the new constitution was immediately and generally adopted.”

He desireth a good work.—The office of a presbyter of the Church in the days of St. Paul was a difficult and dangerous post. It involved much labour; it was full of risk; it meant a hard and severe life; yet, from the Christian’s standpoint, it was a work, if faithfully performed, of all toils the most beautiful, the most honourable, the most noble. “Negotium non otium” comments Bengel, in his usual pithy, untranslatable way.

1 Timothy 3:1. Because some false teachers were now spreading their erroneous doctrines with assiduity among the believers at Ephesus, and it was necessary that Timothy (to whom the care of the church there was committed) should be assisted by some bishops, or elders, and deacons, well qualified to teach the people, the apostle, after observing what an honourable office that of a Christian bishop is, here describes the qualities and virtues necessary in one who desires to attain it. This is a true saying — Most certain in itself, and worthy of being always acknowledged and attended to; if a man desire, (or earnestly seek, as ορεγεται signifies,) the office of a bishop — Overseer, or pastor of Christ’s flock, frequently termed presbyters, or elders, in the New Testament. See on Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-2; he desireth a good work — An excellent but laborious employment. “A bishop’s office is termed εργον, a work, to intimate that he must not spend his life in ease and idleness, but in a continued application to the duties of his office. It is also termed καλον αργον, a good, or excellent work, because of its honourableness and usefulness. See on 2 Timothy 2:2. The words καλος and αγαθος are often used promiscuously, to denote what is morally good. But when they are distinguished, καλος includes also the idea of honour, and ογαθος the idea of profit.3:1-7 If a man desired the pastoral office, and from love to Christ, and the souls of men, was ready to deny himself, and undergo hardships by devoting himself to that service, he sought to be employed in a good work, and his desire should be approved, provided he was qualified for the office. A minister must give as little occasion for blame as can be, lest he bring reproach upon his office. He must be sober, temperate, moderate in all his actions, and in the use of all creature-comforts. Sobriety and watchfulness are put together in Scripture, they assist one the other. The families of ministers ought to be examples of good to all other families. We should take heed of pride; it is a sin that turned angels into devils. He must be of good repute among his neighbours, and under no reproach from his former life. To encourage all faithful ministers, we have Christ's gracious word of promise, Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world, Mt 28:20. And he will fit his ministers for their work, and carry them through difficulties with comfort, and reward their faithfulness.This is a trite saying - Greek, "Faithful is the word" - the very phrase which is used in 1 Timothy 1:15; see the notes on that verse. The idea here is, that it was worthy of credence; it was not to be doubted.

If a man desire - Implying that there would be those who would wish to be put into the ministry. The Lord, undoubtedly, by his Spirit, often excites an earnest and irrepressible desire to preach the gospel - a desire so strong, that he in whom it exists can be satisfied in no other calling. In such a case, it should be regarded as one evidence of a call to this work. The apostle, however, by the statements which follow, intimates that wherever this desire exists, it is of the utmost importance to have just views of the nature of the office, and that there should be other qualifications for the ministry than a mere desire to preach the gospel. He proceeds, therefore, to state those qualifications, and no one who "desires" the office of the ministry should conclude that he is called to it, unless these qualifications substantially are found in him. The word rendered "desire" here (ὀρέγω oregō), denotes properly, "to reach" or "stretch out" - and hence to reach after anything, to long after, to try to obtain; Hebrews 11:16.

The office of a bishop - The Greek here is a single word - ἐπισκοπῆς episkopēs. The word ἐπισκοπή episkopē - "Episcope" - whence the word "Episcopal" is derived - occurs but four times in the New Testament. It is translated "visitation" in Luke 19:44, and in 1 Peter 2:12; "bishoprick," Acts . Acts 1:20; and in this place "office of a bishop." The verb from which it is derived (ἐπισκοπέω episkopeō), occurs but twice, In Hebrews 12:15, it is rendered "looking diligently," and in 1 Peter 5:2, "taking the oversight." The noun rendered bishop occurs in Acts 20:28; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:7; 1 Peter 2:25. The verb means, properly, to look upon, behold; to inspect, to look after, see to, take care of; and the noun denotes the office of overseeing, inspecting, or looking to. It is used to denote the care of the sick, Xeno. Oec. 15, 9; compare "Passow;" and is of so general a character that it may denote any office of overseeing, or attending to. There is nothing in the word itself which would limit it to any class or grade of the ministry, and it is, in fact, applied to nearly all the officers of the church in the New Testament, and, indeed, to Christians who did not sustain "any" office. Thus it is applied:

(a) to believers in general, directing them to "look diligently, lest anyone should fail of the grace of God," Hebrews 12:15;

(b) to the elders of the church at Ephesus, "over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers," Acts 20:28;

(c) to the elders or presbyters of the church in 1 Peter 5:2, "Feed the flock of God, taking the oversight thereof;

(d) to the officers of the church in Philippi, mentioned in connection with deacons as the only officers of the church there, "to the saints at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons," Philippians 1:1;

(e) to Judas, the apostate. Acts 1:20; and,

(f) to the great Head of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 2:25, "the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls."

From this use of the term it follows:

(1) That the word is never used to designate the "uniqueness" of the apostolic office, or so as to have any special applicability to the apostles. Indeed, the term "bishop" is "never" applied to any of them in the New Testament; nor is the word in any of its forms ever used with reference to them, except in the single case of "Judas," Acts 1:20.

(2) it is never employed in the New Testament to designate an order of men superior to presbyters, regarded as having any other functions than presbyters, or being in any sense "successors" to the apostles. It is so used now by the advocates of prelacy; but this is a use wholly unknown to the New Testament. It is so undeniable that the name is never given in the New Testament to those who are now called "bishops," that even Episcopalians concede it. Thus, Dr. Onderdonk (Tract on Episcopacy, p. 12) says, "All that we read in the New Testament concerning 'bishops' is to be regarded as pertaining to the 'middle grade;' that is, to those who are now regarded as 'priests.'" This is not strictly correct, as is clear from the remarks above respecting what is called the "middle grade;" but it is strictly correct, so far as it affirms that it is "never" applied to prelates.

(3) it is used in the New Testament to denote ministers of the gospel who had the care or oversight of the churches, without any regard to grade or rank.

(4) it has now, as used by Episcopalians, a sense which is wholly unauthorized by the New Testament, and which, indeed, is entirely at variance with the usage there. To apply the term to a pretended superior order of clergy, as designating their special office, is wholly to depart from the use of the word as it occurs in the Bible.

continued...

CHAPTER 3

1Ti 3:1-16. Rules as to Bishops (Overseers) AND Deacons. The Church, and the Gospel Mystery Now Revealed to It, Are the End of All Such Rules.

1. Translate as Greek, "Faithful is the saying." A needful preface to what follows: for the office of a bishop or overseer in Paul's day, attended as it was with hardship and often persecution, would not seem to the world generally a desirable and "good work."

desire—literally, "stretch one's self forward to grasp"; "aim at": a distinct Greek verb from that for "desireth." What one does voluntarily is more esteemed than what he does when asked (1Co 16:15). This is utterly distinct from ambitious desires after office in the Church. (Jas 3:1).

bishop—overseer: as yet identical with "presbyter" (Ac 20:17, 28; Tit 1:5-7).

good work—literally, "honorable work." Not the honor associated with it, but the work, is the prominent thought (Ac 15:38; Php 2:30; compare 2Ti 4:5). He who aims at the office must remember the high qualifications needed for the due discharge of its functions.1 Timothy 3:1 The office of a bishop is to be esteemed a good work.

1 Timothy 3:2-7 The qualifications requisite in a bishop,

1 Timothy 3:8-13 and in deacons.

1 Timothy 3:14,15 Why Paul wrote these instructions to Timothy.

1 Timothy 3:16 The important truths of the Christian revelation.

This is a true saying; pistov, a faithful saying, that which none can dispute, of which none ought to doubt.

If a man desire the office of a bishop; if a man desire any office to which belongs an oversight of the church of God. The Greek word episkoph signifies in the general an oversight of others; here the following discourse restrains it to an oversight of persons and affairs in the church. The apostle by this phrase determines this employment lawful, and under due circumstances to be desired, and saith of it, that he who desireth it

desireth kalon ergon, a good work, a noble employment; it is a work, the office of the ministry in the church is and ought to be a work. The titles of gospel ministers are not mere titles of honour, and of all works or employments, the ministry is the most noble employment. We (saith the apostle) are stewards of the mysteries of God, ministers of Christ, 1 Corinthians 4:1; ambassadors for Christ, in Christ’s stead, 2 Corinthians 5:20; God’s angels or messengers to churches, Revelation 2:1. It being so good, so great, and noble an employment, it is no wonder that God hath restrained women, the weaker and more ignoble sex, from invading it, for all men are not fit for it, but only such as are hereafter described.

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. 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 "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.

This {1} is a true saying, {2} If a man {a} desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

(1) Having completed the treatise of doctrine and of the manner of handling of it, as well also of public prayer, he now in the third place comes to the persons themselves, speaking first of pastors, and afterwards of deacons. And he uses a preface, so that the church may know that these are certain and sure rules.

(2) The office of bishop, or the ministry of the word is not an idle dignity, but a work, and that an excellent work: and therefore a bishop must be furnished with many virtues both at home and abroad. Therefore it is necessary before he is chosen to examine well his learning, his gifts, his abilities, and his life.

(a) He does not speak here of ambitious seeking, of which there cannot be a worse fault in the Church, but generally of the mind and disposition of man, prepared and disposed to help and edify the Church of God, when and wherever it will please the Lord.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Timothy 3:1. After speaking of the behaviour of men and women in the church-assemblies, Paul goes on to give instructions regarding the proper qualifications of office-bearers in the church. He begins emphatically with the introductory words: πιστὸς ὁ λόγος, which here, as in 1 Timothy 1:15, do not refer to what precedes (Chrysostom, Erasmus, and others), but to what follows.

εἴ τις ἐπισκοπῆς ὀρέγεται] Since ἐπισκοπή corresponds with ἐπίσκοπος in 1 Timothy 3:2, the word does not denote here generally “the office of one who is set over others” (Hofmann), but specially “the office of a bishop;” for only in this way can the inferences in 1 Timothy 3:2 f. be drawn from what is said here. Why the previous words πιστὸς ὁ λόγος should not be in agreement with this, we cannot understand.

Ἐπισκοπή has a similar meaning in Acts 1:20, where it denotes the office of apostle; comp. Meyer on the passage. In the N. T. the word usually means “the visitation.”

ὀρέγεται does not necessarily imply here, as de Wette thinks, the notion of ambitious striving; comp. Hebrews 11:16.

The ground of the ὀρέγεσθαι may indeed be ambition, but it may also be the zeal of faith and love. The apostle does not blame the ὀρέγεσθαι in itself; he merely asks us to consider that the ἐπισκοπή is a καλὸν ἔργον, and that not every one therefore may assume it.

καλοῦ ἔρου ἐπιθυμεῖ] Leo and others take ἔργον here in the sense of τί; but it seems more correct to hold by the meaning: “work, business” (Luther, Matthies, de Wette, Wiesinger, Hofmann, and others); comp. 2 Timothy 4:5 : ἔργον ποίησον εὐαγγελιστοῦ; 1 Thessalonians 5:13, where the church is exhorted διὰ τὸ ἔργον αὐτῶν to the love of the προϊστάμενοι. It is, however, very doubtful, to say the least, that the word is chosen to lay stress on the thought that the ἐπισκοπή is an office of work and not of enjoyment (Jerome: “opus, non dignitatem, non delicias;” Bengel: “negotium, non otium”).

καλοῦ, see 1 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 4:7.1 Timothy 3:1-13. The qualifications of the men who are to be ministers; and first (a) of the episcopus (vv.1-7) secondly (b) of the deacons (1 Timothy 3:8-13) with a parenthetical instruction respecting women church-workers (1 Timothy 3:11).

εἴ τις ἐπισκοπῆς, κ.τ.λ.: Having given elementary directions concerning the scope of public prayer, and the ministers thereof, St. Paul now takes up the matter of Church organisation. He begins with the office of the episcopus, or presbyter, because that is of the very essence of Church order. On the question as to the terms presbyter and episcopus, it is sufficient here to state my own conclusion, that they represent slightly different aspects of the same office, pastoral and official; aspects which came naturally into prominence in the Jewish and Greek societies respectively which gave birth to the names. This seems the obvious conclusion from a comparison of Acts 20:17; Acts 20:28; Php 1:1; Titus 1:5; Titus 1:7; 1 Timothy 3:1-2; 1 Timothy 3:4-5; 1 Timothy 5:17; 1 Peter 5:1-2; Clem. Rom. 1 Cor. 44; Polycarp, 5; Clem. Al. Quis Dives, § 42.

ὀρέγεταιἐπιθυμεῖ: The R.V. (seeketh … desireth) indicates to the English reader that two distinct Greek words are used; a fact which is concealed in the A.V. (desire … desireth). So Vulg. has desiderat in both places; but [263]47, cupit … desiderat. ὀρέγεσθαι, which occurs again in 1 Timothy 6:10 of reaching after money, is not used in any depreciatory sense. Field (in loc.) notes that “it has a special application to such objects as a man is commonly said to aspire to”. The sanity of St. Paul’s judgment is nowhere better seen than in his commendation of lawful ambition. A man may be actuated by a variety of motives; yet it is not inevitable that those that are lower should impair the quality of the higher; they need not interpenetrate each other. In any case, St. Paul credits the aspirant with the noblest ideal: He who aspires to be an episcopus desires to perform a good work, “Esther opus; negotium, non otium. Acts 15:38, Php 2:30” (Bengel).

[263] Speculum

καλοῦ ἔργου: καλὸν ἔργον and καλὰ ἔργα (see reff.) are not peculiar to the Pastorals (Matthew 5:16; Matthew 26:10 = Mark 14:6; John 10:32-33); but, as the references show, the phrase is found in them only of the Pauline Epistles. On the other hand, ἔργα ἀγαθά occurs six times in the Pastorals. See reff. on chap. 1 Timothy 2:10. We perceive in the use of it a qualification of the earlier depreciation of the works of the Law, induced by a natural reaction from the abuse of that teaching.1. This is a true saying] Better, It is a faithful saying; R.V., as in 1 Timothy 1:15, literally ‘Faithful is the saying’; most probably to be referred, as there and in the other three passages, to the following sentence. So A.V. and R.V., though the margin of R.V. mentions that ‘Some connect the words … with the preceding paragraph’; and Westcott and Hort in their text by the mode of printing so connect it. The early Greek Fathers are divided; Chrysostom, e.g. is for reference to the preceding, Theod. Mops, to the following, quoting our Lord’s ‘Verily, verily.’ The various reading of D anthrôpinos (some Latin Versions have humanus) ‘this is a human saying,’ read also in 1 Timothy 1:15, cannot very well be explained as by Ellicott, an equivalent of benignus, for how could benignus at all fairly represent pistos, faithful, trusty? Nor can it have arisen from the spread of the nolo episcopari feeling, causing this place to give offence, so that ‘human,’ ‘carnal’ was substituted; for when substituted it turns the context upside down, and the explanation could not hold in 1 Timothy 1:15. We may look for the explanation rather in the use by St Paul of the phrase kata anthrôpon, anthrôpinos, Romans 6:19; Galatians 3:15; 1 Corinthians 15:32, where the original idea is ‘according to the way of ordinary human speaking.’ So here ‘the saying has won its way to acceptance in the common speech,’ has become proverbial, representing the wisdom of many and the wit of one.

desire] R.V. seeketh, the word being stronger than that in the next clause and meaning literally ‘stretcheth out to take’; it is used (in N. T.) only in 1 Timothy 6:10, ‘love of money, which some reaching after,’ and Hebrews 11:6 ‘a rewarder of them that seek after him.’

the office of a bishop] The episcopate, lit. ‘overseership,’ which Alford would retain as the translation, to avoid the later limitations suggested by ‘the office of a bishop.’ Fairbairn on the other hand urges ‘pastorate.’ But ‘pastor’ originally meant only ‘bishop’ in its English ecclesiastical use. It is clear that the originals of our episcopate, diaconate and apostolate were at first interchangeable as general terms; Acts 1:17, ‘this diaconate,’ 20 ‘his episcopate,’ 25 ‘this diaconate and apostolate,’ all used of the office from which Judas fell: diaconate expresses the service done for Christ, and apostolate the mission from Him; episcopate the oversight and care of those among whom the service is done and to whom the mission is.

For the first trace of separation of the term ‘diaconate’ to a distinct class cf. Acts 6:1-2, contrasted with 1 Timothy 3:4; though the word is still used of St Paul’s apostleship, 1 Timothy 1:12, and of Timothy’s office, 2 Timothy 4:5. A separate ‘bishop’ or ‘overseer’ and a separate ‘deacon’ or ‘minister’ come first in Php 1:1, ‘all the saints with the bishops and deacons’: then in Acts 20:17, compared with acts 20:28, ‘the presbyters of Ephesus at Miletus’ … ‘the Holy Ghost hath made you bishops,’ we get a new name synonymous with bishop—‘presbyter’; and later 2 John 1:1 this new name ‘presbyter’ is used of the apostle St John and 1 Peter 5:1 by St Peter of himself.

We infer then that in N. T. times ‘bishop’ and ‘presbyter’ were both used of certain senior ministers and of the apostles, and that there were junior ministers called ‘deacons’; but the word ‘deacon’ could still be used generally. The conclusion of Bp Wordsworth is that the reference of episcopate here, while mainly to be made to the office of presbyter, does not exclude the office to which Timothy was appointed in the room of the apostle, to which the term was afterwards restricted, and from which comes our word ‘bishop.’ See Introduction, pp. 13–28, 53, 54; Appendix, C.

he desireth a good work] With all commentators from Chrysostom we must lay stress on good work; ‘non dignitates sed opus eo quod pro communi est utilitate constitutum.’ Theod. Mops.

1–7. The duties and characters of Bishops or Presbyters

Following the directions concerning the general arrangements for public worship come instructions as to the character and qualifications of the appointed ministers, the presbyterate, and the diaconate (male and female). These are introduced by a well-known saying among them, declared to be ‘faithful’ or ‘trustworthy.’ See Appendix, E.1 Timothy 3:1. Πιστὸς ὁ λόγος, this is a faithful saying) This preface is used, because it does not seem so to the world.—ὀρέγεταιἐπιθυμεῖ) There is here great propriety in the words: ὀρέγω, to stretch out, thence ὀρέγομαι, to ask eagerly with outstretched hand, to grasp: ἐπιθυμία of the mind, seeking τὸ καλὸν, a good thing, produces ὄρεξιν; again ὄρεξις indicates ἐπιθυμίαν: ὀρέγεσθαι, φεύγειν, are opposed to each other: see Arist. 1, Rhet. 10, n. 12. In human affairs, those things are more agreeable, which a man confers or performs of his own accord, than when he is asked: how much more in the affairs of religion? 1 Corinthians 16:15, at the end. But away with sacrilegious solicitation of favour and interest. There were not wanting persons who wished to obtain it, Jam 3:1. Paul does not altogether reject their desire, but he reduces it to order.—καλοῦ) an honourable good, excellent, demanding noble virtues. To this is to be referred the then or therefore (οὖν) in the following verse.—ἔργου, work) It is a work, a business, not ease; Acts 15:38; Php 2:30.Verse 1. - Faithful is the saying for this is a true saying, A.V.; seeketh for desire, A.V. Faithful is the saying (see above, 1 Timothy 1:15, note). This manifestly refers to what follows, not, as Chrysostom and others, and margin of the R.V., to the saying which precedes, in 1 Timothy 2:15. Seeketh (ὀρέγεται); literally, stretches out his hands after. It is peculiar in the New Testament to the pastoral Epistles and the Epistle to the Hebrews, though common in classical Greek (see 1 Timothy 6:10; Hebrews 11:16). The noun ὔρεξις, appetite, desire (which is found several times in the LXX.), is used once by St. Paul (Romans 1:27). The office of a bishop; meaning here, as everywhere else in Scripture, that of a presbyter, or priest. Ἐπισκοπή, in the sense of "the episcopate," occurs only here and Acts 1:20, where it is rendered "bishopric" in the A.V., and "overseer-ship" in the margin of the R.V., being the translation in the LXX. of Psalm 108 (Psalms 109, A.V.) of the Hebrew פְקֻדָתו, "his office." Elsewhere (Luke 19:44; 1 Peter 2:12; 1 Peter 5:6) it means "visitation." But ἐπίσκοπος, "bishop" (ver. 2) - except in 1 Peter 2:25, where it is applied to Christ - always means the overseer of the particular flock, - the presbyter (Acts 20:28; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:7); and ἐπισκοπεῖν the functions of such ἐπίσκοπος (1 Peter 5:2 compared with 1). It was not till the sub-apostolic age that the name of ἐπίσ᾿οπος was confined to the chief overseer who had "priests and deacons" under him, as Timothy and Titus had. Possibly this application of the word arose from the visits of the apostles, and afterwards of men sent by the apostles, as Timothy and Titus, Tychicus and Artemas, were, to visit the Churches, being occasional and temporary only, as those of Visitors. For such occasional visitation is implied in the verb ἐπισκέπτεσθαι (Matthew 25:36, 43; Luke 1:68, 78; Acts 7:23; Acts 15:36; James 1:27). Afterwards, when the wants of the Churches required permanent oversight, the name ἐπίσκοπος - vescovo (It.), eueque (Fr.), bischof (Get.), bisceop (A.S.), aipiskaupus (Moeso-Goth.), etc. - became universal for the chief overseer of the Church. A good work (καλοῦ ἔργου, not ἀγαθοῦ, as ver. 10). Καλού means "honourable," "becoming," "beneficial," and the like. This is a true saying (πιστὸς ὁ λόγος)

Better, faithful is the saying. See on 1 Timothy 1:15.

Desire (ὀρέγεται)

Better, seeketh. Only here, 1 Timothy 6:10, and Hebrews 11:16. Originally to stretch forth, to reach after. Here it implies not only desiring but seeking after. Desire is expressed by ἐπιθυμεῖ immediately following. The word implies eagerness, but not of an immoderate or unchristian character. Comp. the kindred word ὄρεξις with its terrible meaning in Romans 1:27.

The office of a bishop (ἐπισκοπῆς)

oP. Ἑπίσκοπος superintendent, overseer, by Paul only in Philippians 1:1. The fundamental idea of the sword is overseeing. The term ἐπίσκοπος was not furnished by the gospel tradition: it did not come from the Jewish synagogue, and it does not appear in Paul's lists of those whom God has set in the church (1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11). Its adoption came about in a natural way. Just as senatus, γερουσία and πρεσβύτερος passed into official designations through the natural association of authority with age, so ἐπίσκοπος would be, almost inevitably, the designation of a superintendent. This process of natural selection was probably aided by the familiar use of the title In the clubs and guilds to designate functions analogous to those of the ecclesiastical administrator. The title can hardly be traced to the O.T. There are but two passages in lxx where the word has any connection with religious worship, Numbers 4:16; 2 Kings 11:18. It is applied to God (Job 20:29), and in N.T. to Christ (1 Peter 2:25). It is used of officers in the army and of overseers of workmen. The prevailing O.T. sense of ἐπισκοπὴ is visitation for punishment, inquisition, or numbering.

He desireth (ἐπιθυμεῖ)

See on 1 Peter 1:12.

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