1 Timothy 3:1
This is a trustworthy saying: If anyone aspires to be an overseer, he desires a noble task.
Sermons
The Christian Pastorate a Good WorkT. Croskery 1 Timothy 3:1
A Liberal BishopChristian Herald1 Timothy 3:1-7
A Minister Above the Love of MoneyChristian Herald1 Timothy 3:1-7
A Well-Governed FamilyHorace Bushnell.1 Timothy 3:1-7
Humility in MinistersChristian Herald1 Timothy 3:1-7
Luther and His ChildrenJ. Stewart.1 Timothy 3:1-7
Ministerial Pride RebukedScottish Christian Herald1 Timothy 3:1-7
Ministerial Pride RebukedChristian Age1 Timothy 3:1-7
Ministers not ContentiousW. Baxendale.1 Timothy 3:1-7
Pastoral CareJ. Irons.1 Timothy 3:1-7
Preference for the MinistryPhiladelphia Press1 Timothy 3:1-7
The Causes and Remedies of PrideH. Melvill, B. D.1 Timothy 3:1-7
The Dignity of the Christian MinistryErasmus.1 Timothy 3:1-7
The Ideal MinisterA. Rowland, LL. B.1 Timothy 3:1-7
The Office of a Bishop a Good WorkS. Davies, M. A.1 Timothy 3:1-7
The Pulpit a Light and TowerW. H. Van Doren.1 Timothy 3:1-7
Vanity in PreachersThe Homilist1 Timothy 3:1-7
Qualifications of Three Classes of Office-BearersR. Finlayson 1 Timothy 3:1-13
The apostle, having in the previous chapter regulated the worship of the congregation and placed it in the hands of men, not women, now proceeds to describe the qualifications of the pastors of congregations, as if to imply that the pastorate did not belong to all men.

I. THE OFFICE OF PASTOR IS A GOOD WORK. "Faithful is the saying, If any one seeketh the office of pastor [or, 'bishop'], he desireth a good work."

1. The office in question was held by persons called by the two names of bishop and elder.

(1) The apostle uses the terms of the same office (Titus 1:5-7).

(2) The terms came from two different quarters. The term "elder," or "presbyter," was of Jewish origin, and was earlier than the other, having been long in use in the synagogue administration. It had respect primarily to the age of those presiding over the religious community, but came by-and-by, and especially in the Christian Church, to signify its head, and was a title of dignity and gravity. The other term, "bishop," came from the Greek world, and was a designation of the duties of the office as involving an oversight of the Churches.

(3) The term "bishop" is, therefore, mostly employed of the Churches in Asia Airier, consisting of converted Greeks, but the Jewish term "elder" had precedence of it at that earlier stage when the Church consisted of a nucleus of converted Jews. In Crete, where the Greek and Jewish elements were about equally powerful, both terms are used.

2. The office in question is a good work. This was one of the faithful sayings of the apostle. It was

(1) a work, not a sinecure, or title of honor, but a laborious office, and therefore pastors are called "laborers in the Word and. doctrine;"

(2) a good work, being excellent in itself, and in its aims as for the good of men and the glory of God.

II. THE PASTORATE IS A WORTHY OBJECT OF AMBITION. "He desireth a good work." It may be laudably desired, not as an office of profit or honor, but with a supreme regard to the glory of God and the welfare of man, and ought not to be undertaken except by those who have a real delight and pleasure in acting upon these great principles. - T.C.







The office of a bishop.
If a man desire the office of a bishop from right principles, he desireth. — not a secular dignity — not a good benefice — not a post of honour or profit — not an easy idle life — but he desireth a work; a good work indeed it is: but still it is a work.

I. It may properly be called a WORK, if we consider the duties of the office, which require the utmost assiduity, and some of which are peculiarly painful and laborious.

II. It is a GOOD WORK, whether you consider, for whom, with whom, or for what you work. The ministers of the gospel work for God, who is carrying on the grand scheme of salvation in our world. His immediate service is the peculiar business of their lives. Ministers also work for Jesus Christ. It was He that originally gave them their commission; it was He that assigned them their work; it is He that is interested in their success. Again, the ministers of the gospel work for the souls of men. To do good to mankind is the great purpose of their office. Let us next consider with whom the ministers of the gospel work; and we shall see how good their employment is. "They are workers together with God." (2 Corinthians 6:1). They are also co-workers with Jesus Christ, promoting the same cause for which He became man; for which He lived the life of a servant, and died the death of a malefactor and a slave. They may also be called fellow-workers with the Holy Spirit, whose great office it is to sanctify depraved creatures, and prepare them for the refined happiness of heaven. They also act in concert with angels; for what are these glorious creatures but "ministering spirits sent forth to minister to them that shall be heirs of salvation"? (Hebrews 1:14). An angel once condescended to call a minister of the gospel his fellow-servant (Revelation 19:10). Ministers also are engaged in that work in which the apostles went before them. The office of a bishop will farther appear a good work, if it be considered for what it is that ministers work. They do not indeed work for a reward upon the footing of personal merit; but they hope for it on the plan of the gospel, through Jesus Christ. In this view, like Moses, they have "a respect to the recompense of reward" (Hebrews 2:26). And thus it appears, their laborious and painful work is good — good in itself, good for the world, and good for themselves.

(S. Davies, M. A.)

The apostle who most boldly maintained the brotherhood of believers clearly recognized the necessity for order and office in Christian communities.

I. The MORAL CHARACTERISTICS of the ideal pastor are strongly insisted upon. Strangely enough, nothing is said about his piety, his love to God, his communion with Him, his delight in Him, his devotion to Him; but this is naturally presupposed as the basis of the rest. It is not alluded to here, partly because Timothy did not require to be reminded that personal religion is the first essential in all spiritual work, and partly because he was less able to judge of inward piety in others than of the qualities mentioned here.

1. Self-rule is one of the principal of these, and it is to display itself in all directions. The bishop is to be sober, exercising habitual self-restraint, not only in respect of intoxicating drinks, but also in respect of indulgence in pleasures of all kinds, setting an example of dominion over the carnal and sensuous. But temper is to be as much under control as other passions, for the Christian teacher must be no "brawler," no striker, "but patient."

2. Again, sound judgment is a qualification much needed by every pastor and teacher. This is no doubt one reason of Paul's for urging on Timothy, as he does in the sixth verse, that a pastor in the Church should not be a "novice," i.e., a recent convert. If the young life of a plant be exposed to the glare of the sunshine, death will supervene. And in the life of every creature — insect, and bird, and beast, and most of all in the life of man — the period of development must precede the period of manifestation.

3. Another characteristic of the ideal minister should be open-heartedness and open-handedness. The phrase "given to hospitality" in Authorized Version, or more correctly "a lover of strangers," denotes what was relatively more important then than now.

II. THE RELATIONS OF THE MINISTER TO THOSE AROUND HIM, his right relation with God being pre-supposed.

1. He is to be the husband of one wife.

2. Then allusion is made to the pastor's own house as distinguished from God's house. So it is urged that any leader in the Church should rule well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity. On which Dr. Reynolds has beautifully said, "The child-life of the pastor's home should suggest the sacred ness of a temple and the order of a palace." And is not this true for us all? Is it not in the home that we are the most tested, and is it not there we can best glorify God?

3. The relation the pastor should hold towards the world. Much stress is laid in this passage on being "blameless," and having "a good report of them that are without" — those, namely, who are outside the kingdom of Christ. We cannot afford, as Christ's representatives, to defy the world's opinion about us so far as moral reputation is concerned. The world is a poor judge of doctrine, of motive, and of religious hopes and thoughts; but it is a keen and on the whole an accurate judge of character; and when the members and leaders of the Church are recognized by the world as honest, sincere, trusty, pure men and women, Christ will win the day against His foes.

(A. Rowland, LL. B.)

Philadelphia Press.
- A remarkable avowal of the late Senator John A. Logan is reported by a clergyman in a letter to us. He says that in talking with the senator not long before his death, Logan said: "I have often thought that I would like to be in the ministry." I repliedMoreover, if we weigh all things in the balances of justice, we shall see that there is no king, whatever may be the pomp that surrounds him, who as a king is not in dignity below, I will not say a bishop only, but even a simple village pastor, regarded as a pastor. We have only, in order to realize the fact, to cast our eyes on the functions of the pastor and of the king respectively. What do the labours of princes regard? Is it not that evil-doers may be kept down by the vigilance of the law, and that the good may not be disturbed? That is to say, so to act that the persons and property of the citizens of the state shall be in safety? But how much more excellent is the aim of the minister of the gospel, who desires to establish in each individual soul the serenest tranquility by quieting and subduing the lusts of the world! The king's labours are intended to secure that the state shall live at peace with its neighbours; the priest's aim is that every one may be at peace with God, that each may possess peace within, and that no one may have it in his heart to injure another. The prince designs to protect the house, lands, and cattle of particular persons from the violence of depredators. But what does the priest design? To defend the property of the souls entrusted to him, their faith, their charity, their temperance, their purity against the assaults of the devil; property which confers happiness on those who possess it, and the loss of which plunges them into the direst misfortune... In one word, all that comes under the management of the prince is earthly and transient; but that which occupies the pastor is divine, celestial, eternal. And, therefore, as much difference as there is between the heaven and the earth, between the body and the soul, between temporal goods and eternal possessions, so much difference is there between the functions committed to the king and the trust devolved on the priest.

(Erasmus.)

When there is to be a real order and law in the house, it will come of no hard and boisterous or fretful and termagant way of command. Gentleness will speak the word of firmness, and firmness will be clothed in the airs of true gentleness. How many do we see who fairly rave in authority, and keep the tempest up from morning till night, who never stop to see whether anything they forbid or command is in fact observed! Indeed, they really forget what they have commanded. Their mandates follow so thickly as to crowd one another, and even to successively thrust one another out of remembrance. The result is, that by this cannonading of pop-guns, the successive pellets of command ment are in turn all blown away. If anything is fit to be forbidden or commanded, it is fit to be watched and held in faithful account. On this it is that the real emphasis of authority depends, not on the windstress of the utterance. Let there be only such and so many things commanded as can be faithfully attended to; these in a gentle and film voice, as if their title to obedience lay in their own merit; and then let the child be held to a perfectly inevitable and faithful account; and by that time it will be seen that order and law have a stress of their own, and a power to rule in their own divine right. The beauty of a well-governed family will be seen in this manner to be a kind of silent, natural-looking power, as if it were a matter only of growth, and could never have been otherwise.

(Horace Bushnell.)

Luther used to teach his children to read the Bible in the following way. First, to read through one book carefully, then to study chapter by chapter, and then verse by verse, and lastly word by word, for, he said, "It is like a person shaking a fruit tree. First shaking the tree and gathering up the fruit which falls to the ground, and then shaking each branch and afterwards each twig of the branch, and last of all looking carefully under each leaf to see that no fruit remains. In this way, and in no other, shall we also find the hidden treasures that are in the Bible."

(J. Stewart.)

Christian Herald.
A little while ago, in Calcutta, a native, a Christian merchant, was deeply interested in a community of "outcasts," and he made an offer of £60 a-year to any native Christian who would go and live among these people, and teach them the Word of Life. The offer had no sooner been made than a candidate for the office appeared. Who was he? As humble and devoted and consistent a Christian as you ever met. He was a professor in a missionary college, M.A. and LL.B. of the Calcutta University, and drawing a salary of £200 a year. Such was the candidate for this office of £60 a year!

(Christian Herald.)

Christian Herald.
Bishop Baring's generosity and munificence were unbounded. One instance may be given out of many. He was spending the Sunday with a vicar blessed with very moderate means and a large family. His lordship noticed the pale faces of the children, and said to their mother, "You must take these little ones to the seaside, and their father, too, must have a complete rest. I will provide his duty for six weeks." The good lady wondered where she was to find the wherewithal to carry out this excel lent scheme. As the bishop, however, shook hands with her on leaving he put a £50 note into her hand in the kindest way, and solved the difficulty. It is not, however, every one who has such hereditary wealth as the late Bishop of Durham.

(Christian Herald.)

(Revised Version): — How a soft answer can turn away wrath, as well as dissatisfaction, is illustrated in the following anecdote of the late President Wayland. Deacon Moses Pond went to Dr. Wayland once with the complaint that the preaching did not edify him. "I'm sorry," said the pastor; "I know they are poor sermons. I wish I could make them better. Come, let us pray that I may be able to do so." The deacon, telling the story, used to say, "Dr. Wayland prayed and I prayed; he cried and I cried. But I have thought a hundred times that it was strange that he did not turn me out of the house. I tell you there never was a better man nor a greater preacher than Dr. Wayland."

(W. Baxendale.)

Apt to teach
These three words are but one in the Greek. Ignorance is the inheritance of our fall in Eden. The grand work of the ministry of Christ is to illuminate the darkened mind. There is a fire that does not give light, and a cold phosphorescent flame that yields no heat. Our teaching, while it dispels the darkness of sin, must shed its beams to warm the frozen virtues into life.

1. To meet the claims of a good teacher one must he willing to learn. The apostles, dropping their nets and other worldly craft, went to a school of the prophets, such as never before or since existed on earth. Its sole instructor was the Great Teacher, the Creator of all things. They learned wisdom without a book from the source of all knowledge.

2. If we would be apt to teach, we must have a lesson to impart.

3. To be apt to teach, one must be master of the lesson he would impart.

4. To be apt to teach, a sacred enthusiasm is indispensable.

5. To be apt to teach under the wings of the Eternal Spirit, Holy Dove, we must gather strength and success by prayer.

6. Apt to teach, finally, has the element of faith.

(W. H. Van Doren.)

Take care of the Church of God
Observe the sacred charge committed to God's appointed bishops, or shepherds, or pastors. I should, first of all, insist that Christ's pastors, who take care of the Church committed to their charge are to take care of their food — that they shall have nothing to eat but what is pure and wholesome. That in the care which God's servants have to take of the Church committed to their charge, they have to nourish three descriptions of character, or three classes of the family specified in Scripture — as babes, young men, and fathers. This care taken of the Church must be with all tenderness, but with all firmness, and under the consciousness of responsibility. It must be with all tenderness. We must be gentle, as the apostle says, "even as a nurse cherisheth her children; and because we were desirous of your welfare, we were ready to impart unto you our own souls, because ye were dear to our souls." But we are not only to use tenderness — "in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves" — towards the lambs, the weak lings, the little ones; but we must use all firmness. Moreover, if we would fake care of the Church of God, it must be by keeping our hearts and thoughts fixed on our responsibility.

(J. Irons.)

Not a novice
The Homilist.
I. YOUNG PREACHERS ARE ESPECIALLY SUBJECT TO SUCH VANITY. It is the novice that is liable to be "lifted up with pride."

1. The young are naturally disposed to over-rate their abilities.

2. They are peculiarly susceptible to adulation. The more unenlightened and unreflective men are, the more they are given to flattery.

II. THE DEVIL'S DESTINY MUST FOLLOW SUCH VANITY. "Fall into the condemnation of the devil."

(The Homilist.)

Scottish Christian Herald.
An aged Scotch divine had occasionally to avail himself of the assistance of probationers. One day, a young man, very vain of his accomplishments as a preacher, officiated, and on descending from the desk, was met by the old gentleman with extended hands, and expecting high praise, he said, "No compliments, I pray." "Na, na, ha, my young friend," said the parson, "nowadays I'm glad o' onybody." Rowland Hill on ministerial work: — No man ever had stronger views than Mr. Rowland Hill of the true nature of the ministerial work, and of the necessity of a humble dependence on the Lord's assistance for a blessing in it. One of his remarks was, "If favoured at any time with what is called a good opportunity, I am too apt to find myself saying, 'Well done!,' when I should lie in the dust, and give God all the glory." Another was, "Lord, make me distrustful of myself, that I may confide in Thee alone; self dependence is the Pharisee's high road to destruction." He was accustomed strongly to urge on all who entered the sacred office the necessity of maintaining Christian and heavenly tempers among their people. "Some folks," he would say, "appear as if they had been bathed in crab verjuice in their infancy, which penetrated through their skins, and has made them sour-blooded ever since; but this will not do for a messenger of the gospel; as he bears a message, so he must manifest a spirit of love." He used to like Dr. Ryland's advice to his young academicians — "Mind, no sermon is of any value, or likely to be useful, which has not the three R's in it, — Ruin by the Fall, Redemption by Christ, Regeneration by the Holy Spirit." Of himself he remarked, "My aim in every sermon is a stout and lusty call to sinners, to quicken the saints, and to be made a universal blessing to all." It was a favourite saying with him, "The nearer we live to God, the better we are enabled to serve Him. Oh how I hate my own noise, when I have nothing to make a noise about! Heavenly wisdom creates heavenly utterance." In a letter to Mr. Jones, he observes, "There is something in preaching the gospel, with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, I long to get at. At times I think I feel somewhat like it, and then I bawl almost as bad as the Welshman. If we deal with Divine realities, we ought to feel them such, and the people will in general feel with us, and acknowledge the power that does wonders on the earth; while dry, formal, discussional preaching leaves the hearers just where it found them. Still, they who are thus favoured had need to be favoured with a deal of humility. We are too apt to be proud of that which is not our own. Oh humility, humility, humility!" It is no wonder, with such impressions as to the nature of his work, and the state of his mind, that Mr. Rowland Hill's preaching was so honoured and blessed of God. "Lord, help!" was his constant and earnest prayer, and it was heard.

(Scottish Christian Herald.)

Christian Herald.
The Rev. George Gilfillan, who died in 1877, was not only an author of some distinction, but a wit. A congregation to whom he had been preaching presented him, when a probationer, with a suit of clothes; and after he had put them on, the old ones were tied up in a bundle. "Where shall I send them?" said the tailor. "I will take them myself," said Mr. Gilfillan; "I have carried them too long upon my back to be ashamed of carrying them under my arm." There was no false pride about him. He gave due honour to old friends.

(Christian Herald.)

Christian Age.
The American religious journal, the Independent, relates the following story of rebuked vanity, which was told recently in a gathering of ministers, by the Rev. Dr. Gould, of Worcester. "A certain Rev. Samuel Smith had been discoursing very learnedly and loftily, and was now walking home with his brother, eagerly waiting for some word of commendation. Not finding it forthcoming, he dropped a slender oblique hint, to see what could be drawn out. He was somewhat startled and shocked by the outburst: "I tell you, Sam, what it is. Instead of preaching "Jesus Christ and Him crucified," you seem to have been preaching Samuel Smith and him dignified." How necessary it is for preachers of the gospel to hide themselves in the shadow of Christ's Cross, and to forget themselves in the majesty of the message which they deliver.

I. A minister of good report: — About thirty years ago the present Bishop of Minnesota went to Chicago, and built a church near the business centre of the city. In those days there were no street cars, and it happened that the reverend gentleman took up his residence in West Chicago, convenient to an omnibus line. It frequently occurred that the omnibus would be crowded, and many obliged to take "deck passage." The writer was riding on the seat with the driver one Saturday night, when the conversation turned upon Sunday labour and the consistency of professed Christians, the driver thinking it rather hard that he should be obliged to labour on Sunday, while others should take their rest. It appeared from his conversation that his faith in Christianity was rather weak; but turning to me he said, with considerable emphasis, "There is one clergyman whom I respect and believe to be a consistent Christian." Being a little curious to know who the clergyman was, and upon what evidence he had based his opinion, I asked him for an explanation. "Well," said he, "there is the Rev. Mr. Whipple, who built that church down town; he has a free pass over this line, but walks down and back on Sundays rather than compromise his Christianity; that proves to me that he is a consistent Christian." It sometimes occurs that a clergyman's most eloquent sermon is being preached when he least expects it; and any private Christian may preach the same kind of sermon.

(Christian Age.)

You can hardly fail to perceive that this reasoning of St. Paul's proceeds on the supposition that they who know but little are most in danger of pride. It is just because man is a novice that he is likely to be lifted up. Is it not a confessed and well-known fact that the arrogant and conceited person is ordinarily the superficial and the ignorant? You will hardly ever find the man of real power and great acquirement other than a simple and unaffected man. It would scarcely ever lead you to a false estimate of persons, were you to take it as a rule, that where there is the manifestation of conceit, there is shallowness of intellect. And why is this, but because he who knows most is most conscious how little he knows? Can he be vain of his mental power who, having applied it to the investigation of truth, has discovered little more than that truth would exhaust power a thousand-fold greater? Can he be proud of his scientific progress who, having laboured long and hard, finds himself only a beginner, so vast are the spreadings which lie dimly beyond? Oh! it is not, and it never will be, the man of experience who shows himself haughty and conceited. We have thus taken the case generally of a novice in knowledge, as it helps to place under a clearer point of view the gist of St. Paul's argument — namely, that ignorance is the great parent of pride. But we will now confine ourselves to such particular branches of life as must have been referred to by the apostle, when he penned the direction for the exclusion of a novice; and forasmuch as it is the novice in Christian doctrine of which he speaks, we shall perhaps thoroughly compass his argument if we give our attention to knowledge of ourselves, in the two grand respects of our state by nature and our state by grace. Of all knowledge there is confessedly none which is either more valuable in itself, or more difficult of attainment, than self-knowledge; none more valuable, for a man has an immeasurably greater interest or deeper stake in himself than in the whole surrounding universe; none more difficult of attainment, for we have it on the authority of the Bible itself, that none but a Divine Being can search the human heart. And if we were not able to show of all knowledge whatsoever that it is a corrective of pride, or at least reads such lessons to each, as to his incompetence and insignificance, as leaves him inexcusable if he be not humble, we should have no difficulty in doing this in regard to self-knowledge. Let it be, if you will, that the study of stars in their courses might tend to give a man high thoughts of himself; for, indeed, till you look closely into the matter, there is something ennobling — something that seems to excuse, if not to form, a lofty estimate of power — when, with daring tread, the astronomer pursues the heavenly bodies into untravelled regions, tracking their wanderings and counting their revolutions; but in regard, at all events, of self-knowledge, there can be no difficulty in showing to any one who will hearken that pride can subsist only where this knowledge is deficient. If we consider man in his natural condition, how could any one be proud who thoroughly knew that condition? Self-knowledge — knowledge of the body — as appointed to all the disorders of the grave, would be the most effectual corrective to the self-complacency, of which beauty is the food. Who, again, could be proud of rank, puffed up because of some petty elevation above his fellow-men, who was deeply aware of his own position as an accountable creature? Who, once more, could be proud of his intellectual strength, of his wit, his wisdom, his elocution, who knew the height from which he had fallen — and saw in himself but the fragments — we had almost said the rubbish — of what God designed and created him to be? Indeed, you have here in the general the grand corrective to pride. Men have but to know themselves as fallen and depraved creatures, and we might almost venture to say that they could not be proud. But we have spoken of self-knowledge as though it were knowledge of man in regard only of his natural condition. We must, however, consider him as a redeemed being, and not merely as a fallen; for possibly, though knowledge of him in his ruined state be the corrective of pride, it may not be the same with knowledge of him in his restored state. Yes, a slight knowledge of the gospel, so far from generating humility, may even tend to the fostering pride. There is such an opposition between man ruined and man redeemed, if in the one state he may be exhibited as loathsome and worthless, in the other he may be thought of some such importance as ransomed by Christ whilst angels were left to perish, that it is hard to avoid on first hearing of the gospel, feeling that, after all, our degradation must have been exaggerated and our insignificance overdrawn. Thus the novice is once more in danger of being lifted up with pride. As the novice in that knowledge which has to do with man fallen, so the novice in that knowledge which has to do with man redeemed, is liable, through his knowing but little, to the thinking more highly of himself than he ought. And will not the danger diminish as the gospel is more thoroughly studied and understood? Yes, indeed; for what were it but the worst libel on the system of Christianity to suppose it not adapted to the producing humility? And if to this argument for humility, which is interwoven with the whole texture of the gospel, you add the constant denunciations of that gospel against pride — its solemn demands of lowliness of mind as essential to all who would inherit the kingdom of God — you will readily see that the further a man goes in acquaintance with the gospel, the more motives will he have to the abasing himself before God. Redemption as a scheme of wonders into which the very angels desire to look, may kindle in him a dream of his importance; but redemption as emanating from free grace, will convict him of his nothingness; and redemption as requiring from him the mind which was also in Christ, will cover him with confusion. And thus we reach the same conclusion, when we examine self-knowledge in regard to our condition as redeemed, as we reach when we examine it in regard of our condition as fallen. It is the novice who is in most danger of pride; it is his being a novice which exposes him to danger.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

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