1 Timothy 3:1
This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desires a good work.…
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.
Parallel VersesKJV: This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.