Often times when a congregation seeks a pastor, what is usually in focus is calling a man to perform certain duties. In particular, congregations want to know how he will preach, teach, and administer the sacraments. Other things like leadership and administration abilities, people skills and likability also come into play. In this part of St. Paul’s letter to Timothy, however, he seems more concerned with the faith and character of the overseer or deacon who will be performing such noble tasks.
The “Pastoral Epistles” of 1st and 2nd Timothy and Titus, written by the Apostle Paul and divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit, are a treasure trove of invaluable insights into the early Christian church and God’s expectation for its leaders. These letters, brimming with wisdom, are not relics of the past but remain authoritative today. They offer a roadmap for navigating the challenges of leadership and teaching, making them not only essential for understanding the role of pastors but also for all Christians seeking to live a life that honors God’s will.
Thy Strong Word, hosted by Rev. Dr. Phil Booe, pastor of St. John Lutheran Church of Luverne, MN, reveals the light of our salvation in Christ through study of God’s Word, breaking our darkness with His redeeming light. Each weekday, two pastors fix our eyes on Jesus by considering Holy Scripture, verse by verse, in order to be strengthened in the Word and be equipped to faithfully serve in our daily vocations.
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1 Timothy 3
Qualifications for Overseers
3 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer[a] must be above reproach, the husband of one wife,[b] sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
Qualifications for Deacons
8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued,[c] not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9 They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise[d] must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
The Mystery of Godliness
14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
- 1 Timothy 3:2 Or bishop; Greek episkopos; a similar term occurs in verse 1
- 1 Timothy 3:2 Or a man of one woman; also verse 12
- 1 Timothy 3:8 Or devious in speech
- 1 Timothy 3:11 Or Wives likewise, or Women likewise
- 1 Timothy 3:16 Greek Who; some manuscripts God; others Which
- 1 Timothy 3:16 Or justified
- 1 Timothy 3:16 Or vindicated in spirit
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. esv.org