1 Timothy 3:1-3 (Overseers and Their Qualifications)

1Ti 3:1          Does the “trustworthy statement” Paul mentions refer to what precedes or what follows?  Note: many Bible versions do refer it to what precedes; recall that chapter and verse divisions were not added until the invention of printing.  See also 1Ti 4:9 and Tit 3:8 where the phrase refers to what precedes, but 1Ti 1:15 and 2 Tim 2:11 where it refers to what follows.  What is an overseer (KJV = bishop)?  Note: the Greek word is also used for “visitation” in both a positive and negative sense (see Lk 19:44 and 1 Pet 2:12), so that inherent to the meaning of the word is that an overseer is involved with the visitation of God’s people both for their care and correction.  How is an overseer different from an elder or pastor?  See Tit 1:5-7, Acts 20:17,28, 1 Pet 2:25, 5:1-4.  What is the significance that Paul appointed elders (plural) for the churches he planted (Acts 14:23), that he commanded Titus to do the same (Tit 1:5), that Peter referred to himself as a fellow elder to the leaders of the churches to which he was writing (1 Pet 5:1), and of the 63 times the word “elder” is used in the New Testament, 59 are in the plural?  Is the pastoral leadership of a church to be the responsibility of one person, or shared among several brothers who are equal in their role and authority?

1Ti 3:2          What does Paul list of first importance as a qualification for an overseer?  What does he list of second importance?  What does he mean by a husband of one wife?  Would this exclude divorced men?  See 1 Cor 7:10-11,15.  Divorced men who remarried?  See Luke 16:18.  Widowed men who remarried?  Cf. 1Ti 5:9,14.  Men who never married?  See also 1Ti 3:4-5, but consider that neither Paul nor Timothy were married.  While it is doubtful that Paul would exclude an unmarried person from the office of overseer (see 1 Cor 7:32-35)—although one who is unmarried would tend to make a better apostle—what do his words indicate about what he considered would be the most common marital status of an overseer/elder/pastor?  What does this teach us about the Roman Catholic requirement forbidding that such should marry?  See 1Ti 4:1-3.  Describe each of the remaining qualifications for an overseer Paul mentions in this verse, and explain why they are important.  Note: “temperate” (KJV “vigilant”) means to be sober, both from the inebriating effects of alcohol, and from the intoxicating wine of false doctrine (cf. 1 Thess 5:6-8); “prudent” is cognate to the word Paul used in 1Ti 2:9 & 15 for the discreet manner in which women are to adorn themselves and for the self-restraint with which they are to conduct themselves; “respectable” is the same word Paul used in 1Ti 2:9 for the proper clothing with which women are to adorn themselves; hospitable is literally a lover of strangers.  What does “able to teach” tell us about one of the primary responsibilities of an overseer?  See also 1Ti 5:17.

1Ti 3:3          Instead of being filled with the spirit of this world, with a spirit of drunkenness, with what must an overseer be filled?  See Eph 5:18.  Should we imply from Paul’s words here that it would be better for a Christian leader to abstain completely from wine or alcoholic beverages?  See 1Ti 5:23, Col 2:20-23, Rom 14:20-21, 1 Cor 8:8-13.  What is “pugnacious”?  Note: KJV = striker; NIV = violent; lexicon = bully.  Note: KJV “not greedy of filthy lucre” is not found here in any old manuscripts (see 1Ti 3:8, Tit 1:7 where it is found, and notice how a copyist would have inserted it here to make the qualification lists more parallel).  Instead of being a bully, what qualities should characterize an overseer?  Note: “gentle” is in the sense of gracious or forbearing (see Phil 4:5); “uncontentious” = not a brawler (KJV), not quarrelsome (NIV).  Why is it especially important that an overseer be “free from the love of money”?  See 1Ti 6:9-10, Lk 16:13-14, Heb 13:5-6.

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