Friday, March 9, 2018

1st Timothy, part 2, Does Your Church Have Bishops or Deacons?

Photo by Karl Fredrickson on Unsplash

Now on to bishops and deacons. Chapter 3: 1-7:

 1 Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

This translation uses “overseer,” some say “bishop.” The original Greek word is “episkope” which implies overseeing, observing, examining the state of affairs of something. If your church has bishops here is where you can see the criteria you should hold them to.

 8 In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
 11 In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
 12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

Deacons can be men or women. Verse 11 indicates that women are included as candidates for this office (Phoebe is called a deacon in Romans 16:1). The high standards for both bishops and deacons are strict. The difference in these 2 offices seems to be that overseer (bishop, elder) should be able to teach (vs.2). Both offices have a hand in the affairs of the church.

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