The Berean Expositor
Volume 48 - Page 99 of 181
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Every assembly had its leaders or bishops, (not one controlling bishop).  The
Philippian church had its bishop and deacons (Phil. 1: 1) and the Ephesian its elders
(Acts 20: 17).  Shepherds (pastors) and teachers are the gifts of the ascended Christ in
Eph. 4: 11.
Moffatt translates I Tim. 3: 1:
"It is a popular saying that whoever aspires to office is set upon an excellent occupation."
Oregomai translated `desire' literally means `to stretch oneself out', hence `to aspire
to', but not in a bad sense. The second verb epithumeo expresses strong desire "to set
one's heart upon". We shall see in our next study the divine qualifications for being a
leader or overseer in charge of a company of believers in the Apostle Paul's day.
3: 2 - 15.
pp. 192 - 196
Our last study ended in a consideration of I Tim. 3: 1, where the Apostle Paul
commends the office of an overseer or bishop guiding an assembly of believers. We saw
that this was not a sphere of service demanding special theological training or exceptional
mental ability, but rather one of Christian character. This is made clear in the verses that
"The bishop therefore must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate,
sober-minded, orderly, given to hospitality, apt to teach; no brawler, no striker; but
gentle, not contentious, no lover of money; one that ruleth well his own house, having
his children in subjection with all gravity; (but if a man knoweth not how to rule his own
house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) not a novice, lest being puffed up
he fall into the condemnation of the devil" (I Tim. 3: 2-6, R.V.).
Some of these conditions seem to be obvious as relating to a leader, but we must
remember that most of these believers were converts from the grossest paganism and so
these qualities needed to be stressed. An overseer must be blameless, of good report,
specially in respect to the items that follow, which are largely connected with his home
life. Practical Christianity starts in the home, as the Prison Epistles of Paul clearly teach,
and if conditions are wrong here, they are likely to be wrong everywhere else. "Husband
of one wife" has caused much controversy. Is this directed against polygamy or does it
ban second marriages? Regarding the former, it can be stated quite clearly that no one
would have been allowed to practice polygamy in Christian circles, even though this was
rife in the Gentile world. However, it could have been a ban to exclude any who before
their conversion had been polygamists.
We may find help from 5: 9, where one of the qualifications for the support of a
destitute widow was that she must have been `the wife of one man' and this can only