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New International Version
1 Timothy 3:2

Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

Bible Study Resources


- Clarke Commentary;   Abbott's New Testament;   Birdgeway Bible Commentary;   Coffman Commentaries;   Barne's Notes;   Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes;   Calvin's Commentary;   Cambridge Greek Testament;   Chuck Smith Commentary;   Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible ;   Constable's Expository Notes;   Daily Study Bible;   Darby's Synopsis;   Dunagan Commentary;   Ellicott's Commentary;   Expositor's Greek Testament;   Family Bible New Testament;   Hole's Commentary;   Meyer's Commentary;   Gaebelein's Annotated;   Morgan's Biblical Exposition;   Gill's Exposition;   Godbey's NT Commentary;   Gary Hampton Commentary;   Everett's Study Notes;   Geneva Study Bible;   Alford's Commentary;   Haydock's Catholic Commentary;   Meyer's Commentary;   Mahan's Commentary;   The Bible Study New Testament;   Ironside's Notes;   Bengel's Gnomon;   Commentary Critical and Explanatory;   Commentary Critical and Explanatory - Unabridged;   The People's Bible;   Sutcliffe's Commentary;   Trapp's Commentary;   Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the Bible;   Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures;   Grant's Commentary;   Henry's Complete;   Henry's Concise;   Poole's Annotations;   Pett's Bible Commentary;   Peake's Bible Commentary;   Preacher's Homiletical Commentary;   Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary;   People's New Testament;   Benson's Commentary;   Robertson's Word Pictures;   Schaff's New Testament Commentary;   Biblical Illustrator;   Coke's Commentary;   Expositor's Bible;   Pulpit Commentaries;   Treasury of Knowledge;   Vincent's Studies;   Burkitt's Notes;   Wesley's Notes;   Whedon's Commentary;  


- Nave's Topical Bible - Avarice;   Bishop;   Church;   Commandments;   Family;   Hospitality;   Marriage;   Meekness;   Minister, Christian;   Patience;   Polygamy;   Sobriety;   Strife;   Temperance;   Scofield Reference Index - Elders;   Thompson Chain Reference - Behaviour;   Blameless;   Blamelessness;   Conduct, Christian;   Foes of the Home;   Guests;   Home;   Hospitality;   Leaders;   Ministers;   Monogamy;   Polygamy;   Religious;   Soberness;   Social Life;   Teacher, Divine;   Travellers;   The Topic Concordance - Bishop;   Drunkenness;   Sobriety;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Hospitality;   Ministers;   Sobriety;  


- American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Bishop;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Elder;   Family;   Hospitality;   Pastor;   Self-discipline;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Church, the;   Education in Bible Times;   Elder;   Hospitality;   Ministry, Minister;   Overseer;   Teach, Teacher;   Timothy, First and Second, Theology of;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Church;   Deacon;   Marriage;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Spirit;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Bishop;   Hospitality;   Marriage;   Mnason;   Synagogue;   Widow;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Bishop;   Church;   Education in Bible Times;   Elder;   Hospitality;   Offices in the New Testament;   Overseer;   Self-Control;   Titus, Epistle to;   1 Timothy;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Bishop;   Church Government;   Deacon;   Hospitality;   Marriage;   Minister;   Ministry;   Temperance;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Angels of the Seven Churches;   Bishop, Elder, Presbyter;   Clement of Rome, Epistle of;   Education;   Home;   Hospitality;   Hospitality ;   Marriage;   Organization (2);   Philippians Epistle to the;   Roads and Travel;   Soberness Sobriety;   Stranger, Alien, Foreigner;   Teaching ;   Timothy and Titus Epistles to;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Bishop;   Hospitality;   Marriage;   46 Blameless Unblameable Unreproveable without Spot;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Bishop;   Elder;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Bishop;   Deacon;   Hospitality;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Bishop;   Wayfaring Men;  


- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Apt;   Behavior;   Bishop;   Church;   Church Government;   Drunkenness;   Good;   Hospitality;   Literature, Sub-Apostolic;   Sober;   Spiritual Gifts;   Teach;   Temperance;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Bishop;  


- Every Day Light - Devotion for December 1;  

Parallel Translations

The Amplified Bible
Now a bishop (superintendent, overseer) must give no grounds for accusation but must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, circumspect and temperate and self-controlled; [he must be] sensible and well behaved and dignified and lead an orderly (disciplined) life; [he must be] hospitable [showing love for and being a friend to the believers, especially strangers or foreigners, and be] a capable and qualified teacher,

The Complete Jewish Bible
A congregation leader must be above reproach, he must be faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, orderly, hospitable and able to teach.

American Standard Version
The bishop therefore must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, orderly, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

Bible in Basic English
The Bishop, then, is to be a man of good name, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, serious-minded, having respect for order, opening his house freely to guests, a ready teacher;

English Revised Version
The bishop therefore must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, soberminded, orderly, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

Contemporary English Version
That's why officials must have a good reputation and be faithful in marriage. They must be self-controlled, sensible, well-behaved, friendly to strangers, and able to teach.

English Standard Version
Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

Darby's Translation
The overseer then must be irreproachable, husband of one wife, sober, discreet, decorous, hospitable, apt to teach;

Easy-to-Read Version
An elder must be good enough that people cannot rightly criticize him. He must have only one wife. An elder must have self-control and be wise. He must be respected by other people. He must be ready to help people by accepting them into his home. He must be a good teacher.

The Geneva Bible (1587)
A Bishop therefore must be vnreproueable, the husband of one wife, watching, temperate, modest, harberous, apt to teache,

The Bishop's Bible (1568)
A bishop therfore must be blamelesse, the husband of one wyfe, watchyng, sober, comely apparelled, a louer of hospitalitie, apt to teache,

King James Version (1611)
A Bishop then must be blamelesse, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behauiour, giuen to hospitalitie, apt to teach;

New Revised Standard
Now a bishop must be above reproach, married only once, temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an apt teacher,

Douay-Rheims Bible
It behoveth therefore a bishop to be blameless, the husband of one wife, sober, prudent, of good behaviour, chaste, given to hospitality, a teacher,

New Century Version
An elder must not give people a reason to criticize him, and he must have only one wife. He must be self-controlled, wise, respected by others, ready to welcome guests, and able to teach.

James Murdock Translation of the Peshitta
And an elder ought to be such, that no blame can be found in him; and he should be the husband of one wife, with a vigilant mind, and sober and regular [in his habits], and affectionate to strangers, and instructive;

Wesley's New Testament (1755)
A bishop therefore must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, prudent, of good behaviour, hospitable, apt to teach;

George Lamsa Translation of the Peshitta
He who becomes an bishop must be blameless, the husband of one wife, have an alert mind, must be sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, and apt at teaching;

Good News Translation
A church leader must be without fault; he must have only one wife, be sober, self-controlled, and orderly; he must welcome strangers in his home; he must be able to teach;

Holman Christian Standard
An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher,

Miles Coverdale Bible (1535)
But a Bisshoppe must be blamelesse, the hussbade of one wife, sober, discrete, manerly, harberous, apte to teach:

Mace New Testament (1729)
a bishop therefore ought to be of an unspotted character, to have but one wife, to be sober, prudent, grave, hospitable, and qualified for teaching:

J.P. Green Literal Translation
Then it behooves the overseer to be blameless, husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, well-ordered, hospitable, apt at teaching;

New King James
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach;

New Living Translation
For an elder must be a man whose life cannot be spoken against. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exhibit self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home and must be able to teach.

King James Version
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

New American Standard Version
An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

New Life Version
A church leader must be a good man. His life must be so no one can say anything against him. He must have only one wife and must be respected for his good living. He must be willing to take people into his home. He must be willing to learn and able to teach the Word of God.

Hebrew Names Version
The overseer therefore must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, modest, hospitable, good at teaching;

International Standard Version
Therefore, an elder must be blameless, the husband of one wife, stable, sensible, respectable, a lover of strangers, and teachable.

John Etheridge Translation of the Peshitta
But it behoveth that a presbyter be as that blame be not found in him; and that he be the husband of one wife; (a man) who is of a vigilant mind, chaste, and orderly, and a lover of guests, and instructful;

The Emphasised Bible
It is needful, then, for, the overseer, to be irreproachable, a husband, of one wife, sober, of sound mind, orderly, hospitable, apt in teaching,

Revised Standard Version
Now a bishop must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, dignified, hospitable, an apt teacher,

Tyndale Bible
Ye and a bisshope must be fautlesse the husband of one wyfe sober discrete honestly aparelled harberous apt to teache

Updated Bible Version 1.9
The overseer therefore must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, orderly, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

The Webster Bible
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

World English Bible
The overseer therefore must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, modest, hospitable, good at teaching;

Weymouth New Testament
A minister then must be a man of irreproachable character, true to his one wife, temperate, sober-minded, well-behaved, hospitable to strangers, and with a gift for teaching;

The Wycliffe Bible (1395)
Therfor it bihoueth a byschop to be with out repreef, the hosebonde of o wijf, sobre, prudent, chast, vertewous, holdinge hospitalite, a techere;

Young's Literal Translation
it behoveth, therefore, the overseer to be blameless, of one wife a husband, vigilant, sober, decent, a friend of strangers, apt to teach,

The Message
But there are preconditions: A leader must be well-thought-of, committed to his wife, cool and collected, accessible, and hospitable. He must know what he's talking about,

Lexham English Bible
Therefore the overseer must be irreproachable, the husband of one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, skillful in teaching,

Contextual Overview

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

Verse Review

Treasury of Scripure Knowledge

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
Titus 1:6-9
10; Luke 1:6; Philippians 2:15
the husband
4:3; 5:9; Hebrews 3:14
Isaiah 56:10; 1 Peter 4:7; 5:8
of good behaviour
or, modest. given.
Romans 12:13; Titus 1:8; Hebrews 13:2; 1 Peter 4:9
2 Timothy 2:24


Psalms 58:4
Their venom is like the venom of a snake, like that of a cobra that has stopped its ears,

Gill's Notes on the Bible

A bishop then must be blameless,.... Or "an elder", as the Syriac version renders it; not that it can be expected that such an one should be entirely free from sin, or be blameless in the sight of God; but that he should be one, who is so before men, and has not been guilty of any notorious and flagitious crime; and particularly, is not chargeable with the vices hereafter mentioned or hinted at. So the priests under the law were to be without blemish, even in their bodies, Leviticus 21:17 to which the apostle may here allude.

The husband of one wife; which is not to be understood in a mystical and allegorical sense of his being the pastor of one church, since the apostle afterwards speaks of his house and children, that are to be ruled and kept in good order by him, in distinction from the church of God; but in a literal sense of his conjugal estate; though this rule does not make it necessary that he should have a wife; or that he should not marry, or not have married a second wife, after the death of the first; only if he marries or is married, that he should have but one wife at a time; so that this rule excludes all such persons from being elders, or pastors, or overseers of churches, that were "polygamists"; who had more wives than one at a time, or had divorced their wives, and not for adultery, and had married others. Now polygamy and divorces had very much obtained among the Jews; nor could the believing Jews be easily and at once brought off of them. And though they were not lawful nor to be allowed of in any; yet they were especially unbecoming and scandalous in officers of churches. So the high priest among the Jews, even when polygamy was in use, might not marry, or have two wives, at once; if he did, he could not minister in his office until he divorced one of them. For it is written, Leviticus 21:13, "he shall take a wife", אחת ולא שתים, "one, and not two". And the same that is said of the high priest, is said of all other priests; see Ezekiel 44:22, likewise the Egyptian priests might not marry more wives than one, though others might have as many as they pleased: and so the Flamines among the Romans. An elder or pastor must also be one that is

vigilant; or wakeful and watchful, who is diligent in his business, and attends to his care and charge; is watchful over himself, his words, and actions; and watches for the souls of men, to do them all the good he can; and is sober in body, is temperate, and uses moderation in eating and drinking; and in mind, is modest, humble, and prudent; and so the Vulgate Latin Version renders the word "prudent": and the Ethiopic version, "a wise man", one of a sound judgment, a good understanding, and prudent conduct; is not wise above what is written, but thinks soberly of himself, as he ought. The Syriac and Arabic versions render it, "chaste", as free from intemperance, so from uncleanness: and

of good behaviour: neat and decent in his apparel; modest in his whole deportment and conduct, and affable and courteous to all; beautiful in his life and conversation, being adorned with every thing that is graceful and comely:

given to hospitality: to the love of strangers, and to the entertainment of them; and especially the saints and fellow ministers, who are exiled, or are travelling for the sake of spreading the Gospel, or upon some lawful and laudable account. These he is to assist by his advice and counsel, and with the necessaries of life, according to his abilities. Abraham and Lot are noted instances of this virtue.

Apt to teach; who has a considerable store of knowledge; is capable of interpreting the Scripture to the edification of others; is able to explain, lay open, and illustrate the truths of the Gospel, and defend them, and refute error; and who is not only able, but ready and willing, to communicate to others what he knows; and who likewise has utterance of speech, the gift of elocution and can convey his ideas of things in plain and easy language, in apt and acceptable words; for otherwise it signifies not what a man knows, unless he has a faculty of communicating it to others, to their understanding and advantage.

Barnes' Notes on the Bible

A bishop - A minister of religion, according to the foregoing remarks, who has the charge or oversight of any Christian church. The reference here is doubtless to one who had the government of the church entrusted to him 1 Timothy 3:4-5, and who was also a preacher of the gospel.

Must be blameless - This is a different word ( ἀνεπίλημπτον anepilēmpton) from that rendered “blameless” in Luke 1:6; Philemon 2:15; Philemon 3:6 ( ἄμεμπτος amemptos); compare however, Luke 1:6 note; Philemon 3:6 note. The word here used does not mean that, as a necessary qualification for office, a bishop should be “perfect;” but that he should be a man against whom no charge of immorality, or of holding false doctrine, is alleged. His conduct should be irreprehensible or irreproachable. Undoubtedly it means that if “any” charge could be brought against him implying moral obliquity, he is not fit for the office. He should be a man of irreproachable character for truth, honesty, chastity, and general uprightness.

The husband of one wife - This need not be understood as requiring that a bishop “should be” a married man, as Vigilantius, a presbyter in the church at Barcelona in the fourth century, supposed, however desirable in general it may be that a minister of the gospel should be married. But, while this interpretation is manifestly to be excluded as false, there has been much difference of opinion on the question whether the passage means that a minister should not have more than one wife at the same time, or whether it prohibits the marriage of a second wife after the death of the first. On this question, the notes of Bloomfield, Doddridge, and Macknight, may be consulted. That the former is the correct opinion, seems to me to be evident from the following considerations:

(1) It is the most obvious meaning of the language, and it would doubtless be thus understood by those to whom it was addressed. At a time when polygamy was not uncommon, to say that a man should “have but one wife” would be naturally understood as prohibiting polygamy.

(2) the marriage of a second wife, after the death of the first, is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as wrong. The marriage of a widow to a second husband is expressely declared to be proper 1 Corinthians 7:39; and it is not unfair to infer from that permission that it is equally lawful and proper for man to marry the second time. But if it is lawful for any man it is right for a minister of the gospel. No reason can he assigned against such marriages in his case, which would not be equally valid in any other. Marriage is as honorable for a minister of the gospel as for any other man (compare notes on Hebrews 13:4); and, as Doddridge has well remarked, “Circumstances may be so adjusted that there may be as much reason for a second marriage as for the first, and as little inconvenience of any kind may attend it.”

(3) there was a special propriety in the prohibition, if understood as prohibiting polygamy. It is known that it was extensively practiced, and was not regarded as unlawful. Yet one design of the gospel was to restore the marriage relation to its primitive condition; and though it might not have seemed absolutely necessary to require of every man who came into the church to divorce his wives, if he had more than one, yet, in order to fix a brand on this irregular practice, it might have been deemed desirable to require of the ministers of the gospel that they should have but one wife. Thus the practice of polygamy would gradually come to be regarded as dishonorable and improper, and the example and influence of the ministry would tend to introduce correct views in regard to the nature of this relation. One thing is clear from this passage, that the views of the Papists in regard to the celibacy of the clergy are directly at variance with the Bible. The declaration of Paul in Hebrews 13:4, is, that “marriage is honorable in all;” and here it is implied that it was proper that a minister should be married. If it were not, why did not Paul prohibit it altogether? Instead of saying that it was improper that a bishop should have more than one wife, why did he not say that it was improper that he should be married at all? Would not a Romanist say so now?

Vigilant - This word ( νηφάλεος nēphaleos) occurs only here and in 1 Timothy 3:11; Titus 2:2. It means, properly, “sober, temperate, abstinent,” especially in respect to wine; then “sober-minded, watchful, circumspect. Robinson.” A minister should have a watchful care over his own conduct. He should be on his gaurd against sin in any form.

Sober - σώφρονα sōphronaProperly, a man of “a sound mind;” one who follows sound reason, and who is not under the control of passion. The idea is, that he should have his desires and passions well regulated. Perhaps the word “prudent” would come nearer to the meaning of the apostle than any single word which we have.

Of good behaviour - Margin, “modest.” Coverdale renders it, “mannerly.” The most correct rendering, according to the modern use of language, would be, that he should be “a gentleman.” He should not be slovenly in his appearance, or rough and boorish in his manners. He should not do violence to the usages of refined conversation, nor be unfit to appear respectable in the most refined circles of society. Inattention to personal neatness, and to the rules which regulate refined contact, is indicative neither of talent, learning, nor religion; and though they are occasionally - not often - connected with talent, learning, and religion, yet they are never the fruit of either, and are always a disgrace to those who exhibit such incivility and boorishness, for such men “ought” to know better. A minister of the gospel should be a finished gentleman in his manners, and there is no excuse for him if he is not. His religion, if he has any, is adapted to make him such. He has usually received such an education as ought to make him such, and in all cases “ought” to have had such a training. He is admitted into the best society, and has an opportunity of becoming familiar with the laws of refined conversation. He should be an example and a pattern in all that goes to promote the welfare of mankind, and there are few things so easily acquired that are suited to do this, as refinement and gentility of manners. No man can do good, on the whole, or in the “long run,” by disregarding the rules of refined contact; and, other things being equal, the refined, courteous, polite gentleman in the ministry, will always do more good than he who neglects the rules of goodbreeding.

Given to hospitality - This is often enjoined on all Christians as a duty of religion. For the reasons of this, and the nature of the duty, see the Romans 12:13 note; Hebrews 13:2 note. It was a special duty of the ministers of religion, as they were to be examples of every Christian virtue.

Apt to teach - Greek, “Didactic;” that is, capable of instructing, or qualified for the office of a teacher of religion. As the principal business of a preacher of the gospel is to “teach,” or to communicate to his fellow-men the knowledge of the truth, the necessity of this qualification is obvious. No one should be allowed to enter the ministry who is not qualified to impart “instruction” to others on the doctrines and duties of religion; and no one should feel that he ought to continue in the ministry, who has not industry, and self-denial, and the love of study enough to lead him constantly to endeavor to “increase” in knowledge, that he may be qualified to teach others. A man who would “teach” a people, must himself keep in advance of them on the subjects on which he would instruct them.

Clarke's Notes on the Bible

A bishop then must be blameless - Our term bishop comes from the Anglo-Saxon, which is a mere corruption of the Greek επισκοπος, and the Latin episcopus; the former being compounded of επι, over, and σκεπτομαι, to look or inspect, signifies one who has the inspection or oversight of a place, persons, or business; what we commonly term a superintendent. The New Testament writers have borrowed the term from the Septuagint, it being the word by which they translate the פקיד pakid of the Hebrew text, which signifies a visiter, one that personally inspects the people or business over which he presides. It is given by St. Paul to the elders at Ephesus, who had the oversight of Christ's flock, Acts 20:28; and to such like persons in other places, Philemon 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:2, the place in question; and Titus 1:7.

Let us consider the qualifications of a Christian bishop, and then we shall soon discover who is fit for the office.

    First - is Christian bishop must be blameless; ανεπιληπτον, a person against whom no evil can be proved; one who is everywhere invulnerable; for the word is a metaphor, taken from the case of an expert and skillful pugilist, who so defends every part of his body that it is impossible for his antagonist to give one hit. So this Christian bishop is one that has so conducted himself, as to put it out of the reach of any person to prove that he is either unsound in a single article of the Christian faith, or deficient in the fulfillment of any duty incumbent on a Christian. He must be irreprehensible; for how can he reprove that in others which they can reprove in him?

    Second - must be the husband of one wife. He should be a married man, but he should be no polygamist; and have only one wife, i.e. one at a time. It does not mean that, if he has been married, and his wife die, he should never marry another. Some have most foolishly spiritualized this, and say, that by one wife the Church is intended! This silly quibbling needs no refutation. The apostle's meaning appears to be this: that he should not be a man who has divorced his wife and married another; nor one that has two wives at a time. It does not appear to have been any part of the apostle's design to prohibit second marriages, of which some have made such a serious business. But it is natural for some men to tithe mint and cummin in religion, while they neglect the weightier matters of the law.

    Third - must be vigilant; νηφαλεον, from νη, not and πιω, to drink. Watchful; for as one who drinks is apt to sleep, so he who abstains from it is more likely to keep awake, and attend to his work and charge. A bishop has to watch over the Church, and watch for it; and this will require all his care and circumspection. Instead of νηφαλεον, many MSS. read νηφαλιον· this may be the better orthography, but makes no alteration in the sense.

    Fourth - must be sober; σωφρονα, prudent or, according to the etymology of the word, from σως, sound, and φρην, mind, a man of a sound mind; having a good understanding, and the complete government of all his passions. A bishop should be a man of learning, of an extensive and well cultivated mind, dispassionate, prudent, and sedate.

    Fifth - must be of good behavior; κοσμιον, orderly, decent, grave, and correct in the whole of his appearance, carriage, and conduct. The preceding term, σωφρονα, refers to the mind; this latter, κοσμιον, to the external manners. A clownish, rude, or boorish man should never have the rule of the Church of God; the sour, the sullen, and the boisterous should never be invested with a dignity which they would most infallibly disgrace.

    Sixth - must be given to hospitality; φιλοξενον, literally, a lover of strangers; one who is ready to receive into his house and relieve every necessitous stranger. Hospitality, in those primitive times, was a great and necessary virtue; then there were few inns, or places of public entertainment; to those who were noted for benevolence the necessitous stranger had recourse. A Christian bishop, professing love to God and all mankind, preaching a religion, one half of the morality of which was included in, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, would naturally be sought to by those who were in distress and destitute of friends. To enable them to entertain such, the Church over which they presided must have furnished them with the means. Such a bishop as St. Paul, who was often obliged to labor with his hands for his own support, could have little to give away. But there is a considerable difference between an apostolical bishop and an ecclesiastical bishop: the one was generally itinerant, the other comparatively local; the former had neither house nor home, the latter had both; the apostolical bishop had charge of the Church of Christ universally, the ecclesiastical bishop of the Churches in a particular district. Such should be addicted to hospitality, or works of charity; especially in these modern times, in which, besides the spiritualities, they possess the temporalities, of the Church.

Seventh - should be apt to teach; διδακτικον, one capable of teaching; not only wise himself, but ready to communicate his wisdom to others. One whose delight is, to instruct the ignorant and those who are out of the way. He must be a preacher; an able, zealous, fervent, and assiduous preacher.

He is no bishop who has health and strength, and yet seldom or never preaches; i.e. if he can preach - if he have the necessary gifts for the office.

In former times bishops wrote much and preached much; and their labors were greatly owned of God. No Church since the apostle's days has been more honored in this way than the British Church. And although bishops are here, as elsewhere, appointed by the state, yet we cannot help adoring the good providence of God, that, taken as a body, they have been an honor to their function; and that, since the reformation of religion in these lands, the bishops have in general been men of great learning and probity, and the ablest advocates of the Christian system, both as to its authenticity, and the purity and excellence of its doctrines and morality.

Chaucer's character of the Clerke of Oxenford is a good paraphrase on St. Paul's character of a primitive bishop: -

Of studie tookin he moste cure and hede,

Nought oo word spak he more than there was nede,

And that was selde in forme and and reverence,

And short, and quick, and full of high sentence;

Sowning in moral vertue was speche,

And gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teache.

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Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 21st, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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