Turning to the government of the Church, the apostle deals with two orders, bishops and deacons. The bishop is an overseer, whose duty it is to watch over the flock. The apostle describes the qualifications necessary to fulfil the office:
(1) character (verses 1 Timothy 3:2-3),
(2) temperament (verses 1 Timothy 3:4-5),
(3) experience (verse 1 Timothy 3:6), and
(4) reputation (verse 1 Timothy 3:7).
The description of the deacon has unquestioned reference to the order instituted in the early days, as recorded by Luke (Acts 6:1-15). According to this, they were to be "men of good report, full of the spirit of wisdom." There is not the slightest warrant for looking on the o5ce in any sense as inferior. Its function was different, but not less important. The business of the Church ever needs to be carried on by men of highest character and deepest spirituality. All this will be seen as the instructions of the apostle are pondered.
The purpose of all the apostle had written was that men might know how to behave themselves in the Church. A remarkable and singularly beautiful description of the Church follows. It is the house of God, and therefore it is the pillar and ground of truth. The essential glory of the Church is "the truth." Having shown this, the apostle describes the truth in words which constitute a verse of perfect poetry. There have been varied renderings of this passage. That of Humphreys in the Cambridge Bible is very illuminative.
Who is flesh was manifested, Pure in Spirit was attested; By angels' vision witnessed, Among the nations heralded; By faith accepted here, Received in glory there!
the Second Week after Epiphany