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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Timothy 3:11

Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Church;   Commandments;   Deacon;   Minister, Christian;   Slander;   Sobriety;   Wife;   Women;   Thompson Chain Reference - Duty;   Home;   Leaders;   Ministers;   Religious;   Soberness;   Social Duties;   Wives' Duty;   Women;   The Topic Concordance - Deacons;   Drunkenness;   Sobriety;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Faithfulness;   Slander;   Sobriety;   Wives;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Gossip;   Self-discipline;   Women;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Church, the;   Deacon, Deaconess;   Leadership;   Ministry, Minister;   Timothy, First and Second, Theology of;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Deacon;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Deaconess;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Devil;   Eve;   Minister;   Phoebe;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Church;   Deacon;   Offices in the New Testament;   Sober;   1 Timothy;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Bishop;   Church Government;   Deacon;   Deaconess;   Minister;   Ministry;   Temperance;   Timothy, Epistles to;   Woman;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Deacon, Deaconess;   Devil ;   Evil-Speaking;   Grave Gravity ;   Soberness Sobriety;   Timothy and Titus Epistles to;   Virgin Virginity;   Widows;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Deacon,;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Deaconess;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Deacon;   Deaconess;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Deacon;   Devil;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Church;   Church Government;   Deacon;   Gravity;   Slander;   Sober;   Spiritual Gifts;   Temperance;   Woman;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for December 1;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Even so must their wives be grave - I believe the apostle does not mean here the wives either of the bishops or deacons in particular, but the Christian women in general. The original is simply: Γυναικας ὡσαυτως σεμνας· Let the women likewise be grave. Whatever is spoken here becomes women in general; but if the apostle had those termed deaconesses in his eye, which is quite possible, the words are peculiarly suitable to them. That there was such an order in the apostolic and primitive Church, and that they were appointed to their office by the imposition of hands, has already been noticed on Romans 16:1; (note). Possibly, therefore, the apostle may have had this order of deaconesses in view, to whom it was as necessary to give counsels and cautions as to the deacons themselves; and to prescribe their qualifications, lest improper persons should insinuate themselves into that office.

Not slanderers - Μη διαβολους· Literally, not devils. See on 1 Timothy 3:7; (note) This may be properly enough translated slanderers, backbiters, tale-bearers, etc., for all these are of their father, the devil, and his lusts they will do. Let all such, with the vast tribe of calumniators and dealers in scandal, remember that the apostle ranks them all with malicious, fallen spirits; a consideration which one would suppose might be sufficient to deter them from their injurious and abominable conduct.

Sober - See on 1 Timothy 3:2; (note)

Faithful in all things - The deaconesses had much to do among the poor, and especially among poor women, in dispensing the bounty of the Church. They were not only faithfully to expend all they had got, and for the purpose for which they got it; but they must do this with impartiality, showing no respect of persons, the degree of distress being the only rule by which the distribution was to be regulated.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 3:11". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-timothy-3.html. 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Elders and deacons (3:1-13)

Churches of the New Testament era were self-governing bodies that were independent of each other and under the control of local elders. Elders were also known as shepherds, overseers, guardians, leaders and bishops, but these names represent only two words in the original Greek, presbuteroi and episkopoi.

These two Greek words refer to the same office and people. For example (in the words of the RSV), in Act_20:17 Paul sent for the elders (presbuteroi) of the Ephesian church, but in verse 28 he called them guardians (episkopoi). Likewise in Tit_1:5 he told Titus to appoint elders (presbuteroi), then in verse 7 he called them bishops (episkopoi). Elders were like shepherds over the flock. Their responsibility was to lead, rule, guide, teach and care for the church (Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:5; 1 Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1-3).

Early churches also developed an order of deacons, or church helpers. (The Greek diakonos was the common word for servant or minister.) It seems that deacons looked after many of the everyday tasks in the church so that the elders had more time for prayer and teaching (Acts 6:2-4; cf. Romans 12:6-8; Philippians 1:1). However, deacons were not limited to routine affairs, and some were also preachers (cf. Acts 6:5; Acts 6:8-10; Acts 8:5).

Most of the New Testament churches were founded in heathen cities, where many of the converts came from a background of low moral standards. Although some of these converts may have developed spiritually, they may also have retained disorders in their marriages, families and personal habits. These disorders, in spite of otherwise good qualities, would make such people a poor example to the church should they be in leadership positions as elders or deacons.

Paul therefore gave Timothy some guidelines concerning those who might hold office in the church. The qualities he lists are not qualifications in the sense that anyone who fulfils these requirements is an elder (for such a person may not have the elder-shepherd qualities outlined above). Rather they are minimum requirements that otherwise suitable people must fulfil if the church is to recognize them as elders or deacons.

Elders should maintain a quality of personal and family life that is a good example to others in the church. Their behaviour should be blameless and they should have some ability to understand and teach the Scriptures (3:1-5). They should not be recent converts, as time is necessary for spiritual character and gift to develop. They must each have a good reputation, not only among Christians but also among those who are not Christians (6-7).

Paul gives a similar list of qualities to test the suitability of deacons, both men and women. Although he does not require deacons to have an ability to teach, he does require them to have a sound understanding of basic Christian truth. He also gives a warning against gossip, since deacons are likely to know about the personal affairs of those who give to and receive from the church's finances (8-13).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 3:11". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/1-timothy-3.html. 2005.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Women in like manner must be grave, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.

Hervey summarized the three possible meanings of this verse, making it applicable to: (1) the wives of the deacons; (2) the wives of the elders and deacons; or (3) the women deacons.[32] Hervey, like so many present-day commentators opted for the third meaning, but this commentator is certain that the third meaning is wrong.

If the women in view here had been deacons, Paul would have called them deacons, which he certainly did not do; and furthermore, in the very next verse Paul said that deacons "must be husbands of one wife," leaving women out of sight altogether as possible holders of this office.

Both the KJV and Nestle Greek-English New Testament translate the word "wives" instead of "women" in this verse, and that is doubtless the correct rendition. It is alleged that the word "women" is ambiguous in the Greek, and well it may be; but in context the word has to mean wives. To make it read "female deacons" is a gross transgression of the word of God. This verse says absolutely nothing about any female deacons; and the supposition that it does would mean that no qualifications whatever are laid down for the wives of elders and deacons, a fault that no man has the right to charge against the apostle Paul. This verse on the qualities of officers' wives is absolutely mandatory to be observed. The wrong kind of wife can ruin any elder or any deacon; and to make the qualifications in sight here applicable to a whole new class of church officials would be to make Paul guilty of a very glaring omission.

But isn't Phoebe called a deaconess (Romans 16:1)? Yes, indeed; but policemen are also called deacons of God (Romans 13:4), the Greek word being the same in both cases (except for the gender). See exegesis on this in my Commentary on Romans under those verses. In this connection, it is proper to note that if Paul had meant these women to be installed as "deaconesses" he certainly knew the word and would have referred to them in this passage by their proper title. The New Testament word "apostle" is used in its both official and limited sense and also in a secondary and more general sense when applied to men like Barnabas and Silas, who were not, strictly speaking, "apostles." The view here is that "deaconess" as applied to Phoebe, in the same manner, does not mean that she was officially a deacon in the church of the Lord. It should always be remembered that deaconess translates the Greek word for "servant," and that, for centuries, the translators have rendered the word "deacon" only when the official church office was meant. But in the case of Romans 13:4 and Romans 16:1, they usually rendered it "servant." That is the way the KJV renders both places; and the gratuitous injection of the official title DEACON into Romans 16:1 in some subsequent versions is absolutely incorrect and misleading.

If churches were commanded to appoint women deacons, where is the record of it, either in the New Testament or in the custom of the historical church? When women deacons are appointed, they are appointed without divine authority and with no adequate list of qualifications to serve as guidelines for their appointment. If 1 Timothy 3:11 is to be construed as the standard for appointing women deacons, why, it may be inquired, did Paul list fifteen qualifications for elders, and four for so-called deaconesses? Such a view simply does not make sense.

ENDNOTE:

[32] A. C. Hervey, op. cit., p. 53.

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 3:11". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/1-timothy-3.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Even so must their wives be grave - Chrysostom, Theophylact, Grotius, Bloomfield, and many others, suppose that by the word “wives,” here, ( γυνᾶικας gunaikas), the apostle means “deaconesses.” Clarke supposes that it refers to women in general. The reason assigned for supposing that it does not refer to the wives of deacons, as such, is, that nothing is said of the qualifications of the wives of bishops - a matter of as much importance as that of the character of the wife of a deacon; and that it cannot be supposed that the apostle would specify the one without some allusion to the other. But that the common interpretation, which makes it refer to the wives of deacons, as such, is to be adhered to, seems to me to be clear. Because:

(1) it is the obvious and natural interpretation.

(2) the word here used - “wives” - is never used of itself to denote deaconesses.

(3) if the apostle had meant deaconesses, it would have been easy to express it without ambiguity; compare notes, Romans 16:1.

(4) what is here mentioned is important, whether the same thing is mentioned of bishops or not.

(5) in the qualifications of bishops, the apostle had made a statement respecting his family, which made any specification about the particular members of the family unnecessary. He was to be one who presided in a proper manner over his own house, or who had a well-regulated family; 1 Timothy 3:4-5. By a comparison of this passage, also, with Titus 2:3-4, which bears a strong resemblance to this, it would seem that it was supposed that the deacons would be taken from those who were advanced in life, and that their wives would have some superintendence over the younger females of the church. It was, therefore, especially important that they should be persons whose influence would be known to be decidedly favorable to piety. No one can doubt that the character of a woman may be such, that it is not desirable that her husband should be an officer in the church. A bad woman ought not to be entrusted with any additional power or influence.

Grave - notes, 1 Timothy 3:4.

Not slanderers - compare Titus 2:3, “Not false accusers.” The Greek word is διαβόλους diabolous- “devils.” It is used here in its original and proper sense, to denote a “calumniator,” “slanderer,” or “accuser.” It occurs in the same sense in 2 Timothy 3:3, and Titus 2:3. Elsewhere in the New Testament, it is uniformly rendered “devil” (compare notes, Matthew 4:1), and is given to Satan, the prince of the fallen angels Matthew 9:34, by way of eminence, as “the accuser;” compare Job 1:6-11 notes, and Revelation 12:10 note. Here it means that they should not be women who were in the habit of calumniating others, or aspersing their character. Mingling as they would with the church, and having an opportunity to claim acquaintance with many, it would be in their power, if they chose, to do great injury to the character of others.

Sober - notes, 1 Timothy 3:2.

Faithful in all things - To their husbands, to their families, to the church, to the Saviour.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 3:11". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-timothy-3.html. 1870.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

11.Likewise the wives He means the wives both of deacons and of bishops, for they must be aids to their husbands in their office; which cannot be, unless their behavior excel that of others.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 3:11". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/1-timothy-3.html. 1840-57.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

Tonight we will be studying First Timothy three and four. It is interesting as Paul writes to Timothy on several occasions, he uses phrases that are interesting to me. He said, This is a faithful saying, it"s worthy of all acceptation. Here he says, beginning chapter three,

This is a true saying ( 1 Timothy 3:1 ),

Again, he"ll say, "This is a faithful saying worthy of all acceptation." He"ll say, "Without controversy." He speaks to Timothy with interesting phrases affirming the truth of what he is declaring to him. "This is a true saying,"

If a man desires the office of a bishop [or overseer], he desireth a good work ( 1 Timothy 3:1 ).

Not a good position, but a good work. The word "episkopos" which is translated here "bishop" is really a word that means an overseer. One who takes the oversight. The word translated "elder" is the word, "presbyteri" or "presbyteros." The "presbyteros," the elder of the church. They name implies an older man, and in the communities they had as the governors of a community the "presbyteros."

The English had the alder men who were appointed as the judges within a community and the term "alder men" is actually "elder men." It was declared that a person should not be a "presbyteros" unless he was over the age of fifty. The "episkopos," on the other hand, was the man who was the overseer. He was the often the minister of the church. One who would oversee the church. And from this, we have a great division in the church today between the Episcopalians which comes from the "episkopos" and the Presbyterians which comes from the "presbyturos."

So the difference between a church being ruled by the elders or the church being ruled by the "episkopos," the overseer. And it is interesting though as you look at it in the word of God, they probably were one and the same. As you study it in the New Testament, the use of the words are often interchangeable. And when Paul was writing, he addressed the elders but of course, that would include the "episkopos" also. When he called for the elders of Ephesus, it would have been wrong for him to have called for the elders without the "episkopos" and so as you look at it throughout the New Testament, a strong case can be made that the terms are almost synonymous or interchangeable, at least in their usage in the New Testament.

So "if a man desires this office of an overseer of the church, he desires a good work." But these are the qualifications for the man.

The overseer then must be blameless ( 1 Timothy 3:2 ),

Now that ought to just about exclude anybody. He must be,

the husband of one wife ( 1 Timothy 3:2 ),

In that particular time, the marriage vows were in the pagan world not really held in high esteem. The Greek culture had a saying that every man should have a mistress for his entertainment, a concubine for his sexual pleasure, and a wife to bear his legitimate children. But the wife was looked upon as, more or less, a chattel, an object.

Now in none of the cultures in those days did a wife have the right of divorce. That was something that only the husbands had. And even in the Jewish culture, a husband could get a divorce for just about any cause. And even to that time, in the Jewish culture in many areas, polygamy was practiced. Josephus speaks about those that were had three or four wives. And polygamy was a practice even in that time in the Jewish community.

The church is to be a separate and distinct entity within the world. Standards that are higher than the world. And thus he establishes the standard for the "episkopos," a man who was an overseer in the church, he should be "the husband of one wife." He should be,

vigilant ( 1 Timothy 3:2 ),

That is, in his overseeing of the flock of God. He needs to take careful oversight. He needs to be,

sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, and able to teach ( 1 Timothy 3:2 );

So these are the beginning of the qualifications. Next of all, he"s

Not to be given to wine, no striker ( 1 Timothy 3:3 ),

That is, an abuser.

not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that rules well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) He"s not to be a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil ( 1 Timothy 3:3-6 ).

So this is what Paul instructs Timothy as the qualifications for an "episkopos," an overseer. Now if you will read Paul"s letter to Titus, he gives to them the qualifications of a "presbyturos," an elder. And you find that as he gives the qualifications of an elder, they are pretty much similar to the qualifications of an "episkopos" or an overseer.

Next he turns to the deacons.

And likewise must the deacons be grave [or sober], not doubletongued, not given to much wine ( 1 Timothy 3:8 ),

This is, of course, a little interesting in that the overseer, the "episkopos," was not to be given to wine; the deacon was not to be given to much wine. That probably is cause for a lot of persons to seek the job of a deacon rather than an elder.

Paul the apostle, in writing to the Corinthians, said, "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient." Some things can impede my progress towards my goal. All things are lawful for me but not everything builds up. Some things tear me down. "All things are lawful for me," he said, "but I will not be brought under the power of any, or the influence of any" ( 1 Corinthians 6:12 ).

We have a very interesting case in the Old Testament when God commanded Moses to build the tabernacle and He gave him specific instructions as to the materials and the dimensions and the sizes, the whole thing. He gave him his careful instructions in building. Once they had built the tabernacle, had set it up, had set up the altar and the whole framework for the sacrifices, the time came to inaugurate now the temple or the tabernacle worship of God. And so the altar was built, the sacrifice was placed upon it and fire came from heaven and sort of lit the fire of the altar. A supernatural manifestation of God. The presence of God came down, the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. The priest, because of the glory of the Lord, sort of swooned, they weren"t able to stand up.

And in the midst of this moving of God among the people, a couple of Aaron"s sons got excited. And they had little bowls with incense that they were to offer before the Lord and they went in to offer this incense in the excitement of the moment and the fire came from the altar of God and consumed them. And later, God commanded Moses to speak unto Aaron that when they were doing the service to God, they weren"t to drink wine. Made very specific commandments. The intimation is that the two sons of Aaron perhaps had been drinking a little wine and had lost their sense of good judgment. And that is why they were consumed by the fire of God when they sought to offer strange fire before the Lord.

God wants us to serve Him with a clear head, with a clear mind. Now a lot of people get very godly minded when they get drunk. And we"ve had them call the house two, three in the morning and my wife sleeps on the side where the phone is, I don"t know why but she does. And sometimes the phone will ring in the middle of the morning and someone will start telling, I want to tell you what a wonderful husband you have and all. And she"d say, "Here, tell him," and she hands the phone to me. The praise that comes from the lips of a drunk really don"t do much for you. That"s what they may think when they"re drunk but what do they think of me when they"re sober?

And so in our worship of God, no artificial stimulants. He wants our worship and praise to come from a heart and from a mind that is not under some kind of a false stimulant. So the overseer, the one who had the responsibility of overseeing the church, not to be given to wine. Whereas the deacons and these were the people who oversaw the more practical aspects of the church in those days, the administering of the church"s welfare program and things of this nature, they were not to be given to much wine.

The wine in those days, of course, was drank by just about everybody. It was mixed three parts of water to two parts of wine. And of course, at that ratio it would take an awful lot to get a person drunk and usually you"d get too full before you could get drunk. But it was a diluted form and really, it was drunk in lieu of the water which in many places was not fit to drink. You remember Paul said to Timothy to "take a little wine for your stomach"s sake and your oft infirmities" ( 1 Timothy 5:23 ).

So a deacon not to be given to much wine. We are told "not to be drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit" ( Ephesians 5:18 ). They also are,

not to be greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless ( 1 Timothy 3:8-10 ).

So much of the same requirements for the elders are also for the deacons. Deacons are to prove themselves.

And even so wives ( 1 Timothy 3:11 )

Now in our King James, you notice "must their wives" is added because the translators thought that he was probably referring to the wives of the deacons which is possible but it is also possible that Paul is just referring to the deaconesses. And that this is in reference to those women who would take a activity within the church body in the office of a deaconess. And "so also wives are to,"

be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. And let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus ( 1 Timothy 3:11-13 ).

And so Paul here writes the qualifications for these offices. And he said,

These things write I unto thee, I hope to come unto you shortly: But if I [don"t, if I have to] tarry here awhile, I want you to know how you ought to behave yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and the ground of truth ( 1 Timothy 3:14-15 ).

Timothy was left at Ephesus by Paul to strengthen the church. It is to Timothy in Ephesus that Paul is writing and instructing him in the things of the government of the church.

Now having declared the qualifications for the deacons, the overseers and the deaconesses, again when you get to these qualifications we realize that very few people could really qualify for these offices. These characteristics and traits that are required for those in leadership roles are stricter than the average, you might say. It takes a life of commitment. And many people may, as the result of these requirements, feel unqualified to take a position of authority within the church. And so Paul in verse sixteen declares,

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness ( 1 Timothy 3:16 ):

Godliness is godlikeness. Great is the mystery of being like God. These characteristics and traits that are described are the characteristics and traits of God. God wants us to be like Him. A man who is an elder in the church or an overseer in the church is really one of God"s representatives to the people. And one of the most awesome responsibilities is that of being God"s representative. People looking at the leadership to understand God. God wants me to be like Him so that as people look at me, they can understand what God is about. And that is all the understanding that many people will ever have of God is what they observe in the life of the followers of God. So each of us are God"s representatives to the world. But those who take the position of an elder or an overseer have even a greater responsibility of being God"s representatives to the people. And God doesn"t take lightly how we represent Him.

James tells us that we should "not be many masters, knowing that we receive the greater condemnation" ( James 3:1 ). We are told "unto whom much is given, much is required" ( Luke 12:48 ). And so for those who in the position of overseeing, there is a tighter standard by which they must live. Blameless, of good reputation, really even outside of the church, by the manner of life that you live that it doesn"t bring blame unto Jesus Christ or to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

It has been the sad tragedy of the church"s history that not often does the leadership take that awesome responsibility of representing God seriously enough. Paul talks about falling in the snare of the devil. And Satan surely seeks to trap ministers. And it is always a tragedy and a very sad thing when you see a servant of God being trapped by the enemy because of the reproach that it brings upon the Gospel. As Nathan said to David concerning his sin with Bathsheba, "You"ve caused the enemies of God to blaspheme" ( 2 Samuel 12:14 ).

The problem, of course, is that Satan, I think, works harder on those who have a greater influence than those of lesser influence. I think that the more the Lord uses you, the greater are the temptations that the enemy places in your path. This past year, two of the most promising, talented of the young ministers in our Calvary Chapel outreaches fell into the snare of the enemy.

One, thank God, has been delivered and has been restored. But the other is still ensnared. And it grieves me. It breaks my heart because I love these young men like a father loves a son. And I was just so thrilled with their ministry, the effectiveness of their ministry, the effectiveness of their communication. Their ability to teach. It was a thrill to see what God was doing through their ministry and through their lives and say we"re touching thousands of people. To see them ensnared by the enemy is a just a tragedy and a grievous thing to my heart.

Great is the mystery of being like God. God wants us to be like Him. That"s His purpose in creating us. And when He created us, He created us like Him, He made us in His image and after His likeness. It was the purpose of God that we be like Him. What is He like? God is love. God wants love to dominate our being. God is pure. God is holy. He wants us to be pure. He wants us to be holy. God is kind. God is compassionate. God is patient. He wants us to be kind, compassionate, patient. He wants me to be like Him. "Great is the mystery of being like God." Because I say, Hey, yes, I want to be like God. But how to be like God is another thing. There are many people who accept that, Yes, being like God is the greatest thing that could possibly happen to a person. And they try to be like God but we find that whenever we try to be like God, there are other forces at work within us, hindering us from our goals.

As Paul the apostle described in Romans chapter seven, "I consent to the law of God that it is good. But I find that there is another law at work within my members, within my body. And the good that I would I do not: and that which I would not, I do" ( Romans 7:16, Romans 7:19, Romans 7:23 ).

I consent to that which is good. But how to perform it, I just can"t find. And we find ourselves in that position so many times. I consent this is right, this is good. That"s what I ought to be doing. But how to perform it? That"s where the problem lies. And he cried out, "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death" ( Romans 7:24 )? "Great is the mystery of godliness," being like God.

It"s a great mystery that has been solved. It was solved in the incarnation. So "without controversy, great is this mystery of godliness." But God solved the mystery through the incarnation of Jesus Christ for,

God was manifest in the flesh ( 1 Timothy 3:16 ),

A plain, clear, positive declaration that Jesus Christ is God. "God was manifest in the flesh." And the purpose of the incarnation was to bring man to a godlikeness or to help us to be like God. "God was manifest in the flesh,"

He was justified [or proved to be righteous] in the Spirit ( 1 Timothy 3:16 ),

The Spirit led Him in the wilderness to be tempted of the devil and He passed every test. He resisted the temptation. He remained true and obedient unto the first principles of God. He was "justified or proved to be righteous in the Spirit."

He was seen of angels ( 1 Timothy 3:16 ),

After His temptation, the angels came and ministered unto Him. Also, it has been suggested that the angels had never seen God until the incarnation. Great is the mystery of being like God. "God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels." God dwells in a light that man cannot approach. Those who had visions of God never had a vision of a form. There was always just that brightness of the glory that shone forth from His being. Looking directly into a light, a brilliant bright light, all you can observe is just light.

Have you ever been out in the woods at night and it"s been dark and someone turned one of those five-cell flashlights in your eyes? Have you ever been a kid at camp? Those counselors always carried those five-cell you know and they put it right in your eyes. All you see is the bright light in your eyes. You don"t see the flashlight. You can"t even see the counselor. All you all you see is this bright light that is shining in your face. But you have no sense of form because all you can see is the light. You don"t see the little bulb, you don"t see the filament within the bulb, you just see the brilliance of the light.

So God, the glory of His presence so overwhelming. The brilliance that comes forth from this Creator of the universe. Call it energy or whatever you wish, that must be emanating forth from God. It is possible that the angels had never even seen the form but only the brilliance coming forth from His presence. Until He was "made flesh and He was then seen of angels." He was,

preached unto the Gentiles ( 1 Timothy 3:16 ),

As Paul tells King Agrippa concerning his Damascus road experience, he tells him that the Lord had called him to go unto the Gentiles, to turn them from darkness to light. From the power of Satan unto God. And then He was,

believed on in the world ( 1 Timothy 3:16 ),

All over the world, those who believe on Jesus Christ. Those who believe upon God who was manifest in the flesh. And then He was,

received up into glory ( 1 Timothy 3:16 ).

He said I came from the Father, I"m going to the Father. In His return to the Father, the cycle was complete. His ministry was accomplished. Jesus came to manifest to man what God is. And He was the true and the faithful witness. All that we need to know about God, we discover in Jesus Christ. "No man has seen the Father at any time but the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath manifested him" ( John 6:46 ). Made Him known, declared Him.

"God, who at sundry times and in different ways spoke unto our fathers through the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his own dear Son, whom he hath made heir of all things, who was the effulgence of his glory, [or the outshining of His glory]" ( Hebrews 1:1-3 ). So He fulfilled His purpose in manifesting God to us and He fulfilled the purpose of redeeming the world back to God through His death upon the cross.

So now as He returns to the Father, He is promising that He is going to send to them the Holy Spirit. One who would come alongside of them to help them. "I will leave you without help," He said, "But I will pray to the Father, and he will give to you another Helper, even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive" ( John 14:16, John 14:17 ). And He tells us that when the Spirit comes, we will receive power. What kind of power? Power to be like God. Great is the mystery of being like God. You cannot be like God with your best effort no matter how hard you try. It isn"t within our nature or our power to change our nature to be like God. The only way I can be like God is through the power of the Holy Spirit working in me and changing that nature.

And so the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the church was the proof that Jesus had indeed ascended to the Father. Because that was His promise when He came to the Father, He was going to send the Comforter. It is necessary for you that I go away because if I go away, if I go not away, the Comforter cannot come. That helper, the Holy Spirit. But if I go away, I will send Him. And so Jesus sent the Holy Spirit and through the power and the working of the Holy Spirit within my life, godlikeness is now possible. And as I am yielding myself day to day, the work of the Holy Spirit in me everyday is making me a little more like God.

As Paul the apostle said, "I have not yet apprehended that for which I was apprehended. Neither do I count myself perfect, but I"m pressing towards the mark" ( Philippians 3:13-14 ). What is the mark? Being like God. Godlikeness. And so I"m on my way. And as John said, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, it doesn"t yet appear what we"re going to be: but we know when he appears, we"re going to be like him" ( 1 John 3:2 ). One of these days His work will be complete in us and we will be just like God. And the purposes of God will now be accomplished in His creation for man. For God created man to be like Him and through Jesus Christ I and the power of the Holy Spirit, I am being restored into the image of God.

Great is the mystery of being like God. But that mystery is solved in the incarnation and through the work of the Holy Spirit that Jesus has sent.

"

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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 3:11". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/1-timothy-3.html. 2014.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

C. The qualifications for church leaders3:1-13

Paul proceeded from his instructions concerning worship in the church to lay out qualifications for leaders of the church. He did so to give Timothy guidance in selecting these important individuals. He discussed women and leadership in 1 Timothy 2:11-15, and now he turned to men and leadership, specifically, the personal qualities necessary for effective church leaders.

"The PE do not give institutional authority to the overseers and deacons. They describe the type of person who may serve the church in a certain role: one whose character is above reproach, who has illustrated management skills at home; who can teach (in the case of the overseers), etc. This person will teach what is true and will refute what is false. While some authority may be implicit in the title and the nature of the position, nowhere does the text explicitly say what is so often asserted by modern writers (e.g, Young, Theology, 22; cf120), that the author"s solution to the rise of heresy was to force a structure onto the house of God ... and appoint authoritative leaders who could combat the error because of their institutional position. There is no explicit institutional authority promoted in the PE." [Note: Mounce, p. lxxxi. His reference is to F. Young, The Theology of the Pastoral Epistles.]

"The nature of the qualifications set out and the broad concern for the leaders" reputations suggest that respectability of the sort that would sustain or establish the church"s credibility in society was uppermost in mind." [Note: Towner, The Letters . . ., p240.]

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 3:11". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/1-timothy-3.html. 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

2. Qualifications for deacons3:8-13

Paul continued his instructions concerning order in the life of the local church by setting forth qualifications for the deacons. He did this to insure Spirit-controlled assistants for the elders.

". . . this passage does not spell out the functions of a deacon but simply clarifies the type of person who qualifies to be a deacon. Overseers and deacons are distinct in function but similar in character." [Note: Mounce, p196.]

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 3:11". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/1-timothy-3.html. 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Does this verse refer to female deacons? [Note: Robertson, 4:575; Towner, The Letters . . ., p265; et al.] Historically most interpreters have preferred this view. [Note: Mounce, pp203, 207-12.] Others believe it refers to the wives of male deacons. [Note: Knight, pp171-72; Mounce, p204; et al.] Still others believe it refers to unmarried women who assist the deacons. Exegetically it is very hard to decide. [Note: See Robert M. Lewis, "The "Women" of1Timothy3:11," Bibliotheca Sacra136:542 (April-June1970):167-75; Charles C. Ryrie, The Place of Women in the Church, pp85-91; and Herbert Frohnhofen, "Women Deacons in the Early Church," Theology Digest34:2 (Summer1987):149-53.] I think it probably refers to female deacons for the following reasons. First, there is nothing about the office as such that would exclude a woman. Second, it seems unusual that Paul would prescribe qualifications for wives of deacons but not for wives of elders. Third, the fact that he inserted special qualifications for women in his list of deacon qualifications seems to indicate that he considered these women as deacons.

Paul described Phoebe as a deaconess (servant, Gr. diakonon) of the church in Cenchrea in Romans 16:1. This may mean she was simply a servant of the church. However the term he used allows for the possibility that she occupied the office of deaconess in her church.

"The office of deaconess is not certain in the New Testament church, but the preponderance of evidence suggests that women had this ministry, for it is certainly seen in the postapostolic period." [Note: H. Wayne House, "The Ministry of Women in the Apostolic and Postapostolic Periods," Bibliotheca Sacra145:580 (October-December1988):390. Cf. Hendriksen, pp132-33; and Fee, 1,2Timothy ..., p88.]

The apostle cited four special qualifications for these women.

7. "Dignified" means worthy of respect (Gr. semnas, 1 Timothy 3:8).

8. "Not malicious gossips" (Gr. diabolos) describes those who do not slander others.

9. "Temperate" (Gr. nephalious) means well balanced (elder qualification #3, 1 Timothy 3:2; cf. Titus 2:2).

10. "Faithful in all things" (Gr. pistas en pasin) means completely trustworthy.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 3:11". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/1-timothy-3.html. 2012.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Even so must their wives be grave,.... Some instead of "wives" read "women", and understand them of deaconesses, such as were in the primitive churches; whose business it was to visit the poor and sick sisters of the church, and take care of things belonging to them; but it is better to interpret the words of the wives of the deacons, who must be as their husbands, "grave" in speech, gesture, and dress, of an honest report, a good behaviour, and chaste conversation; which will reflect honour and credit to their husbands:

not slanderers; or accusers, and so act like devils, as the word is sometimes rendered; for should they act such a part, and accuse either the poor, or any of the members of the church wrongfully, or on any trifling occasion, as persons addicted to this vice are wont to do, it would be of bad consequence: and they also should be

sober, temperate, not given to wine; excessive drinking is very scandalous in the female sex; and is the rather mentioned here, because women in the eastern countries were too frequently addicted to it:

faithful in all things; as in the marriage bed, so with whatsoever else they are intrusted with in the family, and civil concerns of their husbands; and this is the rather observed, because the wives of deacons may be sometimes intrusted with the church's stock in their husband's absence, to impart to the poor.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 3:11". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-timothy-3.html. 1999.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

We have here the character of deacons: these had the care of the temporal concerns of the church, that is, the maintenance of the ministers and provision for the poor: they served tables, while the ministers or bishops gave themselves only to the ministry of the word and prayer, {cf11ul Act 6:2}, {cf11ul Act 6:4}. Of the institution of this office, with that which gave occasion to it, you have an account in {cf11ul Act 6:1-7}. Now it was requisite that deacons should have a good character, because they were assistants to the ministers, appeared and acted publicly, and had a great trust reposed in them. They must be grave. Gravity becomes all Christians, but especially those who are in the office in the church. Not doubled-tongued; that will say one thing to one and another thing to another, according as their interests leads them: a double tongue comes from a double heart; flatterers and slanderers are double-tongued. Not given to much wine; for this is a great disparagement to any man, especially to a Christian, and one in office, unfits men for business, opens the door to many temptations. Not greedy of filthy lucre; this would especially be bad in the deacons, who were entrusted with the church's money, and, if they were covetous and greedy of filthy lucre, would be tempted to embezzle it, and convert that to their own use which was intended for the public service. Holding the mystery of faith in a pure conscience, {cf11ul 1Ti 3:9}. Note, The mystery of faith is best held in a pure conscience. The practical love of truth is the most powerful preservative from error and delusion. If we keep a pure conscience (take heed of every thing that debauches conscience, and draws us away from God), this will preserve in our souls the mystery of faith. Let these also first be proved, {cf11ul 1Ti 3:10}. It is not fit that the public trusts should be lodged in the hands of any, till they have been first proved, and found fit for the business they are to be entrusted with; the soundness of their judgments, their zeal for Christ, and the blamelessness of their conversation, must be proved. Their wives likewise must have a good character ({cf11ul 1Ti 3:11}); they must be of a grave behaviour, not slanderers, tale-bearers, carrying stories to make mischief and sow discord; they must be sober and faithful in all things, not given to any excess, but trusty in all that is committed to them. All who are related to ministers must double their care to walk as becomes the gospel of Christ, lest, if they in any thing walk disorderly, the ministry be blamed. As he said before of the bishops or ministers, so here of the deacons, they must be the husband of one wife, such as had not put away their wives, upon dislike, and married others; they must rule their children and their own houses well; the families of deacons should be examples to other families. And the reason why the deacons must be thus qualified is ({cf11ul 1Ti 3:13}) because, though the office of a deacon be of an inferior degree, yet it is a step towards the higher degree; and those who had served tables well the church might see cause afterwards to discharge from that service, and prefer to serve in preaching the word and in prayer. Or it may be meant of the good reputation that a man would gain by his fidelity in this office: they will purchase to themselves great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. Observe, 1. In the primitive church there were but two orders of ministers or officers, bishops and deacons, {cf11ul Phi 1:1}. After-ages have invented the rest. The office of the bishop, presbyter, pastor, or minister, was confined to prayer and to the ministry of the word; and the office of the deacon was confined to, or at least principally conversant about, serving tables. Clemens Romanus, in his epistle to the Christian ( cap. 42,44), speaks very fully and plainly to this effect, that the apostles, foreknowing, by our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would arise in the Christian church a controversy about the name episcopacy, appointed the forementioned orders, bishops and deacons. 2. The scripture-deacon's main employment was to serve tables, and not to preach or baptize. It is true, indeed, that Philip did preach and baptize in Samaria (Acts 8), but you read that he was an evangelist ({cf11ul Act 21:8}), and he might preach and baptize, and perform any other part of the ministerial office, under that character; but still the design of the deacon's office was to mind the temporal concerns of the church, such as the salaries of the ministers and providing for the poor. 3. Several qualifications were very necessary, even for these inferior officers: The deacons must be grave, etc. 4. Some trial should be made of persons' qualifications before they are admitted into office in the church, or have any trust committed to them: Let these also first be proved. 5. Integrity and uprightness in an inferior office are the way to be preferred to a higher station in the church: They purchase to themselves a good degree. 6. This will also give a man great boldness in the faith, whereas a want of integrity and uprightness will make a man timorous, and ready to tremble at his own shadow. The wicked fleeth when no man pursueth, but the righteous are bold as a lion, {cf11ul Pro 28:1}

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on 1 Timothy 3:11". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/1-timothy-3.html. 1706.