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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
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1 This saying is trustworthy: 2
whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task.
Therefore, a bishop must be irreproachable,
married only once, temperate, self-controlled, decent, hospitable, able to
not a drunkard, not aggressive, but gentle, not
contentious, not a lover of money.
He must manage his own household well, keeping
his children under control with perfect dignity;
for if a man does not know how to manage his
own household, how can he take care of the church of God?
He should not be a recent convert, so that he
may not become conceited and thus incur the devil's punishment. 3
He must also have a good reputation among
outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, the devil's trap.
4 Similarly, deacons must be dignified, not
deceitful, not addicted to drink, not greedy for sordid gain,
holding fast to the mystery of the faith with a
Moreover, they should be tested first; then, if
there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
Women, 5 similarly, should
be dignified, not slanderers, but temperate and faithful in everything.
Deacons may be married only once and must
manage their children and their households well.
Thus those who serve well as deacons gain good
standing and much confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.
6 I am writing you about these matters, although
I hope to visit you soon.
But if I should be delayed, you should know how
to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the
pillar and foundation of truth.
Undeniably great is the mystery of devotion,
Who 7 was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the spirit,
seen by angels, proclaimed to the Gentiles, believed in throughout the world,
taken up in glory.
1 [1-7] The passage begins by
commending those who aspire to the office of bishop (episkopos; see the note on
⇒ Philippians 1:1) within the community, but this
first sentence (⇒ 1 Tim 3:1) may also imply a
warning about the great responsibilities involved. The writer proceeds to list
the qualifications required: personal stability and graciousness; talent for
teaching (⇒ 1 Tim 3:2); moderation in habits and
temperament (⇒ 1 Tim 3:3); managerial ability
(⇒ 1 Tim 3:4); and experience in Christian living
(⇒ 1 Tim 3:5-6). Moreover, the candidate's previous
life should provide no grounds for the charge that he did not previously
practice what he now preaches. No list of qualifications for presbyters appears
in 1 Tim. The presbyter-bishops here and in Titus (see the note on
⇒ Titus 1:5-9) lack certain functions reserved here
for Paul and Timothy.
2  This saying is trustworthy: the
saying introduced is so unlike others after this phrase that some later Western
manuscripts read, "This saying is popular." It is understood by some
interpreters as concluding the preceding section (⇒ 1 Tim
2:8-15). Bishop: literally, "overseer"; see the note on
⇒ Philippians 1:1.
3  The devil's punishment: this
phrase could mean the punishment once incurred by the devil (objective
genitive) or a punishment brought about by the devil (subjective genitive).
4 [8-13] Deacons, besides possessing
the virtue of moderation (⇒ 1 Tim 3:8), are to be
outstanding for their faith (⇒ 1 Tim 3:9) and well
respected within the community (⇒ 1 Tim 3:10).
Women in the same role, although some interpreters take them to mean wives of
deacons, must be dignified, temperate, dedicated, and not given to malicious
talebearing (⇒ 1 Tim 3:11). Deacons must have shown
stability in marriage and have a good record with their families
(⇒ 1 Tim 3:12), for such experience prepares them
well for the exercise of their ministry on behalf of the community
(⇒ 1 Tim 3:13). See further the note on ⇒ Philippians
5  Women: this seems to refer to
women deacons but may possibly mean wives of deacons. The former is preferred
because the word is used absolutely; if deacons' wives were meant, a possessive
"their" would be expected. Moreover, they are also introduced by the
word "similarly," as in ⇒ 1 Tim 3:8; this
parallel suggests that they too exercised ecclesiastical functions.
6 [14-16] In case there is some delay
in the visit to Timothy at Ephesus planned for the near future, the present
letter is being sent on ahead to arm and enlighten him in his task of
preserving sound Christian conduct in the Ephesian church. The care he must
exercise over this community is required by the profound nature of
Christianity. It centers in Christ, appearing in human flesh, vindicated by the
holy Spirit; the mystery of his person was revealed to the angels, announced to
the Gentiles, and accepted by them in faith. He himself was taken up (through
his resurrection and ascension) to the divine glory (⇒ 1 Tim
3:16). This passage apparently includes part of a liturgical hymn
used among the Christian communities in and around Ephesus. It consists of
three couplets in typical Hebrew balance: flesh-spirit (contrast),
seen-proclaimed (complementary), world-glory (contrast).
7  Who: the reference is to
Christ, who is himself "the mystery of our devotion." Some
predominantly Western manuscripts read "which," harmonizing the
gender of the pronoun with that of the Greek word for mystery; many later
(eighth/ninth century on), predominantly Byzantine manuscripts read
"God," possibly for theological reasons.
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