1 Timothy Jewish New Testament and comment David H. Stern
1. Here is a statement you can trust: anyone aspiring to be a congregation leader is seeking worthwhile work.
Congregation leader, Greek episkopos, literally, "overseer" or perhaps its Latin-rooted English equivalent, "supervisor." Transliterated as "bishop" in English. See 1 Th 1:1N. Ambition to lead is not disparaged but praised.
2. A congregation leader must be above reproach, he must be faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, orderly, hospitable and able to teach.
Faithful to his wife, literally, "husband of one wife," so that most of the discussion about this phrase has assumed its concern is not fidelity but numbers — at most one, at least one, or exactly one? Or at most one at a time?
At least one. No one seriously proposes this. Jacob, David and Solomon notwithstanding, polygamy would conflict with Sha'ul's own teaching at 1С 7:2 and with Yeshua's at Mt 19:3-9, where he cites God's original pattern as the model: "A man should be united with his wife," not with his wives, "and the two," not the many, "are to become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24).
Exactly one: a leader must be a married man. This fits well with the Jewish saying that a man without a wife is only half a man (a different application of Genesis 2:24).
"Rabbi Tanchum said in the name of Rabbi Chani lai:' Any man who has no wife lives without joy, without blessing and without goodness.'"(Yevamot 62b) "You can't compare a man with bread in his basket to one without." (Yoma) And most directly,
"Don't say, i won't get married.' Gel married!" (Avot diRabbi Natan)
Traditional Jewish encouragement of marriage risks becoming callous toward those who remain single; contrast Yeshua's remarks at Ml 19:10-12 and Sha'ul's teaching in 1 Corinthians 7.
At most one at a time. This is possible; the question then is whether leaders may remarry after divorce or only after being widowed. In the light of the two clearly permitted reasons given in the New Testament for divorce, fornication (Mt 19:9) and desertion by an unbelieving spouse (1С 7:15), one may argue that it includes remarriage after divorce for those specific reasons. But then Ihe standard for leaders is no different than for other believers, so why mention it?
At most one. This could be understood to exclude remarriage for any reason. But more importantly, it allows for unmarried pastors and sluimmashim. It does not require them to remain single, as does the Roman Catholic Church (see 4:3&N), but it permits them not to marry if they choose.
My own view is that the phrase, "husband of one wife," allows for single or married pastors and allows remarriage after being widowered or after divorce for either of the two specified reasons. But my rendering, 'faithful to his wife," reflects my belief that Sha'ul's point here is not whether a leader may or must marry (or how many times), but the importance of his fidelity in marriage. Few things can bring a ministry to ruin more quickly and totally than the sexual misbehavior of its leaders. In an age when sexual immorality was even more rampant than today, Sha'ul stressed the importance of marital fidelity (likewise at v. 12 and 5:9). It is the shame of the Messiah's Body (v. 7, compare 1С 6:15-20) that not only are there well-publicized instances when this principle is violated, but known violations are sometimes not dealt with.
3. He must not drink excessively or get into fights; rather, he must be kind and gentle. He must not be a lover of money.
He must not drink excessively. The requirement is not that the leader abstain altogether but that he not make it his habit to get drunk. Wine has a role in Jewish religion, as the New Testament recognizes (Mt 26:27-29&N. Lk 22:17-20&NN). Also see below, 5:23&N.
4. He must manage his own household well, having children who obey him with all proper respect;
5. for if a man can’t manage his own household, how will he be able to care for God’s Messianic Community?
Having children who obey him (a weaker requirement than at Ti 1:6&N). As at v. 2, does this mean a leader must have children? Or, rather, that if he has children, they should be obedient and not unruly, so that his household sets an example for the congregation? The latter is the usual interpretation. A reasonable inference is that family comes before ministry.
If a man can't manage his own household, how will he be able to care for God's Messianic community? One can turn this into a positive statement: a pastor gains valuable job experience from raising his own children.
6. He must not be a new believer, because he might become puffed up with pride and thus fall under the same judgment as did the Adversary.
The Adversary (Satan: see Mt 4:1N) came under God's judgment because of pride; see Isaiah 14:13-14, Ezekiel 28:1-19, Mt 4:1-10.
7. Furthermore, he must be well regarded by outsiders, so that he won’t fall into disgrace and into the Adversary’s trap.
Believers and nonbelievers alike have the right to judge congregational leaders by these criteria.
Leading a congregation is not like managing a business or holding public office. The Adversary doesn't care whether someone grows rich or powerful, but he does try with all his might to thwart the spread of the Good News and the advance of the Kingdom. For this reason his trap is ever set to disgrace those who are committed to doing God's work.
8. Likewise, the shammashim must be of good character, people whose word can be trusted. They must not give themselves to excessive drinking or be greedy for dishonest gain.
Shammashim. "workers, deacons." See Pp 1:1N.
9. They must possess the formerly hidden truth of the faith with a clean conscience.
Formerly hidden truth. See Ro 11:25, Ep 1:9N. This points forward to v. 16.
10. And first, let them be tested; then, if they prove themselves blameless, let them be appointed shammashim.
11. Similarly, the wives must be of good character, not gossips, but temperate, faithful in everything.
Greek gunaikas can mean either "wives" or "women." If the former, Sha'ul is taking for granted that only men can be shammashim and is predicating their service on their wives' good behavior. But if the meaning is "women," he is allowing that the office of shammosh can be filled by women as well as men. At Ro 16:1 Sha'ul calls Phoebe a shammash; his use of the masculine form of the Greek word "diakonos" suggests that he is in fact referring to the office and not just describing her as a worker. Against this idea stands v. 12, which says that a shammash must be faithful to his wife (see v. 2N) but says nothing about her being faithful to her husband (compare 5:9). However, this can be explained as brevity of expression, or as a statement of the rule for the more frequent case.
12. Let the shammashim each be faithful to his wife, managing his children and household well.
13. For those who serve well as shammashim gain good standing for themselves and much boldness in the trust that comes through Yeshua the Messiah.
14. I hope to visit you soon; but I am writing these things
15. so that if I am delayed, you may know how one should behave in the household of God, which is the Messianic Community of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.
16. Great beyond all question is the formerly hidden truth underlying our faith:
He was manifested physically
and proved righteous spiritually,
seen by angels
and proclaimed among the nations,
trusted throughout the world
and raised up in glory to heaven.
Formerly hidden truth. See v. 9N. The poetic form of this verse in the Greek suggests that Sha'ul is quoting an early Messianic hymn.
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