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Qualifications of Overseers

This saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to become an overseer, he desires a noble task. It is necessary, then, for the overseer to be above reproach, the husband of only one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not a violent man but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. It is necessary that he manage his own household well, with all dignity making sure that his children obey him. (If a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he might become conceited and fall into the same condemnation as the Devil. In addition, he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he may not fall into disgrace and the Devil’s trap.

Qualifications of Deacons

In the same way, it is necessary that deacons be dignified, not deceitful,[a] not devoted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain— men who hold on to the mystery of the faith with a clean conscience. 10 Let them also be tested first. Then let them serve as deacons, if they are found to be blameless. 11 In the same way women[b] must be worthy of respect, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in everything. 12 Let each deacon be the husband of only one wife, managing his children and his own household well. 13 Certainly, those who serve well as deacons gain for themselves good standing and great boldness in the faith they have in Christ Jesus.

Summary and Doxology

14 I am writing these things to you even though I hope to come to you shortly. 15 But if I am delayed, I wanted you to know how it is necessary to behave in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. 16 Undeniably, great is the mystery of godliness:

He[c] was revealed in flesh,
was justified in spirit,[d]
was seen by messengers,[e]
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory.


  1. 1 Timothy 3:8 Or double-tongued
  2. 1 Timothy 3:11 The women here may be deaconesses, female helpers of deacons, or wives of deacons.
  3. 1 Timothy 3:16 Some witnesses to the text read God.
  4. 1 Timothy 3:16 Flesh and spirit here refer to Christ’s states of humiliation and exaltation.
  5. 1 Timothy 3:16 Or angels

Qualifications for Overseers and Deacons

Here is a trustworthy saying:(A) Whoever aspires to be an overseer(B) desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach,(C) faithful to his wife,(D) temperate,(E) self-controlled, respectable, hospitable,(F) able to teach,(G) not given to drunkenness,(H) not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome,(I) not a lover of money.(J) He 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.(K) (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)(L) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited(M) and fall under the same judgment(N) as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders,(O) so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.(P)

In the same way, deacons[b](Q) are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine,(R) and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience.(S) 10 They must first be tested;(T) and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.

11 In the same way, the women[c] are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers(U) but temperate(V) and trustworthy in everything.

12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife(W) and must manage his children and his household well.(X) 13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

Reasons for Paul’s Instructions

14 Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, 15 if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church(Y) of the living God,(Z) the pillar and foundation of the truth. 16 Beyond all question, the mystery(AA) from which true godliness(AB) springs is great:

He appeared in the flesh,(AC)
    was vindicated by the Spirit,[d]
was seen by angels,
    was preached among the nations,(AD)
was believed on in the world,
    was taken up in glory.(AE)


  1. 1 Timothy 3:4 Or him with proper
  2. 1 Timothy 3:8 The word deacons refers here to Christians designated to serve with the overseers/elders of the church in a variety of ways; similarly in verse 12; and in Romans 16:1 and Phil. 1:1.
  3. 1 Timothy 3:11 Possibly deacons’ wives or women who are deacons
  4. 1 Timothy 3:16 Or vindicated in spirit

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