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It is a true saying that if a man wants to be a pastor[a] he has a good ambition. For a pastor must be a good man whose life cannot be spoken against. He must have only one wife, and he must be hard working and thoughtful, orderly, and full of good deeds. He must enjoy having guests in his home and must be a good Bible teacher. He must not be a drinker or quarrelsome, but he must be gentle and kind and not be one who loves money. He must have a well-behaved family, with children who obey quickly and quietly. For if a man can’t make his own little family behave, how can he help the whole church?

The pastor must not be a new Christian because he might be proud of being chosen so soon, and pride comes before a fall. (Satan’s downfall is an example.) Also, he must be well spoken of by people outside the church—those who aren’t Christians—so that Satan can’t trap him with many accusations and leave him without freedom to lead his flock.

The deacons must be the same sort of good, steady men as the pastors. They must not be heavy drinkers and must not be greedy for money. They must be earnest, wholehearted followers of Christ, who is the hidden Source of their faith. 10 Before they are asked to be deacons, they should be given other jobs in the church as a test of their character and ability, and if they do well, then they may be chosen as deacons.

11 Their wives must be thoughtful, not heavy drinkers, not gossipers, but faithful in everything they do. 12 Deacons should have only one wife, and they should have happy, obedient families. 13 Those who do well as deacons will be well rewarded both by respect from others and also by developing their own confidence and bold trust in the Lord.

14 I am writing these things to you now, even though I hope to be with you soon, 15 so that if I don’t come for a while, you will know what kind of men you should choose as officers for the church of the living God, which contains and holds high the truth of God.

16 It is quite true that the way to live a godly life is not an easy matter. But the answer lies in Christ, who came to earth as a man, was proved spotless and pure in his Spirit, was served by angels, was preached among the nations, was accepted by men everywhere, and was received up again to his glory in heaven.


  1. 1 Timothy 3:1 pastor, more literally, “church leader,” or “presiding elder.”
Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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