by Rev Joel Yong
1 Timothy 3:2-13
Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
I think Paul’s intent was to ensure that overseers and deacons were not selected without a stringent process or chosen without much testing and consideration.
I do not think it means therefore that such men are faultless or perfect or expected unreasonably to have perfect households.
It should not be used as a list for those hoping to find fault with an overseer or deacon and thereafter seek to disqualify him from his role. Rather it serves as a reminder to us of the gravity of such a role and the need to get one’s home in order prior to one’s appointment or selection.
It’s hard to run a perfect household. Matthew Henry comments on the passage above saying “Who then is up to the task?” He then inferred that it must be a man who leans upon the grace and guidance of God.
After all David was forgotten by his father when Samuel came visiting, to anoint a new king.
His own brother chided him for asking about Goliath’s challenge to the army. David’s wife then mocked him for dancing in front of the Ark. His son raped his half-sister and then another son Absalom murdered the rapist. Absalom then sought to take the throne by force and failed, dying in the process.
David’s family was far from perfect but he is known as a man after God’s own heart. For God looks beyond the surface to see what is far within.