“This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.”
King James Version (KJV)
3:1 He desireth a good work - An excellent, but laborious, employment.
1Ti 3:1 Bishops and Deacons SUMMARY OF I TIMOTHY 3: The Qualifications of Bishops. Of Deacons. Their Wives. The Reason for Writing to Timothy of These Matters. They Mystery of Godliness. If a man desireth the office of a bishop. Here, for the first time in the New Testament, is there a delineation of the qualifications and duties of bishops and deacons. Both offices have been alluded to in Acts (elders, Ac 11:30 14:23 15:2 16:4 20:17; deacons, Ac 6:1-6), and both are named in Php 1:1. To form a correct idea of the New Testament bishop we must get away from modern episcopacy. The New Testament bishop was not diocesan, but in charge of a single church. Each church had a plurality. Elders or presbyters, and bishops were only different designations for the same office. This arrangement was not changed until after the close of the first century and the death of the last of the apostles. Of these statements, admitted by the candid learned even of episcopal bodies, the following proofs may be submitted: (1) Paul summons the "elders" of the church at Ephesus (Ac 20:17), and calls them "bishops" ("overseers") in Ac 20:28. (2) In the church of Philippi the "bishops and deacons" are named as the officers (Php 1:1). (3) Paul in this Epistle names bishops and deacons as the officers (1Ti 3:1,12), but names "elders" as officers entrusted with the same duties already named as those of the bishops in 1Ti 5:17-22. (4) In the Epistle to Titus, Paul commands to "ordain elders in every city" (Tit 1:5), but in turn describing the qualifications of an elder he calls him a bishop (Tit 1:7). (5) Peter addresses "elders" and commands them to exercise the office of "bishops" over the flock (1Pe 5:1,2). The Greek word "episkope", as well as the word "bishop", etymologically means to act as an overseer, or to take the oversight. (6) I might add that Clement of Rome, who wrote to Corinthians about the beginning of the second century, uses the terms interchangeably. Desireth a good work. A very important duty.