1 Timothy 3:4 MEANING

1 Timothy 3:4
(4) One that ruleth well his own house.--Paul here again turns to the vein of thought first struck in 1 Timothy 3:2 : The life of the officer in the Church of God must be a pattern life for those without, as well as for those within the Church's fold, to copy and imitate. He must be pre-eminent in nobility of life and aims; but the life and the aims must belong to ordinary every day life. His high standard must be no inimitable one; the example must be one that all honest men may follow and copy, if they will. So, first of all (1 Timothy 3:2), the Apostle places among the qualities necessary for a governing elder in the Church, the pure home life of the husband; then, after enumerating other points to be sought for in the character of one chosen to rule in the congregation, Paul comes back to this central idea, the home life of the Church official; that home life must present the spectacle of a well-ordered household. This will be at least a good test of a man's fitness to rule the large family gathered together in the form of a congregation, if his own home is gently yet firmly ruled; the wife, a pattern Christian lady; the children growing up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Having his children in subjection with all gravity.--The Greek word rendered "gravity" occurs in 1 Timothy 2:2, where it is translated in the authorised version, not very happily, by "honesty." The word employed in the original Greek denotes that decorum, that propriety of demeanour, which belongs especially to the pure and chaste, and seems to urge that a peculiar reverence and an especial decorum shall be aimed at in all relations with the young. Maxima debetur pueris reverentia. The child life in the families of these ministers of Christ's religion must, too, be an example to countless other homes.

Verse 4. - One that ruleth well his own house. The ἐπίσκοπος is one who has to preside over and rule (προίστασθαι) the house of God (1 Timothy 5:17; Romans 12:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:12), as the high priest was called "ruler of the house of God" (1 Chronicles 9:11; Nehemiah 11:11). So in Justin Martyr the bishop is called ὁ προεστῶς τῶν ἀδελφῶν ('Apology,' 11) and simply ὁ προεστῶς, and similarly in Hebrews 13:7 the clergy are οἱ ἡγούμενοι ὑμῶν, "they which have the rule over you." How needful, then, is it that he should rule well his own house, and have his own children in subjection! The testimony given in this passage to a married clergy is too clear to need any comment. In subjection (ἐν ὑποταγῇ); as above, 1 Timothy 2:11, where see note. For the sense, comp. Titus 1:6, which leads us to apply the words, with all gravity (σεμνότητος), the contrary to "riot," ἀσωτία), to the children. The children of the ἐπίσκοπος are to exhibit that seriousness and sobriety of conduct which is in accordance with their father's office, μετά, together with, as in 1 Timothy 1:14.

3:1-7 If a man desired the pastoral office, and from love to Christ, and the souls of men, was ready to deny himself, and undergo hardships by devoting himself to that service, he sought to be employed in a good work, and his desire should be approved, provided he was qualified for the office. A minister must give as little occasion for blame as can be, lest he bring reproach upon his office. He must be sober, temperate, moderate in all his actions, and in the use of all creature-comforts. Sobriety and watchfulness are put together in Scripture, they assist one the other. The families of ministers ought to be examples of good to all other families. We should take heed of pride; it is a sin that turned angels into devils. He must be of good repute among his neighbours, and under no reproach from his former life. To encourage all faithful ministers, we have Christ's gracious word of promise, Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world, Mt 28:20. And he will fit his ministers for their work, and carry them through difficulties with comfort, and reward their faithfulness.One that ruleth well his own house,.... His family, wife, children, and servants; and is not to be understood of his body, and of keeping of that under, and of preserving it chaste and temperate, as appears from what follows:

having his children in subjection with all gravity; keeping a good decorum in his family; obliging his children to observe his orders, and especially the rules of God's word; and not as Eli, who did not use his authority, or lay his commands upon his sons, nor restrain them from evil, or severely reprove them for their sins, but neglected them, and was too mild and gentle with them;

1 Samuel 2:23 1 Samuel 3:13 but like Abraham, who not only taught, but commanded his children and his household, to keep the way of the Lord; Genesis 18:19 and so should those act who are in such an office as is here treated of; and should not only rule well in their families, preside over them, go before them, and set an example to them, and keep their children in obedience and subjection; but this should be "with all gravity": not only in the master of the family, but in the children; who as their father is, or should be, should be brought up in, and used to gravity in words and in dress; and in the whole of their deportment and conversation. This may he observed against the Papists, who forbid marriage to the ministers of the Gospel.

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