1 This is a true saying: If a man desire the office of a Bishop, he desireth a good worke.
2 A Bishop then must be blamelesse, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behauiour, giuen to hospitalitie, apt to teach;
3 Not giuen to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre, but patient, not a brawler, not couetous;
4 One that ruleth well his owne house, hauing his children in subiection with all grauitie.
5 (For if a man know not how to rule his owne house, how shall he take care of the Church of God?)
6 Not a nouice, lest being lifted vp with pride, hee fall into the condemnation of the deuill.
7 Moreouer, hee must haue a good report of them which are without, lest he fall into reproch, and the snare of the deuill.
8 Likewise must the Deacons bee graue, not double tongued, not giuen to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre,
9 Holding the mysterie of the faith in a pure conscience.
10 And let these also first be proued; then let them vse the office of a Deacon, being found blamelesse.
11 Euen so must their wiues be graue; not slanderers, sober, faithfull in all things.
12 Let the Deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children, and their owne houses well.
13 For they that haue vsed the office of a Deacon well, purchase to themselues a good degree, and great boldnesse in the faith, which is in Christ Iesus.
14 These things write I vnto thee, hoping to come vnto thee shortly.
15 But if I tary long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behaue thy selfe in the House of God, which is the Church of the liuing God, the pillar and ground of the trueth.
16 And without controuersie, great is the mysterie of godlinesse: God was manifest in the flesh, iustified in the Spirit, seene of Angels, preached vnto the Gentiles, beleeued on in the world, receiued vp into glory.
The qualifications and behaviour of gospel bishops. (1-7) And of deacons and their wives. (8-13) The reason of writing about these, and other church affairs. (14-16)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.
8-13 The deacons were at first appointed to distribute the charity of the church, and to manage its concerns, yet pastors and evangelists were among them. The deacons had a great trust reposed in them. They must be grave, serious, prudent men. It is not fit that public trusts should be lodged in the hands of any, till they are found fit for the business with which they are to be trusted. All who are related to ministers, must take great care to walk as becomes the gospel of Christ.
14-16 The church is the house of God; he dwells there. The church holds forth the Scripture and the doctrine of Christ, as a pillar holds forth a proclamation. When a church ceases to be the pillar and ground of truth, we may and ought to forsake her; for our regard to truth should be first and greatest. The mystery of godliness is Christ. He is God, who was made flesh, and was manifest in the flesh. God was pleased to manifest himself to man, by his own Son taking the nature of man. Though reproached as a sinner, and put to death as a malefactor, Christ was raised again by the Spirit, and so was justified from all the false charges with which he was loaded. Angels ministered to him, for he is the Lord of angels. The Gentiles welcomed the gospel which the Jews rejected. Let us remember that God was manifest in the flesh, to take away our sins, to redeem us from all iniquity, and to purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These doctrines must be shown forth by the fruits of the Spirit in our lives.
Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.