Summary: This is a verse by verse look at First Timothy chapter three.
(What you will find here are my notes from a Bible Study I conducted on 1 Timothy. I hope they will prove helpful. AMP – Amplified Bible. MSG – Message Bible. BBE – Bible in Basic English. The main text I am using is the New American Standard Version.)
QUALIFICATIONS FOR OVERSEERS
All believers, even if they never plan to be church leaders, should strive to follow these guidelines because they are consistent with what God says is true and right. More is learned through living God’s Word than through lectures.
1 Ti 3:1 – It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.
“a trustworthy statement” – a true saying KJV & BBE – faithful and trustworthy saying AMP
A person can aspire to hold an office out of good or bad motives. The "trustworthy statement" Paul cited assumed good motives: the desire to do a worthy work, not personal gain.
“overseer” – bishop KJV – superintendent AMP
"Overseer" is a term that emphasizes this leader's leadership and management responsibilities and is evidently synonymous with "elder" and "pastor" or "shepherd". At the time Paul wrote the Pastorals the office of elder was common in the churches since he had appointed elders in churches that he had founded (Acts 14:23).
Paul puts his stamp of approval on the desire to become an overseer by saying, “it is a fine work he desires to do.”
1 Ti 3:2 – An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,
1 Ti 3:3 – not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.
The qualifications of an overseer:
Above reproach – blameless KJV – a man of good name BBE – well-thought-of MSG
Husband on one wife – committed to his wife MSG
Temperate – vigilant KJV – self-controlled AMP –cool and collected MSG
Prudent – sober KJV – sensible AMP – accessible MSG – serious-minded BBE
Respectable – of good behavior KJV – having respect for order BBE
Hospitable – opening his house freely to guests BBE
Able to teach – He must know what he's talking about MSG
Not addicted to wine – not given to wine KJV – not be over-fond of wine MSG
Not pugnacious – no striker KJV – not a bully, quick-tempered, hot-headed AMP
Gentle – considerate AMP – patient KJV
Peaceable – not a brawler KJV – no fighter BBE
Free from the love of money – not covetous KJV – not greedy AMP – not money-hungry MSG
Manages his own household well – handle his own affairs well MSG – Ruling his house well BBE
Not a new convert – recent convert NIV – novice ABP – newly taken into the church BBE
Good reputation outside the church –
“above reproach” – means that he should possess no observable flaw in his character or conduct. That is, there should be no cause for justifiable criticism now or in his past that anyone could use to discredit him and bring reproach on the name of Christ and the church. The Greek word means "not to be laid hold of." No one is perfect, but an elder should be a person that no one can legitimately criticize for the way he lives.
“temperate” – means sober, vigilant, clear-headed, and well-balanced.
“prudent” – means self-controlled (NIV).
“respectable” – means orderly, of good behavior, dignified and decent in his conduct.
“hospitable” – means one who opens his home to others. This was an especially essential quality in the early church since there were few public accommodations for traveling ministers and much need to take in needy Christians temporarily.
“able to teach” – means apt, qualified, and competent to explain and defend the truth of God. This is the only qualification that involves ministry skill or gift. The style of communication undoubtedly varied according to individual gifts. Nevertheless, all would have been expected to teach only after prayerful meditation on the Word and practical application of the Word to their own lives.
"not addicted to wine" – means not a slave of drink, or drunkard.
"pugnacious" or "violent" describes a striker. This is a person who resorts to physical or verbal violence to vent his anger and or to settle disputes.
"gentle" means patient and forbearing.
“peaceable” describes a person who is not quarrelsome. He is not a fighter or a brawler – he is uncontentious.
"free from the love of money" should be obvious. Poor people as well as the rich may love money. Not all rich people love it and not all poor people seek it. The opposite of this attitude is contentment.
1 Ti 3:4 – He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity