by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 1 Study # 3 Lincolnton, NC November 14, 2004
2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
1901 ASV Translation:
2 The bishop therefore must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, orderly, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
In chapter three, verse 2, there is one variation between the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26 that consists of a simple, one-letter, difference in the spelling of the word translated "blameless/without reproach". It makes no difference in meaning.
I. Since Paul introduces this section with a statement about how it is a good work that one "desires" who "aspires" to the episcopacy, it seems that he must be setting forth the characteristics of the "worker".
II. The characteristics of the "worker" include...
A. "Blamelessness" in the sense that he will measure up to this list of qualities to a fair degree of maturity.
B. "Being a one-woman man" in the same sense that the widow in chapter five is to be a "one-man woman". That "sense" does not indicate the number of marriages that might be involved in a person's experience [it seems impossible that Paul would have "counselled" remarriage to the young widow if, by following his instruction, she would disqualify herself from being helped by the church in her old age]. Rather, that "sense" indicates the attitude that a person takes toward the spouse he/she has at the time the evaluation is being conducted. An important observation is this: one cannot develop a track record of "being of a certain quality" without the passing of sufficient time as to establish the presence of that quality. So, someone who has been married more than once would, obviously, have to have been married to the current spouse long enough to develop that track record. This would preclude evaluation of a person for the "work" who was only recently married.
1. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says of this word group that it addresses the need to be free from "all kinds of mental fuzziness" (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament; Vol. 4, p. 937), which freedom leads to the pursuit of "the conscious avoidance of all offence" (Ibid).
2. Liddell and Scott Greek-English Lexicon says the sense is "to be sober and wary" (p. 1175). The idea is of being extremely careful to think things through so that one is not suddenly caught by an oversight.
3. The word use is linked to the physical problem of being influenced by the impact of wine and, from that, derives a figurative sense of being free from the diminished mental capacity that wine introduces.
1. This word has also to do with mental things: it carries the concept of a mind that has been delivered from its normal non-think state [a "saved understanding"], a condition introduced by Paul in Romans 1:22 and 28.
2. The key characteristic of the depraved mind of the Romans context is the pervasiveness of focus upon self-interest. The depraved mind cannot grasp principles that assume a focus upon others. It is simply too caught up by the intensity of making sure that "I" get the benefit I want out of the experience(s) of life that it cannot even grasp the notion that maybe "I" ought to be the sacrifice in every given situation, which is the automatic attitude of the true servant.
3. That the translators chose to introduce "sober" into the conceptual range is unfortunate because that term signifies some kind of focus upon drunkenness, but this word is not about being "sober"; rather, it is about being focused upon the willingness to be useful to others. [A note: both "vigilant" and "sober" have to do with a mental condition in which one is wise enough to discern reality without fuzziness because his discernment is driven by the willingness to "love" -- both God and men. In this sense, even the "of one woman, a man" is included because true "love" will be unveiled first in the home.]
E. "Of good behavior/Orderly".
1. This word introduces an aspect of "working order" -- i.e., an arrangement of details so that the sought result can be achieved.
2. Critical to this notion is, of course, the entire issue of "seeking results": what is being "sought", and is it a "worthy" goal, and can it be achieved by the proposed method(s)?
3. Here we have the reason that both "vigilant" and "sober-minded" are required first: it is impossible to "order" things in such a way as to be able to achieve results if one is fuzzy minded, or focused upon illegitimate ends (results). [A note: it seems that, after "blameless", the next four characteristics all have to do with the development of a mind-set that inescapably puts the eternal needs of others into the fore of all thought.]
F. "Given to hospitality".
1. The term derives from a sense of "emotional commitment" to those who are away from their home.
2. The basic idea seems to be a willingness to be a "need-meeter" in the temporary setting of one who, for some legitimate reason, is out of the typical boundaries of "home". Everyone who is "away from home" is at risk of not being able to obtain the necessities of life that come rather easily in the "home" setting.
G. "Apt to teach".
1. If a person really has a sense of how crucial it is for people to come into the Life of the Servant God, there will automatically be a pursuit of ways to attempt to influence them in that direction.
2. Teaching is a fundamental approach to addressing the fuzziness of mind and the selfishness of depravity that exist in all to some degree and in the immature to a great degree. It is also fundamental to the process of creating the "orderliness" that is necessary to achieve godly objectives.