1 Timothy 3:5
(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
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(5) For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?—The well-ordered household, the decent, modest behaviour, the reverent, affectionate relations between parents and children, between the master and the dependents—these things are to be the test of a man’s fitness for holding high office in the public community of believers, for, as Theodoret observes, if a man cannot rule decorously a small community (such as a family), how shall he be judged a fit person to be entrusted with administration in a broader sphere—with duties which have to do with divine things?

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.For if a man know not how to rule - This is a beautiful and striking argument. A church resembles a family. It is, indeed, larger, and there is a greater variety of dispositions in it than there is in a family. The authority of a minister of the gospel in a church is also less absolute than that of a father. But still there is a striking resemblance. The church is made up of an assemblage of brothers and sisters. They are banded together for the same purposes, and have a common object to aim at. They have common feelings and common needs. They have sympathy, like a family, with each other in their distresses and afflictions. The government of the church also is designed to be "paternal." It should be felt that he who presides over it has the feelings of a father; that he loves all the members of the great family; that he has no prejudices, no partialities, no selfish aims to gratify.

Now, if a man cannot govern his own family well; if he is severe, partial, neglectful, or tyrannical at home, how can he be expected to take charge of the more numerous "household of faith" with proper views and feelings? If, with all the natural and strong ties of affection which bind a father to his own children; if, when they are few comparatively in number, and where his eye is constantly upon them, he is unable to govern them aright, how can he be expected to preside in a proper manner over the larger household where he will be bound with comparatively feebler ties, and where he will be exposed more to the influence of passion, and where he will have a much less constant opportunity of supervision? Confucius, as quoted by Doddridge, has a sentiment strikingly resembling that before us: "It is impossible that he who knows not how to govern and reform his own family, should rightly govern and reform a people." We may remark, also, in this verse, a delicate and beautiful use of words by the apostle to prevent the possibility of misapprehension. While he institutes a comparison between the government of a family and that of the church, he guards against the possibility of its being supposed that he would countenance "arbitrary" authority in the church, even such authority as a father must of necessity employ in his own family. Hence, he uses different words. He speaks of the father as "ruling" over his own family, or "presiding over it" - προστῆναι prostēnai; he describes the minister of religion as "having a tender care for the church" - ἐπιμελὴσεται epimelēsetai.

5. For—Greek, "But."

the church—rather, "a church" or congregation. How shall he who cannot perform the lesser function, perform the greater and more difficult?

For if a man hath a family, and hath showed that he neither hath wit nor honesty enough to govern that little society, which hath his constant presence with it, with what reason can any one presume, that he should be fit to be trusted with the care of the church of God? Which is a larger society, with all the members of which he is not so constantly present, and over whom he hath not such a coercive power, and as to whom a far greater care must be taken.

For if a man know not how to rule his own house,.... Which is an affair of less importance, and more easy to be done; not requiring so much resolution, prudence, care, and thought:

how shall he take care of the church of God? preside over it, rule in it, provide for it, and see that everything is in its proper place, and done according to the will of God. The argument is from the lesser to the greater.

(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
1 Timothy 3:5 in a parenthesis gives the reason why a bishop ought to know how to govern his house properly.

εἰ δέ τις τοῦ ἰδίου οἴκου προστῆναι οὐκ οἶδε] δέ shows that the confirmatory clause is adversative; the conclusion is made a minori ad majus. Bengel: plus est regere ecclesiam, quam familiaim.[120]

Πῶς ἘΚΚΛΗΣΊΑς ΘΕΟῦ ἘΠΙΜΕΛΉΣΕΤΑΙ] The contrast here made becomes still more forcible when it is observed that in 1 Timothy 3:15 Paul calls the ἘΚΚΛΗΣΊΑ the ΟἾΚΟς ΘΕΟῦ.

] The future here, as often with the Greeks, expresses the capability; see Bernhardy’s Syntax, p. 377. The verb ἐπιμελέομαι has not only the more general meaning of “take care of something” (Luke 10:34-35), but also more definitely, “fill an office, be overseer over something,” in which sense it is used here.

For a right understanding of the connection of this verse with what precedes, it is to be observed that the first requisite for a successful superintendence is obedience (ὙΠΟΤΑΓΉ) from the church towards its superintendent. It is the bishop’s duty so to conduct himself that the members of the church may be obedient to him, not as servants to a master, but as children to a father, that they may show him obedience in love.

[120] Theodoret: ὁ τὰ σμικρὰ οἰκονομεῖν οὐκ εἰδὼς, πῶς δύναται τῶν κρειττόνων καὶ θείων πιστευθῆναι τὴν ἐπιμέλειαν.

1 Timothy 3:5. The argument is akin to that stated by our Lord, Luke 16:10. “He that is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much, etc.” It is all the more cogent inasmuch as the Church is the house of God. The point is resumed in 1 Timothy 3:15. Alf. quotes a sentence from Plato in which both προστῆναι and ἐπιμελεῖσθαι are used of the government of a family; nevertheless it is not fanciful to suppose that we have here a deliberate interchange of terms, προστῆναι being, as we have seen above, almost a technical term to express Church government; while ἐπιμελ. expresses the personal care and attention of a father for his family. See the use of the verb in Luke 10:34-35, and of ἐπιμέλεια in Acts 27:3.

ἐκκλησία θεοῦ is also found in 1 Timothy 3:15. ἐκκλησία τοῦ θεοῦ occurs nine times in Paul (1 Thess.; 2 Thess.; 1 Cor.; 2 Cor.; Gal.). The omission of the article before θεοῦ is characteristic of the Pastorals. The phrase is found also in St. Paul’s apostolic charge to the episcopi of Ephesus in Acts 20:28.

5. for if a man know not] but, the force of the adversative conjunction being, ‘You may think me needlessly particular in requiring this, but a straw will shew how the wind blows, a bad parent will make a bad pastor.’ The negative is to be taken closely with the verb ‘is ignorant.’ There is a preference, especially in later Greek, for the stronger negative where there is an antithesis or where there is special emphasis by the negativing of a single word. Cf. Winer, § 55, 2; James 2:11; 1 Timothy 5:8; 2 Timothy 2:14.

Both the words ‘rule’ and ‘take care’ have an obvious bearing on St Paul’s conception of the ministry as being especially for government. So too what follows.

1 Timothy 3:5. Οὐκ οἶδε, if a man does not know) Paul intimates that the man who rightly rules his own house will have well-behaved children.—πῶς, how) It requires higher qualifications to rule the Church, than a family.

Verse 5. - But for for, A.V., knoweth for know, A.V. 1 Timothy 3:5Shall he take care of (ἐπιμελήσεται)

Only here and Luke 10:34.

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