1 Timothy 3:7
Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without.—The man to be chosen as a responsible office-bearer in the Church, should be one possessing a stainless reputation for integrity and honour with the world outside the Church’s pale; he should be one regarded by the world at large as having led a self-restrained, decorous life—a life free from those disorders and licentious practices which worldly men, even while themselves indulging in them, are the first to condemn in others.

Lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.—For such a one, bringing with him into the new society his unhappy reputation, earned in the old thoughtless days—if placed in the new society in a prominent position of authority—would draw down upon himself and the brotherhood over whom he presided many a reproach, many a sneer. Those who once knew him among other associations living a very different life, would be only too ready to attack the blameless character of the congregation, through the stained and scarred reputation of their minister. The temptation to fall away and deny his Lord in such a case, would be overwhelming. The man might be in earnest, might be wishful to lead a new and better life, but the risk that one with such connections, with such memories of old days, would of necessity run, must be very great. Weakened and disheartened, such a presbyter would be likely to fall an easy prey into some snare skilfully laid by the Enemy, and, by his fall, cause a terrible and damaging injury to the Church of Christ. For these weighty reasons St. Paul charged Timothy to be very watchful when he chose his presiding elders, to elect only those who, in the dissolute society of Ephesus, had known how, even in old days, to preserve their good name stainless, their character unscarred.

The snare of the devil.—The teaching here of St. Paul respecting the Evil One is deserving of a special comment. What he says in 1Timothy 3:6-7 is simply introduced as part of the main argument, which relates exclusively to the care to be exercised in the selection of fit persons for the sacred offices in the congregations. It is evidently not introduced as a special teaching on this mysterious subject. No disputings on this point as yet had been originated at this early period in Christian history. It lays down, however, certain broad principles which must have been the ground-work of St. Paul’s belief in this now disputed question; and receiving as we do St. Paul’s words in this and in his other epistles as an authoritative declaration of the mind and will of the Holy Spirit, it seems that these broad principles should have all weight whenever the doctrine respecting the Spirit of Evil is discussed. The lines hero sketched are as follows: (1) The personality of the Evil One is distinctly affirmed. (2; This unhappy being has fallen and has been condemned, and is now able to lay snares for and to tempt men. (3) An overweening pride seems to have been the cause which led to this once mighty one’s fall. (4) All idea of dualism—the old Persian belief adopted in the Manichsean heresy, and in so many other false creeds, that of two principles eternally opposed to one another—presiding respectively over the realms of light and darkness—is distinctly here repudiated by Paul, who in the course of his argument casually introduces the Evil One—the Enemy of man, as one who at some remote period rebelled, was crushed, and condemned, but to whom, in the supreme Providence of God, some terrible power over man was left.

1 Timothy 3:7. Moreover, he must have a good report — That is, a fair or good character, or good testimony, namely, as to the time past; of them that are without — That are not Christians; lest he fall into reproach — By their rehearsing his former life; and the snare of the devil — Which Satan might make a snare of to discourage and cast him down, or in some other way entangle him in unbelief and sin. Here Macknight remarks, “It is intimated, that the sins which a person has formerly committed, when cast in his teeth after he becomes a minister, may be the means of tempting him to repeat these sins, by the devil’s suggesting to him that he has little reputation to lose. Nor is this the only evil. The people, knowing his former miscarriages, will be less affected with what he says to them. All who are candidates for the ministry ought to consider these things seriously.”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.Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without - Who are without the church; that is, of those who are not Christians. This includes, of course, "all" classes of those who are not Christians - pagans, infidels, Jews, moral people, and scoffers. The idea is, that he must have a fair reputation with them for integrity of character. His life must be in their view upright. He must not be addicted to anything which they regard as inconsistent with good morals. His deportment must be such that they shall regard it as not inconsistent with his profession. He must be true and just and honest in his dealings with his fellow-men, and so live that they cannot say that he has wronged them. He must not give occasion for scandal or reproach in his contact with the other sex, but must be regarded as a man of a pure life and of a holy walk. The "reason" for this injunction is obvious.

It is his business to endeavor to do such people good, and to persuade them to become Christians. "But no minister of the gospel can possibly do such people good, unless they regard him as an upright and honest man." No matter how he preaches or prays; no matter how orthodox, learned, or apparently devout he may be, all his efforts will be in vain unless they regard him as a man of incorruptible integrity. If they hate religion themselves, they insist justly that since he has professed it he shall be governed by its principles; or if they feel its importance, they will not be influenced to embrace it by a man that they regard as hypocritical and impure. Go to a man whom you have defrauded, or who regards you as having done or attempted wrong to any other one, and talk to him about the necessity of religion, and he will instinctively say that he does not "want" a religion which will not make its professor true, honest, and pure. It is impossible, therefore, for a minister to over-estimate the importance of having a fair character in the view of the world, and no man should be introduced into the ministry, or sustained in it, who has not a fair reputation; compare Colossians 4:5 note; 1 Thessalonians 4:12 note.

Lest he fall into reproach - That is, in such a way as to bring dishonor on the ministerial character. His life will be such as to give people occasion to reproach the cause of religion.

And the snare of the devil - The snare which the devil lays to entrap and ruin the ministers of the gospel and all good people. The snare to which reference is here made, is that of "blasting the character and influence of the minister of the gospel." The idea is, that Satan lays this snare so to entangle him as to secure this object, and the means which he uses is the vigilance and suspicion of those who are out of the church. If there is anything of this kind in the life of a minister which they can make use of, they will be ready to do it. Hence, the necessity on his part of an upright and blameless life. Satan is constantly aiming at this thing; the world is watching for it, and if the minister has any "propensity" which is not in entire accordance with honesty, Satan will take advantage of it and lead him into the snare.

7. a good report—Greek, "testimony." So Paul was influenced by the good report given of Timothy to choose him as his companion (Ac 16:2).

of them which are without—from the as yet unconverted Gentiles around (1Co 5:12; Col 4:5; 1Th 4:12), that they may be the more readily won to the Gospel (1Pe 2:12), and that the name of Christ may be glorified. Not even the former life of a bishop should be open to reproach [Bengel].

reproach and the snare of the devil—reproach of men (1Ti 5:14) proving the occasion of his falling into the snare of the devil (1Ti 6:9; Mt 22:15; 2Ti 2:26). The reproach continually surrounding him for former sins might lead him into the snare of becoming as bad as his reputation. Despair of recovering reputation might, in a weak moment, lead some into recklessness of living (Jer 18:12). The reason why only moral qualities of a general kind are specified is, he presupposes in candidates for a bishopric the special gifts of the Spirit (1Ti 4:14) and true faith, which he desires to be evidenced outwardly; also he requires qualifications in a bishop not so indispensable in others.

Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without: the apostle would have ministers men of good reputation amongst such as were without the pale of the church, for that is the meaning of that term, which are without; see 1 Corinthians 5:12 1 Thessalonians 4:12: others might be admitted as members of the church, but not as rulers in it, because the glory of God was much concerned in the reputation of such persons, they were as lights set upon a hill.

Lest he fall into reproach; lest men reproach such persons for their former infamous life, and so prejudice others against the doctrine they bring.

And the snare of the devil; and the snare, either of some accuser, or of the devil, who hath this name from his accusing of the brethren; or lest he fall into some temptation to revenge, hatred, undue anger, or to be cowardly in the discharge of his duty, lest he should by faithfulness provoke others to reproach him for his former course of life. Moreover, he must have a good report of them which are without, That is, "without the church", as the Arabic version reads; for wicked men, though they dislike the principles and profession of godly ministers, and despise their office, yet cannot but speak well of their becoming life and conversation. And this part of their character is necessary to invite persons to hear them, and to recommend their ministry to them, as well as for the reasons that follow:

lest he fall into reproach; into the reproach of men; not only of the world, but of professors of religion; who may be apt to upbraid him with his past sins; especially such that may fall under his censures, admonitions, and reproofs, which hereby will become in a great measure useless and ineffectual:

and the snare of the devil; lest Satan should take encouragement from hence to tempt him to other and greater sins; or lest finding himself slighted and despised by the people of God, because of his former sins, he should break out into anger and revenge against them; or into despondency and despair in himself; or should be negligent of his duty, and timorous of exhorting and reproving others, lest they should retort upon him, and reproach him with his former crimes. The Jews have a regard to the wisdom, prudence, gravity, and manners, of a man they appoint as a minister of a congregation. Their rule is this (z):

"they do not appoint a messenger or minister of a congregation, but he who is the greatest in the congregation for wisdom and works; and if he is an elderly man, it is the better; and they take care that the messenger or minister of the congregation be a man whose voice is pleasant, and he is used to read: but he whose beard is not full grown, though he is a very considerable man, he may not be a minister of the congregation, because of the honour of the congregation.''

(z) Maimon. Hilchot Tephilla, c. 8. sect. 11.

Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Timothy 3:7. Δεῖ δὲ καὶ μαρτυρίαν καλὴν ἔχειν ἀπὸ τῶν ἔξωθεν] Δεῖ δέ (which does not present something opposed to 1 Timothy 3:6) adds a new requirement to those already given in 1 Timothy 3:2-6, a requirement needed for the sake of those who are not Christians. Thus δεῖ here becomes connected with the δεῖ in 1 Timothy 3:2.

μαρτυρία occurs in the Pauline Epistles only here and in Titus 1:13.

ἀπὸ τῶν ἔξωθεν] οἱ ἔξωθεν (for which Paul commonly uses οἱ ἔξω) are those outside the church; ἀπό is equivalent not to “among,” but to “from;” the testimony comes from those who are not Christians. In the choice of a bishop, care is to be taken that he is a man who has led an irreproachable life even in the eyes of those who are not Christians. The reason is added just as in 1 Timothy 3:6 : ἵνα μὴ εἰς ὀνειδισμὸν ἐμπέσῃ καὶ παγίδα τοῦ διαβόλου] ὀνειδισμόν may be taken absolutely (Wiesinger, Plitt), or joined with τοῦ διαβ. (van Oosterzee). The former view is supported by the fact that ἐμπέσῃ separates ὀνειδ. from παγίδα; the latter, by the fact that the preposition is not repeated before παγίδα. The passage in 1 Timothy 3:14-15, when compared with this, supports the former view, which is further established as correct by the consideration that we cannot well suppose ὀνειδίζειν to be an act of the devil. Since ὀνειδισμός is not defined more precisely, it must be taken as quite general in meaning.

καὶ παγίδα τοῦ διαβόλου] the same expression in 2 Timothy 2:26; in 1 Timothy 6:9 it stands without τοῦ διαβ., and there, too, it is joined with πειρασμός (elsewhere only in Romans 11:9, which follows Psalm 69:23). It is a figurative name for the lying in wait of the devil, who is represented as a hunter. The idea of its association with ὀνειδισμός is this, that the disgrace incurred by one who has not a good testimony from the non-Christians, is used by the devil as a snare, not only to tempt him, but also to seduce him into apostasy from the gospel.[125]

[125] In explaining τοῦ διαβόλου, Hofmann explains ἐμπέσῃ (εἰς) παγ. τ. διαβ. to mean, that the slanderer tries to ensnare such a one in the sense of “showing him as an evidence of the state of morality in an association which selects such a man as its head” (!).1 Timothy 3:7. τῶν ἔξωθεν: οἱ ἔξω in Mark 4:11 (ἔξωθεν, W.H. m.) means those who came into contact—more or less close—with Jesus, but who were not His disciples. In the Pauline use (see reff.) it means the non-Christian Society in which the Church lives. St. Paul’s attitude towards them that are without is one of the many proofs of his sanity of judgment. On the one hand, they are emphatically outside the Church; they have no locus standi in it, no right to interfere. On the other hand, they have the law of God written in their hearts; and, up to a certain point, their moral instincts are sound and their moral judgments worthy of respect. In the passage before us, indeed, St. Paul may be understood to imply that the opinion of “those without” might usefully balance or correct that of the Church. There is something blameworthy in a man’s character if the consensus of outside opinion be unfavourable to him; no matter how much he may be admired and respected by his own party. The vox populi, then, is in some sort a vox Dei: and one cannot safely assume, when we are in antagonism to it, that, because we are Christians, we are absolutely in the right and the world wholly in the wrong. Thus to defy public opinion in a superior spirit may not only bring discredit, ὀνειδισμός, on oneself and on the Church, but also catch us in the devil’s snare, viz., a supposition that because the world condemns a certain course of action, the action is therefore right and the world’s verdict may be safely set aside.

We cannot infer with Alford and von Soden, from the absence of another preposition before παγίδα, that ὀνειδισμόν also depends on τοῦ διαβόλου. It would not be easy to explain satisfactorily ὀνειδ. τ. διαβόλου.7. them which are without] Outside the circle of believers, the Christian Church: the same phrase is used by St Paul, 1 Thessalonians 4:12, ‘walk honestly toward them that are without’; cf. 1 Corinthians 5:12-13.

the snare of the devil] Probably we should take this as a separate phrase apart from ‘reproach,’ considering the use in 2 Timothy 2:26, ‘recover themselves out of the snare of the devil.’ The genitive here must be subjective, ‘the snare laid by the devil.’ So Huther, ‘It is a figurative name for the lying in wait of the devil, who is represented as a hunter.’ See Appendix, K.

The devil entraps a man, that is, into ‘proud despair’ by the temptation arising out of the ‘reproach’ for the past thrown in his teeth; ‘You can never be of use or in repute; these old sins will dog and clog you; you may as well return to your “wallowing in the mire” ’; cf. 2 Samuel 12:14, By this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme.’ We know the terrible struggle David’s life was to him afterwards, through the weakening of his authority, in consequence of the old, well-known fall; how for example he was drawn again into deeds of violence and injustice by the sons of Zeruiah, who, as he bitterly complained, were ‘too hard’ for him.1 Timothy 3:7. Καὶ μαρτυρίαν, also a good report) Not even former life should be open to any reproach. Mere report is not sufficient; but there ought to be a good report along with the practice of the virtues, nay, a good testimony. Paul wishes that the character of Christians should be in high esteem; comp. ch. 1 Timothy 5:14, note.—ἀπὸ τῶν ἔξωθεν, from those that are without) that they may be more easily gained over, and the glory of God be promoted.—ὀνειδισμὸν, reproach) Comp. ch. 1 Timothy 5:14. The devil may occasion the greatest trouble to the minister who is subjected to bad reports, by himself (the devil), and by means of the calumnies of men.—καὶ παγίδα, and a snare) Comp. Matthew 22:15.Verse 7. - Good testimony from for a good report of, A.V.; that for which, A.V. Good testimony (μαρτυρίαν καλήν; see 1 Timothy 5:10). So it is said of Timothy himself that ἐμαρτυρεῖτο, "he was well reported of by the brethren" (Acts 16:2). In accordance with this rule, letters testimonial are required of all persons to be ordained, to the importance of character in a clergyman (comp. 2 Corinthians 6:3). Them that are without (τῶν ἔξωθεν); used in Matthew 23:27; Luke 11:39; 1 Peter 3:3; Revelation 11:2, etc., of that; which is outside or external literally, as the outside of the cup, the outer ornament of the body, the outside of the sepulcher, the outer court of the temple. It is synonymous with the more common form, ἔξω. (For the phrase, "they that are without" (οἱ ἔξω), as applied to those who are not members of the Church, see Mark 4:11; John 9:34, 35; 1 Corinthians 5:12, 13; Colossians 4:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:12.) The opposite is ἔσω ἔσωθεν (1 Corinthians 5:12; Matthew 23:25, etc.). So exoteric and esoteric, of doctrines intended respectively for the outside world or the inner circle of disciples. Reproach (ὀνειδισμόν); the reproaches and revilings cast upon him by unbelievers (Romans 15:3; Hebrews 10:33; Hebrews 11:26; Hebrews 13:13). The verb ὀνειδίζειν has the same sense (1 Timothy 4:10; Matthew 5:11; Mark 15:32; Luke 6:22; 1 Peter 4:14), and so in classical Greek. This reproach is further described as the snare of the devil (comp. 1 Timothy 6:9; 2 Timothy 2:26), because it is through these revilings that the devil seeks to impair the power of his ministry and frighten him from the exercise of it. The genitive τοῦ διαβόλου depends only upon πασίδα, not upon ὀνειδισμόν. The καὶ does not indicate that there are two separate things into which he falls, but adds, as a description of the ὀνειδισμός, that it is "a snare of the devil." The idea in 1 Peter 5:8 is analogous. There it is by afflictions that the devil seeks to devour the disciple who is weak in faith. Those afflictions might well be described as παγίδα τοῦ διαβόλου," a snare of the devil," set for weak souls. A good report (μαρτυριαν καλὴν)

Comp. Acts 6:3. Not only does καλός occur in the Pastorals nearly twice as many times as in Paul, but the usage is different. Out of 16 instances in Paul, there is but one in which καλός is not used substantively (Romans 7:16), while in the Pastorals it is, almost without exception, used adjectively. Μαρτυρίαν, better testimony. Comp. Titus 1:13. Not in Paul, who uses μαρτύριον.

Of them which are without (ἀπὸ τῶν ἔξωθεν)

Ἔξωθεν only once in Paul (2 Corinthians 7:6), and οἱ ἔξωθεν nowhere in Paul, and only here in Pastorals. Paul's phrase is ὁ ἔξω: see 1 Corinthians 5:12, 1 Corinthians 5:13; 2 Corinthians 4:16; 1 Thessalonians 4:12.

Reproach (ὀνειδισμὸν)

By Paul in Romans 15:3 : only here in Pastorals: three times in Hebrews.

Snare (παγίδα)

Comp. 1 Timothy 6:9; 2 Timothy 2:26. In Paul, Romans 11:9, see note. Both reproach and snare govern διαβόλου.

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