1 Timothy 3:1
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.

King James Bible
This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

Darby Bible Translation
The word is faithful: if any one aspires to exercise oversight, he desires a good work.

World English Bible
This is a faithful saying: if a man seeks the office of an overseer, he desires a good work.

Young's Literal Translation
Stedfast is the word: If any one the oversight doth long for, a right work he desireth;

1 Timothy 3:1 Parallel
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

This is a trite saying - Greek, "Faithful is the word" - the very phrase which is used in 1 Timothy 1:15; see the notes on that verse. The idea here is, that it was worthy of credence; it was not to be doubted.

If a man desire - Implying that there would be those who would wish to be put into the ministry. The Lord, undoubtedly, by his Spirit, often excites an earnest and irrepressible desire to preach the gospel - a desire so strong, that he in whom it exists can be satisfied in no other calling. In such a case, it should be regarded as one evidence of a call to this work. The apostle, however, by the statements which follow, intimates that wherever this desire exists, it is of the utmost importance to have just views of the nature of the office, and that there should be other qualifications for the ministry than a mere desire to preach the gospel. He proceeds, therefore, to state those qualifications, and no one who "desires" the office of the ministry should conclude that he is called to it, unless these qualifications substantially are found in him. The word rendered "desire" here (ὀρέγω oregō), denotes properly, "to reach" or "stretch out" - and hence to reach after anything, to long after, to try to obtain; Hebrews 11:16.

The office of a bishop - The Greek here is a single word - ἐπισκοπῆς episkopēs. The word ἐπισκοπή episkopē - "Episcope" - whence the word "Episcopal" is derived - occurs but four times in the New Testament. It is translated "visitation" in Luke 19:44, and in 1 Peter 2:12; "bishoprick," Acts . Acts 1:20; and in this place "office of a bishop." The verb from which it is derived (ἐπισκοπέω episkopeō), occurs but twice, In Hebrews 12:15, it is rendered "looking diligently," and in 1 Peter 5:2, "taking the oversight." The noun rendered bishop occurs in Acts 20:28; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:7; 1 Peter 2:25. The verb means, properly, to look upon, behold; to inspect, to look after, see to, take care of; and the noun denotes the office of overseeing, inspecting, or looking to. It is used to denote the care of the sick, Xeno. Oec. 15, 9; compare "Passow;" and is of so general a character that it may denote any office of overseeing, or attending to. There is nothing in the word itself which would limit it to any class or grade of the ministry, and it is, in fact, applied to nearly all the officers of the church in the New Testament, and, indeed, to Christians who did not sustain "any" office. Thus it is applied:

(a) to believers in general, directing them to "look diligently, lest anyone should fail of the grace of God," Hebrews 12:15;

(b) to the elders of the church at Ephesus, "over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers," Acts 20:28;

(c) to the elders or presbyters of the church in 1 Peter 5:2, "Feed the flock of God, taking the oversight thereof;

(d) to the officers of the church in Philippi, mentioned in connection with deacons as the only officers of the church there, "to the saints at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons," Philippians 1:1;

(e) to Judas, the apostate. Acts 1:20; and,

(f) to the great Head of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 2:25, "the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls."

From this use of the term it follows:

(1) That the word is never used to designate the "uniqueness" of the apostolic office, or so as to have any special applicability to the apostles. Indeed, the term "bishop" is "never" applied to any of them in the New Testament; nor is the word in any of its forms ever used with reference to them, except in the single case of "Judas," Acts 1:20.

(2) it is never employed in the New Testament to designate an order of men superior to presbyters, regarded as having any other functions than presbyters, or being in any sense "successors" to the apostles. It is so used now by the advocates of prelacy; but this is a use wholly unknown to the New Testament. It is so undeniable that the name is never given in the New Testament to those who are now called "bishops," that even Episcopalians concede it. Thus, Dr. Onderdonk (Tract on Episcopacy, p. 12) says, "All that we read in the New Testament concerning 'bishops' is to be regarded as pertaining to the 'middle grade;' that is, to those who are now regarded as 'priests.'" This is not strictly correct, as is clear from the remarks above respecting what is called the "middle grade;" but it is strictly correct, so far as it affirms that it is "never" applied to prelates.

(3) it is used in the New Testament to denote ministers of the gospel who had the care or oversight of the churches, without any regard to grade or rank.

(4) it has now, as used by Episcopalians, a sense which is wholly unauthorized by the New Testament, and which, indeed, is entirely at variance with the usage there. To apply the term to a pretended superior order of clergy, as designating their special office, is wholly to depart from the use of the word as it occurs in the Bible.


1 Timothy 3:1 Parallel Commentaries

He Severely Reproves Abaelard for Scrutinizing Rashly and Impiously, and Extenuating the Power Of, the Secret Things of God.
He severely reproves Abaelard for scrutinizing rashly and impiously, and extenuating the power of, the secret things of God. 17. This is the righteousness of man in the blood of the Redeemer: which this son of perdition, by his scoffs and insinuations, is attempting to render vain; so much so, that he thinks and argues that the whole fact that the Lord of Glory emptied Himself, that He was made lower than the angels, that He was born of a woman, that He lived in the world, that He made trial of our
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

The Unity of the Church.
"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."--Matt. xvi. 18. Too many persons at this day,--in spite of what they see before them, in spite of what they read in history,--too many persons forget, or deny, or do not know, that Christ has set up a kingdom in the world. In spite of the prophecies, in spite of the Gospels and Epistles, in spite of their eyes and their ears,--whether it be their sin or
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VII

Brief Outline of Ancient Jewish Theological Literature
The arrangements of the synagogue, as hitherto described, combined in a remarkable manner fixedness of order with liberty of the individual. Alike the seasons and the time of public services, their order, the prayers to be offered, and the portions of the law to be read were fixed. On the other hand, between the eighteen "benedictions" said on ordinary days, and the seven repeated on the Sabbaths, free prayer might be inserted; the selection from the prophets, with which the public reading concluded--the
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

Its Meaning
Deliverance from the condemning sentence of the Divine Law is the fundamental blessing in Divine salvation: so long as we continue under the curse, we can neither be holy nor happy. But as to the precise nature of that deliverance, as to exactly what it consists of, as to the ground on which it is obtained, and as to the means whereby it is secured, much confusion now obtains. Most of the errors which have been prevalent on this subject arose from the lack of a clear view of the thing itself, and
Arthur W. Pink—The Doctrine of Justification

Cross References
Acts 20:28
"Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

Philippians 1:1
Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons:

1 Timothy 1:15
It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.

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