The Positive Qualifications of the Christian Pastor
1 Timothy 3:2
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

The apostle first sets forth those qualifications which respect the personal life of the pastor, and afterwards those which affect his family life. His personal qualifications are those of a spiritual and moral order presented positively.

I. HE OUGHT TO BE BLAMELESS. It may be hard for a faithful man to avoid the censure of a critical society, but he must be irreproachable as being guilty of no scandal, and, above all, free from the vices enumerated under the negative aspect of his qualifications. He must be held in high moral repute by the community around him.


1. This condemns the rule of celibacy in the Church of Rome. It is quite absurd to say that the "one wife' is the Church; for the context regards the minister as having relation both to a Church and to a wife (ver. 5). Besides, this Roman ides would make the Church the wife of many husbands. Where the apostle, in the seventh chapter of 1 Corinthians, seems to favor a celibate condition "on account of the present distress," it is not on account of any superior holiness belonging to the unmarried state, but because it sometimes affords a better opportunity for pursuing Christian work under trying conditions.

2. It does not necessarily compel pastors to marry, like the Greek Church, which yet inconsistently reserves its bishoprics for unmarried monks. But it clearly gives the preference to a married ministry.

3. It does not mean that a pastor is to avoid a second marriage - as the Greek Fathers generally understood it under the growing influence of Eastern asceticism - because the apostle sanctions such marriages (1 Corinthians 7:1); and, secondly, because a remarrying does not make a pastor more than the husband of one wife.

4. It seems, then, to mean that the pastor was to be "the husband of one wife," avoiding the polygamy that was then so common among the Jews, and the system of divorce still so common in that age, and remaining faithful to the wife of his choice.

III. SOBER. He must be not only so in eating and drinking, but watchful over himself, his work, and his actions.

IV. DISCREET. With a sound judgment and good understanding, capable of directing himself wisely in the midst of difficult situations.

V. ORDERLY. With a due proportion in his life, modest in deportment, courteous to all, of a calm temper and grave demeanor.

VI. GIVEN TO HOSPITALITY. In an age when Christians traveled from place to place, and were exposed to the risks of evil companionship in public inns, it was important that pastors should be able to show hospitality, and assist with their counsel as well as with the necessaries of life.

VII. APT TO TEACH. The pastor must have the capacity to impart Christian knowledge, the ability to interpret Scripture, to explain its doctrines, to enforce its precepts, and to defend it against errorists of every class. He must possess the gifts of utterance and knowledge. He must have both "skill and will, ability and dexterity, being neither ignorant of his duty nor negligent in the performance of it." - T.C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

WEB: The overseer therefore must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, modest, hospitable, good at teaching;

Vanity in Preachers
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