For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker…
For a bishop, etc. Here we have the moral qualification necessary for an overseer or bishop of the Churches. These bishops were to be an order by themselves, not, as Baxter would have them," Primus inter pares," or "first among equals." Each overseer who was naturally placed in a leading city ought, from his prominence as overseer of the district, to be a ministerial example to his brethren. The practical counsels here given apply equally to all aspects of the "overseer," or bishop.
I. THE BISHOP AT HOME. Polygamy was so widespread that it could not be arrested and done away with at once. But the bishops, as leaders of men, were to set the example. Polygamy, like slavery, was to be destroyed by the influence of the cross - by the crucifixion of human selfishness, and the realization of God's ideals in the dignity of woman and in the sacredness of human life. "Having faithful children," to whom "riot," or the indulgence of unruly appetites and habits, was unknown.
II. THE BISHOP AS A STEWARD. Having elevated position and large opportunity for good. We must remember that character makes the good steward, not ex-cathedra commands and exhortations. "Not self-willed;" but remembering that the measure of his power is to be the measure of his humility. "Not soon angry;" for if there be no self-repression, if the volcanic fires of the heart be not subdued, it will be of no use for him to preach about the cross which crucifies self. "Not given to wine;" for intemperance bereaves a man alike of reason and of religion. "No striker;" for although the Romans of that day used their power over slaves and dependents by buffeting them, and sometimes killing them, the servant of Christ must be gentle unto all men. "Not given to filthy lucre;" for covetousness kills other virtues, and draws by its tap-root all nourishment from the plants of grace.
III. THE BISHOP AS A BROTHER. "A lover of hospitality." Remembering how many would like to share his counsels, to walk in the light of his influence, and to be refreshed by his sympathies. "A lover of good men." Not great men, merely as men of genius and power; but men whose hearts were true and pure. "Sober, just, holy, temperate " - a "city that lieth four-square."
IV. THE BISHOP AS A TEACHER. Not indulging in novelties or new philosophies. Not a creator of truth, but a teacher of it, remembering that he is a trustee of truth. "Holding fast the faithful Word as he hath been taught." Finally, we see that all was not so harmonious and peaceful even in the early Church; for the bishop is to exhort and convince the gainsayers, which show that he must be "able" as well as "good." - W.M.S.
Parallel VersesKJV: For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;