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Qualifications for Leaders in the Church

This is a trustworthy saying:[a]

The one who would an elder be,
a noble task desires he.

Therefore, an elder must be blameless, the husband of one wife,[b] stable, sensible, respectable, hospitable to strangers, and teachable.[c] He must not drink excessively or be a violent person, but instead be gentle. He must not be argumentative or love money. He must manage his own family well and have children who are submissive and respectful in every way. For if a man does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, so that he won’t become arrogant and fall into the Devil’s condemnation. He must be well thought of by outsiders, so he doesn’t[d] fall into disgrace and the trap set for him by[e] the Devil.

Deacons,[f] too, must be serious. They must not be two-faced,[g] addicted to wine, or greedy for money. They must hold firmly to the secret of the faith with clear consciences. 10 But they must first be tested. Then, if they prove to be blameless, let them serve in ministry.[h] 11 Their wives[i] must also be serious. They must not be gossips, but instead be stable and trustworthy in everything. 12 Deacons[j] must be husbands of one wife[k] and must manage their children and their families well. 13 Those who serve well in ministry[l] gain an excellent reputation for themselves and will have great assurance by their faith in the Messiah[m] Jesus.

14 I hope to come to you soon. However, I’m writing this to you 15 in case I am delayed, so that you may know how to behave in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. 16 By common confession, the secret of our godly worship is great:[n]

In flesh was he[o] revealed to sight,
    vindicated by the Spirit’s might,
        adored by angels singing.[p]
To nations was he manifest,
    believing souls found peace and rest,[q]
        our Lord in heaven reigning![r]


  1. 1 Timothy 3:1 This formula accompanied early Christian sayings on which full reliance could be placed.
  2. 1 Timothy 3:2 Or devoted to his wife; lit. a man of one woman
  3. 1 Timothy 3:2 Or able to teach
  4. 1 Timothy 3:7 Lit. outsiders, lest he
  5. 1 Timothy 3:7 Lit. the trap of
  6. 1 Timothy 3:8 Or Ministers
  7. 1 Timothy 3:8 Lit. double-worded
  8. 1 Timothy 3:10 Or them be deacons
  9. 1 Timothy 3:11 Or Women
  10. 1 Timothy 3:12 Or Ministers
  11. 1 Timothy 3:12 Or devoted to their wives; lit. men of one woman
  12. 1 Timothy 3:13 Or well as deacons
  13. 1 Timothy 3:13 Or Christ
  14. 1 Timothy 3:16 What follows probably represents an early Christian hymn or creed.
  15. 1 Timothy 3:16 Other mss. read God
  16. 1 Timothy 3:16 Lit. he was seen by angels
  17. 1 Timothy 3:16 Lit. he was believed in the world
  18. 1 Timothy 3:16 Lit. he was taken up in glory