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1 Timothy 3-5 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Qualifications of Bishops

The saying is sure:[a] whoever aspires to the office of bishop[b] desires a noble task. Now a bishop[c] must be above reproach, married only once,[d] temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an apt teacher, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, and not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way— for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may be puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil.

Qualifications of Deacons

Deacons likewise must be serious, not double-tongued, not indulging in much wine, not greedy for money; they must hold fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them first be tested; then, if they prove themselves blameless, let them serve as deacons. 11 Women[e] likewise must be serious, not slanderers, but temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons be married only once,[f] and let them manage their children and their households well; 13 for those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

The Mystery of Our Religion

14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that, 15 if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth. 16 Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great:

He[g] was revealed in flesh,
    vindicated[h] in spirit,[i]
        seen by angels,
proclaimed among Gentiles,
    believed in throughout the world,
        taken up in glory.

False Asceticism

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later[j] times some will renounce the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared with a hot iron. They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, provided it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by God’s word and by prayer.

A Good Minister of Jesus Christ

If you put these instructions before the brothers and sisters,[k] you will be a good servant[l] of Christ Jesus, nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound teaching that you have followed. Have nothing to do with profane myths and old wives’ tales. Train yourself in godliness, for, while physical training is of some value, godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance. 10 For to this end we toil and struggle,[m] because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

11 These are the things you must insist on and teach. 12 Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13 Until I arrive, give attention to the public reading of scripture,[n] to exhorting, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders.[o] 15 Put these things into practice, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress. 16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; continue in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Duties toward Believers

Do not speak harshly to an older man,[p] but speak to him as to a father, to younger men as brothers, to older women as mothers, to younger women as sisters—with absolute purity.

Honor widows who are really widows. If a widow has children or grandchildren, they should first learn their religious duty to their own family and make some repayment to their parents; for this is pleasing in God’s sight. The real widow, left alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day; but the widow[q] who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. Give these commands as well, so that they may be above reproach. And whoever does not provide for relatives, and especially for family members, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Let a widow be put on the list if she is not less than sixty years old and has been married only once;[r] 10 she must be well attested for her good works, as one who has brought up children, shown hospitality, washed the saints’ feet, helped the afflicted, and devoted herself to doing good in every way. 11 But refuse to put younger widows on the list; for when their sensual desires alienate them from Christ, they want to marry, 12 and so they incur condemnation for having violated their first pledge. 13 Besides that, they learn to be idle, gadding about from house to house; and they are not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not say. 14 So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, and manage their households, so as to give the adversary no occasion to revile us. 15 For some have already turned away to follow Satan. 16 If any believing woman[s] has relatives who are really widows, let her assist them; let the church not be burdened, so that it can assist those who are real widows.

17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor,[t] especially those who labor in preaching and teaching; 18 for the scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves to be paid.” 19 Never accept any accusation against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 20 As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest also may stand in fear. 21 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels, I warn you to keep these instructions without prejudice, doing nothing on the basis of partiality. 22 Do not ordain[u] anyone hastily, and do not participate in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.

23 No longer drink only water, but take a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.

24 The sins of some people are conspicuous and precede them to judgment, while the sins of others follow them there. 25 So also good works are conspicuous; and even when they are not, they cannot remain hidden.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Timothy 3:1 Some interpreters place these words at the end of the previous paragraph. Other ancient authorities read The saying is commonly accepted
  2. 1 Timothy 3:1 Or overseer
  3. 1 Timothy 3:2 Or an overseer
  4. 1 Timothy 3:2 Gk the husband of one wife
  5. 1 Timothy 3:11 Or Their wives, or Women deacons
  6. 1 Timothy 3:12 Gk be husbands of one wife
  7. 1 Timothy 3:16 Gk Who; other ancient authorities read God; others, Which
  8. 1 Timothy 3:16 Or justified
  9. 1 Timothy 3:16 Or by the Spirit
  10. 1 Timothy 4:1 Or the last
  11. 1 Timothy 4:6 Gk brothers
  12. 1 Timothy 4:6 Or deacon
  13. 1 Timothy 4:10 Other ancient authorities read suffer reproach
  14. 1 Timothy 4:13 Gk to the reading
  15. 1 Timothy 4:14 Gk by the presbytery
  16. 1 Timothy 5:1 Or an elder, or a presbyter
  17. 1 Timothy 5:6 Gk she
  18. 1 Timothy 5:9 Gk the wife of one husband
  19. 1 Timothy 5:16 Other ancient authorities read believing man or woman; others, believing man
  20. 1 Timothy 5:17 Or compensation
  21. 1 Timothy 5:22 Gk Do not lay hands on
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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