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1 Timothy 3:12,13 – Ideal service, how so?

05-01-2024 - Posted by Hans

Let servants be the husbands of one wife, controlling children and their own households ideally, for those who serve ideally are procuring for themselves an ideal rank and much boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Like the supervisor, male servants are also expected to have one wife (3:2) and to be an example in their own households (3:4). It is not surprising that they should possess this quality, since they play a leading role in the house of God, the ecclesia (3:5).

Paul attaches great importance to what servants in the ecclesia mean. It is they who in practice make it possible for the ecclesia to hold its meetings and “serve the tables” (=provide food; cf. Acts 6:2). They are not responsible for the preaching work as is the supervisor, but their service does support this and in practice they are indispensable.

Where servants perform their service with excellence, they will also gain excellent esteem (“rank” or place of honor). The excellence of their ministry is not in how much they do, but in “much boldness in the faith.” Note: “in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.” What makes their ministry excellent (certainly in God’s eyes!) is that they boldly point to the faith of Him who gave Himself as a “ransom for all” (1 Tim. 2:6).