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I was recently asked if 1 Timothy 3:4a (KJV) is a command for men to rule their households, the implication being that women must not rule households and must submit or acquiesce to male rule. I thought this question deserved its own blog post. And this is it.

In this article, I briefly look at the responsibilities of the Greco-Roman householder (the person in charge of a household) and how these responsibilities were applied in the church. And I argue that 1 Timothy 3:4a neither asserts nor implies that only men should be leaders of households. Rather, it states that church overseers should manage their households well, the emphasis being on “well” rather than on gender. I also look at the kind of “managing” that is spoken of in this verse.

Householders as Patrons and Managers

In the first-century Roman world, the householder was often the most senior male of the family. However, women, typically widows or divorcees, could also be the householder (e.g., Lydia and Chloe). The householder, whether male or female, was responsible for providing for all the members of the household. These members might include adult and juvenile children plus other relatives, as well as servants and slaves.

The householder was also responsible for making sure the day-to-day management of the household and any home-based businesses and industries were running smoothly.[1] Male householders were usually married, and a capable wife would do much of the actual household management (cf. 1 Tim 5:14). Nevertheless, according to cultural expectations, her husband usually had oversight even if he seldom exercised it.

Furthermore, stewards could be employed to act as managers of large households. Interestingly, in Titus 1:7, the overseer is described as being God’s steward. On the other hand, small households, or small family units, did not usually need someone within the household to act as either the patron or manager.

Overseers as Managers

In 1 Timothy 3:2-7, there is a list of moral qualifications of an episkopos. (Episkopos is translated in English Bibles as either overseer, supervisor, or bishop.)[2] These qualifications do not apply to Christians more generally. Moreover, the qualification in 1 Timothy 3:4a which translated word for word says, “own house managing well” (cf. 1 Tim. 3:5), assumes a large household and not a small family unit.[3] (Note that there are no masculine personal pronouns in older Greek manuscripts of 1 Timothy 3:1–7; there is no “his” in the Greek.)

This phrase does not necessarily say that a person must rule their household, though some older English translations such as the KJV use the word “rule” or “ruleth” in 1 Timothy 3:4–5.[4] What verses 4–5 mean is that an overseer needed to manage their own household well (kalōs).

It seems that the first episkopoi (“overseers”) of churches were householders, the person in charge of a household of some size. The reason for the qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:1–7, including the qualification of managing well, was to ensure that the overseer would be a socially respectable person and not give the church a bad name to outsiders (cf. 1 Tim. 3:7 NET). A poorly managed home would bring dishonour to the householder and dishonour to the church, as an overseer’s home was often where a congregation gathered.

Overseers as Patrons

In the first century, Christian communities (i.e. churches) met in homes and functioned like families. And taking care of a church was much like caring for a large family. (Christian men and women were like siblings and often close-knit.) If a person was unable to manage and take care of their own household well, they would not be able to manage and take care of a church well. But what did “managing” entail?

The Greek participle proistamenon in verse 4 and the infinitive prostēnai in verse 5 (both from the verb proistēmi) are translated as “manage” in most English versions. This Greek verb can also have the sense of “provide for.” Proistēmi occurs in Titus 3:8 and 14, for example, in the context of “good works” (kalon ergon) that is “benefactions.” It may be that in all eight occurrences of proistēmi in the New Testament—in Romans 12:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Timothy 3:4, 5, 12; 5:17; and Titus 3:8, 14—there is a sense of “caring” and “providing for” combined with a sense of “leading” or “managing.”[5]

Furthermore, the qualifications in 1 Timothy 3 are prefaced by the statement, “Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task” (1 Tim 3:1b NIV). The Greek words translated as “noble task” in the NIV literally mean “good work” (kalon ergon) and often refer to charitable acts and benefactions. “To aspire, then, to the office of bishop [or, overseer] is to be desirous of acting benevolently for the welfare of others.”[6]

Women as Patrons and Managers

A related noun of the verb proistēmi is used in Romans 16:2 to describe Phoebe’s ministry. Phoebe may well have been the householder of the home where the church at Cenchrea met.[7] What is certain is that she provided for many people, including the apostle Paul. Paul said of Phoebe that “she has been the benefactor of many people, including me” (Rom. 16:2 NIV). As well as caring for her church, I suggest she sponsored the writing and delivery of Paul’s letter to the Romans. This would have been an expensive undertaking. (See here.)

Christian men and women of wealth and character took care of churches in the first century, acting as patrons and managers.[7] Moreover, these people were typically the hosts of churches that met in their relatively spacious homes. These men and women with money and morals functioned as overseers of congregations.[8]


The qualification in 1 Timothy 3:4a reflects the culture of the day and reflects the way the church functioned in the first century. But today, both culture and church life are very different. Today, households (with more than one or two adult members) are usually not overseen by just one person. And most congregations are not small house churches that function like close-knit families. Furthermore, modern churches usually pay their leaders, but in the first century, the overseers financially supported the church by hosting meetings and helping poorer members. And 1 Timothy 3:4 is not a mandate that households are to be managed or ruled by a man.

I have more on the qualifications for overseers in 1 Timothy 3:1–7 here.[9]


1 Corinthians 14:34–35 is discussed here. 1 Timothy 2:11–12 is discussed here. 1 Timothy 3:2 and the phrase “husband of one wife” is discussed here. A three-part series which looks at each of these verses and Paul’s theology of ministry is here.

[1] It has often been stated that in the ancient world, the male sphere was public and female sphere was domestic. But, in reality, the two spheres overlapped. In the Roman world, men could conduct business and receive clients at home; women could work, or engage in business or public works, outside of the home.

[2] Louw and Nida place the word episkopos (“overseer”) under the semantic heading of “35. Help, Care for” (35.43) and also “53. Religious Activities; I. Roles and Functions” (53.71). They point out that even though the role of an episkopos “has been regarded traditionally as a position of authority, in reality the focus is upon the responsibility for caring for others.” Johannes P. Louw and Eugene A. Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains, Volume 1: Introductions and Domains (New York, NY: United Bible Societies, 1988), 542, s.v.  ἐπίσκοπος §53.71. (Internet Archive)
Commenting on episkopos in Philippians 1:1, Kevin Madigan and Carolyn Osiek observe, “Episkopos carried none of the connotations that the word “bishop” does today, or even after Ignatius of Antioch. It is a term borrowed from management functions, meaning supervisor or overseer.”
Madigan and Osiek (eds. and transl.) in Ordained Women in the Early Church: A Documentary History (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2005), 11.

[3] Kevin Giles observes, “The qualifications demanded of a bishop [or, overseer] are ones that would describe a respected head of a large home.” Giles, Patterns of Ministry among the First Christians (Eugene OR: Cascade Books, 2017), 62. (Google Books)

[4] In the highly stratified society of the ancient world, leadership was hierarchical and often patriarchal, and the customs of patronage gave the patron or patroness both prestige and power. But these social dynamics have no place in the church. Having power over or ruling over another capable adult brother or sister is unacceptable behaviour for a Christian. It goes against what Jesus taught.

[5] Proistēmi in the New Testament “seems to have the sense a. ‘to lead’ but the context shows in each case that one must also take into account sense b. ‘to take care of’. This is explained by the fact that caring was an obligation of leading members of the infant Church.”
Bo Reike, “Proistēmi ”, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT), Vol. 6, ed. Gerhard Friedrich, transl. and ed. Geoffrey Bromiley (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1968), 701–703, 701.
There is an overlap in the senses of the verbs proistēmi (related concrete noun: prostatēs (m), prostatis (f)) and episkeptomai (related concrete noun: episkopos). Both have the sense of caring for people; however, the words have some differing senses also.
In the lists of ministers in Romans 12:6-8, the participle of proistēmi is listed between words that mean “giving” and “showing mercy.” This may indicate that Paul was drawing more on the sense of “providing” than “leading” when he used the word proistēmi here.
In a hypothetical question, Chrysostom connects the role of being an overseer, or bishop, with prostasia (patronage): “For suppose a man honored with the overseer-ship (episkopē), and entrusted with the patronage (tēn prostasian) of the Church …?” (Homily 1 on Titus, Greek: PG column  670).

[6] Giles, Patterns of Ministry, 62.
Money may have been one of the main ministry resources of the first church overseers. In the context of Greco-Roman associations, the overseer (episkopos) was the financial officer. See James Tunstead Burtchaell, From Synagogue to Church: Public Services and Offices in the Earliest Christian Communities (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 99. (Google Books)

[7] 1 Timothy 3 does not explicitly state what the overseers did, or were to do, in the Ephesian church. Raymond Brown notes that “no cultic or liturgical role is assigned to presbyter-bishops [elders and overseers ] in the Pastorals.” “Episkopê and Episkopos: the New Testament Evidence,” Theological Studies 41 (1980), 322–338. (Online source) That is, there is no evidence in the New Testament linking either overseers (episkopoi) or elders (presbyteroi) to worship. See James Tunstead Burtchaell, From Synagogue to Church, 84f. (Google Books) It is likely, however, that overseers were involved in some spoken ministries in gatherings for worship and the Eucharist, etc. But other people would have also participated and contributed, sometimes spontaneously (cf. 1 Cor. 14:26; Col. 3:16).

[8] Lydia, Priscilla, Phoebe, Nympha, Apphia, the chosen lady, and possibly Chloe may well have been the overseers and/or the patrons who cared pastorally for the congregations that used their homes as their base.

[9] Most householders were men, and the qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:1ff assume the householder/ episkopos will be a man. It also assumes the episkopos will be married and have children. But nowhere in the Greek New Testament does it say an episkopos (or any other kind of minister) must be a man and/ or must be married and/ or must have children and/ or must have their own house. What it does say is that an episkopos must be above reproach, faithful in marriage, sober, respectable, hospitable, etc.

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Fractio Panis (Breaking of Bread) is a third-century fresco in the Greek Chapel in the Priscilla Catacomb in Rome. It was thought this fresco depicted a Eucharist, but it may depict a funerary banquet.

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artigos em portugues sobre igualdade entre homens e mulheres no lar e na igreja

30 thoughts on ““Must manage his own household well” (1 Tim. 3:4-5)

  1. Do you think there’s a chance the household in that passage might be referring to the house church itself?

    1. Not really, for two reasons.

      (1) In 1 Timothy 3:4 it says an overseer must be able to manage his own household, whereas churches were considered to be God’s household or God’s congregation (ekklēsia).

      (2) 1 Timothy 3:5 gives a reason for the qualification in verse 4; “because if they don’t know how to manage their own household, how can they take care of God’s church?” (CEB). This reason seems to rule out that the household in 1 Tim 3:4 is the congregation that meets in the overseer’s house, though his household would have been a part of the congregation.

  2. I always think about how the “end of chapter 2” is about women, and that “chapter 3” too often begins with “any man.” Since the chapter divisions were not part of the Greek, it seems odd to me that without using the word “man,” Paul would have talked only about men in Chap 3. The word is “tis,” and is a masculine word, but it is also an inclusive form. I cannot see that Paul would have jumped from talking about women to talking about men without making it clearer.

    I was at a small church long ago, where only men could be leaders and teachers, and much was made about the “husband of one wife.” Yet little attention was paid to idea of a man not being a “striker,” or a man having his house in order. When I was excluded from being in charge of the music (because I was holding too much authority over men by choosing the songs,) they were all excited about having one particular young man in charge of something. I questioned that. First, because of the word implying “elders,” and then the fact that he had a young son who was totally out of control. I really liked the guy and thought a lot of him. I just felt very strongly that he needed to spend more with his child. Of course, I was laughed at. I was thoroughly disgusted at the duplicity.

    1. Hi Cassandra,

      I personally think 1 Timothy 2:15 refers to a couple and not to women as such. I suggest “she will be saved” refers to a woman and “they continue” refers to the woman and her husband. I also believe the beginning of 1 Timothy 3:1 refers to the statement of salvation made in 1 Timothy 2:15, and that chapter 3 starts in the wrong place. (More on this here.)

      But I take your point about Christians picking and choosing which verses to heed. For example, I’ve never heard people insist that men must raise holy hands when they pray (1 Tim 2:8). And I’ve never heard people forbid women from braiding their hair or from wearing pearls or gold jewellery (1 Tim 2:9-10). But they insist on a certain interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:12 despite genuine hermeneutical difficulties in the verse. Some get around this by saying Paul’s prohibition in 1 Timothy 2:12 is “grounded in creation” and timeless–I think this is a misreading of the text–but the other bits of 1 Timothy chapter 2 aren’t “grounded” and timeless. Still, they usually don’t insist on following the instructions supposedly about head coverings in 1 Corinthians 11 which also seem to be “grounded in creation” (e.g., 1 Cor. 11:7-9).

      I frequently hear (or read) people bringing up the “husband of one wife” qualification, but I rarely hear the other qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 being mentioned with the same emphasis.

      1. AMEN!!! There was a time when some of the seeming prohibitions about women were very much parts of church culture, but in the past 50 yrs, most churches have dropped them, even some of the “holiness” churches. But this stuff limiting women reigns on. As for the creation order, I can’t see that in Genesis, can you? Bet not! It just isn’t there unless you want to twist Scripture. I have often laughed about the raising of holy hands, as the fundamentalist churches that insist on women’s silence seldom ever allow the raising of hands. (We visited a church like that once. I had someone explain to me that they didn’t “do that here.” I just smiled and say that is was ok, they didn’t have to. Still tickles me!) I often will ask if the instructions given to men and women are really all that diferent. The women are to learn in “silence and submission?” Is that different than the men were supposed to supposed to learn? And they get so bogged down by the detail of the silence and submission that they lose sight of the imperative to have the women learn.

        OK, sorry to jump over board, but I am in one of those “how can people be so stupid” frames of mind about a lot of things today. I know that I can be just as obtuse.

  3. Insee where God made man then woman from man in Genesis. He set him as authority and over the household. The elders are to be the husband of one wife. Omly singing praises not playing instruments in worship. Just because we dont stick to the braided hair and jewelry verses doesnt mean we are right in wearing them. So maybe instead of leaving off the mans role and equalizing the womens role to leadership we should be mlre modest in our apparel. It would be much simpler. Thats what im going to do. I see the words in the bible that many dont want to follow this is no different. Its all the same. One either follows Christ or follows himself.

    1. Hi Heather,

      Just briefly:

      The creation accounts in the Bible do not say that the first man had authority of the household. Did Adam and Eve even have a household before the fall? The relationship between Adam and Eve changed after the fall, but they were equal before that. [More on the equality of Adam and Eve here.]

      Instruments are mentioned in the context of worship in many Bible passages, especially in the Old Testament. So why would you think there’s something wrong with instruments? Read Psalm 150.

      Do you need to be more modest in your apparel? I would say I’m very modest in what I wear. And I never braid my hair. So I’m not sure why you are making this point. [More on modesty here.]

      If you’d like to know more about the Greek idiom that can be translated as a “one-woman man”, I have info on this here.

      As a follower of Jesus, I’m not interested in taking on a “man’s role”. I am interested in doing what God wants me to do. And God calls certain men and certain women to be leaders in the community of his people (i.e. the church).

  4. In answer to a question I just saw: Not all Christian householders were church overseers (episkopoi), but the first overseers were most likely householders, at least in the church at Ephesus in the first century. Over time, and over geographical distances and denominational boundaries, the ministry terms of episkopos, diakonos and presbyteros had differing meanings and differing job descriptions.

  5. Thank you for this study. It gives balance to the many commentators who interpret these verses strictly for the modern church.

  6. I’m not sure how 1 Timothy 3:4 does not imply only men? The context of this text is about being the qualifications of a bishop or overseer and one is being the husband of one wife which would be not allow women to be overseers. Again, the emphasis is not just about the word “well” and gender does fit in this context. . I would also like to know how the size of the household has to do with the application of this text? You should manage your household well regardless whether it is a family unit of 2 or 20. Eve was created to be a helper before the fall and after the fall the curse of the woman is to be subject to her husband. Corinthians also addresses women keeping silent in the church. This view may not be popular, fit modern culture and come across as being a chauvinist but it seems to line up with God’s order all the way back to the curse. The man has obligations to love his wife sacrificially as Christ loved the church which is a lot to unpack here. I do help my wife around the house and she helps me because we are a team. However, there are certain roles and order according to Scripture whether it fits how we want it to be or not. We should align ourselves with the Gods word vs trying to make God’s word fit our view. As far as being divorced or single mother, of course she should rule “her” house well because she is the only authority until that changes. I used to try and please people by making excuses to I listened to teachings from someone who has a degree in biblical languages and has been speaking it for half his life. Church life is very different today because many have strayed away from the teachings of Scripture.

    1. Hi Steven, little of what you say deals directly with the statements in the article. If there is an error, I’m happy for people to point it out so I can fix it, but from what I can tell, you’re just presenting your own ideas.

      Here are some brief responses to your ideas.

      1 Timothy 3:1b-7 assumes that most or all of the episkopoi (overseers) in Ephesus are men. As I say, “In the first-century Roman world, the householder was often the most senior male of the family.” I’ve written about this here: https://margmowczko.com/pauls-qualifications-for-church-leaders/

      Nevertheless, Prisca and Aquila functioned as overseers in Ephesus at some point, and also in Rome. And we see more women in this role in the New Testament too.

      The first episkopoi were most likely house church leaders, and Paul wanted congregations to meet in, and be associated with, reputable houses. These houses, like Lydia’s, were usually not small. They needed to accommodate groups of around 10-40 people. (These numbers are the usual estimates of churches in the mid to late first century.) The householders also had a responsibility for the well being of people who met in their homes.

      The households that seem to be in mind in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Ephesians 5:22-6:9 are larger households with extended family as well as slaves and servants.


      We all have an obligation to love sacrificially. Paul uses almost exactly the same language in Ephesians 5:2 as he does in Ephesians 5:25.

      “. . . walk in love (ἐν ἀγάπῃ),
      just as Christ also loved (καθὼς καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς ἠγάπησεν) us
      and gave Himself up for (καὶ παρέδωκεν ἑαυτὸν ὑπέρ) us . . .” (Eph. 5:2).

      “Husbands, love (ἀγαπᾶτε) your wives,
      just as Christ also loved (καθὼς καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς ἠγάπησεν) the church
      and gave Himself up for (καὶ ἑαυτὸν παρέδωκεν ὑπέρ) her . . .” (Eph. 5:25).

      And surely we are all supposed to help, as well as love, each other. The New Testament is full of “one another” exhortations.

      Paul tells the churches in Rome to help Phoebe, and he tells his true yokefellow in Philippi (possibly a reference to the church there) to help Euodia and Syntyche. But the word used of Eve is much stronger and doesn’t refer to ordinary assistance or ordinary help. Perhaps you’ve misunderstood ezer kenegdo, the phrase used to describe the first woman in Eden. Out of the 21 times the noun ezer occurs in the Hebrew Bible, 16 of these are about God as helper. And kenegdo is about compatibility. There is no hint of subordination in the description of woman as ezer kenegdo. https://margmowczko.com/tag/a-suitable-helper/

      Genesis 3:16 is a consequence of sin in the world; it is not the model for the redeemed or for Christian living. As you say, husband and wife, especially Christian husbands and wives are teams. Ideally, they are close and mutual partnerships.


      What I’ve written in the article is based on what we know about the first-century church and its culture. (I’ve not mentioned modern, western culture.) Having said that, there was some variety between the culture and practices of the churches in Jerusalem and Syrian Antioch with the churches in Asia Minor and with the churches in Roman colonies such as Philippi, etc. And there were variations between churches strongly influenced by Judaism and Judaizers and more gentile churches founded by Paul. There has never been one way of doing church.

      Church life today is very different from the churches that Paul wrote to. Paul encouraged ministry, even spontaneous ministry, from gifted people without specifying gender (Rom. 12:6-8; Eph. 4:11; 1 Cor 12:1ff; 1 Cor. 14:26; Col. 3:16). Paul only silenced disruptive and disgraceful speaking and false teaching, and he silenced this from both men and women. In 1 Corinthians 14:26-40 Paul addresses women and men and uses the same Greek verb for “be silent” for three groups of unruly speakers. I’ve written about this here: https://margmowczko.com/1-corinthians-1434-35-in-a-nutshell/

      Anyway, I believe the emphasis is on the word “well” in 1 Timothy 3:4. At this potentially precarious stage in the church’s development, Paul wanted churches to be associated with households that were managed well. He wanted them to be respectable and he wanted congregations, which included poor people, to be cared for well.

    2. Hi Steven.

      You might want to take a look at the CEV and CEB translations of 1 Tim. 3 and Tit. 1. Some experts in NT Greek say that they do the best job with the grammar, including the “husband of one wife” part.

      You might also want to consider 1 Cor. 14:34-35 in the larger context of the book. If it literally means women are to be “silent,” it is inconsistent with the rest of 1 Cor. 14, which presumes the various “gifts,” including speaking gifts, may be exercised by anyone regardless of gender; and it would directly contradict chapter 11, which presupposes that women WILL be speaking AT LEAST via prayer and prophecy.

      I’d also encourage you to consider your own observation that the dominance of husband over wife originated at the Fall. Since Christ is the “Last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45) and those in Christ are part of the “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17), we should wonder whether we should continue to emulate the conditions that began with the Fall of the first Creation.

  7. Thank you Margaret, for, once again, patiently and meticulously answering questions. Even when they are not actually questions but personal opinions. And even when the presenter appears to understand little beyond the English translation sitting on his desk.

    1. Thanks, JP.

  8. Re Gen 3.16, the pronouncement is prophetic, not a command, an insight into what was to happen (because of the curse).

    1. Yep! And because of Jesus, things can be different.

    2. And, to be specific, the woman was not cursed. The only ones I see that were cursed in Genesis 3 were the serpent and the ground.

      1. Yes, God continued to help the man (Gen. 3:21) and the woman (Gen. 4:1), he did not curse them. However, they no longer had access to the Tree of Life and so they were now subject to death.

  9. I saw a man on Facebook state that his main role as a man was to be a provider, and he quoted two Bible verses: 2 Thess 3:10 and 1 Tim 5:8. However, these verses don’t say that men have a particular responsibility to be providers.

    There is no word for “man” in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 and no masculine gender markers in the Greek.

    Paul, addressing the Thessalonians, says,

    “… if anyone is not willing to work, neither let him/her eat.”
    “… εἴ τις οὐ θέλει ἐργάζεσθαι, μηδὲ ἐσθιέτω.”

    At least part of the context of 2 Thessalonians 3:10 is not being idle and not expecting the church to support you. (Cf. 2 Thess 3:10-11 and the idle women in 1 Tim 5:13-14.)

    1 Timothy 5:8 likewise has no masculine gender markers in the Greek:

    “But if anyone doesn’t provide for his/her own people, and especially for those of his/her own house, he/she has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever.”
    “εἰ δέ τις τῶν ἰδίων καὶ μάλιστα οἰκείων οὐ προνοεῖ, τὴν πίστιν ἤρνηται καὶ ἔστιν ἀπίστου χείρων.”

    1 Timothy 5:8 is written in the context of children and grandchildren providing for widows so that the church is not burdened with that responsibility (1 Tim. 5:3ff). 1 Timothy 5:16 may indicate that female benefactors also cared for widows (cf. Tabitha in Acts 9).

    In many, but not all, cultures, there has been an expectation that men are the main providers, especially when the women are busy nursing and caring for the young, the old, and the infirmed.
    But in the first century, some women were independently wealthy. In 1 Timothy we see that there were rich women in Ephesus who could provide for themselves, their households, and look after widows.

    And in modern western societies, there are more opportunities for men and women to work together to provide for themselves and others.

  10. I’m thankful for the quote from Loaw, which lends support to my preferred translation of “guardian” as opposed to overseer. I think the use of the word guardian guts it of authoritarian “power over” religious baggage, as well as implying the things I wish to, such as the caring for others, guarding against abusers, and a family atmosphere.

    1. Hi Angela, I personally prefer supervisor or overseer as a translation of episkopos. (People can be a guardian without doing any of the things episkopoi did.)

      Here are Louw and Nida’s full entries for 35.43 and 53.71 in volume 1.

      35.43 ἐπίσκοπος, ου, m: one who has the responsibility of caring for spiritual concerns — ‘one responsible for, one who cares for, guardian, keeper.’ ἀλλὰ ἐπεστράφητε νῦν ἐπὶ τὸν ποιμένα καὶ ἐπίσκοπον τῶν ψυχῶν ὑμῶν “but you have now turned to the Shepherd and Keeper of your souls’ 1 Pe 2.25. In 1 Pe 2.29 ἐπίσκοπος is applied to Christ, and it no doubt shares certain of the meanings associated with ἐπίσκοπος in 53.71, but the focus in 1 Pe.2.25 is not upon leadership but upon the role of caring for the believers.
      p. 463.

      53.71 ἐπίσκοπος, ου m: one who serves as a leader in a church — ‘church leader.’ δεῖ γὰρ τὸν ἐπίσκοπον ἀνέγκλητον εἶναι ὡς θεοῦ οἰκονόμον ‘since he is in charge of God’s work, the church leader should be without fault’ Tt 1.7. For ἐπίσκοπος in 1 Pe 2.25, see 35.43.
      In translating ἐπισκοπή (53.69), ἐπισκοπέω (53.70), ἐπίσκοπος, it is important to try to combine the concepts of both service and leadership, in other words, the responsibility of caring for the needs of a congregation as well as directing the activities of the membership. In some translations an equivalent may be ‘helper and leader.’
      p. 542

      Johannes P. Louw and Eugene A. Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains, Volume 1: Introductions and Domains (New York, NY: United Bible Societies, 1988)
      (Internet Archive)

  11. […] [4] Proistēmi occurs in Titus 3:8 & 14 in the context of “good works” (cf. 1 Tim. 3:1). It may be that in all eight occurrences of proistēmi in the New Testament—in Romans 12:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Timothy 3:4, 5, 12; 5:17; and Titus 3:8, 14—there is a sense of “caring” and “providing for” combined with a sense of “leading” or “managing” especially as it was wealthier people, who had the resources of both time and money, and who could take on the responsibilities of leading and “good works.” More on proistēmi and the ministry of overseers (episkopoi) here. […]

  12. […] [4] The Bible requires marital fidelity only while both husband and wife are alive. When the husband or wife dies, the other person is free to remarry or remain celibate (Rom. 7:2–4; 1 Cor. 7:39). Celibacy and virginity were becoming highly esteemed virtues in the second-century church and some understood the “husband of one wife” as referring to celibacy, not only after a spouse had died, but even within marriage. See Stefan Heid, Celibacy in the Early Church: The Beginnings of a Discipline of Obligatory Continence for Clerics in East and West, translated by Michael J. Miller (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2000).

    Most ordained ministers in the early and medieval church, male or female, were single and unmarried or widowed. There is no record of a bishop, priest, or deacon marrying after ordination, and some church laws forbade sex within marriage once a married person was ordained. By the fifth century, celibacy was compulsory for church leaders in the Latin-speaking West. This unbiblical decree has caused no end of problems to the Roman Catholic church which still insists upon it. If the “one-woman man” requirement was taken in its most literal sense, it would prohibit Roman Catholic priests and other unmarried men from being church leaders. More on 1 Timothy 3:4a here. […]

  13. […] New Testament church life shares almost nothing in common with modern church culture. Instead, many of the first churches were small, often consisting of an extended household that included relatives and slaves, as well as a few neighbours or clients. These churches met in homes where the householder could be a relatively wealthy woman (e.g., Lydia, Nympha, the Chosen Lady, etc) or man (e.g., Stephanas, etc) or a couple (e.g., Priscilla and Aquila). These men and women used their homes as a base for the church and hosted frequent gatherings. And they used their resources to care for the spiritual and material welfare of fellow members. […]

  14. […] The Role of Overseers in First-Century House Churches […]

  15. […] Must Manage His Own Household Well (1 Tim. 3:4) […]

  16. […] As in previous editions of the NASB, the translators of the 2020 edition have included the words “man” and “office” in 1 Timothy 3:1: “if any man aspires to the office of overseer …” There is no Greek word that means “man” in this verse, however. And, if we assume that 1 Timothy was written before AD 75, calling the function of being an overseer an “office” is probably anachronistic. The church office of being an overseer was a later development. The CSB translation of this phrase is more accurate with their word “anyone”: “If anyone aspires to be an overseer …” […]

  17. […] [3] Prisca, with Aquila, hosted and led a house church in Ephesus (1 Cor. 16:19), and later in Rome (Rom. 16:3–5). Nympha hosted a church in her home in Laodicea and is greeted in Colossians 4:15. Mary of Jerusalem (Acts 12:12), Lydia (Acts 16:40), the Chosen Lady and Chosen Sister (2 John), probably Phoebe of Cenchrea, and perhaps Chloe of Corinth (1 Cor. 1:11), also hosted and cared for house churches. More on the role of house church leaders here. […]

  18. […] The noun prostatis occurs only once in the New Testament—in Romans 16:2. The masculine form of this word, prostatēs, does not occur at all; however, it is used of Jesus in 1 Clement 36:1 and 61:3 where Michael Holmes has translated it as “benefactor”.[12] Older translators of First Clement have translated prostatēs into English as “champion”, “protector”, and “guardian”.[13] Kevin Giles writes that “In either its masculine or feminine form it means literally ‘one who stands before.’ This meaning is never lost whether it be translated leader, president, protector or patron.”[14] Furthermore, the related verb proistēmi is used in the New Testament in the context of church leadership (Rom. 12:8; 1 Thess. 5:12; 1 Tim. 5:17 cf. 1 Tim. 3:4, 12). Paul’s use of this verb may combine the senses of providing for and of leading. (More on this verb here.) […]

  19. […] Atto, bishop of Vercelli in the 900s, saw in church tradition that women had led churches and were presbyters (priests or elders). …]

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