Managing A Household
1 Timothy 3:4-5
What has gone before...
Paul warned Timothy to guard against relying upon leaders who were "lovers of silver", people who sought "sordid gain". The Greek word for "sordid" includes the idea of shame. Shame is the emotion a person feels when they are disfigured or disgraced in the eyes of other people. Yet the leaders of the church in Ephesus felt no shame for their greedy, contradictory teaching and control.
God, through the ministry of Paul and Timothy, was demonstrating His knowledge of the shameful, sordid leadership in Ephesus, and He was providing a way of rescue for the church.
1 Timothy 3:4-5 (ESV) "He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?"
Managing a household well, supporting a family, loving a wife and children, requires the same attitudes and abilities as in overseeing a church:
Husband of one wife
- Able to teach
Each of the four negative behaviors that can destroy a leader's ministry can also destroy a father's household:
Not a drunkard
- Not violent
- Not quarrelsome
- Not a lover of money
Managing a household can be a good test of a leader's heart and habits.
"Venerable" means to be given respect because of age, wisdom or character, from Latin venerari (to adore or revere).
Paul applied "dignity" or "venerable" specically to the leader of a household, the father of children. Earlier Paul used the same word to encourage all Christians, regardless of whether they were parents, married or single:
1 Timothy 2:1-2 (ESV) "I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way."
Paul implies that a parent will be managing their household well if they keep their children "submissive". Perhaps the best example of "dignified subordination" can be seen in Paul's exhortation to the church in Corinth. Paul had written to the church, asking them to set aside money to be given as a gift to the Christians in Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 16). The exhortation to be generous was based upon the issue of submission:
2 Corinthians 9:11-14 (ESV) "You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission flowing from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you."
Paul did not ask the Corinthian Christians to submit to himself. He reminded them of their confession (acknowledgement, assent or agreement) of the Gospel of Christ. To the Good News of Jesus, His death and resurrection on our behalf, were the people to submit with generosity.