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1 Timothy

Chapter 3 Discussion Guide

 

Section A: Chapter 3:1-7 (CSB)

“This saying is trustworthy: “If anyone aspires to be an overseer, he desires a noble work.” An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not an excessive drinker, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy. He must manage his own household competently and have his children under control with all dignity. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a new convert, or he might become conceited and incur the same condemnation as the devil. Furthermore, he must have a good reputation among outsiders, so that he does not fall into disgrace and the devil’s trap.”

Discussion Questions

  • What is an Overseer?

The Point: God created the role of Overseer, as a set-apart “headship” for the church. These individuals are accountable to God, for the safekeeping of the church.

  • How does the Overseer role increase God’s glory?

The Point: God created various forms of “relational bodies” (Marriage, Families, Nations, etc.), to show the world who He is. As Sin breaks their design, they no longer reflect God. His Word tells us how they were intended to work, so we can see how their original design reflects and glorifies God.

  • How do Overseer qualifications increase God’s glory?

  • Why is Paul concerned about an Overseer’s conceit, and reputation with outsiders?

The Point: Overseers play a ‘dual role’, as they remain members of the church, as well as being Overseers. As such, they are NOT “above” or “without need for” the rest of the body! It’s important that Overseers not be too “isolated”, or they’ll be prone to the self-centeredness and self-elevation evident of the Pharisees in Jesus’ time. These qualifications help spot and ‘disqualify’ those who would NOT properly fill the role. Therefore, the qualifications help to preserve the Overseer role for its purpose: Reflecting God.

 

Section B: Chapter 3:8-13 (CSB)

“Deacons, likewise, should be worthy of respect, not hypocritical, not drinking a lot of wine, not greedy for money, holding the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. They must also be tested first; if they prove blameless, then they can serve as deacons. Wives, too, must be worthy of respect, not slanderers, self-controlled, faithful in everything. Deacons are to be husbands of one wife, managing their children and their own households competently. For those who have served well as deacons acquire a good standing for themselves and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.”

Discussion Questions

  • What is a Deacon? How is this role different from the role of Overseer?

The Point: God created the role of Deacon, as a recognized member of the church, who is a model for growing in Christlikeness and service. This role is different from Overseer, in that the Deacon may certainly ‘teach’ by example and in certain settings – the “Deacon” role is NOT charged with teaching the church at-large in an official capacity. Therefore, since this role is not a “headship” role, it is left open for Women – and provides a Wonderful platform for Women to display how God works in their unique lives.

  • How does the Deacon role increase God’s glory?

The Point: This role is to hold up various ‘examples’ of how God changes people, making them more like Jesus. In showing God’s handiwork, it brings Him glory!

  • How do Deacon qualifications increase God’s glory?

The Point: Similar to Overseers, the qualifications help to preserve the Deacon role for its purpose: Reflecting God. By having less restrictions than Overseer, this role allows for more diverse examples to be held up of God’s work, without compromising God’s designs of headship and authority.

  • Why does Paul spell out the “perks” of Deacons who serve well?

The Point: As Deacons are seen as “less than” Overseers, and as more of a “servant” role than a “leader” role – we’re tempted to overlook or rail to regard the value of Deacons. Instead, Paul encourages us to remember that Deacons are faithful servants – not unlike Christ Himself, who served! – and regard Deacons within the body.

 

Section C: Chapter 3:14-16 (CSB)

“I write these things to you, hoping to come to you soon. But if I should be delayed, I have written so that you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. And most certainly, the mystery of godliness is great: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.”

Discussion Questions

Consider: In Acts, Paul healed and even brought people back from death in Jesus’ name. When imprisoned, God caused an earthquake to break the jail and shake off his handcuffs.

So:

  • Why is he now subject to delay, or even trip cancellation?

  • Why is he stuck in prison at all? Is God “not able” to free him?

The Point: Paul has learned that he can trust God to work in the way that is most efficient for His own purposes and glory. Paul knows that what’s in his own best interest may sometimes NOT be what “seems” best at the time: like breaking out of jail or getting to his destination on time. Only God would know what He has in store for Paul, though Paul trusts it will ultimately be for the glory of God.

  • Paul calls God the pillar and foundation of the truth. What does this mean?

The Point: Jesus said He is “The way, the truth and the life.”. Paul understands that God created all things through Christ, and therefore Christ has set up the “blueprint” for how all things are supposed to work. The Church should follow this “blueprint”, so that in a world where everything is “broken”, they’ll look very different, and show how God’s plan “fixes” broken things.

  • What does Paul mean that the “mystery” of godliness is great?

The Point: To us sinners, in a broken, fallen world – God seems kinda crazy sometimes and His plans seem… just weird! Paul knows that the attitudes and actions of “Godliness” are strange to the world (even, sometimes to us) – just as what happened through Christ is super weird! He’s Reminding of the GREATNESS of what happened, and that it’s weird because it’s UNLIKE the sinful, fallen world – We NEVER would have Guessed how God would come to save us – Evidence of how God is beyond us in beauty, power, and love!

How Paul might feel toward the Ephesians because of their sin & bad “church” behavior?

  • “Frustrated, Upset, Angry” – Since he trained them, and now they’re sinning!

  • “Compassionate, Empathetic, Loving” – This whole “Church” thing is new and hard!

The Point: Paul is a man. He encountered Christ, and dramatically changed – no doubt! But still, Paul is a man like us and before the Day of the Lord when we’re remade, and sin is undone, we still struggle with sin in the flesh. We can therefore imagine ourselves in his shoes – and consider his actions, despite what we KNOW he may have been tempted to think or feel or act. We can then imagine, “What would Paul have done?” in our own, similar situations.

 

Application

  • What do we learn about God from 1 Timothy, Chapter 3?

  • How do the qualifications apply to our own lives – even as we’re not Deacons or Overseers?

  • How will we help each other to grow in Christlikeness this week?

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