1 Timothy 3

Leaders of the church

1 These words are true: ‘If you want to become a leader of God's people, it is an important work that you want to do.’ 2 For that reason, a leader of the church must live a life that everyone knows is good. He must be the husband of one wife. He must think seriously about how he lives and he must control himself well. He must be someone that people respect. He must be happy to have visitors in his home. He must be a good teacher. 3 He should not drink too much wine. He must not get angry quickly or quarrel with people. Instead he should be kind to people. He must not want lots of money. 4 He must take care of his own family. His children must obey him and respect him. 5 A man must know how to take care of his own family. If he cannot do that, he will not be able to take care of God's people in the church.

6 A leader of the church must not be someone who has believed in Christ for only a short time. Someone like that might boast that he is great and important. Then he would receive punishment, as the Devil did. 7 Also, people outside the church should agree that the leader is a good person. Then nobody can say anything bad against him. And so, he will not come under the Devil's power.

3:7The Devil is happy when other people say bad things about Christian leaders.

Helpers in the church

8 In the same way, deacons must live good lives, so that people respect them. They must not be hypocrites. They must not drink too much wine. They must not want to get a lot of money for themselves. 9 They must completely believe the true message that God has shown us about Christ. They must be sure in their minds about it. 10 Before anyone becomes a deacon, you must first test their character. If they are good enough, then let them serve God as deacons.

11 Deacons' wives must live good lives, so that people respect them. They must not say bad things against people. They must think carefully about how they live. People should know that they are honest in everything they do.

3:11‘Deacons' wives’ could also mean ‘deacons who are women’.

12 A deacon must be the husband of one wife. He must take care of his children and everyone who lives in his house. 13 If a deacon serves God's people well, then people will respect him as a good person. He will become strong to tell people about his faith in Christ Jesus.

14 I hope to come to visit you soon. But anyway, I want to write these things to you now. 15 Then, even if I cannot come to you soon, you will know how people in God's family should live. That family is the church of God, who lives for ever. God's family, the church, teaches God's true message and keeps it safe.

16 Yes, the message that God has shown us about Jesus Christ is very great. We all agree to this:

God showed him to us as a man.

God's Spirit showed that he always did what was right.

Angels saw him.

People taught his message in many countries of the world.

People in the world believed in him.

God took him up to be with himself in heaven.

3:16These words probably come from a song about Jesus that the Christians sang when they met together.