Dear church,

The apostle Paul wrote in this chapter about leaders in the church, and I think we often miss the point of this passage. We look for qualifications and how leadership works. And this passage does give us some things to talk about.

But the point of this passage is about “how one ought to behave in the household of God” (3:15).

This is about ethics, particularly for church leaders. We might think of church leaders as “household managers.” These would be like people in the ancient Mediterranean world who were charged with watching over the household of the master of the home, or the paterfamilias.[1]

To be the household manager would have brought quite a bit of responsibility. Not just anyone should have that job. To mis-manage the household would have been a bad thing indeed.

A question we need to ask is what the leaders of the household of God are trying to manage the household toward? It is not to make a profit, like in a business. No, household leaders are trying to grow people toward maturity in Christ.

It’s kind of like being a parent – shepherding kids along and hoping they finally “grow up.”

And so we notice the qualifications to become one of these household managers – an overseer, especially, but deacons, too – have a lot to do with how they live within their own biological families. If they can’t manage things there, where they also are working to grow people toward maturity and to protect the family, then they certainly can’t manage things in the church.

This is food for thought. We need more good leaders in our church.


[1] Christopher R. Hutson, First and Second Timothy and Titus (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2019), 88.

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