Leaders in the Church
It is a true statement that anyone whose goal is to serve as an elder* has his heart set on a good work. An elder must be such a good man that no one can rightly criticize him. He must be faithful to his wife. He must have self-control and be wise. He must be respected by others. He must be ready to help people by welcoming them into his home. He must be a good teacher. He must not drink too much, and he must not be someone who likes to fight. He must be gentle and peaceful. He must not be someone who loves money. He must be a good leader of his own family. This means that his children obey him with full respect. If a man does not know how to lead his own family, he will not be able to take care of God’s church.
An elder must not be a new believer. It might make him too proud of himself. Then he would be condemned for his pride the same as the devil was. An elder must also have the respect of people who are not part of the church. Then he will not be criticized by others and be caught in the devil’s trap.
Special Servants
In the same way, the men who are chosen to be special servants must have the respect of others. They must not be men who say things they don’t mean or who spend their time drinking too much. They must not be men who will do almost anything for money. They must follow the true faith that God has now made known to us and always do what they know is right. 10 You should test them first. Then, if you find that they have done nothing wrong, they can be special servants.
11 In the same way, the women§ must have the respect of others. They must not be women who speak evil about other people. They must have self-control and be women who can be trusted in everything.
12 The men who are special servants must be faithful in marriage.* They must be good leaders of children and their own families. 13 Those who do well as special servants are making an honorable place for themselves. And they will feel very sure of their faith in Christ Jesus.
The Secret of Our Life
14 I hope I can come to you soon. But I am writing this to you now, 15 so that, even if I cannot come soon, you will know how people should live in the family of God. That family is the church of the living God. And God’s church is the support and foundation of the truth. 16 Without a doubt, the secret of our life of worship is great:
Christ was shown to us in human form;
the Spirit proved that he was right;
he was seen by angels.
The message about him was told to the nations;
people in the world believed in him;
he was taken up to heaven in glory.
* 3:1 whose … elder Literally, “who aspires to supervision.” 3:2 elder Here, literally, “overseer.” See “elders (New Testament)” in the Word List. 3:2 faithful to his wife Literally, “a man of one woman.” § 3:11 women Probably the women who serve as special servants (see Rom. 16:1). It could be translated, “their wives,” meaning the wives of the special servants, although there is no word for “their” in the Greek text. * 3:12 faithful in marriage Literally, “a man of one woman.” 3:15 family Literally, “house.” This could mean that God’s people are like God’s temple. 3:16 Christ Literally, “who.” Some Greek copies have “God.”