Chapter 3

Roy Osborne
May 2013

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the victors were a horde of unorganized and ignorant barbarians.  The only intelligent group
left, with the power to organize after the chaos, was the group of
Christians who gathered in their churches for fellowship and worship. Some of the leaders in these churches realized that they could impress and control the pagan hoards by creating rituals and symbols, and by setting up a powerful organization.  Thus did the church family cease to be a family and became an organization, which was more interested in political power than in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  This organization grew in power which even allowed it to control Kings and Emperors, and was the most powerful force in the world.

For centuries this “church” literally ruled the world and martyred
any who tried to differ with or oppose it.  Finally, a few men, like Martin Luther, boldly challenged some of the practices of this organization, such as selling men the right to sin, and were successful in their challenges.  They were called Protestants, for they protested the practices of the Roman church, which were obvious violations of the Bible, and of the purposes of Jesus Christ.  The only problem was that each man had a group of people who agreed with him and formed another organization.  As other men arose to protest against the Roman church, there would be formed another group.  So the concept of the church as an organization was propagated. 

It was not so in the beginning.  When Jesus spoke of “His church”, He was not envisioning a corporate body.  He was talking about a family, called out of the kingdom of Satan to be a part of the eternal Kingdom of God.  The leaders, chosen to lead the individual groups of God’s family, were not chosen as Dictators, CEOs, Power figures, or any other office with the power to control.  They were chosen, as we shall see when we read further in this book of Timothy, to lead and direct the family, as a father would; to protect, maintain the love and oneness of the group, and help the spiritual growth of all in it.  The church of the Lord is not a corporate organization, it is a family, and the leaders are not corporate officers, they are spiritual leaders to protect the oneness and spiritual growth of the children.

If you will read the 3rd chapter of I Timothy carefully, you will note that every characteristic Paul lists, which one chosen to be a leader
should have, refers to his character and spiritual characteristics.  They are not characteristics to be found on the resume of one seeking an office in a corporation.   Also, contrary to what some have taught,
they do not insist that a man has to have a wife and multiple children.  Paul is listing spiritual characteristics, among which are that a man must not be a polygamist, nor a neglectful father.  These orders are not describing necessities for a man to have a family, but spiritual characteristics of the man himself.

Then Paul designates many of the same characteristics for those who are chosen as official servants of the church, i.e., deacons.  And
finally he urges that the women who serve should be spiritually above reproach.  In some translations the word for the women is translated as “their wives”.  I think that is not the case.  He does not give such
admonitions for the wives of the elders or overseers.  No, I think
Paul is talking about women who have an official task to perform for the church.  The word deaconess is used of Phoebe (Rom. 16:1), who
served the church at Cencrea.  This word deacon or deaconess is a word that simply means servant.  But when specific characteristics are given for one who is called by that title, it means they are assigned specific tasks to be performed for the church and therefore hold an official position with the group.

Paul closes this chapter with the statement: “The mystery of godliness is great”.   He then gives a summary of the “truth”,
and when you read it you will know what the truth is.  This is what
the gospel is and what should be constantly preached by those who claim to be ministers of it.  It is a mystery for man to imagine that this could be, but this is what our faith is based upon, and it is the only hope mankind on this temporary earth can be assured of.