READ: 1 Timothy 3:1
- Nearly every translation includes the word office in verse 1. Technically it isn’t there. The verse reads, “If anyone longs to overseer, he desires a good work.” If you believed the church had such positions, then adding the word office would make sense. However, if you didn’t read the idea of position into the text, you could easily say, “If anyone longs to be an overseer,” or “If anyone desires the role of overseer.”
- Verse 1 actually provides its own suggested approach. The verse ends with, “he longs for a noble task.” In other words, the person who desires to be an overseer is not seeking a position, he is seeking a role or function. There is a job to do. To then translate the opening line without the word office in it would relieve the pressure of people seeking a position instead of a task.
- The second concern has to do with desiring the role. Two very strong words are used in verse 1 to indicate the heart of the person wanting this role. One means to strive after and the other sometimes is translated as lusts for. But we should never want a person whose ambition is to be in a position of authority. Instead, we should want a man who desires to function as one who oversees a congregation as a shepherd.
- What do you think of when you hear the “office of overseer”?
- How does that differ from role or function?
- How can one long for a role without being controlled by ambition?
- What would you expect from a man who longed for a position of power? From someone who desired to serve others?
PRAY: Thank God for His concern to give the church leadership. Pray for the men who are overseers in the congregation. Ask God to keep raising up quality men who can serve as overseers.