Listen:  107.6

The portion you are referring to is in regards to the qualification of one who would serve as a bishop, or an elder in the church.  Let’s read 1 Timothy 3:1-4, “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;  Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;  One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity.”  In addition, the qualification for a deacon also includes being the husband of one wife as we read in 1 Timothy 3:12, “Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.”

These qualifications are to be taken serious.  For one to serve the Lord in the church, or assembly, he must be faithful to the Lord’s Word.  1 Corinthians 4:2 tells us, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”  The Apostle Paul realized that even he could be disqualified from the Lord’s work if he did not remain faithful to the Lord.  He wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:27, “But I roughly treat my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.”

What does husband of one wife mean?  There are several thoughts about this verse.  Some teach that this means a man cannot serve as an elder or deacon if he has been divorced and remarried.  Unscriptural divorce and remarriage is a very serious offence, but I don’t believe this is the proper thought concerning this qualification.  With so much polygamy in practice at that time, it seems to capture the tone of the verse better when we understand that the meaning is that a man should not have more than one wife at one time.  Some, coming out of paganism to follow the Lord, undoubtedly had several wives.  We have no scriptural instruction saying these men would have to put away their wives.  What had been once done, and could not be corrected, the Lord graciously tolerates.  However, we are told that a man with more than one wife would not be able to serve the Lord in a leadership capacity in the assembly.  So, the elder and bishop should be married, but to only one wife.  Let us follow the instruction of the scripture as we read in 1 Corinthians 14:40, “Let all things be done decently and in order.”  (107.6)