1 Timothy 3: Family

We often hear sayings like “family comes first” or “family is everything”. In this chapter, Paul emphasizes the importance of being a responsible family member. He starts out by reaffirming the importance of several qualities mentioned throughout his letters, such as temper, self-control, hospitality and gentleness through a short list in verses 2-3.

Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.

However, he then stresses in verses 4-6 that the best judge of a character lies in his/her fulfillment of family responsibilities and in leading well. The fact that he writes two verses emphasizing this after only listing short phrases shows that the success of managing a family is of paramount importance: especially for one who wishes to lead others in faith.

He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[a] respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)

He also mentions the importance of this in verse 12:

12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well.

At first glance, these verses may seem irrelevant to you if you’re not married or don’t have kids yet – but I believe that one’s ability to parent and to manage a household can be nurtured years before. One’s success in marriage and raising a family is ultimately a culmination of how strongly rooted he/she is in God’s word and principles (i.e. how well one can manage their own spiritual and emotional life).

Even if one has no desire to lead, I believe that this chapter gives us insight on what God values in us, that: (1) we should strive for quality familial relationships and that (2) our ability to do so is reflection of us as individuals.



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