TOSC committee member Eugene Prewitt Carefully considers the biblical requirement that elders be the “husand of one wife.”

4 thoughts on “Can we take 1 Timothy chapter 3 to an extreme?

  1. Thanks for posting these good videos. I don’t always comment but I have watched most of what you post and I always learn something. Question: Is there other NT or OT information about the meaning of “husband of one wife”? Does it DQ a divorced/remarried man? Does it DQ a single pastor?

  2. Good to hear from you, Barry!! The answer to your question is that the maleness of the elder/overseer is settled in the previous chapter (I Tim. 2:12-13), based on the original created order. As the apostle Paul was both unmarried and ordained (I Cor. 7), and was functioning as an overseer himself (Titus 1:5), the collective testimony of the text would certainly indicate that single men are eligible for ministerial ordination.

    The “husband of one wife” qualification means that if the man in question is married, he must be monogamous. As one on our Committee has noted, the Fourth Commandment doesn’t only apply to people with children, servants, or domestic animals. It simply means that if you have these, the command applies to them as well.

    When one considers the collective testimony of Scripture, including the fact of Paul’s ordination and continuing overseership despite being single, it becomes clear that the command in First Timothy 3 simply admonishes that if the man ordained to ministry is married, he must have only one wife.

  3. You refute your own argument when you say, “The ‘husband of one wife’ qualification means that if the man in question is married, he must be monogamous.”

    The qualification is to have one wife. Period. There’s no, “IF the man in question is married.” It is, point blank, he “must” be the husband of one wife. That is your rendering of the text, so, no… a single man IS NOT, by this verse and your reasoning, qualified. You can’t have it both ways.

    Ty’s essay covers this comprehensively and compellingly, especially in light of all Biblical testimony to the issue.


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