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1 Timothy 3:11

    1 Timothy 3:11 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    Women in like manner must be grave, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Women are to be serious in behaviour, saying no evil of others, controlling themselves, true in all things.

    Webster's Revision

    Women in like manner must be grave, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.

    World English Bible

    Their wives in the same way must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    Women in like manner must be grave, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.

    Clarke's Commentary on 1 Timothy 3:11

    Even so must their wives be grave - I believe the apostle does not mean here the wives either of the bishops or deacons in particular, but the Christian women in general. The original is simply: Γυναικας ὡσαυτως σεμνας· Let the women likewise be grave. Whatever is spoken here becomes women in general; but if the apostle had those termed deaconesses in his eye, which is quite possible, the words are peculiarly suitable to them. That there was such an order in the apostolic and primitive Church, and that they were appointed to their office by the imposition of hands, has already been noticed on Romans 16:1 (note). Possibly, therefore, the apostle may have had this order of deaconesses in view, to whom it was as necessary to give counsels and cautions as to the deacons themselves; and to prescribe their qualifications, lest improper persons should insinuate themselves into that office.

    Not slanderers - Μη διαβολους· Literally, not devils. See on 1 Timothy 3:7 (note) This may be properly enough translated slanderers, backbiters, tale-bearers, etc., for all these are of their father, the devil, and his lusts they will do. Let all such, with the vast tribe of calumniators and dealers in scandal, remember that the apostle ranks them all with malicious, fallen spirits; a consideration which one would suppose might be sufficient to deter them from their injurious and abominable conduct.

    Sober - See on 1 Timothy 3:2 (note)

    Faithful in all things - The deaconesses had much to do among the poor, and especially among poor women, in dispensing the bounty of the Church. They were not only faithfully to expend all they had got, and for the purpose for which they got it; but they must do this with impartiality, showing no respect of persons, the degree of distress being the only rule by which the distribution was to be regulated.

    Barnes' Notes on 1 Timothy 3:11

    Even so must their wives be grave - Chrysostom, Theophylact, Grotius, Bloomfield, and many others, suppose that by the word "wives," here, (γυνᾶικας gunaikas), the apostle means "deaconesses." Clarke supposes that it refers to women in general. The reason assigned for supposing that it does not refer to the wives of deacons, as such, is, that nothing is said of the qualifications of the wives of bishops - a matter of as much importance as that of the character of the wife of a deacon; and that it cannot be supposed that the apostle would specify the one without some allusion to the other. But that the common interpretation, which makes it refer to the wives of deacons, as such, is to be adhered to, seems to me to be clear. Because:

    (1) it is the obvious and natural interpretation.

    (2) the word here used - "wives" - is never used of itself to denote deaconesses.

    (3) if the apostle had meant deaconesses, it would have been easy to express it without ambiguity; compare notes, Romans 16:1.

    (4) what is here mentioned is important, whether the same thing is mentioned of bishops or not.

    (5) in the qualifications of bishops, the apostle had made a statement respecting his family, which made any specification about the particular members of the family unnecessary. He was to be one who presided in a proper manner over his own house, or who had a well-regulated family; 1 Timothy 3:4-5. By a comparison of this passage, also, with Titus 2:3-4, which bears a strong resemblance to this, it would seem that it was supposed that the deacons would be taken from those who were advanced in life, and that their wives would have some superintendence over the younger females of the church. It was, therefore, especially important that they should be persons whose influence would be known to be decidedly favorable to piety. No one can doubt that the character of a woman may be such, that it is not desirable that her husband should be an officer in the church. A bad woman ought not to be entrusted with any additional power or influence.

    Grave - notes, 1 Timothy 3:4.

    Not slanderers - compare Titus 2:3, "Not false accusers." The Greek word is διαβόλους diabolous - "devils." It is used here in its original and proper sense, to denote a "calumniator," "slanderer," or "accuser." It occurs in the same sense in 2 Timothy 3:3, and Titus 2:3. Elsewhere in the New Testament, it is uniformly rendered "devil" (compare notes, Matthew 4:1), and is given to Satan, the prince of the fallen angels Matthew 9:34, by way of eminence, as "the accuser;" compare Job 1:6-11 notes, and Revelation 12:10 note. Here it means that they should not be women who were in the habit of calumniating others, or aspersing their character. Mingling as they would with the church, and having an opportunity to claim acquaintance with many, it would be in their power, if they chose, to do great injury to the character of others.

    Sober - notes, 1 Timothy 3:2.

    Faithful in all things - To their husbands, to their families, to the church, to the Saviour.

    Wesley's Notes on 1 Timothy 3:11

    3:11 Faithful in all things - Both to God, their husbands, and the poor.