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Verse 2

A bishop then must be blameless - Our term bishop comes from the Anglo-Saxon, which is a mere corruption of the Greek επισκοπος , and the Latin episcopus ; the former being compounded of επι , over, and σκεπτομαι , to look or inspect, signifies one who has the inspection or oversight of a place, persons, or business; what we commonly term a superintendent. The New Testament writers have borrowed the term from the Septuagint, it being the word by which they translate the פקיד pakid of the Hebrew text, which signifies a visiter, one that personally inspects the people or business over which he presides. It is given by St. Paul to the elders at Ephesus, who had the oversight of Christ's flock, Acts 20:28 ; and to such like persons in other places, Philemon 1:1 ; 1 Timothy 3:2 , the place in question; and Titus 1:7 .

Let us consider the qualifications of a Christian bishop, and then we shall soon discover who is fit for the office.

    First - is Christian bishop must be blameless; ανεπιληπτον , a person against whom no evil can be proved; one who is everywhere invulnerable; for the word is a metaphor, taken from the case of an expert and skillful pugilist, who so defends every part of his body that it is impossible for his antagonist to give one hit. So this Christian bishop is one that has so conducted himself, as to put it out of the reach of any person to prove that he is either unsound in a single article of the Christian faith, or deficient in the fulfillment of any duty incumbent on a Christian. He must be irreprehensible; for how can he reprove that in others which they can reprove in him?

Second - must be the husband of one wife. He should be a married man, but he should be no polygamist; and have only one wife, i.e. one at a time. It does not mean that, if he has been married, and his wife die, he should never marry another. Some have most foolishly spiritualized this, and say, that by one wife the Church is intended! This silly quibbling needs no refutation. The apostle's meaning appears to be this: that he should not be a man who has divorced his wife and married another; nor one that has two wives at a time. It does not appear to have been any part of the apostle's design to prohibit second marriages, of which some have made such a serious business. But it is natural for some men to tithe mint and cummin in religion, while they neglect the weightier matters of the law.

Third - must be vigilant; νηφαλεον , from νη , not and πιω , to drink. Watchful; for as one who drinks is apt to sleep, so he who abstains from it is more likely to keep awake, and attend to his work and charge. A bishop has to watch over the Church, and watch for it; and this will require all his care and circumspection. Instead of νηφαλεον , many MSS. read νηφαλιον· this may be the better orthography, but makes no alteration in the sense.

Fourth - must be sober; σωφρονα , prudent or, according to the etymology of the word, from σως , sound, and φρην , mind, a man of a sound mind; having a good understanding, and the complete government of all his passions. A bishop should be a man of learning, of an extensive and well cultivated mind, dispassionate, prudent, and sedate.

Fifth - must be of good behavior; κοσμιον , orderly, decent, grave, and correct in the whole of his appearance, carriage, and conduct. The preceding term, σωφρονα , refers to the mind; this latter, κοσμιον , to the external manners. A clownish, rude, or boorish man should never have the rule of the Church of God; the sour, the sullen, and the boisterous should never be invested with a dignity which they would most infallibly disgrace.

Sixth - must be given to hospitality; φιλοξενον , literally, a lover of strangers; one who is ready to receive into his house and relieve every necessitous stranger. Hospitality, in those primitive times, was a great and necessary virtue; then there were few inns, or places of public entertainment; to those who were noted for benevolence the necessitous stranger had recourse. A Christian bishop, professing love to God and all mankind, preaching a religion, one half of the morality of which was included in, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, would naturally be sought to by those who were in distress and destitute of friends. To enable them to entertain such, the Church over which they presided must have furnished them with the means. Such a bishop as St. Paul, who was often obliged to labor with his hands for his own support, could have little to give away. But there is a considerable difference between an apostolical bishop and an ecclesiastical bishop: the one was generally itinerant, the other comparatively local; the former had neither house nor home, the latter had both; the apostolical bishop had charge of the Church of Christ universally, the ecclesiastical bishop of the Churches in a particular district. Such should be addicted to hospitality, or works of charity; especially in these modern times, in which, besides the spiritualities, they possess the temporalities, of the Church.

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