by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 1 Study # 5 Lincolnton, NC December 5, 2004
3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
1901 ASV Translation:
3 no brawler, no striker; but gentle, not contentious, no lover of money;
4 one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5 (but if a man knoweth not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
In chapter 3 verse 3, the Textus Receptus has an extra characteristic ("not greedy of filthy lucre") that has some manuscript support but not a persuasive amount. If Paul really did include it, along with "not covetous", it would simply have been emphatic -- an emphasis which some probably need in order to see just how much they have become lovers of money -- and it is unlikely that he saw any need for that with Timothy.
I. "Not given to wine/no brawler".
A. It is interesting that one can have such a variation of translation from the same Greek words.
1. There is no variation in the textual tradition.
2. Yet the AV and the ASV differ widely on how to translate it.
B. The word used was originally coined to communicate the idea of someone who spent a lot of time "with wine". It is only used twice in the New Testament, both times by Paul in describing the characteristics that should mark a leader in the church. Both times it precedes a word that communicates a sense of the willingness to use violence to accomplish one's agenda. This may be the reason that the ASV translators opted for their rather unique translation. Their choice doesn't seem to be favored by most, if not all, other translators.
C. The question naturally arises: Why does Paul single out "wine"? Is not a lack of moderation in any area just as bad as immoderation with "wine"? Is it possible that Paul used "wine" as a term of larger implication than just wine?
1. It is possible.
2. But it requires more than "possibility" to establish Paul's meaning.
3. It is best to stay with the idea that Paul was addressing the problem of drunkenness, which is clearly within the boundaries of his meaning.
II. No Striker.
A. The word signifies "forcefully hitting something".
B. Liddell and Scott Greek-English Lexicon says that, when used metaphorically, the sense is "to overwhelm" (as wine "strikes" an imbiber).
C. The significance for Paul was that there are a host of men who are willing to use physical force to compel others to accept their goals. These men are not qualified to lead the Church. Physical force, in the church, is not an approved method of pursuing an end. The greatest level of "compulsion" the Church has been granted is the "turning of one who refuses to repent over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh". But, it is not up to the Church to do Satan's work. Every time the "church" has resorted to violence as an accepted method of God's Kingdom work, it has only revealed how deeply the Adversary has obtained control through wicked men who played the religious game well enough to have gotten into the leadership...deceivers who reveal their lack of qualification by resorting to violence to hold on to their power.
1. The Scriptures are not silent about how to deal with wayward people in the Church.
2. It is interesting how many other ways those in leadership will approach the problem as they refuse to accept divine instruction on how to act.
A. This word has a trail in its etymological background that raises the spectre of the "faintness of an impression". As such, it contrasts very sharply with the preceding focus upon "striking" in order to force an issue. Whereas the "striker" is willing to "hit hard" in order to compel, the "patient/gentle" man is only willing to hit hard enough to make the faintest of impressions.
B. There are a couple of implications here...
1. Primary among them is this: a "gentle" man is one who clearly understands how little he has to do with the real issues of getting people to adopt righteousness at the heart level.
a. He is not, by that, disinterested in that adoption.
b. But he is, by that, not interested in attempting to force an external form that has little connection to the internal reality.
c. It is, in a real and final way, the work of God to produce internal conformity with true righteousness. A "striker" cannot do this, and a "gentle" man can only be a part of the divine instrumentality in the accomplishment of this.
2. It is also implied by "gentleness" that the divine methodology of appeal, as opposed to threat, is primary in the "gentle" man's thought.
IV. Not a Brawler/Not Contentious.
A. The word is a combination of the negative particle "a", which signals the absence of that which follows (thus, the translation "not"), and a word that is typically used to indicate armed conflict as in a battle.
B. Strong's Concordance suggests that it is not as strong a word as "war" as it signifies a "battle" as a particular aspect of the larger issue of "war".
C. This is the third attempt on Paul's part to characterize a man as qualified to lead the church in respect to his refusal to employ the use of violent means to get his way. There is something to be said about a three-fold attempt to establish unacceptable methods that men are almost always willing to use if the objective is significant enough to them.
V. Not Covetous/No Lover of Money.
A. The word is, again, a word that has the negative "a" as a prefix. That prefix is followed by the word for "love" that focuses upon emotional attachment, which is, in turn, followed by the word for "silver" (as a metaphor for "money").
B. The boundaries of "covetousness" are pretty much nailed down in Paul's pointed command to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:8. Investing a significant level of energy in the pursuit of "more" must be put under scrutiny in order to see what is really driving the "want". A person ought to attempt to discover the areas of his/her real interests (as a signification of God's "gifting"), and settle into those areas as long as food and raiment can be obtained thereby.