by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 1 Study # 7 Lincolnton, NC January 2, 2005
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:
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?)
There are no textual differences between the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26.
I. There are two verses given over to the issue of how an overseer handles his household.
A. The first verse requires a relatively smoothly running household.
B. The second verse asks a question that ties the overseer's attitude toward his own household to his attitude toward the Church.
II. The requirement regarding the household...
A. Being old enough to qualify to be an "elder" might have something to say about the age expectations regarding the "children".
1. In Titus 1:6 there are characteristics of the "children" that might imply some degree of physical maturity.
a. There, the requirement that a "child" not be "accused of riot" uses a word that introduces an element of sensuality -- which might refer to sexual misconduct. This, obviously, would address "children" beyond puberty.
b. The other requirement, that a child not be "unruly", has no overtones of age associated with it.
B. There are several words that all address the expectation that is upon the "overseer"...
1. "Ruleth well".
a. In Romans 12:8, "ruling" is identified as a "spiritual gift" that particularly calls for 'diligence'.
b. In 1 Thessalonians 5:12, "ruling" calls for "labor" and "admonishment".
c. In 1 Timothy 5:17, the elders "rule" and some of them do that by laboring in the word and in doctrine.
1) This is probably a "bottom line" issue in that "all" behavior is first addressed by words and, after that, behavior that reinforces the words.
2) It goes without saying, then, that any place where the words are absent, elder leadership is also absent...which means that some other kind of "leadership" is present.
d. Titus 3:8 and 3:14 both call for the "maintaining" of good works by all believers...implying that "ruling" is equivalent to "working to produce".
2. "Have in subjection with all gravity".
1) In 1 Timothy 2:2, this is the objective of every believer.
2) In the text before us, this is the characteristic of those who lead believers.
3) In Titus 2:7 this is enjoined upon Titus especially in the area of "teaching".
4) In Philippians 4:8, this is made a matter for all to pursue.
5) In 1 Timothy 3:8 and 11, this issue is immediately associated with the way one speaks (double-tongued or slanderer).
6) In Titus 2:2 all "aged" men are to have this characteristic.
7) Summary: the idea of the word seems to be "worthy of being looked up to".
1) The way this word is used in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 9:13; Galatians 2:5; 1 Timothy 2:11; and 1 Timothy 3:4) implies that "subjection" means "to permit another to have their way".
2) This means, in the household, that "children" are not to "have their way"; the parents are to be supporting "God's way" and their children are learning to go along with that.
c. Summary: the idea is that an overseer has learned, by doing, to lead people into obedience without "force", but with "gravity". This pretty much rules out early childhood where "force" is most generally the only way (he that spares the rod, spoils the child). At the point of transition from "force" to "leading by example", the use of the rod disappears in favor of "gravity".
3. "Take care of".
a. The only other place where this word is used is the Luke 10 account of the "Good Samaritan" who "took care of" the wounded victim and asked the inn keeper to "take care of" him also until he was able to go on his way.
b. It is a pretty broad idea that seems to mean "to meet the real needs that exist".
C. The "home" is the training ground for the "Church".
1. The issue that is involved is the question of "how much latitude is given to people regarding their behavior?".
2. The next question is: "what do we do about significant misbehavior?".
a. This, of course, raises the issue of "significant" misbehavior.
b. The fact remains that a person can have a rather terrible attitude while remaining within the boundaries of "acceptable behavior".