1 Timothy 3 Summary: Argument, Outline, Doctrines, and Applications

1 Timothy 3 Summary: Argument, Outline, Doctrines, and Applications


1.Paul’s philosophy of ministry

2.Pray for others; godly women

3.Overseers, deacons, and conduct in the church

4.Departure from the faith; train for godliness

5.Respectfully challenge; widows; elders

6.Slaves and masters, godliness, money


Chapter 3, Overseers, deacons, Christology

Paul continues his instruction to the leaders in the church by describing the character of overseers (1 Timothy 3:1-7, episkopos) and deacons (1 Timothy 3:8-13, diakonos). Paul writes so that Timothy will know how he and the church leaders and their wives are to conduct themselves in the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth, which is built upon Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 3:14-16).


1 Timothy 3:1-7. The character standard for an overseer is high, and includes monogamy, his attitude, how he works with people, his ability to teach, his ability to lead his home, his habits, his maturity, and his reputation.
1 Timothy 3:8-13. The character standard for a deacon is also high, and includes personal dignity, honesty, self control, honestly hold the doctrines of the faith, have passed a period of testing, have a good wife, and his children and home life.
1 Timothy 3:14-16. Paul writes so Timothy and other leaders will know how to act (αναστρεφω) in the church of the living God which is built upon the mystery of godliness—Jesus Christ. Paul delegated to Timothy the job of correcting and strengthening the church at Ephesus. This letter is the instruction for that job.

Summary of prominent doctrines from 1 Timothy 3

  1. 1 Timothy 3.1-7. The overseer ἐπίσκοπος episkopos is an admirable office. He is also called an elder and a pastor. The character requirements are high. They include his attitude, how he works with people, his ability to teach, his ability to lead his home, his habits, his maturity, and his reputation From Acts 20.17, 28; Titus 1.5,7; 1 Peter 5.1-4 the pastor is also an elder and an overseer. Doctrine of pastor and teacher. Pastor overseer needs training and guidance before taking the position.
  2. Deacons διακονος diakonos also have a high standard: dignity, honesty, self control, believe the doctrines of the faith, passed a period of testing, marriage and home life. Good deacons earn a good reputation and boldness to serve the faith (1 Timothy 3.8-13). Doctrine of deacon.
  3. The overseerer needs to be taught how to act and serve in his capacity of church leadership (1 Timothy 3.15). He is to be diligent to study God’s word (2 Timothy 2.15), faithfully teach God’s word (1 Timothy 4.11-15), and be an example (1 Timothy 4.12).
  4. The church is God’s church. It is composed of all believers in Jesus Christ from Pentecost in Acts 2 until the removal of the church to heaven as taught in 1 Corinthians 15.51-55. Believers are immediately baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ and are said to be in Christ (1 Corinthians 12.13; Ephesians 1.22-23). The church people are the protectors and proclaimers of God’s word (1 Timothy 3.15). Doctrine of the church.
  5. A summary of Christology is presented in the hymn or creed of 1 Timothy 3.16. He accomplished his work, his work was made known, and he was recognized and accepted. Jesus became man, angels saw him and he was proclaimed, and he was believed and accepted into heaven. Doctrine of Christology.

Doctrines and Applications

  1. Overseer, elder, pastor and teacher (1 Timothy 3.1-7).
  2. Deacon (1 Timothy 3.8-13).
  3. Church (1 Timothy 3.15).
  4. Wives of deacons, and women in church service (1 Timothy 3.11).
  5. Christian service (1 Timothy 3.13).
  6. Instructions and warnings about the character of church leaders (1 Timothy 3).
  7. Morality is important in church leaders (1 Timothy 3).