Mild and not quarrelsome. He contrasts with “time striker” time man who is “not quarrelsome.” Mild — which, we have said, is contrasted with being “addicted to wine” — is the term applied to him who knows how to bear, injuries with a gentle and moderate disposition, who forgives much, who passes by insults, who neither makes himself be dreaded through harsh severity, nor exacts with full rigor.Not quarrelsome, one who avoids disputes and quarrels; for, as he elsewhere writes,
“the servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome.”
(<550224>2 Timothy 2:24.)
4. Who ruleth well his own house. Hence it is evident, that Paul does not demand that a bishop shall be unacquainted within human life, fa56 but that he shall be a good and praiseworthy master of a household; for,whatever may be the admiration commonly entertained for celibacy and a philosophical life altogether removed from ordinary custom, yet wise and thoughtful men are convinced by experience, that they who are not ignorant of ordinary life, but are practiced in the duties of human intercourse, are better trained and adapted for governing the Church. And, therefore, we ought to observe the reason which is added, (<540305>1 Timothy 3:5,) that he who does not know how to rule his family, Will not be qualified for governing the Church. Now, this is the case with very many persons, and indeed with almost all who have been drawn out of an idle and solitary life, fa57 as out of dens and caverns; for they are a sort of savages and destitute of humanity.
Who hath his children in subjection with, all reverence. The apostle does not recommend a clever man, and deeply skilled in domestic matters, but one who has learned to govern a family by wholesome discipline. He speaks chiefly of children, who may be expected to possess the natural disposition of their father; and therefore it will be a great disgrace to a bishop, if he has children who lead a wicked and scandalous life. As to wives, he will speak of them afterwards; but at present, as I have said, he glances at the most important part of a house.
In the Epistle to Titus, (<560106>Titus 1:6,) he shows what is here meant by the word reverence; for, after having said that the children of a bishop must not be unruly and disobedient, he likewise adds,
“nor liable to the reproach of profligacy or of intemperance.”
He therefore means, in a word, that their morals shall be regulated by all chastity, modesty, and gravity.
5. And if any one know not how to rule his own house.fa58 This argument, drawn from the less to the greater, is in itself manifest, that he who is unfit for governing a family will be altogether unable to govern a people. Besides that it is evident that he is destitute of the virtues necessary for that purpose, what authority will he have over the people, seeing that his own house makes him contemptible?
6.Not a novice. There being many men of distinguished ability and learning who at that time were brought to the faith, Paul forbids that such persons shall be admitted to the office of a bishop, as soon as they have made profession of Christianity. And he shews how great would be the danger; for it is evident that they are commonly vain, and full of ostentation, and, in consequence of this, haughtiness and ambition will drive them headlong. What Paul says we experience; for “novices” have not only impetuous fervor and bold daring, but are also puffed up with foolish confidence, as if they could fly beyond the clouds. Consequently, it is not without reason that they are excluded from the honor of a bishopric, till, in process of time their proud temper shall be subdued.
Lest he fall into the condemnation of the devil. The judgment or condemnation of the devil may be interpreted in three ways; for some take Diabo>lou (of the devil) to mean Satan; and others, to mean slanderers. I give the preference to the former view; because it rarely happens that “judgment” means slander. But again, “the judgment of Satan” may be taken either actively or passively. This latter sense is adopted by Chrysostom, with whom I willingly agree There is an elegant contrast, which heightens the enormity of the case, “If he who is placed over the Church of God fall, by his pride, into the same condemnation with the devil.” Yet I do not reject the active signification, namely, that he will give the devil occasion for accusing him. But the opinion of Chrysostom is more correct. fa59
7. A good report from those who are without. This appears to be very difficult, that a religious man should have, as witnesses of his integrity, infidels themselves, who are furiously mad to tell lies against us. But the apostle means, that, so far as relates to external behavior, even unbelievers themselves shall be constrained to acknowledge him to be a good man; for, although they groundlessly slander all the children of God, yet they cannot pronounce him to be a wicked man, who leads a good and inoffensive life amongst them. Such is that acknowledgment of uprightness which Paul here describes. The reason is added, —
Lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil; which I explain in this manner: “lest, being subject to reproach, he begin to be hardened, and abandon himself the more freely to all iniquity, which is to entangle himself in the snares of the devil.” For what hope is left for him who sins without any shame?