1 Timothy 3:12 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Timothy 3:12, NIV: A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well.

1 Timothy 3:12, ESV: Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well.

1 Timothy 3:12, KJV: Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

1 Timothy 3:12, NASB: Deacons must be husbands of one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households.

1 Timothy 3:12, NLT: A deacon must be faithful to his wife, and he must manage his children and household well.

1 Timothy 3:12, CSB: Deacons are to be husbands of one wife, managing their children and their own households competently.

What does 1 Timothy 3:12 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This verse returns to the qualifications of prospective deacons, after speaking about their wives (1 Timothy 3:11). Like elders, deacons are to be known for faithfulness in their marriage. This uses the Greek expression mias gynaikos andres, literally "one-woman men." This is the same phrasing used in 1 Timothy 3:2. Like elders (1 Timothy 3:4–5), deacons are to also demonstrate proper management of their children and household. This would have included wife, children, extended family in the home, and any servants. First century "households" in Ephesus sometimes consisted of several people, and the typical family of this era had many more children than in modern Western societies.

The idea was that a man must be able to lead his own family well if he was to successfully lead the larger "family" of a church congregation. Though deacons are not required to be "able to teach" as are elders (1 Timothy 3:2), they are required to have a solid family reputation. This verse does not explicitly exclude single men, nor does it speak regarding past divorce or family problems. The emphasis is on one's current family status being of high character among the church and community.