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1 Timothy 3:3

ESV not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
NIV not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
NASB not overindulging in wine, not a bully, but gentle, not contentious, free from the love of money.
CSB not an excessive drinker, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy.
NLT He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money.
KJV Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
NKJV not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous;

What does 1 Timothy 3:3 mean?

This continues Paul's list of qualifications for a church elder, shown in verses 1 through 7. Here, Paul adds that an elder cannot be a "drunkard." Drinking wine was common among Jews and Gentiles—especially before refrigeration existed. It should be noted that Paul does not prohibit the drinking of all wine, or all alcohol, but very specifically rules out drunkenness. Those prone to this kind of addiction are considered disqualified from being an elder.

Likewise, Paul says elders cannot be argumentative or temperamental. He uses the term plēktēn, literally meaning a "brawler," also a reference to someone who is confrontational or hot-tempered. This could be construed as those who are eager for a fist-fight. However, the use here seems more broadly applied to include a man's entire attitude. This is further supported by the next remarks Paul makes.

In contrast to being argumentative or aggressive, an elder is to be "gentle." The Greek term epieikē implies one who is patient and fair-minded. Paul also connects this to being "not quarrelsome," echoing his comments on praying without quarreling in chapter 2 (1 Timothy 2:1–2, 8).

Finally, for this verse, an overseer is not to be a "lover of money." Paul addresses this more specifically in 1 Timothy 6:6–10. There, he points out that greed leads to all kinds of other sins, including an abandonment of the faith. This means elders must serve voluntarily, not out of greed. As 1 Peter 5:2 states, church leaders are to be those who help others "not under compulsion, but willingly" This does not mean elders or other leaders must serve without being compensated (1 Timothy 5:18), but that financial gain is not to be their motivation for service.
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