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1 Timothy 3:4

ESV He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive,
NIV He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect.
NASB He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity
CSB He must manage his own household competently and have his children under control with all dignity.
NLT He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him.
KJV One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;

What does 1 Timothy 3:4 mean?

This verse adds family qualifications to the expectations of an elder. In addition to the personal qualifications in verses 2 through 3, this verse implies that the elder must show reasonable control of his own home. "Household," as used here, refers to one's home, which could consist of a single person, a wife, children, servants, and extended family. A man seeking to be an elder, whatever his status, must first show he can lead his own family effectively.

Specifically, Paul included the concepts of dignity and obedient children. Fathers with children at home who wanted to serve as overseers must be able to lead their own children well. The next verse develops Paul's reason for this, using a rhetorical question to emphasize the importance of this command. As Titus 1:6 adds, "his children are believers" or literally "are faithful." Young children may not be able to express faith in Christ yet, but must be faithful to the family's faith in God.

Of course, no person is responsible for the sins or shortcomings of others. However, a man whose children show signs of unchecked rebellion, or a lack of discipline, is not qualified to become an elder. If a father lets his own children run rampant, how can he claim to be ready to guide others in the church?
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