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 A pastor, husband of one wife?

I wanted to see if I could get some opinions of some of you very gifted, knowlegable people.

This is a very controversial question, but I have ben studying Timothy and I thought I would bring it before the jury.

Is this passage of scripture in I Timothy chapter three saying that a pastor must be a man of one wife(having never been divorced), or(one wife at a time)?

What are your thoughts?

Personally I believe one wife(having never been divorced), but I am trying to keep an open mind.

your brother in Christ

 2006/3/8 17:48

Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3777

 Re: A pastor, husband of one wife?

Personally I believe one wife(having never been divorced).

I find it interesting how God sets standards, like he did in the old testament, and then he breaks his own "rules" - like using Rahab to save his nation, etc, etc, etc etc, and then making her an ancestor of Christ... and then making her a hero of the faith (in Hebrews).

And still today, God is using divorced people, (yes, EVEN divorced women) to bring about his New Covenant Promises. Perhaps it is because many of our divorced brothers and sisters have been on the bottom, broken, and restored. They make good leaders because they have learned that they cannot lean on themselves, and must lean on him. Perhaps God uses them because they have known pain and can identify with the pain of those going through broken relationships.

God calls some of the most unlikely people and gives them some of the most amazing roles (think of Matthew the tax collector)

Let's not try to overrule what God is doing.



 2006/3/8 17:57Profile

 Re: A pastor, husband of one wife?

I believe there is an even more practical context here, that any man should have ONLY one wife - as opposed to several. If this was already established in the man's understanding, since he had become a Chirstian, it showed he was 'getting' God's heart on the matter. It was THIS that qualified him for leadership or formal 'service' within the church. I don't think it's about divorce. And I don't think it's saying that church leader has to be married, either; but if he IS married, then it should be to only ONE WOMAN.

 2006/3/8 18:06

Joined: 2004/10/16
Posts: 528


And still today, God is using divorced people, (yes, EVEN divorced women) to bring about his New Covenant Promises. Perhaps it is because many of our divorced brothers and sisters have been on the bottom, broken, and restored. They make good leaders because they have learned that they cannot lean on themselves, and must lean on him

Being divorced is still having only "one wife. The problem is not necessarily the divorce, it is concerning being in another marriage while one still has a living wife. In Him, Cindy


 2006/3/8 19:53Profile

 Re: A pastor, husband of one wife?

J-bird, I have to take your word for this, that you are only asking because you are trying to keep an open mind.

I know we have all posted an opening thread with a question to promote conversation, even though we had a fixed belief, but just wanted to get a topic started. I can understand the many I've seen open that way, but this happens to be a hot topic on this Forum .... as you'd see if you did a search on "remarriage".

If you really want my opinion I will give it to you, but that's as far as I'm going with this.

IF a man's wife is found to be an non-repentant adultress - he is permitted to divorse her and free to marry again ... and serve The Lord.

God would not suffer a man to either live alone for the rest of his days on earth because his wife was an adultress and make him suffer for the rest of his life for her sin and neither would HE remove a man's calling because the man fell in love again, years after he had to leave a non-repentant woman.

I don't see this in His Word, and I've read every thread on here about this subject.

Many men get saved AFTER they got married and if this woman they are married to is running around on him, he does not have to sleep with her after she's slept with other men and won't stop.
Neither is he forced to stay married to her and neither is he forced to stop serving God if he later finds a good Christian woman.

Are all sins under the blood or not, should be the question.
He has not sinned.

 2006/3/8 21:01


Thank you all for the comments so far. It will definately give me something to think about.

The funny thing about this place(SI) is you can almost get a sense of a persons personality and character by the way they post. Anyone else think so?

Anyway, I actually had a pastor for about five years who had previously been divorced. Many people had a real prblem with it. like I said, I have my own personal beliefs, but I want to explore all options and try to keep an open mind about this. I've seen God use men greatly that had been divorced in the past in leadership positions in the church. So.........I don't know.

thanks again

P.S. Would love to hear other opinions. :-D

 2006/3/8 23:06

Joined: 2005/4/26
Posts: 376
Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania



Are you divorced?

Gary Eckenroth

 2006/3/9 0:03Profile

Joined: 2005/9/25
Posts: 131


Jesus said if we deny Him he will deny us before the Father. Peter denied Him THREE times with curses, and yet He was forgiven AND restored. I don't think divorce is worse than denial, just my opinion....

 2006/3/9 4:46Profile

Joined: 2005/11/2
Posts: 3707


No one can control a spouse. Only a spouse can control him or her self. If a spouse is not true to their spouse, is it the other persons fault and or responsibility?

If a husband is not a Christian and the wife uses this situation to seek another, she is wrong. Even if she stays and complains about it and carrying such a heavy cross, it is not a heavy cross but a mistake and she is just going to have to live with it, she can make it her ministry to love this husband and submit to Christ, and in the name of her marriage and pray always. Love and make Christ her life, but not by pushing her husband to Christ but by leading him in love and hope of her savior. The husband also the same.

"Be the husband of one wife." This is heart condition, not a divorce condition. Also not more than one wife in number.

In Christ: Phillip


 2006/3/9 6:08Profile


"Be the husband of one wife." This is heart condition, not a divorce condition.

I disagree... it's [b]BOTH[/b].

Y'all just knew I would jump in here... didnt ya!

Scripture interprets scripture, and Paul gave his reason why he wrote what he did. Just merely throwing that verse up in the air without the context that it is in doesnt explain why Paul wrote it, and opens it up to a lot of conjecture... which is what we have here.

So what was the context? It's this:

1Ti 3:2-5 A bishop then must be blameless, [b]the husband of one wife[/b], vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; [b]One that ruleth well his own house[/b], having his children in subjection with all gravity; [b][i](For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)[/i][/b]

So why would Paul write "husband of one wife"? He was not addressing polygamy, altho it should be obvious by the phrase "husband of one wife" automatically elimates that.

Paul was setting the standard high for someone who wishes to lead the church. Not just anyone is qualified to be a leader. Just because someone can speak well, or just because someone can teach well, does not mean they are qualified to be a church leader. Bill Clinton is a very talented public speaker... but he is hardly qualified to lead a church.

The standard is set so high because a person in leadership can very easily bring reproach upon the name of Christ.

The key part of this passage is in verse 5, which states: [i](For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)[/i]

Thats just common sense, folks, but yet God knows that we run short on common sense all the time... so He spelled it out for us.

Divorce certainly is not always the man's fault, but as the saying says: It takes two to tango. If a divorce occurs, there has been a serious breakdown in that house no matter how you slice it. And if nothing else, a divorced pastor will have split loyalties, especially when their are children involved. And if the parents have joint custody, or visitation rights, then it is impossible for verse 4 to happen: having his children in subjection with all gravity.

Is Paul saying a pastor must have a perfect marriage, or perfect children? No. But he (and God, since He inspired the words) are setting the standards extremely for church leadership. [b]God[/b] is saying "Look, not just anyone is going to be a shepherd of my flock!"

It was said on here that God has used divorced men and even divorced women as pastors. So is it being said that God contradicts His own Word? If thats the case then I'm going to throw my Bible away and spend my Sundays at the Lake because obviously I cant know what to trust in the Bible anymore.

Fortunately tho, God does not contradict His Word. Not one jot or tittle of it... praise the Lord.

So what are we to think of those who seem to be in these roles who scripture says are not qualified? Well, they are in direct violation of God's Word. They are in rebellion. They certainly are not in submission to the Word. We look at them and say "Look at all the people they are reaching..." and I say that it seems to me that a lot of these folks teach bad doctrine, set bad examples, and are not doing as much as we think they are. Big numbers means nothing.

Does God use them? No... He uses His Word. God's Word does not come back void. There are examples in the Bible of the most reprobate people speaking truth... but they were as lost as anyone else. There is a difference between God using the actions of someone to reach others, and God's annointing and blessings being on someone called to preach.

So... scripture is clear. Husband of one wife. This also eliminates women as pastors and elders. (dont confuse elders with deacons) We all agree here (I think) that the husband is the head of the wife, correct? [i]Eph 5:23 [b]For the husband is the head of the wife[/b], even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.[/i]

So, how can a woman be the husband of one wife? How can a woman fulfill this part of scripture also: [i]For if a man know not how to [b]rule his own house[/b], how shall he take care of the church of God?[/i]?

How can the wife rule her own house (which would include her husband!) when scripture clearly says: [i]1Ti 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, [b]nor to usurp authority over the man[/b], but to be in silence.[/i]

How can a woman be a pastor if scripture forbids her to teach men and have authority over men? In other parts of scripture women are told to teach their children, and older women are to teach younger women... but they are not to hold positions of authority in the church, nor are they to teach men in a church setting.

Everyone brings up this passage: [i]Act 18:26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and [b]Priscilla[/b] had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.[/i]

This was done in private, not in a church setting. Also, Priscilla did this [b]with her husband[/b]. We dont know what role Priscilla played in this, but I believe she did it in a submission and honorable way. I do not think that she presumed a lead role in this. I believe her husband did. My wife and I have both expounded God's Word to many people over the years, and if there was a man involved we did it together. My wife's role in it was of a helpmate. She interjected at times to further explain what I was saying, but she did not assume an authoratative role.

The standard is set extremely high. Why? Purity. God wants a pure and spotless church. He's not asking for perfection... He's asking for purity.

It always amazes me how people can ignore the black and white clear directives of God on this issue. I dont know how Paul (or God) could have made this anymore plain.

Yet we muddy it up because we dont go to God's Word when it comes to this... we look at externals and decide whether or not it's of God. Folks, thats how deception creeps in. Never judge by externals, but weigh all things according to scripture. Stop weighing according to emotions and appearances.


 2006/3/9 7:16

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