One of the most difficult passages within the pastoral epistles is the expectation that an elder “manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” (1 Tim 1:4–5; ESV). The requirement and its basis are straightforward and sensible. Paul formulates his argument from the lesser to the greater: he who fails to properly manage the little that has been given him will fail to properly manage the greater things should they be entrusted to him.
Where, then, in lies the difficulties?
Picking up almost any modern commentary suggests that there are no difficulties, since few go beyond the simple observation that Paul establishes an analogy between the household and the church wherein mismanagement in the household functions as a litmus test for one’s suitability as a leader in the church.
Some commentators, however…
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