Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
1 Timothy 3:1
ti1 3:1He desireth a good work - An excellent, but laborious, employment.
1 Timothy 3:2
ti1 3:2Therefore - That he may be capable of it. A bishop - Or pastor of a congregation. Must be blameless - Without fault or just suspicion. The husband of one wife - This neither means that a bishop must be married, nor that he may not marry a second wife; which it is just as lawful for him to do as to marry a first, and may in some cases be his bounden duty. But whereas polygamy and divorce on slight occasions were common both among the Jews and heathens, it teaches us that ministers, of all others, ought to stand clear of those sins. Vigilant, prudent - Lively and zealous, yet calm and wise. Of good behaviour - Naturally flowing from that vigilance and prudence.
1 Timothy 3:4
ti1 3:4Having his children in subjection with all seriousness - For levity undermines all domestic authority; and this direction, by a parity of reason, belongs to all parents.
1 Timothy 3:6
ti1 3:6Lest being puffed up - With this new honour, or with the applause which frequently follows it. He fall into the condemnation of the devil - The same into which the devil fell.
1 Timothy 3:7
ti1 3:7He ought also to have a good report - To have had a fair character in time past. From them that are without - That are not Christians. Lest he fall into reproach - By their rehearsing his former life, which might discourage and prove a snare to him.
1 Timothy 3:8
ti1 3:8Likewise the deacons must he serious - Men of a grave, decent, venerable behaviour. But where are presbyters? Were this order essentially distinct from that of bishops, could the apostle have passed it over in silence? Not desirous of filthy gain - With what abhorrence does he everywhere speak of this! All that is gained (above food and raiment) by ministering in holy things is filthy gain indeed; far more filthy than what is honestly gained by raking kennels, or emptying common sewers.
1 Timothy 3:9
ti1 3:9Holding fast the faith in a pure conscience - Steadfast in faith, holy in heart and life.
1 Timothy 3:10
ti1 3:10Let these he proved first - Let a trial be made how they believe. Then let them minister - Let them be fixed in that office.
1 Timothy 3:11
ti1 3:11Faithful in all things - Both to God, their husbands, and the poor.
1 Timothy 3:13
ti1 3:13They purchase a good degree - Or step, toward some higher office. And much boldness - From the testimony of a good conscience.
1 Timothy 3:15
ti1 3:15That thou mayest know how to behave - This is the scope of the epistle. In the house of God - Who is the master of the family. Which is - As if he had said, By the house of God, I mean the church.
1 Timothy 3:16
ti1 3:16The mystery of godliness - Afterwards specified in six articles, which sum up the whole economy of Christ upon earth. Is the pillar and ground - The foundation and support of all the truth taught in his church. God was manifest in the flesh - In the form of a servant, the fashion of a man, for three and thirty years. Justified by the Spirit - Publicly "declared to be the Son of God," by his resurrection from the dead. Seen - Chiefly after his resurrection. By angels - Both good and bad. Preached among the gentiles - This elegantly follows. The angels were the least, the gentiles the farthest, removed from him; and the foundation both of this preaching and of their faith was laid before his assumption. Was believed on in the world - Opposed to heaven, into which he was taken up. The first point is, He was manifested in the flesh; the last, He was taken up into glory.