Study Guide

The Pastoral Epistles (1-2 Timothy, Titus) Household of God

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Household of God

Home may be where the heart is, but it's also where the Pastor sees the church heading. According to this guy, if Christians run things like a traditional 1st-century Roman household, things might just turn out a-okay.

There's No Place Like Home

An orderly home is one of the Pastor's favorite images for the growing church. He calls the Christian community "the household of God" (1 Timothy 3:14) and has definite ideas how it should be running…and who should be doing the chores.

That means that everyone needs to know their place. In traditional Roman households, the man of the family was in charge. Not only did father know best; he also had total control over his home, wife, children, and servants. As far as his underlings were concerned, he was the king of the castle and his word was law (source).

While this arrangement might be awesome if you happened to be the man in charge, women, children, and slaves didn't always fare as well. That's why the Pastor is always passing out helpful hints like these:

[Older women] may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be self-controlled, chaste, good managers of the household, kind, being submissive to their husbands, so that the word of God may not be discredited. (Titus 2:4-5)

Tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect; they are not to talk back, not to pilfer, but to show complete and perfect fidelity, so that in everything they may be an ornament to the doctrine of God our Savior. (Titus 2:9-10)

You've got to keep that household running smoothly. That means no back talk from the wife and total obedience from slaves. Hey, if you want the church to get ahead, you've got to keep up with social norms.

Sorry, women and slaves.

Happy Life, Happy Church

The Pastor also sees a happy home as one of the qualifications for church leadership:

  • "Let deacons be married only once, and let them manage their children and their households well." (1 Timothy 3:12)
  • "He must manage his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way—for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how can he take care of God's church?" (1 Timothy 3:4-5)
  • "Someone who is blameless, married only once, whose children are believers." (Titus 1:6)

If you can keep your home and family in order, you'll be good to go when it comes to keeping your flock in line. That means no skeletons (or black sheep) in the closet.

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