1 Timothy 3:2
ESV - 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach.
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There are at least three possible interpretations of the phrase husband of one wife in 1 Timothy 3:2 (ESV). 1) It could simply be saying that a polygamist is not qualified to be an elder, a deacon ...
That depends on what God says about it. When you have a call on your life God will not take that call away rather you sin or not. You can walk away from your call and it will still be there for you to come back to. I have been divorced and remarried and God told me my anointing after I had married my husband. I was scared because I felt unworthy but He said to me "it's really not about you." He gives us that anointing before we were even formed in the womb and there's nothing that will change that. Now God can decide to move on if you do not want to repent and follow Him but he wont take that call off your life because of your past mistakes. That was mine and my husbands situation. So really its not about what you did but what God has done in you. Anyone seeking to be an elder or any type of leader must seek God and make sure that is what God wants them to do. He is a forgiving God and every gift He gives us is for his Glory.
While we should all be allowing otherwise-qualified men "with pasts" to be or to remain ordained, unless the brother in Christ [hopefully, since 1 in 5 pastors in the USA is only in it as a vocation, not as a calling] is exhibiting current ungodly actions/words and/or does not appear to be completely and genuinely repentant [in event he was the party "at fault" in the marriage], however, to be specific about it, in the natural worldly facts of the matter, this can only be determined for any specific denomination by asking the denomination's headquarters, if there is no denominational by-laws and/or constitution available to review for the answer, on this issue. I am personally acquainted with a previous drug dealer and double murderer who is now a traveling evangelist. Even just lying puts those who are unrepentant into the same lack of a boat in the lake of fire as our Adversay, so true, God given, repentance that has been absolutely and finally accepted and developed in a person should clearly be considered sufficient, from God's viewpoint. Witness that Saul was [at least] culpable in murders and yet God gave him full "soul-center" repentance and then used him mightily for the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ and indeed he would have been ordained a Bishop in today's church organizations, as well as an apostle, and SAINT, so called by God! I would certainly say that St. Paul was a man with a poor testimony in the church or community, before he was arrested, made a slave and imprisoned by our Lord and Saviour. Then, of course, he became a man of poor testimony to the community from which he originated, but the very best testimony to his new fellowservants in Christ. Christ is our Redemption, so let's just lift Him up, and let Him draw ALL MEN unto Himself, to be whatever type of vessel God has determined for each one.
When attempting to interpret Scripture and place relevance in modern context, many forget to look at the original context of the passage or letter. I the case of 1 Timothy, Paul was writing to his assistant who had been sent to ensure the leadership in the local congregations was in place and were well appointed. These congregations for the most part were comprised of gentile converts, or a blend of Jew and gentile. At this time in history, polygamy was still practiced and accepted in the Roman empire. The phrase, "husband of one wife" is literally "one woman man". In the context of the original recipients, this is not a prohibition against a person who has been divorced with Scriptural authority from serving as an Elder. Rather it is stating that the Elder must be devoted to his one wife and not in a plural marriage.
The question is:"What does the "husband of one wife" phrase in 1 Timothy 3:2 mean? Can a divorced man serve as a pastor, elder, or deacon?" In the first century polygamy was still practiced by many Jews in Israel and throughout the dispersion. When a man came to believe in the lord Jesus' message of salvation and was married to more than one wife, he was restricted from serving as a pastor/teacher or deacon. The reason being that in a domestic situation where there is more than one wife, there are problems that arise that would detract from the duties of a pastor/teacher or deacon. In the beginning it was God's intention that a man leave his mother and father and join with one woman of his choice and raise a family [Gen:2:24] Polygamy came in afterwards and was an accepted practice by many who were men of renown in God's service. In actual fact there are no restrictions against polygamy in the scriptures, not even in the New Testament. There are no restrictions against slavery in the New Testament either as we see from the letter that Paul writes to Philemon about his slave Onesimus who had run away and found his way to be of great service to the apostle Paul. Am I saying the believers to-day should practice polygamy or have a slave? No, absolutely not. The laws of most countries do not allow either. Yet there are some countries that do allow polygamy and if a man comes to believe in the lord Jesus with two wives is he supposed to put one of them away. The answer is no and we can use the Old Covenant for instructions on this. As for a divorced man serving as a pastor/teacher or deacon I see not problem with that as long as the wife that divorced him was an unbeliever and in such a case he is not bound as Paul says and can re-marry if he chooses to. I am talking about a man who was an unbeliever at the time of his divorce. When he comes to the lord Jesus all of his past sins are forgiven and he starts anew as a new creation in the lord Jesus. However, that being said there may be a continual price to pay for past sins, such as support for the divorced spouse and provision for any children, etc.
The scripture means what it says the husband of one wife, Paul also reminded Titus about this. If a murderer or a drug dealing gets saved and delivered from sin and the calling is on his life and if he answers the call the he is good as long as he is married and not divorce plus you don't become a pastor overnight you have to put in your time, first you start as a minister and work you way on up remember their are qualification you have to meet. And yes God can use a murderer because he cleaned up Paul before he used him. You cannot be a pastor if you are divorce it doesn't matter if you come out from the street like God may clean you up but you are still divorce. When the spouse dies than you are free from the law.
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