I’ll go ahead and let the cat out of the bag. When Paul states in 1 Timothy 3:2 that overseers are to be “the husband of one wife,” he is not referring to divorce. Yes, I said that and I am a Baptist…go figure. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul uses the word divorce (aphiemi in Greek) three times. However, this is not the same word he employs in 1 Timothy 3. In Greek, the words for husband and wife are the same as the words for man and woman. In other words the literal rendering of the phrase in 1 Timothy 3:2 is “a one woman man.” You could say that Paul is saying that an elder is to be a one woman kind of man. Hear this very carefully, there are men in pulpits all over this country that have never been divorced but are not one woman men. Likewise, their are men who perhaps were divorced pre-conversion, and then got saved and remarried and have been wholeheartly committed to one woman both in deed and thought since they came to Christ. Paul is not forbidding divorced men from being elders, rather he is speaking of the purity of the man’s heart toward his wife. Maybe a man claiming to be a Christian cheated on his wife and then got divorced. This would be a case when a divorced man would be disqualified, but not on the basis of the divorce alone. When examing men to be elders in our churches, we must not put on the narrow glasses of “has he been divorced?” If we do, we miss Paul’s point entirely and may install men who indeed are NOT one woman men.

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