He must mange his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 1 Timothy 3:4,5
This verse is filled with fruit both for family leadership and church leadership.
1. Men live out the gospel at home.
This verse makes it clear that one aspect of spiritual maturity is how men live in their homes. Living out the gospel means ruling our homes well and parenting well. This issue is so vital that God makes it an issue for elders and deacons. We cannot become so “spiritual” that we ignore how we live in our homes.
2. It is possible to have children who are obedient and respectful.
While we cannot control our children, this verse implies that our actions as fathers can lead to obedient and respectful children. With the gift of teaching excepted, God does not make a requirement for an officer something we cannot control. Having obedient children is not like having a certain color of hair or having a certain height. A man has no control over the latter. We do have control over the former.
3. Though our wives do the bulk of child care, we are still ultimately responsible.
Scripture makes clear that our wives are the primary ones to manage the homes. Yet this verse puts responsibility on the husband for managing his home well. We are responsible to lead our families. We set the tone in child rearing. We cannot so delegate this area to our wives that we do not lead. We may not be the primary caregiver, but we are to be the primary leader.
4. When children are out of control, it reflects on the father.
This is a corollary of #3. v. 5 If anyone does not know how to manage his household… To have children who are out of control and not obedient is equivalent to not knowing how to manage his home. That means that a consistent pattern of misbehavior reflects on the husband, not the wife.
5. Leading well does not mean we will have no problems.
What manager has no problems? If we are serving people, we will have problems. But ruling well means responding well to those problems. We should not view “ruling our household well” as leading in such a way that there are no problems. No, we should view ruling well as responding well to problems when they arise.
6. Implied, but not directly stated, fathers are to grow in learning to manage their homes.
Nowhere is it assumed that this management ability is either something you just have or don’t have. Instead, there is an implication that we can grow in this ability.
7. The lessons in the home apply to leading a church.
God wants the men in his church to aspire to leadership. Those with a word gift should aspire to being elders. Those without a word gift can aspire to being deacons. One crucial learning objective for both elders and deacons is managing their homes well. In other words, church leadership is best learned in the home. The same principles that apply to ruling over a home also apply to ruling over the household of Christ.
8. Not only the results, but the manner that we manage, matter.
. . .and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. Many men can get results by yelling, screaming, and threatening. Not only are the results to matter, but the manner matters as well.
9. Men can and should be officers as they are raising their children. There is some teaching that says a person cannot or should not be an officer until after his children are grown. These verses directly contradict that teaching.
A dad once said to me, “It is easier to lead my company of 50 employees than to lead my family of 5.” Indeed, leading our family well is a difficult but glorious task. Seeing a well-led family is an adornment to the gospel.