Written Word

Should A Bishop Be Married?

The Lord Jesus Christ died for his church, for his redeemed people. The same Lord has entrusted his people to the care of godly, gifted men whose work it is to watch out for their spiritual well-being.

These men are described in a number of ways in the Bible. They are referred to as elders, pastors, overseers, presbyters and bishops. These words are used interchangeably and refer to one and the same office. (Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Peter 5:1-4; 1 Timothy 3:1-5; Titus 1:5-9) When we read of an overseer – that is, one who oversees a work – we are in fact reading about a bishop.

Men who would serve in this capacity are to be spiritual men, well-grounded in the Christian faith. Their domestic life is to be well-balanced,displaying the traits of a loving father and a faithful husband.

“Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer [bishop], he desires a noble task. Now the overseer [bishop] must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife … He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) (1 Timothy 3:1-5)

A bishop’s work requires him to be involved in marriage counselling, advise on raising children, resolving domestic issues, etc. Most of his pastoral work will be dealing with families. Being a married man with a supportive wife and respectful children enables him to be a wonderful asset to any congregation of God’s people. This was the apostolic practice in the early church and should be the same today.