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ramili) M a n a g e m e n t or Involvement.

F a n i s Use of in 1 limoUiy 3 as a Requirement

for v J m r c k Leaolerslii|)
Ron Clark
Adjunct Instructor
George Fox Evangelical Seminary
Portland, Oregon

In the Greco-Roman family the father was expected to manage his

home and family affairs. In the early church elders were also to be men
who led their families. Paul, however, did not use the typical Greek
term for "manage* but a different word suggesting leadership as
"involvement.* While our traditional English translations use "man
age* Paulas intent was that elders be involved in the family as well as
the church.

In the early church elders were appointed to lead the Christian

community (Acts 14:23). The need for leaders with strong character is
reflected in the pastorals (1 Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-13). In addition to
their personal and moral qualities these elders were expected to be fam
ily men, for they were to (prostmi) their households in order
to effectively the church. Traditionally has been
translated "manage" or "rule," suggesting control over the family.
While this may have been a common method of fathering in the Roman
Empire, patria potestas (power of the father), it seems to oppose Jesus'
charge that the disciples not rule (, katakyrieuousin)
over each other (Mark 10:41-45).
A closer look at suggests that it refers not to control but
to involvement in the family and church. This translation of
proposes that the early Christian elders take part in the affairs of their
families. Elders were not expected to rule or manage their families; they
were to be involved in household/family development. This could be
accomplished directly through serving, teaching, nurturing, and having
personal contact with their wives, children, and slaves (Eph 5:25-6:9).

Stone-Campbell Journal 9 (Pall, 2006) 243-252

SCJ 9 (Fall, 2006): 243-252


Jesus' life suggested to the aposdes that God's style of kingdom

leadership was different from Roman leadership. Jesus told them:

The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them [, kyrieuousin]; and

those who have authority over them [, exousiazontes] call
themselves good workers (benefactors). The greatest must become the
youngest and the ruler as a servant/minister. (Luke 22:25-26y

Jesus, as the chief shepherd, will hold leaders accountable for the flock
of God (1 Pet 5:4). Accountability means that leaders understand their
responsibility to reflect God's oversight and attention to the congrega
tion. It also means that they take their duties seriously. The Hebrew
writer refers to this as giving an account to God (Heb 13:17). Their
responsibility was to lead with joy, which meant that the sheep were to
be persuaded by them into following their lead (Heb 13:18). 2 Christian
leaders were to persuade others by their example, hospitality, character,
encouragement, and service.
Christian leadership also challenged leaders who tried to use
power, control, force, or manipulation to lead others. This was evident
in Jesus' confrontation of the Pharisees, who had neglected justice,
mercy, faithfulness (Matt 9:13; 23:23), and family values for the sake of
personal gain (Matt 15:3-9; 19:8-9). Jesus confronted the disciples who
placed emphasis on being the greatest (Mark 9:33-37). Paul also chal
lenged the Philippian church to practice humility and submission rather
than power and control (Phil 2:1-18). Leaders were not to abuse their
authority over others for personal gain.


In the Roman world the family, or (oikosin Greek and domus

in Latin), became the "proving ground" for effective leadership in the

1. All quotes from the Bible are my translation from Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th ed., ed.
Eberhard Nesde, Erwin Nesde, Barbara Aland, Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Carlo M.
Martini, Bruce M. Metzger (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993).
2. Usually the word (peitho) is translated "obey," but here it means "persuade." Timothy
Willis, "Obey Your Leaders': Hebrews 13 and Leadership in the Church," H a 36:4 (1994) 316-326.
Ron Clark: Family Management or Involvement?

city. If a man wanted a leadership position in the community, he had to

manage his own household. These men were expected to "manage"
their families.3 This term is also similar to the term used for a slave who
oversees the household affairs. How effectively a man ruled his home
determined what type of leader he would be. The father of the was
able to exercise patria potestas, and the family honored him through
submission and respect. In Roman culture the father had almost unlim
ited power over the children concerning marriage, occupation, and
childhood training. Controlling the family was a sign of strength,
honor, and power in the father.
Recent studies on the Roman family have provided valuable infor
mation concerning the roles of fathers in the development and leader
ship of the donius/.* Fathers had complete power over their chil
dren, and this has led interpreters to view the paterfamilias (family
head) as harsh and cruel. "There are hardly any people who wield as
much power over their sons as we do." 6 The view of the Roman father

3. Dibelius and Conzelman have a section devoted to this concept in their commentary. Martin
Dibelius and Hans Conzelman, "Hermenia," A Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles (trans. Philip
Buttolph and Adela Yarbro; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1972) 53. See also Isocrates, Ad Nicoclem 19
and Pseudo-Isocrates, Ad Demonicum 35.
4. Suzanne Dixon, "The Sentimental Ideal of the Roman Family," Marriage, Divorce, and
Children in Ancient Rome (ed. Beryl Rawson; Clarendon: Oxford, 1991) 99-113; Emiel Eyben,
"Fathers and Sons," Marriage, Divorce, and Children in Ancient Rome (ed. Beryl Rawson;
Clarendon: Oxford, 1991) 114-143; James S. Jeffers, "Jewish and Christian Families in First-
Century Rome," Judaism and Christianity in First-Century Rome (eds. Karl P. Donfried and Peter
Richardson; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998) 128-150; W.K. Lacey, "Patria Potestas," Family in
Ancient Rome (ed. Beryl Rawson; Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, 1986) 121-144; Eva Marie
Lassen, "The Roman Family: Ideal and Metaphor," Constructing Early Christian Families: Family
as Social Reality and Metaphor (ed. Halvor Moxnes; London: Roudedge, 1997) 103-120; Moxnes,
"What Is Family: Problems in Constructing Early Christian Families," Constructing Early Christian
Families: Family as Social Reality and Metaphor (ed. Halvor Moxnes; London: Roudedge, 1997)
13-41; Thomas Wiedemann, Adults and Children in the Roman Empire (New Haven: Yale
University, 1989) 40-83; Larry Q. Yarbrough, "Parents and Children in the Jewish Family of
Antiquity," The Jewish Family in Antiquity (ed. Shaye J.D. Cohen; SBLDS 289; Adanta: Scholars
Press, 1993) 41-43.
5. Eyben indicates that the father's right to expose infants and scourge, sell, pawn, imprison, or
kill his son at any time has led to the belief that fathers were cruel and harsh. Yet many fathers did
not practice these rights. Eyben, "Fathers," 115.
6. Gaius, Institutes, 557.

SCJ 9 (Fall, 2006): 243-252

as cruel and abusive has been drawn from texts that speak o u t against
the abuse of children rather than addressing normal behavior. 7 Even so,
fathers allowed an emotional distance from their wives and children per-
haps explained by the high infant mortality rate. Fathers seemed t o
avoid the emotional pain from a lost child and therefore withheld the
affection and relationship (that modern sociologists claim exist today)
between fathers and children. This indifference toward children may
have contributed t o the view that children were unimportant in the
father's pursuits of the state.

On the whole, the young child seems to have been of minor interest to the
Roman literary classes. Childhood is occasionally invoked in a detached and
general way by adult authors as a symbol of the uneducated or innocent
human, but literary references to children and childhood are relatively few
and often vague, revealing little interest in the activities of young children
for their own sake.8

Dixon claims that the purpose of the family was progeneration,

economic and emotional support, inheritance, and socialization, n o t the
place of joy, love, and emotional support. 9 Children were considered
part of the irrational, vulnerable, and helpless of society.10 Burial cus-
toms confirm that children and adolescents did n o t have a full place in
the community. 11 It is possible that the high infant mortality rate caused
parents t o create an emotional distance from their children. This might

7. Wiedemann, "Adults," 40-83, points out that the stories of royal childhood abuse were not
common. The monstrous stories were written because they were abnormal. Bartchy claims that
believing that abuse was common is due to a narrow reading of Roman literature. There was a
strong condemnation of abusing or overdisciplining children. S. Scott Bartchy, "Families in the
Greco-Roman World," The Family Handbook (eds. Herbert Anderson, Don S. Browning, Ian S.
Evison, and Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen; Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 1998) 284.
8. Suzanne Dixon, The Roman Family (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 1992) 100,116.
See also Richard Sailer, "Corporal Punishment, Authority, and Obedience in the Roman
Household," Mamage, Divorce, and Children in Ancient Rome (ed. Beryl Rawson; Clarendon:
Oxford, 1991) 161-162.
9. Dixon, Roman Family, 24-27.
10. The child occurs in association with animals, women, and tyrantsall four symbolize behav-
ior opposite to that of the adult male citizen. Wiedemann, "Adults," 8.
11. Ibid, 179.

Ron Clark: Family Management or Involvement?

explain the delegation t o professional caregivers. I n Hellenistic Jewish

culture a father was n o t t o play or laugh with his children.

Pamper a child and he will terrorize you, play with him and he will grieve
you. Do not laugh with him or you will have sorrow with him, and in the
end you will gnash your teeth. Give him no freedom in his youth and do not
ignore his errors. Bow down his neck in his youth and beat his sides while
he is young or else he will become stubborn and disobey you, and you will
have sorrow of soul from him. Discipline your son and make his yoke heavy
so that you may not be offended by his shamelessness (Sir 30:7-13).12

While some fathers were concerned about the development of

their children, the majority of the work was given t o slaves, wives, or
professional teachers. 1 3 Women became supervisors and managers of
their households and p u t u p with their husbands' affairs.14 At Crete
w o m e n were also trained t o manage () their husbands' hous
es after marriage in order t o be effective wives. 15 T h e wife was t o be sub
missive and accept her husband's gods and lifestyle. She was n o t t o
bring shame u p o n the domus by shaming her husband. Children were
expected t o u p h o l d the paterfamilias's h o n o r by submission, respect,
and public honor. Fathers may have been strict, b u t they were prepar
ing their children t o carry the h o n o r of the family as well as the state.

12. All quotes from the Apocrypha are from the New Revised Standard Version (Nashville:
Thomas Nelson, 1989).
13. Dixon, Roman Family, 116-117,131.
14. Jeffers, "Jewish and Christian Families," 141; David C. Verner, The Household of God: The
Social World of the Pastoral Epistles (ed. William Baird; SBLDS 71; Chico, CA: Scholars Press,
1983) 31, 68-70. See also Winter's quotefromMusonius Rufus: "For example it is necessary for
a wife to be a good manager of a household, and capable of anticipating its needs... and able to
direct the household slaves." Bruce W. Winter, Roman Wives, Roman Widows: The Appearance of
New Women and the Pauline Communities (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003) 160.
15. Winter has a discussion of the women in Crete and their role in managing their husbands'
homes. Ibid., 160-161. Yet Paul encouraged the Cretan elders to take this responsibility. The bishop
(elder) was to be blameless as an (oikonomon, "steward" or "house manager") of God
(Titus 1:7). This is usually translated "steward" but is possibly a challenge to the elder to manage
his own family.
16. "The male householder, then, functioned both as the representative of his domus/...
and as the agent of his household's subordination to the loftier goals of the city." Bartchy also writes
that the honor of the paterfamilias was dependent upon his ability to protect his domus. Bartchy,
"Families," 282-283. Submission and respect in the domus/ was necessary for the father to
maintain honor and prove to be effective in ruling in the . Moxnes, Constructing, 28.

SCJ 9 (Fall, 2006): 243-252

The Roman/Hellenistic family was culturally and socioeconomically

driven. The paterfamilias was concerned with politics in his home and
the city but was not involved in the affairs of his family.17
In upper-class families fathers apparendy played more of a delegat
ing role and entrusted the major tasks of child development to slaves,
schools, and their wives. The use of wet nurses (pedagogues) and nan
nies was common in many homes so that the father would only be
involved in delegating the child rearing. Children were instructed by
pedagogues, who tended to be harsh.19 Even so, evidence from inscrip
tions indicates that a strong bond, lasting into adulthood, existed
between these slaves and the children.20 Children, in the Greco-Roman
world were emotionally closer to their "baby-sitters" and slave teachers
than their own parents. They were nurtured, not by their biological par
ents, but by those paid to do so.
Our children are handed over at birth to some silly little Greek servant
maid. . . . The parents themselves make no effort to train their little ones in
goodness and self-control; they grow up in an atmosphere of laxity . . . they
come to lose all sense of shame, and all respect both for themselves and for
other people. Tacitus {A Dialogue on Oratory, 29)21

Palestinian homes were vocationally structured. 22 The family was

needed to work and exist as a self-supporting unit. This caused fathers
to be involved in apprenticing and teaching (Sir 30:3; 4 Mace 18:6-19;
Jub 8:2; 16:6; 19:4; Prov 13:24). Mothers were also involved in edu
cating their children.
Yet as time passed, the Palestinian home became Hellenized. In
Roman culture divorce had become a common practice.23 This may have

17. Bartchy, "Families," 284.

18. "It was clearly usual for elite children to grow up surrounded by a variety of such caregivers,
especially in early childhood." Dixon, Roman Family, 119.
19. Dixon, "Sentimental Ideal," 116-117,131.
20. See Keith Bradley's chapter "Child Care at Rome: The Role of Men," in Discovering the
Roman Family (NewYork: Oxford, 1991) 37-75.
21. As quoted by Winter, Roman Women, 161.
22. Bradley, "Child Care," 36.
23. Bradley, "Remarriage and the Structure of the Upper-Class Roman Family," Marriage,
Divorce, and Children in Ancient Rome (ed. Beryl Rawson; Clarendon: Oxford, 1991) 85.
Ron Clark: Family Management or Involvement?

been due to arranged marriages, emerging trends of impermanence of

the marriage bond, the dissolution by upper-class families, and the view
that marriage and procreation were Roman duty rather than choice.24
Divorce had become easier by the first century so that a marriage could
be dissolved by the statement, "take your things and go," a note of
divorce, or the announcement of a divorce by a messenger.25 Treggiari
also mentions that infertility in a couple was just cause for a divorce.26
Jesus' warning about divorce (Matt 5:31-32; 19:3-9) indicates that the
religious leaders were allowing this common practice to affect the Jewish
community.27 The Mishnah and its interpretation of legal divorce is heav
ily affected by the changes in the Greco-Roman culture. 28 Even Jewish
homes were influenced by the delegation, indifference, and controlling
methods of the paterfamilias. Jesus' use of the in the parables
indicates that the Jewish was Hellenized. The was the
slave in charge of accounts and this term suggests household manage
ment, or being a house steward (Matt 13:27; Luke 12:42; 16:1-3).
For many Roman families parenting was about delegation and
management. Jesus said that Gentiles "rule over" (,
katakyrieuousin) and "exercise authority over" (, kat-
exousiazousin) one another (Mark 10:42). These terms indicate man
agement and control, but Jesus indicated that this style of leadership
was not part of the Christian way of life. Elders were charged not to
"lord" or "rule" but to "become examples" to the flock (1 Pet 5:3).
This Christian method of leadership was not about control but about
service. As elders shepherd (pastor) and oversee (bishop) the congrega
tion (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet 5:1-4), they practice a method of leadership that
is different than that in the (polis, "city") and (oikos, "fami
ly"). Their leadership involved becoming examples, protecting and serv
ing the congregation (Acts 20:28, 35), looking to the interests of others

24. Ibid., 96-97.

25. Susan Treggiari, "Divorce Roman Style: How Easy and How Frequent Was It?" Marriage,
Divorce, and Children in Ancient Rome (ed. Beryl Rawson; Clarendon: Oxford, 1991) 35.
26. Ibid., 38.
27. Yarbrough, "Parents and Children," 41,43.
28. m Gittin; m Yebam. 6:6; m Ed. 1:13. It is interesting to note that m Gittin allows divorce
by messenger, dismissal, and a note thrown or given to the spouse, usually the woman.
SCJ 9 (Fall, 2006): 243-252

(Phil 2:l-4), 2 9 and being involved in their family and churches (1 Tim
3:4-5). Christian elders were charged to model service by leadership in
the , rather than by control. They were to set an example rather
than manage or rule () in the congregations.
First Timothy, then, suggests that elders be men who are involved in
the affairs of their homes. This was also a requirement for an elder to
effectively lead a congregation. This is in conflict with the Roman view of
control, management, or delegation from the patria potestas. This also
contrasts with current translations of as "manage" or "rule."
Some commentators focus on the translation "management" and suggest
that the effective management of an elder is reflected in the obedience or
submission of his children.30 But the words used for "manage" in the
Greek world are different than used here in 1 Timothy.


The word is used in the Pauline texts eight times (five with
, kal, "good," and three in reference to family or household), six in
the pastorals and two in the letters to Christian churches. In the pastorals
is used in reference to doing good works (Titus 3:8,14), serv
ing as an elder (1 Tim 5:17), and in the elders' and deacons' involvement
with children, household, or church (1 Tim 3:4, 5,12). In other Pauline
letters to churches, is used in two texts. In Romans 12:8 the one
leading [or being active] does it in eagerness, and in 1 Thessalonians 5:12
those who labor with you and lead you in the Lord and warn you are lead-

29. Since the Philippian letter is written to "the bishops and deacons" (Phil 1:1), I am assum
ing that they, as Christian leaders, were expected to follow Paul's suggestions. They may have been
the ones who were "walking according to the pattern you have in us w (3:17).
30. "An overseer must be a good manager at home; specifically, this means that his children are
submissive and that he maintains his personal dignity in the process." William Mounce, The
Pastoral Epistles(WBC; Waco, TX: Word, 2000) 177. "The determination of this ability 'to rule'
is seen (1) in the submission of a man's children . . . and (2) in the way in which this submission
is manifested." George W. Knight III, The Pastoral Epistles: A Commentary on the Greek Text
(NIGTC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992) 161. "It may be that in the strongly patriarchal culture
the concept of the authority of the church overseer would run parallel to concepts of the authori
ty of the male householder." I. Howard Marshall, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the
Pastoral Epistles (ICC; Edinburgh: & Clark, 1999) 479-480. These authors focus on the
authority of the elder and submission of the children as a model for the church.

Ron Clark: Family Management or Involvement?

ers worthy of respect. They were Christians who worked, labored, and
encouraged/warned others in the congregation. In these texts
indicates leadership or active work rather than management.
Traditionally has been translated "manage" or "rule,"
but the range of meanings of this word suggests involvement, protec
tion, and engagement in the lives of others. Those who led in this way
used persuasion rather than force.31 Persuasion was a necessary quality
of leadership rather than coercion, manipulation, and control.
How does this affect the translation of 1 Timothy 3:4, 5,12? Since
indicates involvement or leadership, then the elder and dea
con were expected to be active leaders in their homes. Elders were also
to display this type of involvement in the church (1 Tim 3:5; 5:17). This
meant that the elders were active family men who played an important
role in training and developing their children. Their children were to be
submissive, reflecting respect for their father.
Second, suggests that the elders and deacons did not
neglect their children and spouses.32 The family played an important
role in their lives. Since upper-class Roman males delegated much of the
child rearing to slaves or other family members, it is possible that Paul
is suggesting that elders be those who were involved in rearing their
own children (Eph 6:4; Col 3:21).
Elders and deacons were to be family oriented and involved with
children, spouses, and house slaves. While the Romans used family man
agement as a reflection of the state government, Christianity used fam
ily involvement as a reflection of church leadership. This application
indicates that Christian leadership in the church and family is about
involvement rather than control. Christian leadership must first begin
with this involvement and service in the home before it can extend to
the congregation.

31. Mos. 1:249:2. Philo also wrote that Abraham's house was persuaded () by one who
led () them as a captain (Abr. 116:3).
32. It is also interesting that Paul requires elders and deacons to be (mias
gynaikos, "one woman man"; 1 Tim 3:2,12; Titus 1:6). While the interpretation of this verse is
still debated, it does indicate that Paul expected the Christian leader to have a close relationship
with his wife. Note that Paul encourages the fathers, rather than the mothers, to bring up their
own children in the discipline of the Lord (Eph 6:1-3).

SCJ 9 (Fall, 2006): 243-252


The Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement has focused on pro

ducing an authentic leadership similar to the NT. Teachers have stressed
the distinctions between the preacher as pastor and elders as bishops/
pastors. They have consistently maintained that the preacher is not the
pastor but is an evangelist/minister. They have also heavily used the
Pastoral Epistles to appoint and identify suitable candidates for elders
and deacons (1 Tim 3:1-12; Titus 1:5-11). These texts have been used
to determine what characteristics are necessary for a man to become a
leader in this capacity. Yet the tendency has been to focus on the per
sonal qualifications and gloss over the issues concerning family. Most
seem to be content that the elder is married (once) and has children
who attend his church or one like it. This has been the extent of
in applying the text, focusing on management rather than involvement.
First Timothy also indicates that elders fulfill another responsibili
ty still today: to provide an opportunity for congregations to become
models for moral and spiritual development. Leaders involved in their
families provide stability in the church and reach out into a world with
high divorce rates, abusive families, absent and workaholic fathers, and
emotionally distant husbands. The church has the opportunity to rep
resent stable, loving, and compassionate homes where leadership repre
sents the nature and heart of Jesus. This is possible when elders see their
leadership responsibilities at home as a place to prepare to become effec
tive shepherds in the congregations.
A closer look at suggests that it does not refer to control
but to involvement in the family and church. This translation of
suggests that early Christian elders took part in the affairs of their fam
ilies. They were not only expected to be moral examples to the Christian
community but also to be family men. This could be accomplished
directly through serving, teaching, nurturing, and personal contact with
their wives, children, and slaves (Eph 5:25-6:9). Congregations of the
Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement should place particular empha
sis on seeking and developing leaders who have strong, healthy, loving
families to shepherd their congregations and "set an example for the
flock. " s q

^ s
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