Biblical Leadership Traits - Husband of One Wife

Biblical Leadership Traits

Husband of One Wife

1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6; 1 Timothy 3:12



Literally the phrase is, “a one woman man.” (three words μιας γυναικος ανδρα). Linguistics and grammar are of little help in determining what this phrase means. The assumption is that normally elders will be married (not required however) and that they should be an ideal husband – faithful to their one and only wife. The phrase, by implication, speaks to moral purity and fidelity. It does not speak to divorce per se. As one might surmise, this phrase is widely debated among Bible scholars

  • So the question is simply, ‘what does this phrase mean”? The text doesn’t tell us, so we must try to figure it out.
  • There are a variety of views held by Bible scholars

must not be single

must not be divorced

must not be divorced and remarried

must not be remarried under any circumstances

must not have had sexual relationship with more than one woman

must not be married to more than one woman at a time (polygamy)

must be a faithful husband to his one wife

  • Thoughts

This is really not a simple matter solved by the perspective that says, “look, it says one, therefore only one wife.” Applying the same reasoning means that the man must be married and he must have at least two children (v 4). Far better to understand that most men are married and have children. It is as simple as that.

The phrase technically says nothing about divorce or second marriages. Paul could have easily said ‘married only once” Words were at his disposal to say it this way.

Whatever your view, we must agree that the context speaks of qualifications that are presently observed in potential office bearers. The emphasis is on what they are now (present tense). The question is not “have they ever been?” It is “are they now”. No one seriously questions this concept re the other qualifications (hospitable, temperate, prudent, etc). So the reference is to existing relationships.

This phrase is primarily saying that a man must be fully devoted to his wife if married. We might say he is an exemplary, though not perfect, husband. He is in a monogamous marriage and is faithful to his marriage vows.

So it seems that, negatively, the phrase is prohibiting any questionable sexual relationship during marriage, and positively is requiring an ideal relationship with his wife during marriage. 

Masters Men: Leadership

Biblical Leadership Traits

Husband of One Wife

1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6; 1 Timothy 3:12




Applications/Questions/ Assignments

  1. Do you have any tips you can share that you have found helpful in maintaining moral purity?
  1. Is lust the same as temptation? If not, what is the difference?
  1. Temptation to immorality is everywhere. What specific steps can men take that might lead to moral purity?

Prayer; accountability partner; effective communication; active sex life if married

Guard your eyes; avoid sexually stimulating places, situations, people

  1. If you had an opportunity to interview another man in order to get an idea of whether or not he was a “one woman man”, what questions would you pose?
  1. What are the two most important elements to being an ideal husband? After answering, ask you wife or a married women you respect to answer this question. Compare answers.
  1. Construct a written picture of a faithful husband. If you are married, ask your wife for help.
  1. What are your wife’s needs and how have you attempted to meet them?
  1. If you do not have an accountability partner, pair up with someone in the class to whom you will be accountable during the period of this class. Use the FBC officer accountability form as a guide  
  2. © Copyright. Joseph Flatt. 2018. All rights reserved. May be used for educational purposes without written permission but with a citation to this source