Original Research - Special Collection: Africa Platform for NT Scholars

Understanding 1 Timothy 3:1–7 and the need for righteous church overseers in Nigerian Christendom

Chidinma P. Ukeachusim
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 1 | a6350 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i1.6350 | © 2021 Chidinma P. Ukeachusim | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 October 2020 | Published: 14 June 2021

About the author(s)

Chidinma P. Ukeachusim, Department of Religion and Cultural Studies, Faculty of the Social Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria; Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa, Nigeria


Christianity is one of the main religions thriving in Nigeria as seen in the high rate of proliferations of churches and plenipotentiaries who claim to be divinely called to establish and oversee their churches. The need for righteous church overseers cannot be over-emphasised. The effects of unrighteous leaderships in most churches are negatively impacting the holistic mission-mandate of the church in Nigeria. This article focuses on exegetically exploring, interpreting and applying the context of 1 Timothy 3:1–7 to the church’s leadership situation in Nigeria. Exegetical approach is used to establish the diachronic and theological influences that motivated Paul to advise Timothy about the qualifications of a plenipotentiary of God who is to be admitted to the office of an overseer, and how overseers are to conduct themselves in the house of God. The world of the early Christians can be compared with the world of Christians of the 21st century. Then as now, there are those who desire to be church overseers, but whose character and doctrines deny the fundamental principles of the church. This article argues that the categorical instructions of Paul to Timothy about the qualifications of overseers are still relevant for the church in Nigeria to be led in righteousness.


church; righteous leadership; 1 Timothy; bishop; Christendom; Nigeria.


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