1 Tim. 3:2 “Now a bishop must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, dignified, hospitable, an apt teacher…”
In 1 Timothy 3:2, a protestant argues, Paul’s use of the word “must” clearly means bishops are required to marry. Well, beyond the obvious ridiculous nature of such a claim, it clearly contradicts 1 Corinthians 7:38; that is, if Paul is demanding marriage.
To refute his idea of the word “must,” I can think of a few possible ideas. First, in verse 12 Paul continues with the requirements of deacons saying “Let deacons be the husband of one wife…” I believe the word “let” has as much force as Paul’s use of “must.” It appears as a freedom Paul is giving, not a demand.
Second, I am not sure of the accuracy of such a comment, but I have heard polygamy was an issue in those times. If it was, then Paul would clearly be condemning polygamy, stating one must only have one wife and no more than that. Would this be accurate?
Aside from the contradiction in 1 Cor. 7:38, what do you all think of the word “must” in Pauls writing here?