What does "the husband of one wife" mean?

An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,
-1 Timothy 3:2

What does it mean when Paul says that overseers (elders or bishops) must be the husband of one wife?  I think the context gives us the answer.  And here is is:

  • An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, 
  • the husband of one wife
  • self-controlled, 
  • sensible, 
  • respectable, 
  • hospitable, 
  • able to teach, 
  • not an excessive drinker, 
  • not a bully but gentle, 
  • not quarrelsome, 
  • not greedy.  
  • He must manage his own household competently and 
  • have his children under control with all dignity.  (If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?)  
  • He must not be a new convert, or he might become conceited and incur the same condemnation as the devil. 
  • Furthermore, he must have a good reputation among outsiders, so that he does not fall into disgrace and the devil’s trap.
-1 Timothy 3:2-7

These are 15 qualities present in the man's life today.  His character traits now.  All the qualifications for eldership relate to the man's present condition.  It would be inconsistent to interpret this qualification as pertaining to the man's past.  Many or most men would have failed in a number of these 15 in the past.  God forgives all sin, including marital unfaithfulness.

"The husband of one wife" means "a one-woman man", in his life, now.  In other words, he is devoted solely to his wife, or faithful to his one wife.  This means he does not have more than one wife, is not an adulterer; he does not have a mistress.  He is an example of strict morality in marital faithfulness.

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