4Who ruleth well his own house Hence it is evident, that Paul does not demand that a bishop shall be unacquainted within human life, (59) but that he shall be a good and praiseworthy master of a household; for, whatever may be the admiration commonly entertained for celibacy and a philosophical life altogether removed from ordinary custom, yet wise and thoughtful men are convinced by experience, that they who are not ignorant of ordinary life, but are practiced in the duties of human intercourse, are better trained and adapted for governing the Church. And, therefore, we ought to observe the reason which is added, (1Ti_3:5,) that he who does not know how to rule his family, Will not be qualified for governing the Church. Now, this is the case with very many persons, and indeed with almost all who have been drawn out of an idle and solitary life, (60) as out of dens and caverns; for they are a sort of savages and destitute of humanity.
Who hath his children in subjection with, all reverence The apostle does not recommend a clever man, and deeply skilled in domestic matters, but one who has learned to govern a family by wholesome discipline. He speaks chiefly of children, who may be expected to possess the natural disposition of their father; and therefore it will be a great disgrace to a bishop, if he has children who lead a wicked and scandalous life. As to wives, he will speak of them afterwards; but at present, as I have said, he glances at the most important part of a house.
In the Epistle to Titus, (Tit_1:6,) he shows what is here meant by the word reverence; for, after having said that the children of a bishop must not be unruly and disobedient, he likewise adds,
“ liable to the reproach of profligacy or of intemperance.”
He therefore means, in a word, that their morals shall be regulated by all chastity, modesty, and gravity.
(59) “Que I’ ne sache que c’ de vivre au Monde.” — “ the bishop shall not know what it is to live in the world.”
(60) “C’ a dire, de la moinerie.” — “ is, from monkhood.”