Summary: SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP (OVERSEEING THE CHURCH OF GOD) REQUIRES MEN OF PROVEN CHARACTER
QUALIFICATIONS FOR ELDERS -- ABOVE REPROACH
SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP (OVERSEEING THE CHURCH OF GOD)
REQUIRES MEN OF PROVEN CHARACTER
I. (:1) CHURCH OVERSIGHT IS A GOOD WORK TO PURSUE
A. Introduction: Importance of the subject
Another "trustworthy statement "
something that can be relied on
B. Lofty Goal for Men
"if any man aspires"
Present Tense -- ongoing desire and pursuit; not just a one-time wish
"to stretch one’s self out in order to touch or grasp something" Thayer
Lenski: "If someone met these qualifications there was ample opportunity to serve in this office, although still dependent on the needs of the congregation."
C. Explanation of the Office = "Overseer" or "bishop"
looking after, caring for, administering (Thayer)
different emphasis, but same office as:
1. "Elder" -- emphasis on age and maturity and wisdom and experience
2. "Pastor" -- emphasis on the shepherding role
D. Explanation of the Form of Local Church Govt. = Plurality of Elders
Contrasted with other forms of church government
- Episcopalian -- Hierarchical with Bishop
- Catholic -- Hierarchical with Pope at the top
- Presbyterian = very close at the local church level
E. Aside: Comparison Between Senior Pastor Model and No Senior Pastor Model
(Note: Timothy not charged with creating these offices; they already existed and were understood as such in the local church; he just had to see that only
qualified men served in these capacities)
cf. paper on the internet on this subject:
F. Characterized as a Good Work
"it is a fine work he desires to do"
viewed as a work, not as an office or a position to be filled; a ministry requiring strenuous effort and tireless labor
II. (:2-7) ELDERS MUST MEET SPECIFIC CHARACTER QUALIFICATIONS
(The parallel passage of Titus 1:6-8 is very important in this study since it proves that neither list is exhaustive, and that the order in which the qualifications are presented is not rigid. These two passages must be studied in conjunction to see the full picture.)
These are Necessary, Mandated Requirements -- "must be"
A. General Requirement: "above reproach" with his fellow church members
everything else is a more specific definition of this general requirement
Thayer: "not open to censure, irreproachable"
B. Morally Pure -- "husband of one wife"
What is prohibited here? much debate
1) possibly polygamy -- but not widely practiced at the time (Hiebert)
2) any type of remarriage
2) possibly remarriage just after divorce (Wiersbe, Kent)
3) possibly more of a general character trait = devoted to his one and only wife
-- main issue being how he treats his wife right now
Towner: "the point of the phrase is probably not how often one can be married, not precisely what constitutes a legitimate marriage (that the marriage of the candidate is legitimate is assumed), but rather how one conducts oneself in one’s marriage."
1. "temperate" -- NIV -- "keep your head in all situations"
2. "prudent " -- sound-minded; curbing one’s desires and impulses
Lenski: "soundness and balance in judgment, not unstable; not given to quick and superficial decisions based on immature thinking"
Wiersbe: "He must have a serious attitude and be in earnest about his work. This does not mean he has no sense of humor, or that he is always solemn and somber. Rather it suggests that he knows the values of
things and does not cheapen the ministry or the Gospel message by foolish behavior."
3. "respectable" -- orderly; used of a man living with proper decorum
D. "hospitable" -- primarily taking in Christian strangers for food and lodging
E. "able to teach"
1. Not Quarrelsome
a. "not addicted to wine"
b. "or pugnacious" = someone who carries a chip on their shoulder and is quick to get into a fight; be a peacemaker instead of a troublemaker
2. Gracious with Others
G. Not Greedy -- "free from the love of money"
K. Proven Responsible -- "manages his own household well"
Proof = "keeping his children under control with all dignity"
Why is this important?
"if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?"
L. Not a Novice in the Faith -- "not a new convert"
Why is this important?
"lest he become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil"
M. Final Summary: Good Reputation with Unbelievers --
"And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church"
Why is this important?
"so that he may not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil"
* * * * * * * * * *
1) To what extent do we make it more easy or more difficult for mature men in our local church to aspire to the office of pastor/elder/overseer than we see here in the NT qualifications? Do we truly emphasize character (as we see in this passage) rather than.academic credentials and performance?