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