“1 Timothy 3:1-7”
Categories: 1 Timothy
“It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”
---End of Scripture Verses---
If any man “aspires” and “desires” to become an “overseer,” it is a “fine” or “excellent” or “honorable” position that he seeks. We have here the necessary qualifications for the office of “overseer” or “bishop” which is the Greek word “episkopos”. The words “bishop,” “elder,” and “pastor” (shepherd) are different terms that describe the same position in the Lord’s church.
The Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 5:1-2, “Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness.” Peter exhorted the “elders” to “shepherd” (pastor) the flock among them, exercising “oversight” (the verb form of the noun “episkopos”).
We can see from verse one of today’s reading that the first qualification required to be a “bishop” or an “elder” in the Lord’s church is that the person must be a “man”. This should be no surprise at all as we saw in yesterday’s reading that God forbade woman to teach or hold positions of authority over men in the church of Jesus Christ (2:12). And elder must be a man, and, as the name implies, not a young man or a “new convert” (verse 6).
The second qualification revealed in verse one is that a man must “desire” this position. Paul used two separate words which express this quality that are rendered “aspires” and “desires”. This is a most serious and important position and decision, and should not be entered into lightly and without a strong desire to lead the Lord’s people. Shepherds must watch over the souls of the flock that they lead and give an account for those souls on the Day of Judgment (Hebrews 13:17).
An elder must be “the husband of one wife” (verse 2). He must be a married man but not a polygamist. No matter how wise and willing a man may be, no matter how many of these qualifications he may excel in, if he is not legally married (in the eyes of God and government), he is not qualified to be an elder. He must also have children, and he must rule them well, because the home is the proving ground and preparation for leading, along with at least one other shepherd, a local congregation of the Lord’s people.
More on this passage for tomorrow Lord willing.
Have a great day!
- Louie Taylor