Choosing a Pastor
Church Leadership in the New Testament, Part 9
Qualifications of an Elder, I Tim. 3:1-
“A bishop then must be... One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)” (I Tim. 3:2,4,5)
Ruleth well; To be over, superintend, preside, maintain, and finely, excellently, rightly. Same word as I Tim. 5:17; “the elders that rule well...” Also I Thess. 5:12; Titus 3:8,14.
Godly leadership in the home is for elders and for Christian men in general. “Husbands,
Love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it.” (Eph. 5:25).
This admonition is found right after the oft-
If husbands were to love their wives as v25 commands, there would be much less problem
in the application of the other three verses. This “ruling” should be patterned after
the way Christ loves and rules His church. The Bible command for a man to be “the
head of the wife” is no excuse for a man to be domineering or to misuse his Biblical
role as leader for a “spiritual club” to bash his wife and family into submission.
Too often overzealous efforts to “rule” are nothing more than thinly-
Having his children in subjection (15) with all gravity; Gravity: honor, dignity. Commentators are divided whether the gravity is required of the elder or of the children.
Does this mean that a man must be married and have children living at home in order
to become a bishop? See previous comments on “the husband of one wife.” Paul would
have disqualified himself on the marriage issue as he was not married at that time,
possibly never. This interpretation would cause some tension when compared with I Cor.
What about children in his home? Paul did not qualify on that count either. The next verse states that he may not be a “novice.” This word and the term “elder” both imply that the man has acquired some age. It is conceivable that by the time some men reach this stage, their children are “out of the roost.” What if he legitimately qualifies as an elder and assumes that role for a number of years, then his children reach an age to start their own families? Should he be “demoted?” Rigidly denying either of these hypothetical men the office of bishop would be doing injustice to the general theme of the qualifications: a man must be blameless, or, in other words, a pattern of a good testimony. He must rule his own house well, or have his own house in order, whatever the legitimate variations may be.
Nevertheless, the parenthetical and rhetorical question, “For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?” remains valid. Many of the same skills and qualities are needed for both. Success in leading his family may well indicate potential success in leading the church. Likewise, failure in his family should raise some doubt about his ability to lead the church. The man’s family is frequently (though not always, e.g. Hosea) a good indicator of his pattern of obedience to God.
(15) Subjection; to rank under, submission, obedience.
Other verses using a form of the same Greek word:
Luke 2:51; Jesus, as a child was subject to his parents.
Luke 10:17,20; The demons were subject to the disciples.
Romans 8:7; The carnal mind is not subject to the law of God.
Romans 10:3; Israel tried to establish their own righteousness and did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.
Romans 13:1,5; Everyone should be subject to government authority. Also Titus 3:1; I Pet. 2:13.
1 Corinthians 14:34: Women to be in obedience in the church. Also I Tim 2:11.
1 Corinthians 16:16; Submit yourselves to faithful laborers.
Ephesians 5:21; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Also I Pet. 5:5.
Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. Also Col. 3:18; Titus 2:5; I Pet. 3:1,5.
Ephesians 5:24; The church is subject unto Christ.
James 4:7; Submit yourselves therefore to God.
Ephesians 1:22; (Jesus) And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church. Also Phil. 3:21; Heb. 2:8. I Cor. 15:27.
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|Spanish-Am I Going to Heaven?|
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|Russian-Am I Going to Heaven?|
|Chinese-Am I Going to Heaven?|
|Divorce and Remarriage|
|David and Bathsheba|
|Sin - Index|
|Repentance Word Study|
|Confession of Sin|
|Lukewarm Rev 3|
|4 Soils End Notes|
|Revelation Church Chart|
|Telling the Gift of God|
|1 Corinthians 12|
|1 Corinthians 13:8|
|Handbook of Personal Evangelism|
|Chinese PE Book|
|Spanish PE Book|
|Church Marquee Signs|
|Dead To Sin|
|Bible Knowledge Quiz|
|Lessons from Noah's Ark|
|Noah and the Government|
|Parody of Footprints|