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Choosing a Pastor

Church Leadership in the New Testament, Part 11

Qualifications of an Elder, I Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9

“Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” (I Tim. 3:7)

“Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without;” It is necessary that he be well-testified of by those who are outside of the family or household of God. (cp 3:15). One transla­tion (actually somewhat of a transliteration) has it, “An overseer must also have a good reputation with outsiders” (NIV). He must have established good character which speaks well for the Church of Christ among the unsaved world.

 “Lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” If the overseer does not maintain a good testimony in the sight of the unbeliever, it brings reproach to the name of Christ and he becomes ensnared in a trap of the Devil (lit. slanderer or false accuser).

Having a “good report” does not mean that he will please everyone. Paul said in Galatians 1:10, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” He is not saying that he did not please men but that his motive and priority was to please God, no matter what man’s view happened to be. This was said right after pronounc­ing a curse upon those who compromised the grace of Christ by teaching a false gospel. Paul certainly was not trying out for a popularity contest. He adds in I Thessalonians 2:4, “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.

What is the “good testimony” that is to be well spoken of by the unsaved world. May I suggest that it is speaking of the elder living a life of consistent obedience to God’s word? That is the focus of this whole text concerning the qualifications of the overseer. There are many Bible principles with which the world does not agree, but, in some cases, they will respect a believer who is consistent in his beliefs and actions.

 The world does not respect a lukewarm believer. Hypocrisy is difficult to conceal. They frequently do respond to someone who is sincerely “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). Sometimes the world seems to ignore or even scoff at a Spirit-controlled man until there arises a crisis or predicament that seems overwhelming. The same scoffer frequently turns to someone that has shown a pattern of love, sensitivity, and who knows the Book. What an opportunity to present the good News of Salvation by grace through faith.

Sin does pay but we do not like its wages (Rom. 6:23). Many times there is pleasure in sin but only for a season (Heb. 11:23). The season is short and we reap what we sow (Gal. 6:7). Sin is deceitful (Heb. 3:13). We are often fooled by the time-lapse between sowing and reaping (Eccl. 8:11).

Qualifications of the Elder - A Synopsis

I Tim. 3:1-7

1. Blameless

2. Husband of one wife

3. Vigilant

4. Sober

5. Of good behavior

6. Given to hospitality

7. Apt to teach

8. Not given to wine

9. No striker

10. Not greedy of filthy lu­cre

11. Patient

12. Not a brawler

13. Not covetous

14. Rule well his own house, children in subjection  with all gravity

15. Not a novice

16. Have a good report of them which are without

Titus 1:5-9

1. Blameless; with fam­ily—similar to I Tim.

2. The husband of one wife—same as I Tim.

3. Having faithful chi­ldren not accused of riot or un­ruly—excess, not subject to control

4. Blameless; as steward of God—Similar to I Tim.

5. Not self-willed—not arrogant

6. Not soon angry—not prone to anger

7. Not given to wine— same as I Tim.

8. No striker— same as I Tim.

9. Not given to filthy lu­cre— same as I Tim.

10. Lover of hospitality —same as I Tim.

11. Lover of good men—lover (phileo) of good things or goodness

12. Sober— same as I Tim.

13. Just

14. Holy

15. Temperate

16. Holding fast the faith­ful word… to exhort, con­vince the gainsayers

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