1 Timothy 3:1-7
Qualifications for Overseers 3 1 The saying is v trustworthy: If anyone aspires to w the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore x an overseer 1 must be above reproach, y the husband of one wife, 2 z sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, a hospitable, b able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but c gentle, not quarrelsome, d not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity e keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for w God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may f become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by g outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into h a snare of the devil.
1 Timothy 3:1-7
3 1 πιστὸς ὁ λόγος. Εἴ τις ἐπισκοπῆς ὀρέγεται, καλοῦ ἔργου ἐπιθυμεῖ. 2 δεῖ οὖν τὸν ἐπίσκοπον ἀνεπίλημπτον εἶναι, μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἄνδρα, νηφάλιον σώφρονα κόσμιον φιλόξενον διδακτικόν, 3 μὴ πάροινον μὴ πλήκτην, ἀλλʼ ἐπιεικῆ ἄμαχον ἀφιλάργυρον, 4 τοῦ ἰδίου οἴκου καλῶς προϊστάμενον, τέκνα ἔχοντα ἐν ὑποταγῇ, μετὰ πάσης σεμνότητος 5 (εἰ δέ τις τοῦ ἰδίου οἴκου προστῆναι οὐκ οἶδεν, πῶς ἐκκλησίας θεοῦ ἐπιμελήσεται;), 6 μὴ νεόφυτον, ἵνα μὴ τυφωθεὶς εἰς κρίμα ἐμπέσῃ τοῦ διαβόλου. 7 δεῖ δὲ καὶ μαρτυρίαν καλὴν ἔχειν ἀπὸ τῶν ἔξωθεν, ἵνα μὴ εἰς ὀνειδισμὸν ἐμπέσῃ καὶ παγίδα τοῦ διαβόλου.
Eldership is a good work Introduction note the order: ch 1: beauty of the gospel and its fruits rather than the awful fruit of false teaching ch 2: prayer and the outward drive of the gospel rather than an inner circle ch 2: godly men and women - back to genesis 1-2 now - godly leadership This is not just of interest to church leaders and those considering or being assessed for it. But for us all, to have antennae. To bring a charge if / when necessary (ch 5). For us all to grow in these virtues. For leaders to keep growing in these areas. To value and support healthy church leadership. cf v1. A good work: something which is so worth doing that it's 'worth doing badly.' v1 a beautiful, good, worthy work. Literally, a good work. If you desire this. Like many good works, or maybe all, they often feel and seem to others to be thankless. Like motherhood last week. And so we dismiss them in favour of less thankless (seemingly) things. [Ways in which people turn noses up at church leadership in favour of parachurch things] 1. Overseers must be qualified it is striking how unremarkable the list is. Recap common errors in talking about this. Token tick boxes. Bible college equals qualified. Work experience equals qualified. From a key family/pedigree. Or, 'the Bible's not that clear' on leadership. [cf Babel, or money, etc] v2 above reproach. Unimpeachable. Good report, and deservedly so. NB not the absence of any criticism (cf Jesus or Paul!), but that when examined, every claim against them finds them unimpeachable. one woman man. One wife at a time. Not necessarily 'never divorced'. sober-minded, originally re: alcohol, but with a wider sense. Mind and judgement not under the pull and influence of other things. cf Proverbs 31 the greater the responsibility, the more important that the judgement is clear and untainted by influences. Able to be unsupervised. self-controlled orderly/respectable/virtuous. 'It implies well-ordered demeanour, the orderly fulfillment of all duties, and the ordering of the inner life from which these spring.' hospitable. Love of strangers/foreigners. Able to teach; aptitude for it. not given to wine; 'sits long at his wine', one who is a slave of drink. More than a drunkard, but someone reliant. Happens more easily than you might think. Total abstinence is not required cf 5.23 , but may well be a very good choice for many. And cf how things change - there was a time when nearly all Christians would have been abstinent. cf cultural irony of the celebration of gin bars, and the history of gin wars has been forgotten. 1730s London; one gin shop for every 11 dwellings. 'Drunk for a penny, and dead drunk for tuppence.' not a contentious person. Not given to blows/violence. but gentle. Equity, lenient, forebearing, kindly. not quarrelsome. peaceable. not a lover of money (cf chapter 6 ). Not wealthy or poor, but the love of it. Makes you vulnerable. cf LOTR, Tom Bombadil - ring has no power over him. ruling his household well, with all dignity/respect, having his children in submission. v5 key, key logic! Remember big idea of 1 Timothy - how we live in God's household. If a man doesn't provide genuine spiritual leadership, servant headship, and practical stewardship of his own family and home, why expand that circle of responsibility to the household of God? That is fair to no one at all! v6 not newly planted. cf elders in Acts will have been most likely grown jewish men already well versed in the Scriptures and godliness etc. In order not to be 'puffed up/make haughty/wrap in smoke/clouded with pride'. So dangerous. The principle on lots of levels. Don't want to give too much prominence to, eg, some young people over others because it actually doesn't serve them. Also, too much too soon and people make decisions from 'loss aversion' / I can't be wrong, rather than true discipleship. cf churches that won't plant unless they can be sure of 'success'. Condemnation of the devil; eg join the devil in his pride and condemnation, or lured by the devil into more traps and condemnations, because of his pride. [cf spy novels - it's how people get turned; pride] v7 those outside - unbelievers. reproach/disgrace/insult; trap/snare. How does the devil work? Usually, not the blatant barn door attack. But the subtle, seductive snares. He is a deceiver. [the value of pre-mortem] Paul encourages progress, not perfection - cf 4.15. Leaders aren't perfect. If that's what we're looking for, we'll just get people faking it. The need for testing [same word for character]. And later, don't be hasty. Godliness trumps giftedness [the sequence principle]. Often talk about chemistry, competence, convictions, character. Actually, if you have character you can grow in all the others. If you don't, you can't take any risks with them. who is sufficient for these things? 2 Corinthians 2.16 ; we are dependent on the Spirit, who raises up men and makes them overseers (cf Acts 20 ). 2. The work of Shepherding has already been done FCF: Entitlement. We think something about us entitles us to lead or hold office, or be prominent in some way [a way to avoid the hardness of good works]. Or, leaders think that being a leader is an entitlement to be treated differently, enjoy status etc [and avoid the hardness of good works. Forgetting that good works are often thankless and so can only truly be done from faith in a God who sees and knows and loves. Jesus's person: the truly above reproach man. From pure love, he served and loved, even to death. He 'did good'. Jesus' work: his death builds the house (cf v5) that he Shepherds, and calls some to under-shepherd. The true work has been done, and what remains is to apply the work. Gathering up Jesus' church In Christ: his death is mine, and so my failings are not final or condemning. His life is mine, and so his gospel fruit is stirred up and by them I serve and lead. I can live in his household because he has bought me citizenship to live and serve here.