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1 Timothy 3

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Verse 1




Several years ago we took our daughter and grand daughter to Nebraska to see some relatives. We had noticed and mentioned earlier that our grand daughter had not used the "mine!" word in her short little life.

When we arrived at our relatives, it was not long before grand daughter and the relatives little children began playing together. Their son was very cruel in mentality. He walked up to me with a monster action figure with sharp edges and laid it on my forearm and scraped it as hard as he could down my arm. He looked at me with a grin and asked if it hurt. They were very grabby, picky, noisy, and selfish. It was about five minutes before our grand daughter used that term "MINE!" for the first time.

She learned very quickly that to keep in that house, is to holler MINE!

In this text we find that church leaders are to have a prerequisite, even before they are examined to see if they are qualified.

Let us turn to 1 Timothy 3:1.


1 "This [is] a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

2 "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

3 "Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;

4 "One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;

5 "(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

6 "Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

7 "Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil."

Notice in that first verse that the church leader is to desire the office that he holds. We want to delve into this idea of desiring the office of elder in this study.

"There’s a story about a proud young man who came to Socrates asking for knowledge. He walked up to the muscular philosopher and said, O great Socrates, I come to you for knowledge. Socrates recognized a pompous numskull when he saw one. He led the young man through the streets, to the sea, and chest deep into water. Then he asked, What do you want? Knowledge, O wise Socrates, said the young man with a smile. Socrates put his strong hands on the man’s shoulders and pushed him under. Thirty seconds later Socrates let him up. What do you want? he asked again. Wisdom, the young man sputtered, O great and wise Socrates. Socrates crunched him under again. Thirty seconds passed, thirty-five. Forty. Socrates let him up. The man was gasping. What do you want, young man? Between heavy, heaving breaths the fellow wheezed, Knowledge, O wise and wonderful... Socrates jammed him under again Forty seconds passed. Fifty. What do you want? Air! he screeched. I need air! When you want knowledge as you have just wanted air, then you will have knowledge." (M. Littleton in Moody Monthly, June, 1989, p. 29)

The church leader should be able to look at his position and say, "MINE!" They are to WANT AIR!

Now, understand what I am saying. I am not saying that church leaders are to act like little children nor am I saying they ought to be bad swimmers!

I am saying however, that a man should not be in church leadership unless he has considered the ramifications of this verse.

Once he is convinced in his own heart and mind that he desires the office, he should then be examined to see if he is qualified according to the rest of the text as well as the list in Titus.

You may be saying to yourself why consider the desire of an elder. I personally have not heard a message on the subject, and as I went looking for commentary information, I discovered that many do not discuss the thought when commenting on this passage. I want to comment on it in this study because to me it is a new problem facing the church. In years past I think most people that were in office were there because they enjoyed that ministry, but I’m not sure all officers today are there because of a desire to serve.

Many are the men that I have run across in positions in the church are qualified, but are not totally committed to their work and ministry. These men are doing a good work and are sincere in their effort, however they are not the men that God wants in that position - they don’t desire the work. God will call men to the work and give them the desire to fulfill that position by prayer and the Word not by being voted in.

I have also come in contact with men that desire to lead the church and do some of the preaching, but are not comfortable with the other aspects of today’s concept of pastoring. These men are not serving in the position that they should because of their churches traditional concept of pastoring. They have the desire but not the opportunity.

It is of interest that God might well call a man and give him the desire, long before he is qualified. That would indicate that training and discipleship are required in some cases. There might also be a man that has been in a church for many years, highly qualified, and is called later in life that is fully qualified.

The text is not limiting to a set pattern, but rather is limiting to a set list of qualifications. A call, a desire, and a life that is fitting the office that is desired.

We need also to point out that not all men should desire the office. There are more that will not desire it than those who do. God only needs a few to oversee the flock.

We want to take a look at the terms that are used in this verse, and then we will look at the implications of the text.


"This [is] a true" This term is closely related to the word that is normally translated faith.

This term is used of someone that shows themselves faithful in business transactions/is used of a person that follows orders/is used of a person that is worthy of trust/is used of a person that can be relied upon. It is also used of God being faithful (1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 1:18).

The term is used of a person having faith in Christ’s resurrection and His Messiahship. "And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace." (Luke 7:50) It is the term that Luke used of Stephen in Acts 6:8, "And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people."

Barnes mentions of the word, "...means assuredly true; it was that which might be depended on, or on which reliance might be placed. (Barnes p 122)

"saying" This is the same word that is used to describe Christ as the Word, Logos. It is also the same word that is used to describe God’s Word the Bible. It has the idea of something that is spoken or said. It seems to be a general term which takes on special meaning when related to Christ and/or the Bible.

A Greek philosopher named Heraclitus first used the term logos around 600 BC to designate the divine reason or plan which coordinates a changing universe. This word was well suited to John’s purpose in John 1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1)

"If a man" The term seems to indicate that any and all men are open to have this desire, yet only those so burdened, gifted and called would have the desire. If any man desires, is the idea. This presupposes salvation - the man must be a believer.

"desire" The Online Bible states: "to stretch one’s self out in order to touch or to grasp something, to reach after or desire something" They also list as a usage, "to give one’s self up to the love of money" Picture a greedy person - you know, like Scrooge McDuck - their desire for money - the man desiring to be a church leader should be so desirous.

Vinzant vol. 3 mentions "Originally to stretch forth, to reach after. Here it implies not only desiring but seeking after. The word implies eagerness...."

The term is a verb and the construction indicates continuing action that the person has involved himself in. He is actively desiring.

1 Timothy 6:10 "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." The term coveted is the term we are looking at.

Hebrews 11:16 "But now they desire a better [country], that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city."

"the office of a bishop" This seems to indicate the office or name of the position that is desired. (Lu. 19.44; Acts 1:20; 1 Timothy 3:1; 1 Peter 2:12.) The term elder or shepherd pictures the ministry of the one in that office.

The idea of investigation and inspection are seen in the term. These terms are used in the thought that as a church leader, the person would inspect the church constantly and determine what needs to be done and set into motion the work to accomplish this.

The shepherd does this constantly in the field with the sheep.

"he desireth" The idea seems to be to long for, or to desire. Since the word is translated lust and covet also, we must assume that this longing or desire is quite strong, indeed, strong enough I assume, to move the person to act upon that desire by seeking the office.

Christ used this word for a man’s lust for a woman in Matthew 5:28.

Luke used the term to describe the desire of a hungry beggar wanting the crumbs from the rich man’s table: "And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores." (Luke 16:21)

"a good" There are many terms listed in the Online Bible to describe this term. Beautiful, handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, precious, admirable and magnificent, to list some.

It is used of good works, of good fruit, good ground etc., indicating that this work that is desired is a GOOD DEAL. Something quite acceptable and good.

"work" This is a word that simply means that which occupies our time as we do things. Work normally indicates effort and exertion.

It is used of the works that believers have done which will be tried by fire at the judgment seat of Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:13-15

"good work" might also be translated a good office, or good ministry. Paul is telling Timothy to find men that desire to be involved in the oversight of believers. He is then to look at their overall character and find if they qualify according to the list that is set forth in the coming verses.

The Darby version seems to put it quite nicely: "The word [is] faithful: if any one aspires to exercise oversight, he desires a good work."

To put it into the thought of our word study you might try this. It is true to say, if a man really desires to oversee the church, he is seeking a good ministry.

"Faithful is the saying" in the King James indicates that this is just a saying that is true. The Darby indicates that this is the Word of God that is faithful. A saying in the Word elsewhere dealing with this subject or the Word itself. Which case is correct? If we had a passage in the Old Testament or writings of the New Testament that predated I Timothy, we could suggest that the Darby translation was correct. If not, then the King James would be correct.

The literal translation of the verse states, "Faithful is the word" which does not indicate if it is just a saying or The Word. I do not find any previous reference to a person desiring the oversight of believers. There are a few references which mention that God is in the business of overseeing His people - Jeremiah 31:28; Jeremiah 44:27 for example. Luke 2:8 mentions of shepherds, "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night." This illustrates our text. A shepherd desires to oversee the flock as does a church leader. However, no ref. to indicate previous mention of men desiring to oversee.

I think the King James is probably the closer to what Paul had in mind. I really do not see any indication that the Bible was in his mind.


The true saying is that if you desire the work, you desire a good work. Now, if there is any other desire, or if there is no desire, then the saying is not true of you.

The desire is for the work and nothing else! If there is anything else involved then you no longer have a true description of yourself.

Let’s consider some of the possible wrong desires. I would like to just list three possibles and read a verse for each.


A. Not for money - 1 Timothy 3:3, "Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;"

Many are the stories that I could tell you of pastors that are more interested in the "pay package" than they are in God leading them into or out of a work.

Let one account suffice. One of our chapel speakers at the school where I taught was a camp director in Montana. He told us of a pastor that had told him that he was changing churches because he needed more money. Up front - that is no reason to change churches. The camp director asked the pastor how much he was getting at his present church. The pastor replied, "Only $40,000."

B. Not for pride - 1 Timothy 3:7, "Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil." Most feel that the snare of the devil was his pride.

C. Not for self - 1 John 2:15-17,

15 "Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

16 "For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

17 "And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."

Do it because you feel compelled to do it for God! No other reason or desire should be involved.


I would like to submit three references and just list some of the positive aspects of this work.

A. THE CARING: Acts 20:28, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." WATCHING AND FEEDING.

This work is done for the Holy Spirit because it is done at his command and call. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been in a number of meetings where people were almost railroaded into office by a congregation that needed someone to fill a position. This is not the desire of the Lord.

It relates to the oversight of the church.

It relates to the spiritual feeding of the people of that church.

It is done for those that Christ died for.

It is of note to me that in this great passage, given to the elders of the churches there is no mention of all the things that we feel a pastor is to do. Visitation, marriages, mowing, cleaning, funerals, community projects etc. Not that these things are bad, but they are not a Biblical job description for an elder.

The pastor is to be involved in feeding and watching for the people.

B. THE PREPARING: Ephesians 4:11-16

11 "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12 "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

14 "That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

15 "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:

16 "From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."

Note: Christ = Head

Leaders of the body

For the perfecting of the saints.

For the edification of the saints.

For the protection of the saints

For body increase.

For the work of the ministry. (Both the ministers and saints.)

C. THE SENDING: 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8

I would like to list the II Cor. passage. The others are probably familiar to you - if not take time to read them later.

18 "And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

19 "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation."

We are to be spreading the message of reconciliation to the world.


All too often our leaders teach the people, and maybe even care for the people, but few churches send their people. The number of mission minded churches is on the drastic decrease today.

When on deputation, I ran into a church in Washington that had sent out more than fifteen couples to the mission field. That is a church that takes time to teach its people about the Lord’s command to go.

We want to move on now to the desire of the work.


The man that is spoken of in this text is one that is somewhat consumed by what he wants to do.

I am reminded of people that I have seen that are involved in car racing. Their every moment is geared toward the next race and getting the car ready for that race.

Their money quite often is committed to the car, their time is committed to the car, their thought life is committed to the car and all else that they have is committed to the car.

So, the man that desires to oversee the church should commit himself, his time, his resources and his effort to doing the work of God.

If he is still in the seeking stage of his desire and not qualified then all should be committed to assuring that his life measures up to the standard that follows in I Timothy.

The man should want to do it.

The man should want to do it well.

The man should want to do it well for Christ.

The man should want to do it well for Christ only.

His total focus should be on the work that he is attempting to do for Christ and Christ alone. The work is not for his benefit, but for the benefit of Christ and Christ’s people.

And now the nature of the work. A GOOD WORK. Not one that brings shame or division to the church or Christ. A GOOD WORK!


A. It should be a work that glorifies God. There is no other logical reason to labor for God.

"[Even] every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him." (Isaiah 43:7)

B. It should be a work that increases Christ’s body.

The whole concept of the Body of Christ is the growth, maturing and the working together of the members.

If we are afraid of growth in our churches, we are afraid of what God wants. This is not uncommon today. Many are afraid their apple cart will be bothered, thus don’t like the thought of growth.

We were in a church that was interviewing a candidate. The man wanted to do some new things to see if he could bring about some growth in the very stagnant church. The people became nervous and asked all kinds of questions about why he wanted growth etc. They did not call the man. It was of interest to us that the man they called had similar ideas about growth but didn’t tell them about his ideas. They called him and he brought about growth in the church. GOD WILL HAVE HIS WAY, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.

The whole idea of evangelism is growth in case you haven’t noticed. If we are leading people to Christ, then the body will be growing.

By the way, this is the problem today. We aren’t leading people to Christ fast enough to replace those that the Lord takes home. We either need to get out and begin evangelizing or ask the Lord to let the Christians live longer.

C. It should be a work that flows from the Holy Spirit.

Any labor that is not directed by the Holy Spirit,

any labor that is not empowered by the Holy Spirit,

any labor that is not centered in the Holy Spirit cannot be a work that is from God.

As a church there should be much prayer concerning all facets of the ministry. As church leadership meets to plan the future of the church, prayer should be the prime force behind their action.

We ought not move without orders from God.



Do you leaders measure up? I see few churches holding leaders to this standard in I Tim three.

I have seen a few men of this caliber in my life. I met one a number of years ago. He was a very busy man in his own life, yet he desired to do the work of the Lord. He was working long hours at work and yet he spent many hours in church work.

He was not interested in glory or recognition, indeed, oft times he would do things and the pastor would take the credit - it didn’t matter to the man.

He was involved in ushering, he was a board member, he was involved in the missions committee, he was involved in visitation, and he was involved in other areas of the churches ministry.

He desired the work and he did it when given the opportunity.


It is your responsibility to hold your church leaders to this standard.





In closing I would like to read four verses which show the balance of leadership in the church. We have Christ the Head, we have the leaders, and we have the people. There should be a balance between the three.

Acts 20:28 mentions the ministry of the overseer as well as Christ the provider of salvation.

"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."

1 Timothy 3:1 mentions that the overseer should desire to do the work that he is entrusted with, and then the following verses tell us of his qualifications.

"This [is] a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work."

Hebrews 13:7 mentions that teaching is part of their ministry, as well as living a good example before man.

"Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of [their] conversation."

Hebrews 13:17 tells the congregation that they are to obey the overseer. The congregation is also to submit to the overseer. The clear teaching of this verse is that the overseer must give account of his sheep.

"Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that [is] unprofitable for you."

I might be quick to point out that these last two verses do not teach that the pastor is in total power, and that he makes all decisions for the church. This is a false line of thinking that is being spread through the country by a Bible College in Missouri.

Illustration: We started going to a church that as we found out later had no board, the pastor controlled all aspects of the church’s life and program. He had come in and eliminated the board over time and was in total control of the church. His belief was that the people were there to do his bidding and he was to tell them what to do. If they did not follow him, they were standing against the Lord’s anointed.

Thus, we see that Christ is the provider of our salvation and head of the church. He directs the church via prayer through all the saints. The overseers are to set the tone of the church for the congregation, and the congregation is to obey and submit to the ministry of the overseer.

There is one item that has not been covered. Who makes sure that the overseer lives up to the qualifications? This should be the responsibility of all believers in that church. I assume that the elders will do much of the work with the person desiring the position, but the congregation should also be involved. They are the people that know the candidate the best.

So, we come to the end. The man that desires to be an elder is to desire that ministry with a Godly desire. The congregation in turn with, and through the present elders will assure that the man is qualified according to God’s standard.

Before I close, I must warn you. There is a danger in what I have told you. IF YOU HOLD YOUR CHURCH LEADERS TO THIS STANDARD, THEY ONE DAY WILL, AS THEY SHOULD, HOLD YOU TO THE SAME STANDARD. All except one of the qualifications for the elder are restated elsewhere in Scripture for all believers. The "apt to teach" is the only qualification that is not for all believers.

In our churches, we should be holding the leaders to this standard, and they should be holding us to the same standard. THINK OF IT - church purity in action!

When in Bible College in Denver we knew a graduate student that was pastoring a church. He was a student and was working near full time in the electronics industry.

He was quite busy in his life and was doing quite well in school, and the church he was pastoring was growing.

They had two children but one had been in poor health. They finally found a specialist that told them that the child had a serious long term expensive problem. The couple had no health insurance and did not know what to do. The man asked the student body to pray for his family.

A few days later the man’s boss called him in and asked him to transfer to a larger facility out of state, as management. It would include all moving expenses, a very large increase in salary and full benefits with the company, which included complete health insurance.

You see the dilemma. Leave the pastorate of the church and school and have all the financial security they needed and move up the corporate ladder or pass up a good promotion and face the thousands of dollars in upcoming medical expenses.

He again asked the student body to pray. In a few days he announced that he had decided that the pastorate was much more important to him, his family and His Lord than any money, job or security and that he had already turned the employer down.

That man desired the office of bishop.



Recently Leadership Magazine commissioned a poll of a thousand pastors. The pastors indicated that 12 percent had committed adultery while in the ministry which is one in eight pastors! The poll also revealed that 23 percent had done something they considered sexually inappropriate. Christianity Today surveyed a thousand of its subscribers who were not pastors and found that 23 percent said they had been involved in extramarital relations and 45 percent indicated they had done something they themselves deemed sexually inappropriate. One in four Christian men are unfaithful, and nearly one half has behaved unbecomingly! This becomes more important when we realize that Christianity Today readers tend to be college-educated church leaders, elders, deacons, Sunday school superintendents, and teachers.

God knows where men’s hearts and minds tend to wonder, and He knows that those ministering to His children ought to be of the highest caliber, thus He has set a very high standard - a standard that I personally have only seen invoked once in a single church in thirty years of ministry.

Many churches run out the standard when they need a pastor and read it and many study it to be sure they know what they are supposed to look for, but then when it comes to finding such a man they fail miserably. Many churches never hold this standard to their prospects because they are not willing to wait for God to provide His man for His church!


II. PREREQUISITE FOR FATHERSHIP (having children in subjection)

III. PREREQUISITE FOR LEADERSHIP (caring for the church)


SUSAN WESLEY’S RULES FOR CHILD TRAINING: She had 19 children, and raised them well with the following 16 rules:

1. No eating between meals.

2. All children in bed by 8:00 p.m.

3. Take your medicine without complaining.

4. Subdue self will in each child.

5. Work with God to save the soul of each child.

6. Teach the child to pray as soon as he can speak.

7. Require all to be still during family worship.

8. Give children nothing they cry for.

9. Give them only what they ask for politely.

10. To prevent lying, punish no fault which is first confessed.

11. Do not allow a sinful act to go unpunished.

12. Command and reward good behavior.

13. Preserve property rights, even in the smallest matters.

14. Strictly observe all promises.

15. Require no daughter to work before she can read well.

16. Teach children to fear the rod.

Now, I wish that these rules had been introduced as Wesley’s father’s rules, but they are good rules anyway.

I don’t want to talk about children specifically, though they are related to our study. We want to look at the elder qualification to be a good parent as a prerequisite to being a church leader.

Turn to 1 Timothy 3:4-5 with me. "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?)"

This father achieves obedience of his children in the following way - by having them in subjection with gravity.

He stands as head - runs it as head. There is a chain of authority with him at the top. One of the biggest hindrances to a proper upbringing of children is a family that has no authority. If the father runs things one way and the mother another there is no way that the children can know what is expected. The parents need to discuss what they think the proper family is to be, then the father is to make the final decision and the couple should go forth with a united front in the raising of their children.

The man should be able to control his children. If his children aren’t saved and turn out bad it is not necessarily a disqualification in this area, unless of course, he has neglected the family’s training. He should be able to control the children. Their salvation is up to God, and their life’s decisions are theirs BUT their raising and discipline are the fathers overall responsibility.

The father must teach, guide and exhort. Vine mentions, "to stand before, hence to lead, attend to" This indicates care and diligence. Not something that is accomplished by remote control, nor is it something that is accomplished by delegating authority to the mother. Mom is an integrated part of the process but not the defining moment of the process.

Ruleth is the same word that is translated ruleth in Romans 12:8. This is the context of ruling a church congregation. These two verses only strengthen one another. (the others usages are: 1 Thessalonians 5:12 "are over"; 1 Timothy 3:12 and Titus 3:8; Titus 3:14 where it appears as "to maintain".)

In many church government setups the elders are simply there to facilitate the desires of the congregation. This is not the thought here in this passage. There is more to the office of elder than doing the bidding of the congregation. The congregation sets the purpose of the assembly, makes final big decisions, and assists in seeking qualified men, but the leadership is in the hands of the church leaders.

The term subjection has the thought of a deep decision or commitment. It is used in 2 Corinthians 9:13 as submission to the Gospel. This is not a subjection or submission that is now and then - the submission to the gospel is a serious, deep, one time, total, life altering matter.

So the children of the family of a church elder should be committed to their father’s headship and leadership - not now and then - not when it is convenient - not when the child wants to - AT ALL TIMES!

Some feel that the elders’ children ought to have a higher standard set upon them. This is not necessarily fair, but this passage may indicate that this is a true observation. Not that the kids are perfect, but held to a higher standard in their family relationships.

The thought of "children" is not that of a small child necessarily. The term is used of young to older. Vine states, "it gives prominence to the fact of birth". (It is used in Matthew 9:1-2 of a man; Matthew 2:18; Matthew 3:9 as children under two; Romans 8:16 = adults are children of God; Colossians 3:20 as in children obey your parents.)

There may be a sense that adult children should still be in proper relation to the father as in Honor your Father and Mother.

Thayer mentions of the term gravity "the characteristic of a thing or person which entitles to reverence and respect, dignity, majesty, sanctity, honour, purity" The elder should run his house in such a way that his children automatically see him as a man that is entitled to respect and dignity.

One of the merchandise managers at the store where I work is such a man. I call him by first name, but find myself a little uneasy in doing so. This man is not a believer, but he seems to have his house in order, he seems to have his work in order, and he seems to have his life in order.

I have a great respect for this man. I feel that he is deserving of any respect, help, or assistance I can ever give to him. He did not ask me for this respect. The respect comes from my knowing his character.

Many are the children in this world that have no respect nor dignity toward their parents. In the store we see children mouthing off to their parents constantly, even to the point of swearing at them and calling them names.

One of our pastors when we were going to Bible college had one good son and one that was not so good at times. The poor one was rebellious to a point - didn’t care for church - long stringy hair - very rough type. He didn’t turn out a pride and joy as a teenager BUT, he was under subjection. One look from his father and foolishness or wrong doing was stopped. He was always in church. He always did as his father asked him to do. He seemed later on to have turned out okay. He bothered some people in the church, but they were not seeing the whole story - only the outward trouble.

Before you condemn a pastor for a bad teen, see if he has him in subjection. This is the requirement - not that all kids turn out as super saints. The result of a good elder is not always 100% spiritual on fire Christians.

This man lead his small struggling congregation over a number of years to establish a large church with a very adequate building. He had some in his church that were as his sons. Some were outstanding members, and some were stinkers. The pastor as in his family brought his membership to a place of unity and lead both his natural family and his spiritual family to success.

Barnes has a real mouth full on this point. I am not sure I lived up to his standard - in that I have and probably always will be way over humored! "Having his children in subjection with all gravity. This does not mean that his children should evince gravity, whatever may be true on that point; but it refers to the father, he should be a grave or serious man in his family; a man free from levity of character, and from frivolity and fickleness, in his intercourse with his children. It does not mean that he should be severe, stern, morose--which are traits that are often mistaken for gravity, and which are as inconsistent with the proper spirit of a father as frivolity of manner --but that he should be a serious and sober-minded man. He should maintain proper dignity, he should maintain self-respect, and his deportment should be such as to inspire others with respect for him."

I believe that humor and fun can be a part of a family’s life. Grave to me would be seriousness of purpose for the family, not necessarily a personality trait. Everyone knowing this is a Godly family would be the thought in my mind.

Verse five (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

Verse five shows the why of verse four.

The term “house” may imply, as well as controlling the family as the context speaks of, but also of the material things. He should be able to run his house in a proper manner, keeping his bills paid, keeping his house in repair and keeping his house in pleasant appearance. Some preachers today are behind in their bills if not delinquent, and are behind in their homes upkeep. This ought not be so.

Now, just why would Paul tell Timothy that an elder must be a good head of house to be a good elder?


If he is a good head of house he will be a good leader for the church. Paul likens the one job to the other. The job, the principles of, and the work of being a good head of house are JUST the qualifications for the elder.

a. He will be the one that heads up the church.

One that assists and helps sets the course for the church.

One that trains the church.

One that nurtures the church.

One that encourages the church.

One that assists the church to its fullest potential.


b. I suspect that Paul saw another characteristic that a good father will bring to a church.

The father that is head of his house and a responsible father to his children is one that has a great love and concern for the family. So, the elder that has a love and concern for his people will be the leader of the church that he ought to be and will be the responsible leader that he should be.

c. On the other side of the coin we must relate the thought of submissive children to the congregation.

There is absolutely no way a church can march forward if the people are not willing and desirous of following the men that God has placed over them.

Think of the logic of this. A child has no choice in the father that is placed over them by God. The church member may have little choice over the elders that are placed over them by God. Both should be in subjection to the respective leader.





If they are God’s men for the hour then that ends the discussion. The church member should work and live in the church membership as a good child of God.

d. And this brings us to the final thought. The church member is a Child of God. The elder is placed over the child of God as an earthly father or guide. THIS IS NOT HOW STANLEY DERICKSON SET IT UP - IT IS HOW GOD SET IT UP!

The elder should have the responsibilities of a father, the elder should have the authority of a father, and the elder ought to have the respect of a father.

NOW, DON’T GO OUT TELLING EVERYONE I WANT TO BE CALLED FATHER! I don’t know this to be a fact, but I suspect that this may be the basis for the Roman Catholic thought of the priest being called father.


1. Never consider a candidate that does not have his family with him. How in the world can you consider his qualification in this area if you have never met the family?

2. It is wise to see the family for more than a couple hours. This is one of the reasons that many churches are asking that their candidates spend a week with the church before being considered.

3. The pastor and his family are to be the example of a proper family to those that they minister to.

One of the reasons the mission we were with was so excited about us going to Ireland was this very fact. The Irish have a very poor concept of the family and the mission wanted the Irish believers to see what a Christian family was to be like - not that ours was perfect - only a lot more of a family than the Irish had ever seen. We did not ultimately go to the field, but since several very strong families have raised support and arrived on the field.

4. The man that does not fulfill this qualification is not to be a church leader. If a man has not raised his family well, then God does not feel that he can raise a church family well.

Again, this is not open to discussion. This is the way God set it up and this is the way that God wants it.

5. One final family concept that relates to the church family concept is unity. The family that is properly raised is a family unit - there should be a real unity of purpose.

So, in the church there should be a real unity - indeed, there must be a unity of purpose lest the church crumble.

Pleiades is a set of seven stars in the constellation Taurus. They are supposedly the seven daughters of Atlas in Greek mythology. The seven make up a loose cluster of stars. Six are visible to the average person. The interesting part of this cluster of stars is that they are in separate and distinct orbits, which one day will lead them in different directions. This will result someday in the disappearance of the star cluster Pleiades.

I think that this illustrates quite well the church that has several people going several different directions - often their own direction. The church that is not united in purpose will one day cease to exist.

I trust that as time goes along the church universal will start looking very seriously at the qualifications for elders before calling men into the leadership.

I also trust that if there is ever a time that an elder of the church ceases to rule his own house well, that he is asked to step aside before he rules God’s house not so well.

God did not set these qualifications for the fun of seeing if Timothy could find someone to fulfill them. THESE ARE GOD’S REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAN THAT IS GOING TO LEAD HIS CHILDREN!

God knows what outcome He wants for His children and He will provide the men that will get that job done!

Don’t be afraid to require what God requires!

Don’t be afraid to be picky!

Don’t be afraid to await God’s man!

A final quote from Barnes:

"One that ruleth well his own house. This implies that a minister of the gospel would be, and ought to be, a married man. It is everywhere in the New Testament supposed that he would be a man who could be an example in all the relations of life. The position which he occupies in the church has a strong resemblance to the relation which a father sustains to his household; and a qualification to govern a family well, would be an evidence of a qualification to preside properly in the church. It is probable that, in the early Christian church, ministers were not infrequently taken from those of mature life, and who were, at the time, at the head of families; and, of course, such would be men who had had an opportunity of showing that they had this qualification for the office. Though, however, this cannot be insisted on now as a previous qualification for the office, yet it is still true that, if he has a family, it is a necessary qualification, and that a man in the ministry should be one who governs his own house well. A want of this will always be a hindrance to extensive usefulness."

If this standard had been the standard used for leaders over the last fifty years, we would not be faced with the problems we have in churches today.

The sexual impropriety

The stress on cash

The stress on self-centeredness

The church problems

We must seek and wait till we find men of this caliber instead of electing warm bodies to offices that our constitutions require us to fill.



I do not know who the person is that produced this, but I like their humor. It came to me on the internet.

"So Long, Pastor."

"You Know It’s Over When:

"When the flood of dinner invitations is reduced to a trickle and the menus switch from sirloin to burgers, you know the honeymoon between you and your congregation is over.

"In the beginning you reign from your pedestal, feeling invincible. The first tremors are so subtle that you ask, "Did I imagine that?"

"Then the pedestal begins to rock as enthusiastic handshakes and vigorous pats on the back are replaced by cordial smiles and forced praise for the "fine" sermon you preached. You tip-toe, you dance, you flail your arms, but eventually you topple. And the worst part is, you never saw it coming-just like the last time.

"See if you have overlooked these warning signs of a disgruntled congregation:

• You return from vacation to find the visiting preacher’s name on your mailbox.

• Your church is about to split, and neither group wants you.

• Shut-ins pull the window shades and pretend they aren’t home when you come for a visit.

• Mom moves her membership letter to another church.

• You’re told God is calling you to the mission field-now.

• You’re cast as the donkey in the Christmas cantata.

• Your wife moves her membership letter to another church.

• The trustees have been marching around your house the last six days praying and carrying


• Your secretary starts sending out your resume.

• The congregation forces the members of the pulpit committee to wear sackcloth and make a public apology.

• Church members start referring to you in the past tense.

• Your "love offering" is a two-for-one coupon at Ponderosa.

• You show up at the church on Monday morning to discover the locks have been changed."

Jackie Macgirvin Ministries Today

Having covered the desire and the ruling of the house previously, lets move into the first seven verses of chapter three.

Verse one: This [is] a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

A true saying: Truth. If you say what is true people will know what is going on. If you say part of truth and leave out part people won’t know what is going on.

I used to work with a man that would ask a question based on part of the information then wait for an answer. Then when you’ve said yes, he gives you more information.

He asked me if I could go to a meeting in another state. I began asking questions because I knew him. Come to find out the TWO day meeting required me to go the night before, which also required me to pay for three nights in a motel and meals - not quite what a simple "Can you go to a meeting" means.

Don’t do that to people! I’ve seen husbands and wives do it, I’ve seen parents and children do it, and I’ve seen pastors and church people do it. USE THE TRUTH!

Some might wonder, so if we are being so Biblical in our churches, why don’t we have bishops? (The office of a bishop is a good work.) The NASB uses the term

overseer which is the same as the elder of the church.

It is the Greek word "episkopos". It has the idea of taking the lead and care of the sheep.

In the New Testament times the churches had elders - Plural. It is assumed that one was in overall charge, but a plurality of leadership and decision making.

As I view the Scriptures, the elder is the highest office of church leadership. The pastor is an elder if you have a hired pastor and he qualifies. The spiritual leadership of the church is in the elders. It is the elders that should set the direction of the churches spiritual activities including worship, fellowship, prayer, and evangelism.

Some churches call the pastor elder and the deacons are the board of the church. Some have the elder as pastor, the deacons as spiritual leaders under the elder, and a trustee board to care for the material items of the church.

As we discuss elders, I am in my mind speaking of the pastor and board. Then the deacon board is the part of church leadership that cares for the material end of things. Don’t confuse this with paid staff preachers being elder boards. Some teach that the elders are paid staffers only - no laymen. There is absolutely no indication in the Word that all elders are to be paid officers.

I used to give my theology students a listing of the occurrences of deacon and elder in the New Testament and ask them to define the offices. They always defined the elders as the spiritual leaders and the deacons as the material leaders. They always saw the pastor as part of the elders.

If second year Bible College students can see this, why haven’t the pastors and teachers of past ages been able to grasp the concept?

It is not relevant what you call the spiritual/material leaders as long as you see a distinction. I personally believe that the Bible sets forth the elders as the spiritual and the deacons as the material ministers of the church, but if you want to call them something else I don’t see that it is a large problem. Just be sure you have two groups caring for these areas of the church.

Paul mentions the desire of a good work in one verse and uses six verses to show the spiritual qualifications for the work.

How would you describe the man that "desires the office of bishop?" What does the term desire communicate to you?

Desire = literal "to stretch oneself out after" Something you labor and sacrifice for. Similar to the desire you have for that new car or house.

Matthew Henry mentions, "If a man desired the pastoral office, and from love of Christ, and the souls of men, was ready to deny himself, and undergo hardships by devoting himself to that service, he sought to be employed in a good work, and his desire should be approved, provided he was qualified for the office."

I suspect that this is the basis of the thought of calling and ordaining to the pastorate. It should be something that really wells up from within to bring the person to take active steps to become the overseer of a congregation. In the New Testament context, that would have been within his own congregation rather than the thought of seeking approval of other pastors as ordination is today.

It would seem that this thought would eliminate most church government ideas where the men are nominated from the floor, or nominations in any manner. The desire would indicate to me that the man really wants to have this ministry and lets others know of that desire.

It would require that those in charge be knowledgeable of this desire as well. As they see the desire then they should evaluate the possibilities of this man taking on the position.

I was contacted by a junior in high school recently that was interested in ministry. It took several notes back and forth to assist him, but finally I was able to put him in contact with some mission boards that could use him and help him in planning toward mission work.

The point - he is a junior in high school with a desire from God to serve in the church.

Someone needs to tuck him under their wing and disciple him - train him - nurture him in things of the Lord.

I encouraged him to talk to his pastor. I suspect the mission boards will assist him greatly also.

Evaluation should be made on the basis of what we will be seeing as far as qualification and the qualities of the man should be viewed as well.

The qualifications seem to require more than just a "yes" when asked to take the position. The evaluation should include not only the man’s desire, but he should be honest and open as to his qualifications in all of these areas before he takes the position.

He should also be open to the input of the leadership as to the needs of his life. They may see some failings that he needs to work on.

This whole idea is shown very nicely in relation to the workmen of the tabernacle in Exodus 36:2, "And Moses called Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whose heart the Lord had put wisdom, even everyone whose heart stirred him up to come unto the work to do it:"

I would even suggest if you have a man that has none of these qualifications in his life, that the elders should start training him. Make him a workman for the deacons, begin to study and disciple, if he can keep confidences include him in some board meetings so that he can learn. This should be a gold mine for the elders. Train and cultivate that "desire" into an elder. As he matures, you will have a new leader.

I received a very sad commentary on the church recently. One of the major mission boards is launching a new program aimed at helping local churches understand their need to be training leaders and raising up missionaries. They then will assist in helping the church set into motion leadership training.

Pretty sad that the church has to be told of its responsibilities and have to be trained in how to accomplish them!

There are fifteen to seventeen qualifications depending on the listings.

Verse 2

1 Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

Just a side note before we begin the list, we might submit that all of the terms in this listing are masculine. The term overseer and all adjectives are in the masculine, which would be one proof that women are not in view when it comes to the office of elder. The husband of one wife also tends to exclude women from the office.

A bishop must be “blameless." What type of man are we talking about when we ask for blameless elders?

1. blameless: "above reproach" NASB. Kent suggests "irreproachable."

Literally "not to be laid hold of" - not justly open to censure or criticism. Many pastors are beset by nasty rumors. A 50-year-old bald, overweight, and not very good-looking pastor resigned his church in Nebraska many years ago to start a new church elsewhere. The rumor was that he left because of a girlfriend up in the sand hills.

No matter the honest and uprightness of a man, there will be detractors that attempt to bring downfall. Those rumors however, when compared to his character should fall by the wayside. I asked a number of people if they had heard this story. All that knew the pastor laughed at the ridiculousness of the story.

Blameless should be not only in the church but with the lost as well. This may require some talking with neighbors and co-workers to find out how the man is viewed by the lost people that he associates with. This can be done by mail or in person. It should be a good indicator of the persons’ true spiritual walk.

Some have suggested that this means that the person must have had a blameless life from childhood. I asked one of these people if that meant that a converted drunk could not become an elder. He replied that this would be true.

To those I submit Genesis 5:21-22 which tells that Enoch did not walk with God until he had his first son. This man was translated because of his walk with the Lord. "And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:"

We might suggest the apostle Paul as well - a murderer that became an apostle. I doubt that blameless means blameless for the entire life before the office.

He should have a very good testimony in the community. Someone that is respected. Someone that isn’t in trouble or behind on his bills.

2. husband of one wife: The experts say that this literally is a "one woman type man." Now just what that means is left way out in left field most of the time.

Let’s consider some of the interpretations that have been suggested.

a. Married to the church (Roman Catholic). The Roman church believes that the priests and nuns are actually married to Christ. In fact it is my understanding that part of their vows include a wedding of sorts.

b. Prohibition of polygamy. This was held till 325 A.D. and is very much a part of the thought of the text.

c. One wife at a time, which to some allows for divorced and remarried elders.

The problem with allowing for divorced/remarried elders is the real question of whether they ruled their house well if the marriage was dissolved legally.

d. Prohibition of unmarried overseers: This isn’t a valid interpretation, though it is wise in many cases. It will eliminate rumors, trouble and possibilities of trouble. If there is a real desire on the part of a single man then steps should be taken to see if protections could be taken to avoid the problems mentioned.

e. Prohibition of divorced overseers. There is some discussion on this thought, and I think most conservative people hold to this being a prohibition of the divorcee due as well as the fact that he has not ruled his house well if he has failed in his marriage.

f. Prohibition of widowed elders remarrying: Some in the past have accepted this interpretation. A pastor in Texas had been quite successful in the pastorate, but when the Lord took his wife home, the pastor immediately resigned from the church. When he remarried, he reentered the pastorate.

Paul elsewhere indicates it is okay for the widower to remarry, but this is a general stipulation and some would reject it in relation to the holding of an office.

1 Timothy 4:3 mentions that some of the false teachers were suggesting celibacy as something to be desired. "Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth."

Paul mentions that these are doctrines of devils.

A "one woman man" is the idea of this phrase. That is one for life at a time. If his first mate dies and he remarries he would be eligible - in my mind. I would also feel a widower would be free to serve, either single or remarried.

3. vigilant: Literally "unmixed with wine, wineless" according to Hiebert One that is an ABSTAINER.

Vine mentions that it has the idea of self-controlled. This would be in contrast to the thought of not controlled as one that is drunk. (The term is used in 1 Timothy 3:11 and Titus 2:2 as sober.)

The elder should be someone that is on the serious side about what he is doing. He should be in proper control at all times.

One that is of this nature will be open to see problems arising, to see trouble as well as see good things coming and good things to do.

Vinzant in his word studies mentions, "to be sober with reference to drink, and, in a metaphorical sense, to be sober and wary; cool and unimpassioned."

In my first year of Bible college I went to talk to the acting president of the school. His office was always a mess. His office was a long narrow room with the door in the middle of the wall. He called to me to come in. I opened the door to a floor covered with stacks of papers and magazines. He told me that there was a path to the chair at the end of his office so I carefully negotiated my way to it. He was behind his desk which also was covered with stacks of who knows what. The floor from one end of the office to the other was covered with paper - except for this little path in and through the piles.

This was not an orderly man until that day when he evidently was attempting orderliness. I might add, that he was not a leader. He made no attempt to make himself a leader - he was a teacher.

Women can be a witness just by keeping their houses orderly. The home atmosphere reflects the home attitude. There are homes I have gone into that were the opposite of this and it is totally uncomfortable to be there.

4. sober: "prudent" is the word the NASB translators chose. It has the thought of fully rational or well balanced. This word also is translated “discreet.” Being careful how your mind, mouth and actions run might be the line of thought.

Vine mentions that this is a sound mind or self-controlled mind.

An elder with a messed up thought pattern will be leaving himself and his church open to problems. If he is constantly thinking of money or women, there will be an improper balance in most of what he does.

The elder is to be stable in mind. He is not easily swayed by error or false doctrine.

5. "of good behavior": Respectable is another translation of the word. An elder that can’t keep his hands off the women is taboo.

We were in a church where one of the men was always hugging, patting women on the back and generally being touchy. Some of the women felt uncomfortable with the way he was. Some of the husbands also felt uncomfortable.

No matter how honest and innocent this man was, it would not have been fitting for him to be an elder.

Respectable. Do nothing to bring anything but respect. He must have a proper lifestyle before his fellow believers and the world.

6. "given to hospitality": One that is willing to share his home with people.

In the New Testament there was a great need of this in the church. Visiting Christians would not want to stay in taverns and inns with all the brawling and drinking, so they would turn to the believers for housing.

Kent mentions that this might even spread to the thought of hospitality to the widows and orphans as needed in hard times. This could as well be a prime ministry of the church to her people.

Be friendly. A pastor in Colorado was called to pastor a small town church. The man viewed himself as a preacher and a preacher only. He was not called to visit or anything else - only preaching. He wouldn’t even go to coffee with the church people. The church floundered after he and a couple other oddballs had finished with it.

In another small church one couple had been in the church seven years and had never been in the pastor’s home. Pastors ought to have a desire to know their people and to share their homes with them.

Many pastors will not even offer to house and feed missionaries that are coming for meetings. I had only a handful of pastors offer housing when I was on the road.

The elders home should be open as much as possible to church members, visitors and the unsaved as well.

One pastor of a church where we had visited a time or two came running out after church to catch us before we drove away and invited us to dinner on a certain night. We were excited until we arrived and found that it was a demonstration dinner for cookware. We had to sit through the sales pitch and endure the atmosphere which we would not have chosen.

7. "apt to teach": An elder should be willing and wanting to teach within his assembly, if there is time in his schedule. This is not only in Sunday School, but in Bible studies, pulpit, etc.

This is the only skill in the list. Preaching is not required, only teaching. This includes desire and ability. Note: The pastor teacher is not required to be a preacher. Only a teacher and shepherd.

It is not required that he keep his audience’s attention. I’ve seen excellent teachers - skill and content - with sleepers and non-listeners.

Effectiveness would be seen in the thought. Most likely the gift of teaching is quite evident. If a person desires the office, then they should be known for their ability to teach before hand. If a person cannot teach, don’t write them off, train them and see if the gift of teaching becomes evident.

Some in recent day try to redefine this to mean “teachable.” A man that will allow others to teach him and help him is the thought. The thought is not in the text, though the idea is not a bad one for the elder!

For the most part he should have little to be taught in the spiritual realm He should know it and practice it.

Verse 3

1 Timothy 3:3: "Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;"

8. "Not given to wine": "not addicted to wine" is the translation of the NASB.

He should refrain from alcoholic beverages. Drinking is not acceptable to the Lord, the church or the world.

We have always taken a strong view toward drink of any kind. This is partly due to the reason that I was very close to alcoholism as a young man. I also see drinking as a very poor testimony to anyone that might know of it.

I have explained our position to saved and lost alike. The lost agree with me and many saved disagree.

Even within my own home, I have no desire to even have alcohol in the house, and I would trust that this would be your view as well in light of our society’s overindulgence. We must be apart from the world in our appearance and life.

I spoke with a pastor in Nebraska that had confronted a church member whose house some teenagers had stolen liquor from, about his involvement with alcohol. The teens were in an accident because of the drink and the attitude of the member was, "Pastor, you get lost! What I do in my own home is my business and not yours!"

9. "No striker": This seems to denote a person that is quick-tempered and who will strike out when angered. Not given to acts of physical violence. The word is derived from a word meaning to flatten.

Not taken to the fists to settle disputes. He should be able to settle things peaceably and quietly.

I was in a service one evening when the pastor finished his service with, "Does anyone have anything to say or add?" One of the women of the church challenged him slightly on one of his points. She did not push the subject but one of the board members did push it. He pushed it until he was on his feet and he and the pastor were arguing, somewhat heatedly. They did not come to blows over it, but the appearance was not much better than blows! They were red-faced and hollering while shaking their fingers at one another.

In our society there is the thought that the elder should not be a striker with words. Words can be just as devastating as blows from a fist.

The elder should control his temper and actions as well as his tongue.

10. "but gentle": This is included in the list in the New American Standard Bible but not in the King James Version.

These two (no striker/but gentle) hint that the outward demeanor or appearance at all times should be on the meek side and not of the aggressive nature.

The elder should have his demeanor under control at all times. This requires that he be walking with the Lord at all times which will normally require a daily - early morning quiet time and some periodic adjustments throughout the day to his spiritual life.

As I view these standards I’m reminded of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23












Which side do we tend to live on? The key is 1 John 1:9 - confess and give the Holy Spirit control of your life. (also Ephesians 5:18-21 - being filled/controlled by the Holy Spirit)

11. "not greedy of filthy lucre": There is a companion text you might want to read along with this thought 1 Peter 5:1-3

Kent quotes Calvin, "He who wishes to become rich also wishes to become rich soon." THE PASTORAL EPISTLES; Homer A. Kent, Jr., Th.D.; Moody Press; Chicago; 1958; P 133.

The church should watch for their pastor. They need not make him rich, yet they should watch for his welfare if they are going to have a full time pastor. I have seen some pastors and their families struggling to make ends meet while their church members were living in luxury.

The pastor should also look to the welfare of their congregation. If they see that the church is struggling, then maybe a part time job would be the answer. If a church is unable to meet the bills he can minister to the folks by working. I have also seen congregations unable to do anything for the work the church is supposed to be involved in, because their pastor’s salary was so high.

Don’t let money control your life because it will ultimately control your church as well.

“Greedy” has the idea of really desiring the money. Spending time trying to figure out ways of getting money.

The term “filthy lucre” is up for some discussion. Just what does it mean? Is it dirty money, or is it the idea that the greed for money is filthy, or is all money filthy.

The thought of money being filthy has some real possibilities, because it tends to pollute so many people. Actually the term filthy is left out of some translations.

The elder ought not be in the ministry for money nor indeed be in love with money. A well-balanced budget will help keep this problem away from the pastor.

I recently heard of a pastor that took a church and for several years kept hitting on the board for raises. Several a year, until the board had to ask the man to leave.

Just an observation, the pastor that is willing to work outside the church is probably one that desires to shepherd.

Someone told me of a church in Nebraska which had two pastors receiving $77,000 a year. The church was growing but the church did not want to build at the moment. Due to the church’s attendance the leaders were considering two services. The pastors refused to do two services on Sunday morning because they wanted their way. This was not logical and it was putting the church in a bind - if they decided to go ahead and build before they felt they were able.

12. "patient": Wait for the Lord in all things. Don’t get in a hurry. If you don’t have peace with a decision, then don’t make it. If you don’t know what to do, wait. If the work isn’t progressing - wait. If a problem arises deal patiently - many problems go away.

Showing patience with all people including the membership!

this means the nasties

this means the meanys

this means the gimmies

this means the sickies

this means the problemies

this means the normalies

Again this is going to take the quiet time and adjustments of the spiritual life that we mentioned earlier.

13. "not a brawler": Not quarrelsome in nature - not looking for arguments. You’ll find enough without looking. This probably extends to the thought that he is willing to give up his rights in a problem. Not to say you allow wrong, but if 99% want you to wear a suit on Wed. night - why not - why make problems.

This is not easy for us in our self-centered, my rights society, but the Lord asks this of His church leaders and we should ask the same of our church leaders.

14. "not covetous": (This one is not in the NASB.) Don’t desire anything including:



other churches

other pastor’s attendance numbers




Being content with what God has given you and not your neighbor. Someone said, "It would be easier to do with less if we didn’t see others with more." God is quite capable of giving you what He wants you to have.

Verse 4

1 Timothy 3:4 "One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;"

15. One that ruleth well his own house = (having his children in subjection with all gravity ("dignity" NASB)

He achieves obedience of his children in this way. Stands as head - runs it as head. Chain of authority with him at the top.

The man should be able to control his children. If his children aren’t saved and turn out bad it is not a disqualification in this area unless he has neglected the family’s training. He should be able however to control the children. Their salvation is up to God, and their life’s decisions are theirs.

The father can only teach, guide and exhort. Vine mentions, "to stand before, hence to lead, attend to" This indicates care and diligence.

By the way, can you think of a better place to check your elders out? Check with his wife and kids. Watching the kids around dad and mom will tell you if the home is proper. The kids can tell you if he is patient - a brawler etc.

This is why it is good for a church to invite a prospective pastor for a week or so when candidating.

Verse 5

1 Timothy 3:5 "(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)"

This verse shows the why of verse four.

The term “house” may imply, as well as controlling the family as the context speaks of, but also the material things. Many preachers today are deadbeats. This ought not to be so.

Right today I can brag on my kids - they turned out great. Tomorrow I hope to be able to say that. They make decisions and may make poor ones - we don’t know.

There is a real truth included in this qualification that the marriage and marital relationship ought to be proper as well.

Verse 6

1 Timothy 3:6 "Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil."

16. "Not a novice": Not a new convert might be a good line of thought. There is also the possibility of someone that has been a believer for a long time, but has never studied or been taught. The thought of maturity in the spiritual life is the key.

"lest being lifted up with pride" The novice will quite often fall into pride when given leadership responsibilities. The office requires spiritual maturity.

Paul appointed elders on his return trip through towns usually, thus I would say this spiritual maturity was with reference to those around the elder. He might not have to be very mature in Christ if the people were new converts and very immature.

A man I worked for made his college graduate son manager of the company. Proud was the young man and over confident was he. He ran the company into the ground in a few months.

I would repeat the thought that if you have a novice that desires the office - begin training.

The elder should be mature and knowledgeable enough in the word to "teach" those that he would shepherd.

Many automatically view a young person as not mature enough to pastor a church. This may or may not be so.

I have seen some young men straight out of college that have more sense and wisdom and maturity than many older men that I have seen in the pastorate. Judge the man on his maturity and not on his age. This is what Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12 where he says, "Let no man despise thy youth...."

"condemnation of the devil": This may mean that the immature elder would be condemned (not eternally as the Devil is, but reward wise) as the devil was condemned eternally when he fell into pride

I think that I can truthfully say that I have met very few pastors that come across as being proud. Some may be underneath but on the surface I see very few.

I see some that are arrogant. What is the difference between arrogance and pride? I see pride as being super happy with who and what you are. I would see arrogance as being super happy with who and what you think you are and letting everyone else know who and what you think you are. I have met some of these.

Verse 7

1 Timothy 3:7 "Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil."

17. good report to non Christians (my paraphrase)

There was a pastor in Nebraska that didn’t spend much time around my father, but my father held high regard for the man. He would ask how the pastor was doing when I had visited with him. The pastor had visited my dad in the hospital a few times, but they had no clear deep relationship.

Other pastors (many, I fear) in business dealings are very blunt, bold and blusterous. They expect super deals and super service. These do not have good report with non Christians.

A young man in one of the churches we attended was a body and fender man struggling to make a living. The pastor brought his car in for a paint job. The job was finished and the pastor came in and picked up the car. As he left without paying or offering to pay, he said thanks for the paint job.

The young man never grew spiritually to my knowledge. This was, in part, his own fault, but also, in part, to the obnoxiousness of the pastor.

Why is this trait important? Lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. Sounds like the devil is out to trap him.

To be the man that does not really have the good report with the world is to be in the middle of the snare of the devil. There will be little which that person can do in the community or even the church.

We recently heard of a man that pastored in a small town where the townspeople had the rule of no soft drinks in the school auditorium - even during sporting events. He thought that was a dumb rule and entered the auditorium with a coke. The public was not impressed with his freedom to drink coke! The man was not able to minister to the town folks and it left a black mark against the church that hired him.

I would like to break here for a comment or two about the elder’s wife.

Why are there no qualifications for the elder’s wife? The elder’s wives do not have qualifications nor do the deacon’s wives.

There is discussion as to whether the deaconess is the deacon’s wife, a woman deacon, or an office held by other women. Some prefer the wife idea. Others prefer this to e an office. I must admit I see both possibilities, but lean toward it being an office or ministry. If the deacon’s wife were to have qualifications why wouldn’t the elder’s wife would be my line of thought.

No matter your belief on the subject, have deaconesses or the equivalent of them doing the work. You may have women functioning in these areas and this is fine - wives would also work well. THE POINT! Have women functioning in the work of the deaconess so that those ministries are being cared for.

There is also the thought that the elder is to rule his house well and if this is done the wife will probably be of the caliber needed.

There are five qualifications in Titus that are not listed here and I would like to cover them briefly. Titus 1:5 ff

a. "not self-willed" which indicates a man that is willing to give in a conflict. He is willing to bow to what is right. This is not only with men, but must be a part of the man’s spiritual life. He must be willing to bend for the Lord.

b. "not soon angry" indicates that anger may be around but it takes an awful lot to bring it to the surface.

Patience must be long and when it is worn out there may be anger, but even if there is anger it is controlled and it does not lash out.

c. "a lover of good men" shows that the elder should be an enjoyer of those that walk with the Lord. If you have a man that doesn’t enjoy the company of godly men - wonder if he will be a good leader of godly men.

We sat under a pastor for several years that failed miserably here. He had godly men that desired fellowship with him yet he shunned them and often drove them away. His fellowship was with men outside the church that were far from his own belief system.

The church suffered greatly due to the effects of the outsiders on the pastor.

Many pastors miss this one because they can’t handle someone else in the limelight.

This means to love even when there are some faults around! The elder should gather around himself some good men to train and to fellowship with.

d. "just" means just what it says. Just is the God we serve and just must be the elder or elders that we have serving in the church. Just in all of your dealings be they with saved, lost, nasty, cheaters, etc.

e. "holy" is the idea of set apart for God’s use. The man of God must be set aside for the Lord’s use and must have a life fitting that thought. I can’t imagine trying to attend a church where the pastor was known to be in sin.

It is illogical for any pastor to feel that he can continue on in his office and be living in sin. Holy to some is relative. I need to be with the unsaved so I can reach them, is their thought. I will run with them and work with them till they are saved. Maybe - maybe not.

Women. If you had a muddy mucky pair of Levi pants to get clean would you put them in water, then dump in a lot of clean clothes and stir them up? Will the clean make the dirty clean? Never.

Yes, we must reach and have contact with the lost, but we don’t have to get down into their sin and position to do it.

There is one other phrase in Titus - one that is of importance. Verse 9 states, "Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught...."

This means that the church determines if what he holds is proper. Not only what he holds, but what he has been taught. There is a difference. A man might hold what you hold but have been taught other things that might crop up in his later life and ministry.

A pastor in Nebraska had been taught in a school that held other than proper doctrine. He seemed straight as possible when he was hired as pastor.

He was influenced by some other pastors that he knew and as he pastored and studied some of his wrong doctrine surfaced and began to make sense to him and it filtered into his preaching and over a few years he had led the entire church from a position of fundamental, dispensational Christianity to a non-dispensational position and out of the fellowship of churches that the church had been in.

Don’t just check what he believes, but check what he has been taught. If he comes from a questionable seminary then the questionable may well surface someday. Don’t take a chance!

Realize seminaries change. Just because your old pastor was from that school doesn’t mean the current graduates will be like him.

I trust as you walk through life, you have opportunity to sit under the ministry of men of this caliber. This is the desire of God’s plan and heart. He desires that His people be taught of Him that they might worship Him and know Him.

Another poem from my favorite poet.

When God wants to drill a man

And thrill a man

And skill a man,

When God wants to mold a man

To play the noblest part;

When He yearns with all His heart

To create so great and bold a man

That all the world shall be amazed,

Watch His methods, watch His ways!

How He ruthlessly perfects

Whom He royally elects!

How He hammers him and hurts him,

And with mighty blows converts him

Into trial shapes of clay which

Only God understands;

While his tortured heart is crying

And he lifts beseeching hands!

How He bends but never breaks

When his good He undertakes;

How He uses whom He chooses

And with every purpose fuses him;

By every act induces him

To try His splendour out --

God knows what He’s about!


It is God’s men we must seek - not those that are prepared by man.

Verse 8


We want to look now to the office of deacon and to the ministry of women which some classify as the office of deaconess.

Whether there is an office of deaconess, you can dispute indefinitely, but to dispute the need of women doing this sort of ministry in the church is futile. Any church that is to succeed will have to have women that are willing to give assistance to the elders and deacons with the work of the Lord.

In my own mind when I hear the term deacon I am often reminded of some elderly gentlemen that served in that office in the church where I grew up. I was not a believer at the time, but I was still impressed with these men that served the church well.

Each and every Sunday the deacons would take turns - two of them sitting behind the table set with the Lord’s table elements - and they would give a devotional relating to the observance then they would help serve the elements.

These men were men I held in respect, just from what I observed of them in the church surroundings. Later as a believer I became aware of some of these men and their lives outside of the church and this was consistent with what I had observed as a child.

I recall that one of these men and his wife were quite old and they were driving an old rattletrap of a car. Their son came home to visit and took them to the Chrysler-Plymouth dealership and bought them a NEW 1950 Plymouth. I would rather think that his family relationship pictured the thought of a proper family life of a deacon.

On the other hand there are deacons that could evoke a quite different feeling. Peter Marshall once said of some of his leaders "Tell my trustees when I am dead that they should shed no tears, For I shall be no deader then than they have been for years."

The deacons can have an adverse effect on church goers as well.

A mother was having difficulty persuading her son to go to church one morning.

"Nobody LIKES me at church!" said the son. "The members don’t. The children don’t. And the deacons want to send me to another church! I don’t want to go!"

"But John," said his mother, "you’ve simply GOT to go. You’re not SICK. It isn’t RAINING. People are EXPECTING you to be there. And besides, you are 50 years old now and the MINISTER of the church -- so you simply MUST go!"

1 Timothy 3:8. "Likewise [must] the deacons [be] grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;"

The office of deacon is quite often an office that is filled by men that don’t really want to be in the office. Many are asked to do the office and accept the office only out of a duty to do something for the church. Many do not really have the desire to do the office and as a result, do very little for the church.

"Likewise" would indicate that the deacons will have qualifications just as the elders had. These are required qualifications and are not optional.

The deacons were first appointed in Acts 6:1-7. The deacons have to do with the material realm, but can be involved in spiritual area as bold witnesses.

One of the first deacons was Stephen and we know that he was soon preaching and giving his life for the Lord.

Within the material ministry there can be a spiritual ministry as well.

I’d like to list some possible ways that you could minister spiritually within the context of material ministry?

a. Working with someone on a building allows for interpersonal relationships and a time when the deacon could well get into witnessing, counseling or just encouraging. There could well be contact with contractors, repairmen and other businessmen that need the Lord.

When the pipes break in the winter and someone is struggling to get them fixed, an encouraging voice could be just what the worker needs.

b. Sharing of funds or help from the church with poor or needy will be a prime opportunity to share the thoughts of the Lord in encouragement or witness.

c. In asking for help from members of the church you are allowing others to serve their Lord. It may well be the start of their desire to go on into church leadership.

The word translated deacon has a rich meaning. Thayer mentions the following: "1.) one who executes the commands of another, esp. of a master, a servant, attendant, minister 1a) the servant of a king 1b) a deacon, one who, by virtue of the office assigned to him by the church, cares for the poor and has charge of and distributes the money collected for their use 1c) a waiter, one who serves food and drink"

The term grave is used to show that they are dead in the pulpit. They are boring people to death. NO NO NO NO!

The New American Standard translates the term as "dignity." Not a teenage type, but a mature type. Kent mentions that it means "worthy of respect."

This is a positive term followed by negative terms.

"Not double tongued" has the thought of telling different stories. This includes, I think, saying you’ll do something and then not doing it.

In short, the person would have to be classified a liar and this is not consistent with good leadership. How could you ever trust what the man said?

If you think back to the way the United States dealt with the Indian nations, we can find a perfect illustration of this term. The officials promised the Indians great things, but we all know that little actually materialized and that the Indians suffered greatly due to the "WHITE MEN THAT SPEAK WITH FORKED TONGUES."

"not given to much wine" seems to be rather obvious - not a heavy drinker. This in its context was a call not to abstinence but to moderation. Wine was a common beverage at the time, but to indulge overly was definitely wrong.

In our own day the thought of alcoholism is rampant and the need to drink wine for liquids in the body is not true. We have good clean water available and there is no need to drink wine.

Raymond in his book mentions, "If an individual by drinking wine either causes others to err through his example or abets a social evil which causes others to succumb to its temptations, then in the interests of Christian love he ought to forego the temporary pleasures of drinking in the interests of heavenly treasures." THE TEACHING OF THE EARLY CHURCH ON THE USE OF WINE AND STRONG DRINK; New York; Columbia University Press; 1927; p 88.

We may be free to drink now and then in the strictest sense of things, but we are not free to do so because in our day and age we need to limit our Christian liberty in this area so that we are not a stumbling block to others.

Adam Clarke puts it this way "Neither a drunkard, tippler, nor what is called a jovial companion. All this would be inconsistent with gravity"

"not greedy of filthy lucre" The deacon should be in the office because of a call and/or a desire not because of money.

When I told my father I was going to be a preacher he said, "Well I guess there’s good money in that!"

Kent quotes Erdman’s "THE PASTORAL EPISTLES OF PAUL", "Judas was not the last treasurer who betrayed his Lord for a few pieces of silver."

Years ago in the Midwest a church had noticed some items missing in the church - they found the pastor had been selling things to pick up some extra money. He confessed and they forgave him and they went on. They notice a few weeks later that the communion set was missing. Confession, forgiveness and they went on.

Not long and offerings began to disappear before they were counted. Confession, forgiveness, he left and they went on.

I don’t think that this relates entirely to the office - outside of the church is not a place for greed either.

Wesley seems to be rather specific on this point. "Not desirous of filthy gain-With what abhorrence does he everywhere speak of this! All that is gained (above food and raiment) by ministering in holy things is filthy gain indeed; far more filthy than what is honestly gained by raking kennels, or emptying common sewers."

"Charles L. Allen tells a story, which he says was a favorite of Sigmund Freud, the Father of Psychiatry. It is about a sailor who was shipwrecked on a desert island and was captured by some of the natives of that isle. They carried him off on their shoulders to their village, where he was sure he would end up being the main course. Instead they put a crown on his head and made him the king. He enjoyed all the attention he was receiving but he grew a little suspicious. He started making inquiries about what this meant and discovered that their custom was to crown a stranger and make him king for a year. At the end of that year he was sent to a completely deserted isle where he was allowed to starve to death. Obviously this did not appeal to the sailor so he devised a plan. Since he was the king, the natives obeyed his every order so he ordered them to ship supplies to the isle where he would be sent when he was deposed. He had them build him a hut. He had them plant vegetables and fruits and clear the land for quite an adequate garden. When his year was up and they sent him to the deserted isle he lived in abundance. Hopefully this little story reminds you of Jesus’ words about laying up things on earth as opposed to being rich toward God. Wealth can be dangerous or it can be used as a blessing. It can be used to allow us to store up good things in heaven. The choice is ours. Let us be wise in our attitude toward our material possessions that we might not end up being rich in things and poor with God." GOD’S SEVEN WONDERS FOR YOU; Charles L. Allen Old Tappan, NJ.; Fleming H. Revell Co.; 1987.

William Burkitt summarizes the qualifications well when he says "Let the deacons be grave, not guilty of levity, but serious and composed, men of a modest and becoming carriage; not double-tongued, nor over-talkative persons, nor saying one thing to one person and the contrary to another, according to the place or company they fell into; not given to much wine, not the thing, but the excess, is forbidden; not greedy of filthy lucre, seeking to get wealth by sordid ways and means."

Verse 9

1 Timothy 3:9. "Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience."

"holding mystery of the faith" indicates those things revealed to the church age saints. (Hidden before) 1 Corinthians 2:7-10 "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, [even] the hidden [wisdom], which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known [it], they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."

"in a pure conscience" would relate not only to belief, but to life. One serving God must have a clean conscience of his way of life. How could you honestly preach or share with others spiritually if your conscience wasn’t clear about what you believed?

When I was a member of the IFCA (Independent Fundamental Churches of America) one of the requirements for membership was that each member was to sign the doctrinal statement and signify they were still in complete agreement with it.

One year I realized that there was a small phrase within the statement that I could not agree with. I felt compelled out of "a pure conscience" to attach a three-page statement that I was in disagreement and the specifics of why.

The purpose of the signing of the statement was so that each one would take a moment and question his continuing agreement, and I believe in part, check their conscience, just to be sure they could honestly say they did.

This might be a good place to mention that the deacon is not required to be a teacher, nor is he required to be able to teach, but he is not forbidden to teach either. A deacon may well have the gift of teaching and this would be one of his areas of labor.

Verse 10

1 Timothy 3:10. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being [found] blameless.

They should be proved, checked, evaluated to see if they measure up to the standard set.

"ALSO" indicates that the bishops are also to be proved. This is done in the local assembly and not by pastors called in from here and there to examine a young man to see if he’s worthy.

The thought of ordination is not in this text. The elder and the deacon are to be people from the assembly and as they live and work in the local church the church leadership and people will know the type of person that they are.

Acts 13:1-3 shows this concept in action.

"Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

"As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

"And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away."

No examination can guarantee how a man will build a church but holding your prospective leaders up to this sort of light may increase the odds.

Let them be deacons because they are blameless! If they aren’t blameless, then don’t allow them to be deacons.

Again the idea of blameless. The testimony of church leaders is critical to the church as well as to the church’s witness. Anyone that cannot live up to the standard set should excuse himself from his duties immediately.

Verse 11

1 Timothy 3:11. "Even so [must their] wives [be] grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things."

"Their wives must be grave" Actually the term “wives” is not found - it is the thought of women. I assume from the context that text easily allows for women in a special ministry as the bishops and deacons - that of serving their Lord in a specific capacity.

Ray Stedman mentions, "The apostle now turns to women deacons. It is true that this word "women" here can mean the wives of the male deacons, but I do not take it that way, largely because there is no corresponding treatment of the wives of elders in the preceding passage. If Paul was concerned about how the wives of the deacons behaved, he would likely have been concerned about the way the wives of the elders behaved, but he does not say anything about them."

Stedman and others take this to show that there can be female deacons. This might be a possible interpretation, but in my mind there seems to be here a listing of offices and qualifications, thus there are elders, deacons, and deaconesses.

Verse twelve indicates to me that deacons are to be male. (Husband of, and running the house well.)

In Romans 16:1 ("I commend unto you Phoebe, our sister, who is a servant of the church which is at Chenchreae.") The term servant is the same word as used in Timothy - it seems to show the office of deaconess, servant - deaconess literally.

There is no indication in the text that these women are linked to the deacons, other than by similarity of ministry.

To have deacons and women that do this work that are "deacon’s wives," as the text mentions, is not inappropriate, however the deacon’s wives here in the text are probably not wives. They are just a group of women doing a work that should have the following qualifications.

"not slanderers" is literally "not devils." The Greek term is "diabolos" and it is normally translated devil - false accuser is another translation of the term.

I suspect gossips would be another term that could be used. I think that we all know what a gossip can do to a person or a church. They can ruin many years of good work in a single mouthful.

A pastor we knew was accused by one of the women in the church of making obscene phone calls. She had no proof and there were very few that believed her, but within a few months that man’s ministry was ruined in the town and he was forced to move on for the churches sake.

Another account might illustrate the power of the tongue. " Abraham Lincoln’s coffin was pried open twice. The first occasion was in 1887, twenty-two long years after his assassination. Why? You may be surprised to know it was not to determine if he had died of a bullet fired from John Wilkes Booth’s derringer. Then why? Because a rumor was sweeping the country that his coffin was empty. A select group of witnesses observed that the rumor was totally false, then watched as the casket was resealed with lead.

"The second time, fourteen years later, the martyred man’s withered body was viewed again--this time by even more witnesses. Why again? For the same grim purpose! Rumors of the same nature had again implanted doubts in the public’s mind. The pressure mounted to such proportions, that the same ghoulish, grotesque ceremony had to be carried out. In spite of the strong protests of Lincoln’s son Robert, the body was exposed a second time. Officials felt the rumors should be laid to rest along with the Civil War president. Finally -- the corpse was permanently embedded in a crypt at Springfield."

"soberminded" relates to a controlled mind and manner. The mind of someone controlled by alcohol would be the contrast. The idea of temperate or moderate in things would be involved also I would think.

"faithful in all things" would cover all areas of life, her marriage, her church work, her mothering role - everything.

She should be faithfully doing the things that she is involved with, and doing a good job at all. If she can’t do the good job in all areas along with home life then she probably shouldn’t be involved in the church for her home will suffer.

Verse 12

1 Timothy 3:12. "Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well."

These are the same as for bishop which we have covered previously.

Verse 13

1 Timothy 3:13. "For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus."

Deacons, purchase good standing, might be the thought. In the secular realm there is a certain amount of this.

There is a mortuary in London that advertises dead men’s backgrounds - church work is mentioned, indeed in our own country the background is sometimes given in the obituary and this lends a bit of prestige to the memory if the person was a pastor or church leader. It gives you a certain type of status. Indeed, in many of our communities the pastors of churches are held as important to the community.

We had a pastor that helped direct our lives many years ago yet later he seemed to get side tracked. He became very interested in golf. He joined the country club and seemed to become very involved in that society. He became quite involved in the country club life.

When he died the obituary read like that of one of great social status. All of his secular accomplishments were listed including his long-standing membership in the country club.

At the end there was a simple sentence "He was also pastor of the _____ church.”

I think he had purchased the wrong "good standing."

The secular is the lesser of the ideas in that the spiritual is the more important. As we serve God as church leaders, we gain approval in the Lord’s eyes and in a sense gain status with Him.

More importantly is the "great boldness" that comes with serving. As we serve, we gain confidence in what we are doing, in the fact that the Lord can use us and we become more confident to do more and more things for the Lord.

In closing we might take a moment and just list some of the possible ministries of a deacon and of the deaconess.


Caring for and cleaning of the church/parsonage properties, either themselves or hiring it done.

Assist the elders in any manner that they can.

Submit material needs to the elders/congregation for approval and financing.

Calling on the neighborhood, sick, shut-ins, widows and orphans.

Taking an active part in discipling orphans, both in spiritual and physical things.

Giving assistance to widows and orphans - both financial as well as physical, when needed.


Calling on and assisting female church members/others that could be assisted.

Providing flowers for funerals, church services, sick folks and shut-ins.

Taking small orphans for outings.

Providing meals/facilities/assistance for funeral parties.

Cleaning of the church facilities.

"Servant" in our English New Testament usually represents the Greek doulos (bondslave). Sometimes it means diakonos (deacon or minister); this is strictly accurate, for doulos and diakonos are synonyms. Both words denote a man who is not at his own disposal, but is his master’s purchased property. Bought to serve his master’s needs, to be at his beck and call every moment, the slave’s sole business is to do as he is told. Christian service therefore means, first and foremost, living out a slave relationship to one’s Savior (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

"What work does Christ set his servants to do? The way that they serve him, he tells them, is by becoming the slaves of their fellow-servants and being willing to do literally anything, however costly, irksome, or undignified, in order to help them. This is what love means, as he himself showed at the Last supper when he played the slave’s part and washed the disciples’ feet.

"When the New Testament speaks of ministering to the saints, it means not primarily preaching to them but devoting time, trouble, and substance to giving them all the practical help possible. The essence of Christian service is loyalty to the king expressing itself in care for his servants (Matthew 25:31-46).

"Only the Holy Spirit can create in us the kind of love toward our Savior that will overflow in imaginative sympathy and practical helpfulness towards his people. Unless the spirit is training us in love, we are not fit persons to go to college or a training class to learn the know-how or particular branches of Christian work. Gifted leaders who are self-centered and loveless are a blight to the church rather than a blessing." Your Father Loves You; James Packer; Harold Shaw Publishers; 1986; Page March 3.

May God raise up men of this caliber in this country to begin leading the church in the proper path!

Verse 14


When I was in high school, I worked summers in construction for a small contractor. He was a Christian and became involved in a small Bible church. Later the church wanted to build a building and asked him to be the contractor.

Their church was designed and the foundation was to be poured. Now, this is back in the days of yore afore they had delivery of wet cement but this contractor had a state of the art cement mixer. It had a big hopper that came down where you tossed in the cement and then shoveled in the sand. When the mixer was empty, you would hit a lever and up the hopper would go and the mixing would begin.

The problem with this machine was that every time that hopper emptied it returned to the ground to be filled. Since I was the low man on the totem pole, I was elected to fill it - and fill it - and fill it - and fill it - and fill it - the entire day I filled it and filled it and filled it again. Got the picture?

Anyway we poured concrete into the ground all day to lay the foundation for the church. The foundation needed to be strong because they were going to build a large timber framework to support a very heavy roof made of four by four roofing.

I might add after filling and filling, I could have used a foundation myself to hold me up!

We want to look at foundations in this study.

1 Timothy 3:14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: 1 Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

All right, we see that Paul looked to the future with desires to accomplish things! Now, what can we do with that little piece of information for ourselves? I personally believe that God allows us to look to the future and make possible plans and to seek to bring those plans to pass - as long as we allow for God’s intervention to change our minds.

Remember that word that he used - hoping. I again personally believe that this is a hope that can get us through those terrible times of drudgeries that happen onto most of us from time to time. There were many years in which the only hope I had was that God would use me in some way - that hope carried me through those very difficult years.

We don’t know if Paul ever made it to Ephesus or not. In Titus he requested that Titus meet him and most agree that Paul would have met with Timothy first while on his way to Titus.

Verse 15

1 Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

We see in verse fifteen the "if" that I mentioned - being open to God changing our minds for us. He was hoping to do something, but knew that there was an “if” involved.

Verse fourteen and fifteen show Paul’s desire for Timothy as he labored in the church.

Paul is writing to tell Timothy how to conduct himself and church business. Behave himself seems to say it all, but many are the church today that are run by men that have no idea how to behave themselves in or out of the church.

I think in our society that we all have the concept of the world when it comes to behaving. The world tells us "IF WE BE - WE SHOULD HAVE!" Or to put it another way "IF I HAVE I BE!" Now tell me that isn’t the sum and substance of our society today! Having is equated with being today. If we don’t have, we don’t behave correctly.

"behave" The term translated behave is used in 2 Corinthians 1:12 "For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward."

Conversation is the term we are looking at. The base of the word is "to turn hither and thither, to turn one’s self about, sojourn dwell in a place." It refers to the way you live and act.

This not only applies to Timothy, but applies to the believers at Ephesus, as well as to believers in general. THERE IS A STANDARD OF BEHAVIOR in the house of God!

Today, we are in ANYTHING GOES MODE in our churches. We allow any music, we allow any dress, we allow any activity, we allow any doctrine, we allow any moral value, we allow anything!

The term house is generally the thought of a building, but can and is used of a household in the New Testament. Household would seem the more appropriate here because there were no church buildings in the New Testament time. The believers met in homes.

The term is translated home in Mark 5:19 "Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee."

In Acts 16:14-15 we see the term relating to a family. "And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshiped God, heard [us]: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. 15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought [us], saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide [there]. And she constrained us."

The exact phrase "house of God" appears in the Old Testament over eighty times, and in the New Testament only six times. In the Old Testament it relates normally to the place of worship where God lived.

We see in three passages in the gospels that it also relates to the Old Testament, and these verses relate to David and his men eating in the house of God. (Matthew 12:4; Mark 2:26; Luke 6:4)

Here in I Timothy we see that the phrase is tied directly to the church and 1 Peter 4:17 speaks to the fact that the house of God relates to people rather than a building. "For the time [is come] for judgment to begin at the house of God: and if [it begin] first at us, what [shall be] the end of them that obey not the gospel of God?" (Hebrews 10:21 is the other occurrence)

In a very real sense the church - the people - are the house of God as the tabernacle and temple were in the Old Testament. After all, is not God the Holy Spirit living within each of us?

"church of the living god" Church of the living God, as opposed to a temple with a dead idol.

The term translated church is the term ecclessia which simply relates to a group of people that are called out for a purpose.

In Acts 19:29-41 it is used of a secular gathering - nothing to do with believers. It is also used of Israel in the wilderness in Acts 7:38. These usages of the term are what my definition is based on.

Now, if I might, suggest once again that "CHURCH" is not a building, it is a people. I trust you can gain that concept and hang onto it. We have been trained and accustomed to the term church being a building for so many years - now we need to retrain ourselves.

As you read the Word and see the term church use this meaning in your mind and see if you don’t find some of those passages taking on a new meaning.

As a pastor of a church I am not pastor of a building, I am a pastor or shepherd of a group of people - a group of sheep!

Ray Stedman mentioned in one of his messages "The Apostle Paul ... calls the church, "the house of God," which suggests intimacy and warmth, a family gathered; and then he calls it, "the church of the living God," which suggests excitement and power. That was what the church was, and is; that is the nature of the church.

"We have largely lost our consciousness of what it means to be "the house of God." We have been so brainwashed by this sub-Christian concept that a building is the house of God that we have forgotten what the real house of God is."

Let us consider the church for a moment. Just consider what is present each and every time a church of Christ meets.

1. The ultimate power of all history is present within each and every one present. The Holy Spirit - ready willing and able to act.

2. The ultimate weapons available to all believers faith, hope, love, prayer, righteousness, and all those great things are present.

3. The ultimate capabilities built into each and every one of us - the spiritual gifts that the Spirit has given for the building of the church are present.

4. The ultimate wisdom of God promised to us for the asking - just waiting to lead the church into His paths is available.

I am sorry to say that I see few churches that even have a hint of a clue of the above possibilities set before them!

It might be that this is a good place to interject a commercial for the "INDEPENDENT AUTONOMOUS CHURCH" since they seem to be a vanishing breed.

There is no indication in the Scriptures that there were any gatherings or groups of churches linked together either financially or organizationally in the New Testament. The local church was a group of people gathering for prayer, fasting, teaching and fellowship. They were not gathering for conventions, for conferences, for seminars, or any other purpose.

The church was a group of people that was organized as the Bible has taught us here in I Timothy for the purpose of worshiping God and extending His work into the world. There were no controls over them from other churches or a remote hierarchy. They were on their own to do the work of the Lord as they felt He was leading them to do it.

Now, comes the question - is it wrong to be part of a group of churches? Is it wrong to be a part of a denomination?

Let us consider some items of interest.

1. Is it productive to have to check with denominational leaders before doing things you feel God is leading you to do?

2. Are not the people of your church capable as believer priests to determine the Lord’s will for their lives and their gathering?

3. Do you as a local church have excess money to send off to a denomination to be used for bookkeeping, travel etc. of the hierarchy?

4. Do you believe that anyone other than your own church leadership has any authority to lead or have a hand in your church?

I would not say necessarily that it is wrong, but rather why would you want to?

"the pillar and ground of the truth" It would seem that Paul is trying to say that the church is the foundation of truth.

The house of God is the church and it is the foundation of truth. Now, let us take that one step further based on what we have found thus far. Christian believers, as they gather, are the foundation of truth! Or at least they have it available. They may or may not reflect that fact.

DOES THAT SCARE YOU OR WHAT? To think that the churches around the country today are the TRUTH. The sad fact is, they are not the truth, yet many nonbelieiver when they want answers go looking for them at the house of truth - the church ---- the sad fact is they are not finding the answers they seek.

They find that they are told to just believe and enjoy the fruits of everlasting life.

They find that they are told that divorce and remarriage are the way of life.

They find that they are told that there is no real black and white.

They find that they are told that they can be anything they want to be.

They find that they are told that there are no absolutes.

They find that they are told that anything goes.

There is another application of this thought for the lost of the world. Without the church they have no foundation to know or base truth on. If the church is confused then so will the world be confused. Hummmm sounds somewhat familiar to an old guy that has observed a lot of things in our society.

The world is looking to the isms because they view the church as irrelevant - and I might add - today it is!

They look to alcohol.

They look to "spiritual guides."

They look to "gurus."

They look to things.

They look to everything for truth and comfort.

One of the turn of the century fads was the labyrinth. A pattern on the ground that you walk along while you look for peace, direction, meaning, comfort and all that stuff. THE CHURCH USED TO SUPPLY THOSE TO ALL COMERS!

Indeed, that is the problem of all of missions. The church is the key to getting the truth to lost man, but the church is not doing it.

It has been reported that within the decade (following the turn of the century) that the United States will no longer be the strongest missions minded country in the world. The torch of missions is shifting from America into the third world. Third world nations are sending out more and more missionaries. They will be sending more missionaries than America before 2010.

MacArther suggests a number of areas in which we uphold the truth that is the church. I would like to just list these for your consideration in relation to your own church and how it upholds truth. (THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY I TIMOTHY; John MacArthur; Moody Press; Chicago; 1995; p137-138)

1. by believing the Word

2. by memorizing the Word

3. by meditation on the Word

4. by study of the Word

5. by obeying the Word

6. by defending the Word

7. by living the Word

8. by proclaiming the Word

Now we have viewed the fact of the church as well as the fact that it is the foundation of truth. Now, Paul will refocus us on the foundation of the Church - Jesus Christ.

Verse 16

1 Timothy 3:16. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Some suggest that this may be an early hymn or psalm that was circulated. It is made up of three couplets and has a rhythm in the original suggesting more than just an off the cuff thought from Paul.

Couplet one: manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit

Flesh contrasted with Spirit. Being manifest would indicate that His whole being is in view so to speak. Flesh or manhood would be manifest to those around him. His entire being would be the thought as contrasted with His Spiritual existence following the resurrection.

Couplet two: seen of angels, preached unto the gentiles

Angelic host contrasted to mankind. The term gentiles also can be translated nations. The angelic host contrasted to the lost nations of the world.

As a side-note one might ponder just what is wrapped up in "seen of angels" - just how often were they involved in ministering to and around the Savior while He walked this earth. One might also contemplate their thoughts of seeing ALMIGHTY GOD walking the face of His creation as man.

Couplet three: believed on in the world, received up into glory

The world contrasted to glory.

Lenski suggests that the verbs are positioned as to present these things forcefully as TRUTH. He also says that the items build upon each other.

As the church fathers attempted to iron out the truth of Scripture in the first years of the church, a statement was set that most of Christianity accepted through the ages.

The Nicean Creed from the fourth century.

"I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;

"And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried; and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

"And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified; who spake by the Prophets. And I believe one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church; I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.


Most any Christian can agree with this creed - however not all.

Paul makes a statement that cannot be quibbled with.

"without controversy" All in agreement might be a good translation. Wow - what a phrase to use in the context of the church. The following is truth, it is fact, it is unanimously accepted within the church of Jesus Christ - that is the true church.

"mystery of godliness" is explained in the next phrase. God was manifest or revealed in the flesh - in more specific terms - manifested IN Christ. This proves the pre-existence of Christ.

"justified" or vindicated" in the Spirit - the thought that he was vindicated of all He said while here on earth when He was raised from the grave.

He was seen of angels. This is the normal term for angels. Their presence with Him is not something new - they ministered to him in Mark 1:13, they were in attendance after the resurrection, they were present at the ascension and most likely many times between.

He preached unto the nations. This relates to Ephesians 4:8-10 "Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)"

Christ at some time between the resurrection and his ascension went into sheol to minister to the nations. Some view this to mean that He preached or confirmed all that had been taught to all Old Testament peoples. In a nutshell, He confirmed those that had faith in God by taking them to be with Him, and he confirmed those that had no faith to continue on in their place of residence until the Great White Throne judgment and eternal torment.

There is also a real truth that He reached the nations when He was at Jerusalem for passovers. Jewish folks from all over the world gathered for the celebration.

He was believed on in this world. Just a quick look into the Gospels or the book of Acts will show this to be true. A listen to a testimony time in a church will also confirm the validity of this comment.

"received" up into glory" Let’s take a moment and read the passage that records this event.

Acts 1:1-11 "The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2. Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: 4 And, being assembled together with [them], commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, [saith he], ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. 6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. "

That is the validity of the one that we serve! He is all that Paul claims and so much more.

Before I close this section, I would like to give a quick recap of chapter three.

Why are so many pastors leaving their churches and missionaries leaving their fields today?

1. They know they miss the mark set here. Often, I fear, not entirely their own fault. Many times they have never been forced to look at the listing and evaluate themselves before the Lord as to their qualification. When they do, they know that they don’t.

2. Some cannot live on the salary. This may be due to their expensive taste, or it may be to the small salary. Some churches feel that their pastor is a servant and he should suffer for Jesus, so they help him along in his suffering.

Most churches today are doing quite well for their pastors if not too well. Some do all they can and the pastor works on the side. This is not the best, but it works well if needed.

We have a friend that worked for seven years while pastoring. At one point in time he was the only man in the church that was working. The church did not grow to great numbers, but they grew to great spiritual heights.

3. Many are grossly dejected because of the coldness of Christians to Christ’s work and the non-Christians toward the gospel.

I must admit that there were times when I was teaching that I wished college teachers were allowed a Monday morning like pastors, so that they could resign. Some Sundays I wonder why some people get together for church. At times I think it is nothing more than habit.

I was asked to have a meeting in Colo. Springs at a little independent church and the pastor, a friend, asked me to bring a real stirring message. I gave a message on Hell and really preached! There were two people that came to talk to me and one of them was a visitor from Kansas.

My friend said that the message was just what he wanted, but that the church was just not breathing.

That church was judged DEAD by the pastor and the district man of the fellowship of churches that the church was with.

Why are the pastors kids always some of the worst kids? Or are they just viewed as the worst?

1. They are always under a microscope so may be unfairly evaluated.

2. Some pastors neglect their own household. This is why it is good to have a board and pastor that will respond to one another. If the board sees a problem coming, they can advise the pastor.

3. The wife may also be overburdened with church activities to the point that she isn’t able to take proper care of the children. The pastor should be watching this and correct it if need be.

With a list like Paul has set forth here in chapter three maybe you should be praying that your pastor have these requirements and equally important that he stay on the straight and narrow.

We see here in I Timothy three that the church is organized and has leaders. Many Bible study groups are springing up around the country. They are okay on a short term basis, but unless they are formed by a church as disciple groups or are forming into a church they are unscriptural.

This list of qualifications is a stiff standard to live up to.

I personally know of only one church that requires their elders and deacons to consider their qualification before accepting office. There are probably more, but I know of only one that has it as an integrated part of their constitution. They take several months to go through a qualifying process which includes:

a. Letters to neighbors and fellow workers as to their spiritual life.

b. Talks with the spouses by the existing board.

c. A time of consideration of each qualification. This is a study of the word, a time of prayer and a talk with the board, then they move onto the next qualification. This usually takes a week or so per qualification.

d. A time for the congregation to respond with negative and positive comments about the person.

e. A time of congregational prayer.

f. A final talk with the board.

If a person does not qualify, they are asked to work on the areas in which they are lacking and try the process the next year. The candidate and congregation are to accept this postponement as a spiritual step not a failing. To see problems and want to correct them takes maturity.

It is easy to say, yes, I qualify for this, but it is another to seriously consider it before the Lord and your fellow man!

Is there a different standard for the pastor and the average Christian? Is this a standard for only the elders and deacons?

I would submit that this is the standard for every born again believer. Each and every one of us should have these qualifications as part of our goal for our spiritual life.

The term goal is the difference. The list is a goal for most believers, however the list is a requirement for the elders and deacons of the church. These things should be in place when they take office.

When you call a pastor consider these biblical qualifications not other qualifications such as good with youth - good preacher (not required of pastor teacher) - good illustrator - good looking - good dresser.

These qualifications should be in the pastor so that he can be an example to the other Christians so that they can be maturing toward this list.

I am going to list the qualifications followed by a reference. The reference will show that all believers are to be seeking this trait. Most of these references use the identical Greek term, others a closely related term. This is not meant to be a complete list - I am sure many other passages could be listed.

blameless = 1 Timothy 5:7

husband of one wife = Romans 7:22

temperate = Titus 2:2; 1 Timothy 3:11; 1 Peter 5:8

sober-minded = Titus 2:2; Titus 2:5; 1 Timothy 2:9

given to hospitality = 1 Peter 4:9

apt to teach - not used of all Christians

not given to wine = This should be obviously one for all believers

no striker = 1 Peter 3:11

not greedy of filthy lucre = Hebrews 13:5; 1 Timothy 6:10

patient = Philippians 4:5

not a brawler = Titus 3:2

not covetous = Hebrews 13:5

one that ruleth his own house = Ephesians 6:1-4; Proverbs; "rules" husband-wife relationship Ephesians 5:23

not a novice = only usage of this term - however all Christians are called to maturity (1 Corinthians 3:3)

good report to outsiders = 2 Thessalonians 1:10; Romans 12:18


grave = Proverbs call us to honesty; Philippians 4:8; Titus 2:2

not double tongued = only usage of the term John 8:44 speaks of devil being father of the lie.

blameless = 1 Corinthians 1:8

Ephesus was one of the leading cities in the Roman Empire. It was full of sin and corruption. One of the prominent buildings in the city was a temple to the goddess Diana.

Barcley mentions of the temple "One of its features was its pillars. It contained one hundred and twenty-seven pillars, every one of them the gift of a king. All were made of marble, and some where studded with jewels and overlaid with gold" (THE LETTERS TO TIMOTHY, TITUS, AND PHILEMON; Westminster; Philadelphia; 1975; p 89)

A city of such prominence and so deeply embedded in sin, yet God prompted Paul to send his representative Timothy to the little church to set some things straight.

Francis Schaeffer once said in a message "The greatest creativity

ever given is the ability of men, by their choices, to change the course of history."

Now apply that to the situation Timothy found himself in. Apply that to the situation you find yourself in.

We all by our choices are bringing an effect to the civilization in which we live.

We can choose to change the world, or we can choose to feel like we can’t.

We can choose to serve the Lord to the best of our abilities, or we can choose to feel like He can’t use us.

We can choose to leave a mark on this years culture even though we might not have marked last year’s culture!

Personal opinion, this is one of the great failings of the church. We have misused this creativity to build buildings rather than lives, to build reputations rather than affect people, to build followings rather than change history.

I trust you will give some serious thought to these words. "The greatest creativity ever given is the ability of men, by their choices, to change the course of history."

We, the church, have the truth - the world needs the truth. What choices are we going to make to change history for God?

Bibliographical Information
Derickson, Stanley. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 3". "Derickson's Notes on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/sdn/1-timothy-3.html.
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