1 Timothy 3. Forum Discussion

Qualifications of church leaders

There are literally thousands of books that have been written on the topic of leadership. We understand that for organizations to run well, there needs to be solid leadership in place. This is true in the secular world, and it is certainly true in the church.

In Chapter 3, Paul writes to Timothy to describe what the leadership of the church should look like. In his writing, he describes two different positions:

  1. “The overseer”. This position may also be referred to as bishop, or elder.
  2. The deacon

The overseer would be involved in preaching and teaching, and general overseeing of the spiritual and physical well being of the church. The overseer is often referred to as “shepherding the flock.” To be an overseer is an honorable work. It is also a great responsibility.

Jesus referred to Himself as, “The Good Shepard.”

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” - John 10:11.

“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me.” - John 10:14.

God wants leaders that are in place to serve others, not themselves. He wants leaders in the church to be willing to lay down their lives for others and to be willing to take the time to get to know those that he will be overseeing.

In his letter to Timothy, Paul mentions the following qualifications for the position of overseer:


Above reproach

The husband of one wife





Able to teach



Free from the love of money

One who manages their own household well

People with a good reputation with those outside of the church


Addicted to wine


A new convert

As the churches grew, there were practical needs that needed to be taken care of. In Acts 6:1-6, the apostles saw certain needs of the flock that were not being attended to. Specifically, widows were not receiving their daily serving of food.

To meet the needs of the church, they established the role of deacon.

“Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food.  So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables.  Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.  But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”  The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch.  And these they brought before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them.” – Acts 6:1-6.

Paul listed the qualifications of a deacon as follows:


Men of dignity

Holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience

Men that have been tested

Beyond reproach

Husbands of only one wife

Good managers of their children and their own households



Addicted to much wine

Fond of sordid gain

To serve in a leadership position of the church is a great privilege and a great responsibility. Paul said in 1 Timothy 3:1:

“It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.”

May God bless all of those that have accepted this responsibility! - Amen

Thank you for joining us today. Please join us again tomorrow as we look at 1 Timothy 4 and the importance of being a good example to others. May God’s blessings be upon you until then. Amen



Differences: Spiritual gifts are aided by the Holy Spirit. That's the biggest difference I can thing of.

Similarities: Both should be good listeners. Both should care about those they are leading. Both should be hard working.


In discussing the qualifications of Deacons, Paul writes, "These men must also first be tested." The trials and tribulations that we face should be viewed as assets, not liabilities. They shape us into the people that God wants us to be to lead others to Christ with God's help.