1 Timothy 3 Lesson

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,” in the following scriptures:

  • 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:

OVERSEERS SHOULD BE

  • Above reproach.
  • The husband of one wife.
  • Temperate.
  • Prudent.
  • Respectable.
  • Hospitable.
  • Able to teach.
  • Gentle.
  • Peaceable.
  • Free from the love of money.
  • One who manages their own household well.
  • People with a good reputation with those outside of the church.

OVERSEERS SHOULD NOT BE

  • Addicted to wine.
  • Pugnacious.
  • 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, as detailed in the following scripture:

“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:

DEACONS SHOULD BE

  • 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.

DEACONS SHOULD NOT BE

  • Double-tongued.
  • 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. Those that sign up for this work deserve respect, appreciation, and support.

We will conclude today’s study on the qualification of church leaders with the following scripture:

“It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.” – 1 Timothy 3:1.

Comments

Dan

In looking at the family qualifications for an overseer it is important to consider the explanation for them: "If a man knows not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?" God knows what is best and let us respect His wisdom in these directions.

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Rosie

I think this discussion is discriminatory against the LGBTQ community and women in general. Why does a leader have to be a husband of one wife? Why does it have to be a man? There are many church leaders that are woman? What about the LGBTQ community? LGBTQ people can't be leaders? The church needs to be more inclusive of its teachings and I think you should be as well. God loves us all. Leaders come from all different backgrounds.

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Dan

In looking at the family qualifications for an overseer it is important to consider the explanation for them: "If a man knows not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?" God knows what is best and let us respect His wisdom in these directions.

Reply
Jmack3388

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.

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