Breaking News
Home > New Testament > 1 Timothy Lesson #9

1 Timothy Lesson #9

RETURN TO SYLLABUS
1TIMOTHY 3:1-7
LESSON #9
THE REQUIREMENTS FOR CHURCH ELDERS

MEMORY VERSE: 1TIMOTHY 3:1

  • CHAPTER 3 BEGINS A SECTION ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION OF A CHURCH AND THE REQUIREMENTS OF THOSE IN LEADERSHIP.
  • READ 1TIM 3:1-7
    • THE FIRST THING WE NEED TO DO IS TO DEFINE SOME TERMS:
      • THERE ARE TWO WORDS IN THE GREEK THAT OFTEN CAUSE CONFUSION: “Presbuteros” FROM WHICH WE GET THE DENOMINATIONAL NAME, PRESBYTERIAN, AND “Episkopos” FROM WHICH WE GET THE DENOMINATIONAL NAME “EPISCOPAL”.
        • THESE 2 WORDS TAKE ON DIFFERENT MEANINGS DEPENDING ON WHICH FORM OF CHURCH GOVERNMENT THE CHURCH UPHOLDS. HOWEVER, WE ARE GOING TO LOOK AT THESE TWO WORDS FROM THE BIBLICAL VIEWPOINT.
          • “Presbuteros”
            • THIS WORD MEANS “OVERSEER”.
            • THE USE IN SCRIPTURE SEEMS TO REFER TO THE PERSON WHO HOLDS THE POSITION OF OVERSEER.
            • THE WORD “ELDER” IS THE EQUIVALENT ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF THIS GREEK WORD.
              • IT REFERS TO THE SPIRITUAL LEVEL OF MATURITY AND IS PAUL’S CONCERN IN 1TIMOTHY.
          • “Episkopos”
            • THIS WORD MEANS “OVERSEER”
            • THE USE IN SCRIPTURE SEEMS TO REFER TO THE OFFICE

THAT A PERSON HOLDS IN ORDER TO OVERSEE THE CHURCH.

            • THE WORD “BISHOP” IS THE EQUIVALENTE ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF THIS GREEK WORD.
            • THE GOAL OF THE OFFICE OR POSITION IS TO OVERSEE THAT THOSE THINGS DONE BY OTHERS IS DONE CORRECTLY.
        • THESE TWO WORDS ARE SOMETIMES USED INTERCHANGEABLY IN SCRIPTURE BECAUSE THEY ESSENTIALLY REFER TO THE SAME ELEMENT OF AUTHORITY, ONE TO THE POSITION AND THE OTHER TO THE PERSON WHO HOLDS THAT POSITION.
        • THE GREEK WORD FOR PASTOR IS “Poimen”.
          • THIS WORD SEEMS TO REFER TO THE WORK OF AN ELDER. THEREFORE THE PASTOR OF A CHURCH IS ALSO AN ELDER.
    • WHAT WAS THE ORGANIZATION OF THE EARLY CHURCH DURING THE TIME OF THE APOSTLES?
      • CHRISTIANITY AT FIRST WAS CONSIDERED A SECT OF JUDAISM. WHEN JUDAISM FAILED TO EMBRACE CHRISTIANITY AND BEGAN TO PERSECUTE CHRISTIANS, A DEFINITE BREAK BETWEEN JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITY OCCURRED. ACTS 15 SEEMS TO BE THE BREAKING POINT. ALL CHRISTIAN CHURCHES WERE INDEPENDENT ORGANIZATIONS MEETING IN HOMES WITH NO FORMAL DENOMINATIONAL AUTHORITY OVER THEM. THERE WERE NO SEPARATE DENOMINATIONS, ALL WERE SIMPLY CHRISTIANS. THERE WAS AN INFORMAL ORGANIZATION, HOWEVER. THE AUTHORITY OF THE APOSTLES WAS CONSIDERED BY ALL CHRISTIANS TO BE AN IMPORTANT GUIDELINE. TRAVELING EVANGELISTS AND MINISTERS MAINTAINED THE COMMUNICATION TIE BETWEEN INDEPENDENT LOCAL CHURCHES. THEREFORE, THE APOSTLES INFORMALLY MAINTAINED THE BROAD UNIFORMITY OF DOCTRINE AND DID SOME OF WHAT DENOMINATIONS DO TODAY. HOWEVER, THE APOSTLES NEVER HAD ULTIMATE AUTHORITY OVER OTHER PASTORS OR OVER OTHER CHURCHES. PAUL NEVER REFERS TO HIMSELF AS A BISHOP OVER GROUPS OF CHURCHES.
    • SEEKING THE OFFICE OF BISHOP OR ELDER: (1)
      • PAUL SAYS THAT SEEKING THE OFFICE IS A GOOD THING.
      • IF A PERSON HAS THE QUALIFICATIONS TO BE AN ELDER, HE SHOULD DESIRE TO SERVE GOD IN THIS WAY.
    • WHAT ARE THE POSITIVE REQUIREMENTS OF A PASTOR OR AN ELDER? (2)
      • THE ELDER MUST BE BLAMELESS.
        • WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
          • REMEMBER WE DISCUSSED HOW THOSE IN AUTHORITY WILL HAVE OPPOSITION. IF YOU ARE IN A POSITION OF AUTHORITY, YOU WILL BE BLAMED FOR MANY THINGS.
          • “BLAMELESS” DOES NOT MEAN YOU WILL NOT HAVE THOSE WHO WILL BLAME YOU. IT MEANS THAT THEIR ACCUSATIONS ARE WITHOUT FOUNDATION.
          • THEREFORE, THE PERSON WHO IS TO BE AN ELDER MUST BE WITHOUT GUILT. THE ACCUSATIONS MUST NOT BE TRUE.
      • THE ELDER MUST BE THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE.
        • THERE ARE MANY REPERCUSSIONS FROM THIS ONE STATEMENT. LET ME BRING UP TWO OF THEM.
          • SOME SAY THAT THIS MEANS A WOMAN CANNOT BE A PASTOR OR AN ELDER IN THE CHURCH.
          • SOME SAY THAT A DIVORCED PERSON CANNOT BE A PASTOR OR AN ELDER IN THE CHURCH.
          • WHAT DID PAUL MEAN?
            • HISTORICALLY, DURING PAUL’S TIME, POLYGAMY AND BIGAMY WERE VERY COMMON PRACTICES. ALL THROUGH BIBLE HISTORY, MULTIPLE WIVES WAS AN INTEGRAL PART OF SOCIETY. THE BIBLE NEVER CONDEMNED THE PRACTICE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT EVEN THOUGH GOD, FROM THE BEGINNING, ORDAINED ONE MAN FOR ONE WIFE. (GEN 2:24). EVEN IN THE NEW TESTAMENT THE PRACTICE IS NOT CONDEMNED, BUT GOD’S IDEAL IS ELEVATED. THAT IS WHAT WE SEE HERE IN 1TIMOTHY. THE ELDER MUST BE THE EXAMPLE OF GOD’S HIGHEST IDEAL.
            • WHAT ABOUT WOMEN PASTORS AND ELDERS?
              • THE EARLY CHURCH HAD WOMEN IN POSITIONS OF AUTHORITY IN THE CHURCH BECAUSE CHURCHES MET IN THEIR HOMES. HOWEVER, THE BIBLE DOES NOT TELL US IF THE EARLY CHURCH ACTUALLY HAD WOMEN AS PASTORS. NONE ARE SPECIFICALLY MENTIONED BY NAME IN THAT SPECIFIC POSITION..
            • WHAT ABOUT DIVORCED PEOPLE AS PASTORS OR ELDERS?
              • THERE ARE SOME CHURCHES THAT MAKE A DISTINCTION BETWEEN WHETHER THE DIVORCE OCCURRED BEFORE OR AFTER THE PERSON BECAME A CHRISTIAN. THEY CLAIM THAT THE SIN OF DIVORCE IS NO DIFFERENT THAN ANY OTHER SIN. IT IS FORGIVEN IF THE PERSON BECAME A CHRISTIAN AFTER THE DIVORCE.
              • THEN THERE ARE SOME CHURCHES THAT MAKE A DISTINCTION BETWEEN WHETHER OR NOT THE DIVORCE WAS JUSTIFIED.
          • THIS AREA OF INTERPRETATION IS OFTEN DETERMINED BY THE DENOMINATION OF A CHURCH, OR BY THE LOCAL CHURCH THEMSELVES.
      • THE ELDER MUST BE VIGILANT.
        • THIS MEANS THAT HE MUST NOT BE EASILY ANGERED. HE MUST BE ABLE TO KEEP HIS TEMPER UNDER CONTROL.
      • THE ELDER MUST BE SOBER.
        • THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ALCOHOL. IT MEANS HE MUST BE SERIOUS MINDED AND CONSIDERS THE OFFICE OF ELDER AS A SERIOUS POSITION.
      • THE ELDER SHOULD HAVE GOOD BEHAVIOR.
        • HE MUST HAVE GOOD CONDUCT. HE MUST NOT DO QUESTIONABLE THINGS THAT PUT THE CHURCH AND THE MINISTRY IN QUESTION. IN OTHER WORDS, HE SHOULD BE A GOOD EXAMPLE OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFESTYLE.
      • THE ELDER MUST BE HOSPITABLE.
        • HE MUST BE GRACIOUS AND WILLING TO ENTERTAIN OTHERS.
        • HE GETS ALONG WELL WITH OTHERS AND MAKES THE STRANGER FEEL COMFORATABLE. HE MAKES PEOPLE FEEL ACCEPTED.
      • THE ELDER MUST BE ABLE TO TEACH.
        • THIS MEANS THAT HE KNOWS SOUND DOCTRINE, AND THAT HE HAS AN ABILITY TO SPEAK PUBLICALLY. ALSO INHERENT IS THE IDEA THAT HE IS TEACHABLE.
      • WHAT ARE THE NEGATIVE REQUIREMENTS OF AN ELDER? (3)
        • THE ELDER SHOULD NOT BE A DRUNKARD.
          • THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT HE MUST ABSTAIN FROM ALL ALCOHOL, THOUGH SOME CHURCHES BELIEVE IT DOES. THE PHRASE “NOT GIVEN TO ALCOHOL” SEEMS TO MEAN THAT HE DOES NOT HAVE A COMPULSION TO DRINK ALCOHOL. EVEN PAUL TOLD TIMOTHY TO DRINK A LITTLE WINE FOR HIS STOMACH. (1TIM 5:23)
      • THE ELDER SHOULD NOT BE A VIOLENT PERSON.
        • HIS TREATMENT OF HIS WIFE AND HIS CHILDREN, WILL TELL YOU HOW HE WILL TREAT OTHER PEOPLE.
      • THE ELDER SHOULD NOT BE GREEDY.
        • THE POSITION OF ELDER WILL MEAN THAT THIS PERSON SOMETIMES WILL NEED TO SPEND HIS OWN MONEY FOR NEEDS IN THE CHURCH. IF A PERSON IS GREEDY HE WILL NOT BE OPEN HANDED TO DO THAT.
      • THE ELDER SHOULD NOT BE AN IMPATIENT PERSON.
        • IN OTHER WORDS HE IS A GENTLE, TOLERANT AND FORGIVING PERSON.
      • THE ELDER SHOULD NOT BE A BRAWLER.
        • THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO LOVE TO ARGUE AND FIGHT. THIS PERSON WILL NOT MAKE A GOOD ELDER.
      • THE ELDER SHOULD NOT BE COVETOUS.
        • HE MUST NOT MAKE AN IDOL OF MONEY. THEREFORE, HE DOES NOT MISUSE CHURCH MONEY.
    • THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE LIFESTYLE OF AN ELDER (4-6)
      • THE ELDER MUST BE ABLE TO RULE HIS OWN HOUSE WELL.
        • IN OTHER WORDS, DOES HE REQUIRE THAT HIS FAMILY LIVE ACCORDING TO BIBLICAL STANDARDS?
          • THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT HIS CHILDREN WILL NEVER BE REBELLIOUS. IT DOES MEAN THAT WHEN THEY ARE, HE KNOWS HOW TO HANDLE IT.
      • THE ELDER MUST NOT BE A NEW CONVERT TO JESUS CHRIST.
        • WHY?
          • HE DOES NOT YET KNOW DOCTRINE AND SCRIPTURE.
        • THERE IS THE CHANCE HE IS NOT MATURE ENOUGH TO HANDLE THE POSITION AND TO GUARD AGAINST THE SIN OF PRIDE.
      • THE ELDER MUST HAVE A GOOD REPUTATION OUTSIDE THE CHURCH AMONG NON-BELIEVERS.
        • IN OTHER WORDS, DOES HE PAY HIS BILLS? DOES HE KEEP HIS WORD? IS HE IN TROUBLE WITH THE LAW? DOES HE GET ALONG WITH HIS NEIGHBORS? ETC.
    • SUMMARY: PRINCIPLES FOR ORDER IN THE CHURCH
    • PRINCIPLE #23

A CHURCH SHOULD APPOINT ELDERS WHO HAVE A VISIBLE ROLE IN THE CHURCH TO SERVE AS GOOD EXAMPLES TO THE PEOPLE OF CHRISTIAN MATURITY

    • PRINCIPLE #24

ELDERS SHOULD BE CHOSEN BASED ON BIBLICAL REQUIREMENTS

      • HOW MANY ELDERS SHOULD A CHURCH HAVE?
        • THE BIBLE GIVES NO NUMBER. THEREFORE, A CHURCH SHOULD HAVE AS MANY AS THE CHURCH SEEMS TO NEED AND WHO FIT THE REQUIREMENTS.
      • WHO CHOOSES THE ELDERS?
        • THE BIBLE GIVES NO METHOD OF CHOOSING ELDERS. SOME CHURCHES DO IT BY GENERAL ELECTION, SOME BY APPOINTMENT BY OTHERS IN AUTHORITY AND RATIFIED BY GENERAL ELECTION, AND SOME ARE APPOINTED BY THE PASTOR. OFTEN THE GUIDELINES OF THE DENOMINATION DETERMINES HOW ELDERS ARE CHOSEN.
      • WHAT ARE THE DUTIES OF AN ELDER?
        • WE WILL CONSIDER THEM IN OUR NEXT LESSON.

HOMEWORK

1TIM 3:8-13

THIS IS A SELF-STUDY. PLEASE DO NOT SEND HOMEWORK ANSWERS TO THE TEACHER FORCORRECTION.

  • APPLICATION FOR 1TIM 3:1-7
    • WE DISCUSSED THE REQUIREMENTS OF AN ELDER, BUT NOT ALL CHRISTIANS BECOME ELDERS. HOWEVER, WE SHOULD ALL DESIRE THE MATURITY OF AN ELDER FOR OUR OWN LIVES. WHICH OF THE REQUIREMENTS DO YOU NEED TO WORK ON IN YOUR LIFE?

  • PREPARATION FOR 1TIM 3:8-13
    • READ THE FOLLOWING SCRIPTURES AND MAKE A LIST OF THE DUTIES OF AN ELDER.
      • 1 THES 5:12-13
      • HEB 13:17
      • ACT 20:28-31
      • JAM 5:14-20
    • READ 1TIM 3:8-13
      • WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR A DEACON IN THE CHURCH?
    • MEMORY VERSE: 1TIM 3:13
    Print Friendly

About Joyce

Joyce
I came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in 1963 giving my heart to Jesus in a Billy Graham crusade in Los Angeles, CA. I have been teaching the Word of God since 1964, Usually two to three adult classes a week.

Check Also

1 Timothy Lesson #3

RETURN TO SYLLABUS1TIMOTHY 1:4-10LESSON #3THE 3 NECESSITIES IN A CHURCH MEMORY VERSE: 1TIM 1:8 PAUL …