Biblical Eldership - Lesson 4

Qualifications for Elders

Qualifications for elders are listed in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. The lecture ends with a discussion about the importance of hospitality, but we included the additional points in the outline for your information.

John Piper
Biblical Eldership
Lesson 4
Watching Now
Qualifications for Elders

Qualifications for Elders

8. Biblical Qualifications for Elders

Note: The issue of whether elders should be men or women or both is covered in the book, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, edited by Wayne Grudem and John Piper (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1991). We will not take it up in detail here. The position of Bethlehem Baptist Church, expressed in our constitution, is that elders will be spiritual men who aim not to lord it over anyone, but to be servants of the people of God for their upbuilding in the joy of faith. The main text relating to this issue is 1 Timothy 2:11-13.

Qualifications of Elders According to 1 Timothy 3:1-7

3:1 "The saying is sure: If any one aspires to the office of bishop [=elder], he desires a noble task."

Aspiration (oregetai/ epithumei)

At least one way for a man to attain the role of elder/bishop was to aspire to it. In fact, since it is the duty of elders to do their work with gladness and not under constraint or for love of money (1 Peter 5:1-3), this should be thought of as one of the elders' qualifications. This need not exclude the possibility that a man may be sought out and urged to become an elder. But no pressure should be used that would result in an unwilling, half-hearted service.

3:2 "Therefore it is necessary for the bishop [=elder] to be irreproachable."

Irreproachability (anepilempton)

The word is used elsewhere in the New Testament only in 5:7 (where widows are to be without reproach by putting their hope in God and not living luxuriously or sumptuously or self-indulgently) and 6:14 (where Timothy is to keep the commandment irreproachable until Jesus comes).

The word seems to be a general word for living in a way that gives no cause for others to think badly of the church or the faith or the Lord. This tells us nothing about the sort of thing that would bring reproach on the church or the Lord. But, coming at the head of the list it puts a tremendous emphasis on what a person's reputation is. The focus here is not a person's relationship to the Lord, but how others see him. It seems, therefore, that right from the outset, the public nature of the office is in view with its peculiar demands.

3:2 ". . . one woman's husband. . ."

One Woman's Husband (mias gunaikas andras)

The word order emphasizes the word "one". So it is not likely that Paul meant to say that the elders have to be married. There are other words for "married" he could have used. He probably would have put "husband" in the prominent place if that were his intention. Moreover, Paul was not married (1 Corinthians 9:5; 7:7) and he thought singleness was an excellent way to be freer for ministry (1 Corinthians 7:32).

In verse 4, Paul gets to the issue of how well a man manages his household. So the point here probably is not the man's competence as a husband. The point, coming right after irreproachable, is probably one of notoriety. What is this man's reputation with regard to whether he has had one wife or not. It appears that the public standard will be high.

Does this standard mean that an elder

1. May not be a polygamist?

2. May not remarry after the death of his wife?

3. May not be remarried after a divorce?

The main argument against #1 is the use of the parallel phrase in 1 Timothy 5:9 in reference to widows whom the church was enrolling in a welfare and service order. She must be "one man's wife" (henos andros gune). Since polyandry (a woman having several husbands at once) was simply not a practice, this very probably means that the woman had not divorced and remarried.

Moreover the phrase in 5:9 surely did not mean that the widow was excluded from the order if she had remarried when her first husband died. For in 5:14 the younger widows were encouraged to remarry, and it is unlikely that, having said this, Paul would then later exclude them from the widows' order because they had followed his advice.

So #2 is not likely either, in view of what we just saw about the similar phrase in 1 Timothy 5:9 concerning widows whom Paul encouraged to remarry. Moreover, it would be strange if he rejected widowers who had married after the death of their wives in view of Paul's complete endorsement of remarrying after the death of a spouse (Romans 7:3; 1 Corinthians 7:39).

Therefore, the most likely meaning for the standard of "one woman's husband" is that the eldership should be composed of men who have never been remarried after divorce.

3:2". . .temperate. . ."

Temperate (nephalion)

This word is used two other times in the New Testament – in 3:11 of the women (wives of?) deacons; and in Titus 2:2 about older men in general.

It is odd that it is used here, even though in verse 3 the elders must not be addicted to wine (me paroinon). Perhaps here the point is more general —namely, that his temperance extends over other things besides wine. Or perhaps the repetition comes because in verse 3 there begins a list of things which the elder is not supposed to be, and Paul felt obliged to include the problem of wine in the negative list as well as the positive. The standard here is one of self-control and mastery of his appetites. Wine would surely not be the only drink or food that a person can misuse.

3:2". . . sensible . . ."

Sensible, Prudent, Reasonable (sophrona)

The word is used only here and in Titus 1:8 of elders, and 2:2 of older men and 2:5 of younger women.

It is related to sophroneo which means to be of a sound mind – like the demoniac after he was healed (Mark 5:15). The basic idea seems to be having good judgment, which implies seeing things as they really are, knowing yourself well, and understanding people and how they respond. We might say "being in touch with your feelings" or being in touch with reality so that there are no great gaps between what you see in yourself and what others see in you.

3:2". . . dignified . . ."

Respectable, Honorable, (kosmios)

The idea seems to be one of not offending against propriety — a person who comports himself in situations so as not to step on toes unnecessarily.

3:2". . . hospitable . . ."

Hospitable (philoxenon)

An elder should be who loves strangers – that is, who is given to being kind to newcomers and makes them feel at home - a person whose home is open for ministry and who does not shrink back from having guests, not a secretive person.

3:2". . . an apt teacher. . ."

Skilled in Teaching (didaktikon)

This need not mean that the person is very good in front of a group, since not all elders devote all their time to formal teaching or preaching (1 Timothy 5:17). Rather, as Titus 1:9 says, "He must hold firm to the sure Word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."

In other words, he must know Biblical doctrine well and be able to explain it to people. He must be astute enough theologically that he can spot serious error and show a person why it is wrong and harmful.

3:3". . . no drunkard. . ."

Not Addicted to Wine (me paroinon)

The general qualification here would be like the one above under temperance, namely, self-control – not addicted to anything harmful or debilitating or worldly. Freedom from enslavements should be so highly prized that no bondage is yielded to.

3:3". . . not violent. . ."

Not Pugnacious or Belligerent (me plekten)

The point here is that the temper should be under control. He must not be given to quarreling or fighting. There should be a conciliatory bent. His feelings should not be worn on the sleeve. He should not carry resentments or be hypercritical.

3:3". . . but gentle. . ."

Gentle (epieke)

This is the opposite of pugnacious or belligerent. He should not be harsh or mean-spirited. He should be inclined to tenderness and resort to toughness only when the circumstances commend this form of love. His words should not be acid or divisive but helpful and encouraging.

3:3". . . not quarrelsome. . ."

Peaceable (amachon)

This seems almost identical with "not pugnacious or belligerent". In fact, the last three seem to go together as a unit that stresses peacemaking rather than factiousness or troublemaking. This would have great implications about the way he uses his tongue.

3:3". . . not loving money. . ."

Not a Lover of Money (aphilarguron)

He should be putting the kingdom first in all he does. His lifestyle should not reflect a love of luxury. He should be a generous giver. He should not be anxious about his financial future. He should not be so money-oriented that ministry decisions revolve around this issue.

3:4-5"He must manage his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way; for if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how can he care for God's church?"

Leader of a Well-ordered Household (kalos proistamenon)

The home is a proving ground for ministry. He should have submissive children. This does not mean perfect, but it does mean well-disciplined, so that they do not blatantly and regularly disregard the instructions of their parents. The children should revere the father (meta pases semnotetos). He should be a loving and responsible spiritual leader in the home. His wife should be respected and tenderly loved. Their relationship should be openly admirable.

3:6"He must not be a recent convert, or he may be puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil."

A Mature Believer, Not a New Convert (me neophuton)

The "condemnation of the devil" seems to be the condemnation that the devil is under because of his being puffed up. So the new believer, given too much responsibility too soon, may easily swell with pride. The implication is that part of Christian seasoning is a humbling process and a growing protection against pride. We should see evidences in his life that humility is a fixed virtue and not easily overturned.

3:7"moreover he must be well thought of by outsiders, or he may fall into reproach and the snare of the devil."

Good Reputation with Outsiders (Marturian kalen)

This is similar to "irreproachability" in verse 2. But here it is made explicit that the outside unbelieving world is in view. This doesn't mean the world sets the standards, since Jesus himself was rejected by some. What it seems to mean is that a Christian leader should at least meet the standards of the world for decency and respectability, for the standards of the church should be higher.

The snare of the devil is referred to in 2 Timothy 2:26. It seems to involve deception and sin, since to be rescued from it is to repent and come to a knowledge of the truth. How does not being well thought of by outsiders cause you to fall into reproach and the snare of the devil? Could it be that the reproaches of the world would cause a person to try to hide his faults in the church and thus fall into lying or duplicity?

Qualifications Of Elders (Continued) According to Titus 1:5-9

1:6"If any man is blameless. . ."

Blamelessness (anegkletos)

This is virtually the same as "irreproachable". The idea is that no ongoing blame attaches to a man. If he does wrong he makes it right.

1:6". . .the husband of one wife. . ."

See above, One Woman's Husband.

1:6". . .and his children believers, not open to the charge of being profligate or insubordinate."

Honest and Orderly Children (pista, me in kategoria asotias e anupotakta)

The meaning is probably the same as 1 Timothy 3:4-5 and the well-ordered house. There, the children are to be "in subjection with all reverence" (en hupotage meta pases semnotatetos).

Here, the focus is not just on the relationship of the children to the father, but on their behavior in general. They are not to be guilty of the accusation of "wild living" or uncontrolled behavior. And they are not to be "insubordinate."

Does pista mean "believing" (with RSV) or "faithful" in the sense of honest and trustworthy? In favor of the latter would be the use of the word in 1 Timothy 3:11, where women (deaconesses or wives of deacons) are to be pistas en pasin, faithful in all things. Other places in the pastoral epistles where the word seems to have this meaning are 1 Timothy 1:12, 15; 3:1; 4:9; 2 Timothy 2:11; 2:13; Titus 1:9; 3:8.

So the idea seems to be of children who are well bred, orderly, generally obedient, responsible, and reliable.


1:7". . .blameless. . ."

See above on Titus 1:6, Blamelessness.

1:7". . . not arrogant. . ."

Humility (me authade)

This is the assumption behind his not being a new believer, lest he be puffed up. He should be lowly in his demeanor, not speaking much of himself or his achievements. He should count others better than himself and be quick to serve. He should sincerely give God the credit and honor for any accomplishments.

1:7". . .not quick-tempered. . ."

See above on 1 Timothy 3:3, Gentle and Peaceable.

1:7". . .not a drunkard. . ."

See above on 1 Timothy 3:3, Not Addicted to Wine.

1:7". . .not violent. . ."

See above on 1 Timothy 3:3, Not Pugnacious Or Belligerent.

1:7". . .not greedy for gain. . ."

See above on 1 Timothy 3:3, Not a Lover of Money.

1:8". . .hospitable. . ."

See above on 1 Timothy 3:2, Hospitable.

1:8". . . a lover of goodness. . ."

Lover of Goodness (philagothon)

He should love to see good done and love to be involved in doing good. This is more than doing good. This is a bent and love to see it done. A kind of expansive person.

1:8". . . master of himself. . ."

See above on 1 Timothy 3:2, Sensible, Prudent, Reasonable.

1:8". . . upright. . ."

Just (dikaion)

He should care about whether people are treated fairly and should want to see justice in the world at all levels.

1:8". . . holy. . ."

Devout, Holy (hosion)

He should be a person of devotion to Christ with a life of prayer and meditation. He should love worship and have a deep personal relationship with the Lord.

1:8". . . self-controlled. . ."

Self-Control (egkrate)

The focus here is especially on sexual self-control. He should not be in the grip of lust. He should not toy with pornography. He should be utterly faithful to his wife.

1:9 "He must hold firm to the sure Word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."

See above on 1 Timothy 3:2, Skilled in Teaching.

Here the stress is laid on the doctrinal proficiency of the elders.

1. First is stressed his firm hold on the truth. This refers to the subjective relation he bears to the truth. Is it loved (2 Thessalonians 2:10)? Is the person solid and unshakable in his grasp of the truth? Has the truth taken hold of him? The opposite would be a person who is never quite sure of where he stands or a person who thinks that doctrinal definition is generally unimportant or a person who has his learning mainly second-hand from books and teachers and not from the Bible itself, so that his hold is weak.

2. Second is stressed the nature of the word he holds – it is sure and accords with the (apostolic) teaching. This would mean a good grasp of Biblical truth, especially the doctrine of the apostles. The Bible, not other books, must be the foundation of doctrinal knowledge, though other books are very helpful and inspirational.

3. Third is stressed the positive role of teaching this healthy doctrine to others. A person who says, "I know what it means but I can't explain it so others can understand it" would probably not make a suitable elder. The church is in great need of being led by men who not only know, but can explain, Biblical doctrine. They are responsible for the spread of the truth in the church and from the church.

4. Finally is stressed the negative role of confuting doctrinal error. So the elders must be fairly incisive observers of the thought-world of the day. They need to be able to spot the encroachments of secular principles and assumptions. And they need to be able to correct opponents and straying saints (2 Timothy 2:24-26; James 5:19-20).

These Lists of Qualifications Are Not Exhaustive

These lists in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 are not intended to be exhaustive. We can tell that from the fact that they are not the same. Titus mentions piety (hosion) and justice (dikaion) and sexual self-control (egkrate), but 1 Timothy does not mention these in particular. On the other hand, 1 Timothy mentions that the elder must not be a new convert (neophuton), and that he must be respectable (kosmion) which Titus does not mention specifically.

Neither mentions specifically prayer. Neither forbids the elders explicitly from being robbers or liars or gossips, etc. The point is that the lists are not exhaustive. Paul takes numerous virtues for granted and gives these as examples. There may be other expectations implied in the ones listed. We should follow the ones listed and let them be the guide for what others we assume.

  • The purpose of the local church is to function as the body of Christ to advance God's kingdom in the world by displaying God's glory, God's wisdom and the authority and power of Christ. All New Testament churches had elders. We can apply scriptural principles and practical considerations to train, choose and establish a framework for the ministry of elders so they can encourage and lead individuals and the church as whole to live out their faith in the community.

  • God has ordained the existence of officers in the church, some of whom are charged under Christ with the leadership of the church. The leaders of the church should be people who are spiritually mature and exemplary, gifted for the ministry given to them, have a sense of divine urging, and are in harmony with the duly established leadership of the church.

  • Spiritual qualifications are more important than business qualifications. Terms of service should balance the need to have the most qualified leaders and the concern of burnout and stagnation. In the New Testament, other terms translated into English that also refer to the office of elder are bishop, overseer and pastor.

  • Qualifcations for elders are listed in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.

This class is an engagement with the relevant New Testament texts concerning biblical eldership and church governance, and a God-glorifying pursuit of their contextual, Biblical meaning. The outcome is not merely doctrinaire abstraction, not merely culture-confronting complementarianism, not merely a re-thinking of the inherited, historical norms and traditions, but a practical, non-cumbersome outworking of church governance which aligns with Scripture and aims at meeting the myriad needs of the local expression of the body of Christ.

We are thankful for John Piper's willingness to share these lectures with us. Copyright 2014 by Desiring God Ministries. Used with Permission. For more information, please visit www.DesiringGod.org.


Biblical Eldership

Dr. John Piper


Qualifications for Elders

Lesson Transcript


The following message is by Pastor John Piper. More information from Desiring God is available at W WW dot desiring God dot org. Okay, We've got an hour and 15 minutes and we've got two more units. The two units are the function of elders in the New Testament, governing and teaching. And the last one is qualifications for elders. And those will easily fill up this time. And I want to make sure that you feel free to ask questions along the way. Some of you ask good questions in the break time here, and I hope some of those will come out. And I do not presume to have answers for all these questions that you're asking, because while we've worked hard to create a structure in Bethlehem, the implementation of the shepherding ministry is the greatest structural frustration of my life in this church. How to shepherd faithfully the 1200 members. And then there are hundreds of people who come to this church who aren't members. When the small group system that you create partnering with elders to oversee those people, half your people don't go to. So how do you provide crisis care and know the spiritual whereabouts so that they're not into sin or drifting away when they don't participate in the structure that you've provided at a volunteer level like the small group system? And we just don't have good answers to that yet. I don't think you can be satisfied as shepherds who will give an account some day of the souls and you charge by just saying, well, we they don't come and so tough. There needs to be some kind of way where you get at people, you pursue people, according to James five. You pursue them if they're sheep that are drifting away into the thicket or ready to fall over a cliff or about to leave their wife or husband or started to commit some kind of financial inappropriate behavior at work, or they're just not having read their Bibles anymore, they hardly go to church.


Elders are responsible to figure that out and pursue those people. Now, there always will be people like that always in every church. That's clear from Jesus teaching about the parable, the tares and so on. And they'll never be a perfect church. If you if you get too rigorous and say, we're going to have a church where every member is accountable and every member fulfills the responsibility for X number of attendees, the church and the tithing. And this will you will you will either go crazy or you will have a very tiny legalistic church because at least in our culture and I don't think it would be New Testament anyway, you can't make people you just can't make people do all the things they ought to do. And not every one of those things is a discipline able thing. I think discipline really is for the major, gross, flagrant, community known acts. Not every every little shortfall or how many small group meetings can you miss before you're disciplined and how many Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings or whatever can you miss? I just don't know how you would draw lines like that without going beyond the New Testament. So I just say I don't have answers to all these questions about how to implement the care ministry, the shepherding ministry. But just to say and I'll probably say this in 15 years when I'm glad to be done here, we tried hard. We tried hard. I've been here eight years and here I am saying we try, we think about it. We try to put staff in place, we try to put structures in place. We try. But my, my, we have a long way to go. Well, let's try to organize what I think has been implicit already as we talk about the function of elders in the New Testament, namely governing and teaching.


I'll try to show why I think those are the two ways and what governing or oversight involves. The responsibilities of elders are summed up under two heads governing and teaching. Let's take those one at a time and see the texts that point in those directions. First governing First Timothy 517 Let elders who rule pro se status literally stand before just a vague etymology there, but it's used for leadership guidance and authority. Several terms in the New Testament. Those who govern or rule stand before let the elders who govern well. See, that's what we're talking about here. Governance. Well, that doesn't mean have slick, efficient meetings. It means are the people cared for successfully that's governing well means are they mobilized and taught successfully? Are they giving richly? Are they living upright and godly lives? Have you put structures in place that help them do that and call them to account when they don't? Let them be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. So governing here comes from this word. That's where I'm getting that. And in a minute, I'm going to put number two after governing, teaching, and I'll come back and I'll get it here. So within the elders, the Presbyterian Church has distinguished often between teaching elders and ruling elders. And I believe they've always said, I hope they do. I would say that the ruling elders still have to be able to teach because all the elders have to be up to teach, according to first Timothy three two. And they have to be able to correct doctrine. But some do it especially see that word lawlessness. Greek especially. That's me. I, I, that's my specialty. I devote my life to studying the Bible and to teaching it and preaching it.


First Timothy three, four and five. He must manage. It's the same word right there is going on. That's a participle. Different participle. He must li governments rule his household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way. For if a man does not know how to manage same word his own household, how shall he care for God's flock? But we'll talk more about this when we get to qualifications and ask, okay, how successful does he have to be? This kid ever mouth off at him is you have to get off the council. You know, if his kid skipped school one day or how bad can a teenager get before his dad shouldn't be an elder? Not an easy question. I've been through pain with my kids and shared it with those who should know. And we wept together and cried together. And and. And now things are good. But I've said I don't say it to my family because I think it would be too big for them to carry. But I've said to myself, my kids and my wife can destroy my ministry according to this verse. The point here is simply of the reason for looking at a man's family is to see if he can govern. Same word. Can you manage your household? Do you know how to lead a wife and children to the Lord in devotions? If you can't lead devotions at home, you're not going to be an elder in this church. I hope I don't check up on the elders real carefully, but we do remind each other around our council. How is it going at home or even just slip into careless activity if you can't gather a few children and a wife and lead them in prayer and sing a song and pray together and teach your children how to pray, for example, it's just a piece of it.


How in the world are you going to lead a huge family to God in prayer and in the word? So governing, overseeing or managing would be another word for it. They're just continuing texts now that point towards governance. The duty of elders to oversee or shepherd. The flock implies a governing or leading function x 2028 beyond guard for yourselves and for all the flock among which the Holy Spirit has made you. Overseers to shepherd, overseers to shepherd. You see, this is so crucial that we don't see the power dimension and the authority dimension and the oversight dimension as something that gives you a right to lord it over others, but rather to shepherd shepherds care for sheep. They rescue sheep, they feed sheep, they comb the wool of sheep. They stay out late at night to protect the sheep from wolves. Shepherd the Church of God, which he purchased with his own blood. First Peter, five, one and two. Therefore, I exhort the elders among you shepherd the flock of God. First Thessalonians 512. We beseech you, brethren, to respect those who labor among you and are over you. There's that word again. Price to me is stolen over you. That is govern you rule you stand before you manage you in the Lord and admonish you. So I'm simply pointing out here there are leaders in this church who do this sort of thing. No reference to elders in this verse. I know that. But the function of the leader is governing. And the natural assumption is that the leaders are elders that Paul had appointed Codex 1423. Last text on governing. And then we turn to teaching. Hebrews 1317. Obey your leaders and submit to them. For they are keeping watch over your souls as men who will have to give an account.


Obedience and submission implies a role of leadership and governance. And again, the reference is probably to the elders, though the leaders are not described as elders explicitly. So my simple point there is there are these texts that say the leaders of the church have a governing, overseeing, leading, managing role. That's not just to be done by the congregation as a whole. If you have a tiny little house church, it may be that the distinctions are almost negligible because everybody knows everybody and they all the meetings are everybody together. But once you broaden out to just, you know, 30, 40, 50 people, you immediately have to have somebody coming to the top who tends to organize, manage, think through, solve problems, make suggestions and lead. I'd love to do a seminar right after this one. On on just it's the nature and the dynamic of leadership because. I think in a healthy church, the Saints love to be led well, They love to be led well, led with prayer, led with the word led with humble service. They don't want bumblers making stupid decisions or passive pastors and elders who just never dream any dreams, ever dreamy dreams. What we do know they were going to do. I was going to warn people of Christ. How are we going to do missions here? How are we going to train people? You guys got any ideas? Do something that makes the church real sick and just sad that that's a much greater danger than to have visionary leaders who are just, you know, trumpeting vision and then effectively recruiting the troops to follow. When does someone stop drinking? When does somebody else's ship over me? And like, if I move drives a missionary for ten years or I was a part of a church, I moved to another church, or I was part of an organization where I had leaders.


And now I'm not so much influenced by that organization anymore. Do the people that are stop being my elders or if I left Bethlehem in five years, would would you stop being my elders or would it be ten years or. That's a good question. The question is, if you're in a local church, then you're plugged in. And therefore there are a group of men to whom you look as those whom you will try to kill off of and submit to their leadership and their authority. What if you leave, leave in mission or leave in for vocational or leave to go to another church? I'm not sure just what kind of leavings you have in mind. At what point does that leadership and that governance and that authority and that maybe fathering mentoring dimension stop. It's probably ambiguous and certain kinds of leavings, but I think it's every one we're taught to plug in significantly to the local church where they are. That would be the point where you shift your your you're leaning on leadership. As long as a person is a member here, we should feel the responsibility. But we shouldn't abuse membership by stopping coming or leaving and start go to, say, Spring Lake Park Baptist and leave your membership here for three years. That's a mistake. And that that creates the ambiguity of your kind of question. Who are my elders? Well, it should be Spring Lake Park. Now, of course, there's a transition period, whether you move to Colorado or where you go to California and New York or whatever, there's a transition period where you may look for a church and find a body of believers and then fold in. And sometimes you're not sure. And so take a year.


And during that term it's ambiguous. But I think we should you should feel free to write letters back or make calls back and say, I'm having trouble finding a church and I'm kind of drying up out here and would you pray for me? And we should feel some sense of responsibility. Yes, we pray for you. And whatever little clusters of small group you were in, they still care about their. For example, when Noel and I left Lake Avenue Congregational Church in 1971, where we had been plugged in for three years, that's all. But we really plugged in. I taught seventh grade boys, I taught ninth grade boys. I taught one Sunday school class. I had a disciple relationship with senior pastor for about six weeks. We plugged in with all our might during seminary and to this local church. All right. Then we decided we're going to Germany for three years now in Germany, we never joined a church. That church and one man in particular on the Council of Elders wrote me almost monthly, hoping that I would come back there someday and let them do whatever ordination might follow. And that resulted in my being ordained at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in 1975, four years later. So he cared for me and others that we had befriended. But when we left, they all prayed and said and they gathered around us and said, May the Lord open up a structure for you into which you're enfolded of small groups for nurture. And God answered his prayers incredible ways. So that was kind of like a missionary situation, I think temporary. But ideally, I should have joined a church in Munich for three years. There was language problems, there was culture problems. There were other things.


I just kind of left my membership there. So I would say, let's try to teach our people that if they change churches, they should change membership and do it as quick as they can. And if you jump from church to church because your job moves you every six months or so, join a new church every six months. Membership does not have to be a long thing. It means I'm here and I want to be responsive to you. I want you to teach and care for me. Love me while I'm here. I'm part of this body and I'm here as long as I'm here now. The question of governance for I go to teaching. What about on on the flip side of that, someone who is maybe. Running from spiritual authority that's being. Yeah. Elders have any responsibility. Yeah, they do. The question is, on the flip side, if somebody is running from spiritual authority trying to get away from the church or get away from anybody in their face or in their life because of the sins in their lives or the mess of their marriage or or the habits they're in or whatever. Do the elders have responsibility? And the answer is absolutely yes. James five If you should pursue the sinner and pluck them and save them from the flames. You leave the 99 and you go after the one. That's what the shepherd does and that's what we're not as good at. I would like to see I just tip my hand here. I would like to see in the year 2000, a new staff member at this church whose main job would be called something like pastoral care slash congregational care, something we lift certain things from David Livingstone is does everything and we install that.


And they say your job is to create structures and oversee structures of our members. So that, number one, we know the spiritual whereabout of everybody who's on this covenant membership list as a huge job, but otherwise we're just playing games with membership. I just thought of somebody last night, Noel said to me, We're so-and-so. I said. Huh? I haven't seen him for a long, long time. I would tell you they were. But I don't want to. And I know. But now that I'm a real busy person, do I call all those people up? I mean, there's so many like that. We need a structure and then we need structures for discipline. Those who are running and others who just stumbled and fallen in a loving embrace would bring them back or encourage them. Get your membership changed, for goodness sakes. It's been five years and your goal is for the church and you're functioning there. Stop this negligence. And there were a couple of other things, but we as elders, we are so busy and so many things on our plate. We push that to the back over and over and over again to our own discredit that we don't follow through on knowing where the spiritual whereabouts of our of our members, our covenant members. Here's the second function of elders. There's the general management governance oversight, and it's done mainly through teaching, not just formal teaching and classes and pulpit, but word word use in counseling settings, word use, and small group settings. The use of the Bible in powerful, effective, convicting winsome ways. Ephesians 411 Pastors and teachers are pictured as one office of the pastor, whom we have identified as an elder, has the responsibility of teaching patience for 11. He gave sermons, apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers.


So the teaching function there seems to be enfolded right into the pastoring dimension, and that's to equip the saints for the work of the ministry to the building of the body of Christ. We should constantly have a view, use the Word of God to equip saints to do ministry, use the Word of God to equip saints, to do ministry. The thinking of mobilization all the time. First Timothy three to the overseer must be out to teach or able to teach. We've seen that the overseer and elder of the same office. This qualification is not included in the list of qualifications for deacons. First Timothy 517. We've seen already those who labor in preaching and teaching the elders. And then I think I've said already, but say it again, not that all have to be able to teach not, not that all don't have to be able to teach. They do, but some labor that is, they devote more time and energy to it, perhaps earning their living by it. Each elder is vested with the right to teach and exercise authority in the church and so must have the qualifications for it. And then Titus 19i read to show that it may not necessarily mean an upfront, charismatic kinds of gift in communication, but he must hold firm the sure word as taught. So there's a firm hold. So when you're interviewing these men, you try to discern, does he have a firm hold here on the sure word as taught? Can he get his head into the head of the apostles? And does he have a firm hold on it, or does he sound like he doesn't really know what he believes? And does he sound fragile so that if a strong, charismatic voice leading in another direction came along, he would just kind of go flop and fall into line with that new teaching that, well, he's not going to make an elder if that's if he lacks firmness so that he may be able to give instruction.


Now, that may be private, like Priscilla and Aquila with with the palace in his house, took him aside, set him straight to give instruction in sound doctrine, and also to confused those who contradicted. So along come people walk up to me a young man. Three weeks ago he walked to the front and he says, I was converted in Korea about five years ago and I knew nothing. And I went to the church that I was sent to, and now I think the church was a cult. And he was referring to the Church of Christ, that branch of it that views baptism as necessary for justification and who thinks all other baptisms are defective, such that the only Christians belong to their church and so on. And he's in torment. He says, I need somebody help me, because I'm not sure what I believe about this. Our elders should be able to help all of. Not all elders need to be able to do public preaching a conclusion on this point. The function of elders may be summed up under to his teaching governing. They are the doctrinal guardians of the flock and the overseers of the life of the church responsible to God for the feeding and care and the ministry of the People. The question about function application question I want to raise here before I turn to the qualifications of elders. David, How do you guard parents? Yeah. The question is how do elders guard the time for study and meditation and prayer while undertaking the necessary oversight and governance of the church, which will necessarily involve some pretty practical things? Because while everyone in this room would say, Why in the world are elders talking about parking till midnight? Don't you have a parking committee? Can you have some deacons to do that? And the answer is we may have made a mistake that night.


The other answer is it takes a lot of work to put in place the kinds of structures that make sure that things like parking and finance happen or, say, greeting ministries on Sunday morning, or building a new building which reflects the values of this church, which we are on the brink of doing at old sanctuary, there is going to fall down if we don't take it down. And the the the way that ministry intersects with practicality forces, governors to do some of that overlap. And so I hear the problem that you're raising, and I would say we need to encourage each other and help each other to be students of the word. We need to tell each other, make sure you get up early enough or stay up late enough, or carve out a time in the middle of the day when you are in the word and meditating. Then the elders who are lay elders and have jobs. Besides all this governing need to say to those of us whom they pay to do this full time, you be sure that you do the hard work so you understand this issue, this complex issue, say a foreknowledge and God's foreknowledge or baptism or something, and write things for us to read. You know, do do help us because we can't read all those books. We can think we can read our Bibles. But there's a distinction of balance here. So the especially if first Timothy 517 and you're one of those especially people your elders need to say, David, we will help you and your deacons need to say we will help you because we want you to spend X amount of time in prayer and in study so that you can feed us in our various settings in this council on Sunday and whatever.


And probably the way it's actually going to the rubber is going to meet the road is for you to be constantly in touch with those people saying, I'm really frustrated because I'm getting these calls or I've got to do this and this. And I'm not. I've read a book in six months. Do you think that's healthy for us long term? And they'll hopefully say that's not healthy long term, we got to help you. And so then you devote till midnight working out some structure that figures that out. In my case, my my sort of week and job description and allocation of energies has changed every couple of years. The whole time I've been here, as the church has grown, there have been more staff or less staff. There's been different challenges. You know, they'll come a season where there's a building season and we just say, okay, 1996, we're going to raise $1.1 million here. John, you with us? You're going to help us. That means back burner to the books. You got to be in every small group, about 25 of them for season of three months here. I say, All right, give myself to that for these three months, but don't make me do this forever, okay? And there's seasons in your life where you you make adjustments. Right now, I'm in a season in my life has taken on a form that's totally different than any of yours. I'm sure in the way I apportion my week and the amount of time I give to this or or that. So just be flexible and grow with your with your church and and be open and talk with those deacons and elders to make sure that for some of you in the especially category, the time for prayer and and study is being carved out that's different from the others all elders don't have to spend the same amount of time in study and prayer, but some should be especially doing it.


A husband, a job and a wife and three kids is very busy. Right. Maybe it's good advice and it's right in family at home. That's right. That's why that's the bar. It's very good. The comment was simply made that this qualification, which is about who we're going to turn to now of being able to manage your household well means that in the actual nitty gritty, slogging it out, if a man has a wife who needs attention to three, four or five kids who need a father and need to be with him on the floor sometime during the day playing together. Plus, he has a job at church. Plus he has a job at work. He's got to figure that out. And if he can figure that out, then he might be fit to help the church figure out her spiritual needs as well. Okay. Last section with 40 minutes to go. Biblical qualifications for elders. And here. The issue of whether elders should be men or women or both is covered in the tbls seminar on Biblical manhood womanhood. I know if you're from another church, that doesn't help you any because you're not free to be here probably on Wednesday nights. But if you are free, the next two Wednesday nights is when I'm gonna be tackling this. This Wednesday, this coming Wednesday night will be winding up the marriage dimension and then we'll be taking the the function of whether women should be elders and why or why not. So I'm not going to deal with that here. I'm just going to assume that there are men, the elders are men, and ask what kind of men they should be. Qualifications of elders, according to first committee 3127. The saying is sure, if anyone aspires to the office of Bishop or Elder, he desires a normal task, so aspiration becomes significant.


I just put the little Greek words over here for any of you who wants to look at those, at least one way for a man to attain the role of elder is to aspire to it. In fact, since it is the duty of the elders to do their work with gladness and not under constraint, or for the love of money. First Peter. Five. One, two, three. This should be thought of as one of the elders qualifications. Nobody should be an elder who doesn't want to be an elder because. First Peter five says let him do his job eagerly. Then if you can't do it eagerly, you should take a break. Now, that may be an overstatement because everybody has seasons of discouragement and I wouldn't want to resign every time I went into one of them. So but if that becomes chronic, I probably have to step back, ask for sabbatical or leave of absence or something that I haven't loved the ministry for six months, year or whatever. I just slugging it out every day. I hate everything I do. I'm just tired of this thing. If I get to that point, I need to be honest my elders and say, You better give me a break or send me packing because I'm not doing anybody any good, probably. But don't do that. If you go into that kind of darkness for a week or a month, give yourself some room there to get over whatever it is that might have brought that on. So aspiration, I think, is important. No pressure should be used that would result in an unwilling half hearted service. Chapter three, verse two. First Timothy. Therefore, it is necessary for the bishop to be irreproachable. So irreproachable. So let me just explain to you what I'm what you're looking at here.


You're looking at I adapted a little bit in preparation for this class, but not much. This comes from a document that we produced before we chose our first elders, 1991 and 92, and we made an effort as a council of deacons on their way to becoming elders as to what each of these words meant so that we would know there's 15 of them in this and 17 of them some overlap in Titus, and we want to know, Well, we got it. We can't just use words. We got to get it meaning hear what's going on so that when we interview guys, we can ask them about meaning and application in their lives. So that's that's what you're looking at here is our effort to do that. And we'll try to make that document available eventually. It needs to be cleaned up a little bit, but we will make it available elsewhere in the New Testament. The word is used this on a Plympton used only in five seven where widows are to be without reproach by putting their hope in God and not living luxuriously or sumptuously or self indulgently. And Chapter 614 where Timothy is to keep the commandment irreproachable till Jesus comes. The word seems to be a general word for living in a way that gives no cause for others to think badly of the church or the faith or the Lord. This tells us nothing about the sort of thing that would bring reproach on the Church of the Lord. But coming at the head of the list is interesting. This is first after aspiration. Coming at the head of the list. It puts a tremendous emphasis on what a person's past verse, a person's reputation is. The focus here seems to be not a person's relationship to the Lord, but how others see him.


It seems, therefore, right from the outset, right from the outset, that the public nature of the office is in view with its peculiar demands. So I'm arguing there that a person who is persistently behaving in ways that bring reproach from outside upon the gospel or the Church or of Christ, you need to look long and hard as to whether he's fit to be an elder. Now, you've got to be careful here, don't you? Because Jesus had enemies. And who doesn't have enemies if he's being a righteous person? Paul said. If you decide to live a godly life, you will be persecuted. Well, I'll tell you, when people persecute Christians, they say nasty things, they reproach them. So being above reproach can't mean never having an unbelieving person speak an evil word against you. When Paul says if you want to be godly, they're going to speak against you. So you got to be discerning as a counsel here as to whether the stumbling blocks that this guy is putting in the way of other people are unwarranted stumbling blocks. Is he bringing reproach that he didn't say it that way. If you didn't do that, they wouldn't respond that way. So each one of these things is going to be tough and there's going to be a way you can misapplying it and the way you can apply it correctly. And so these lists are by no means exhaustive and they are not in themselves without ambiguity. I'll I'll say at the end and we may not get to the end. I'm sure we will get to the end as I look at the clock. But let me just say now, these are not exhaustive list. You know what's missing entirely from both the lists of Titus and Timothy? There's not a word about prayer.


Not amazing. Nothing about don't steal, don't kill, don't lie. Although there be implications. These are not exhaustive lists, so above reproach don't cause unnecessary criticisms from outside to arise to Christ. This is the controversial one. We could spend all the rest of our time on this. It probably wouldn't be wise to do it. We've touched on it. One woman's husband, husband of one woman. One woman. Husband. Me. US. Goodnight. US. The word means one woman. Man. One woman. Man. And the one is foremost. The word order emphasizes the the word one. So it's not likely that Paul meant to say that the others have to be married. But if they're married, they should be married to one woman. There are words for married he could have used. Could have said they need to be married. The word order would probably have put Husband in the prominent place if that were his intention. Moreover, Paul was not married and he thought singleness was an excellent way to be freer for ministry. First Corinthians 732. That would be odd if his counsel in First Corinthians 732 that he wished all people to be single like he was Mitt. And none of you can be elders if you're totally devoted to the Lord. It would be strange. So I just don't I can't bring myself to think that's what he meant in verse four. Paul gets to the issue of how well a man manages his household. So the point here is probably not the man's competence as a husband that's dealt with later. The point probably coming right after irreproachable is one of notoriety. What is this man's reputation with regard to whether he has been has had one wife or not? It appears that the public standard will be high.


Does the standard mean? Here are the three options that I'll lay out for you that the elder one may not be a polygamist. Two may not remarry after the death of his first spouse. Three may not be remarried after divorce, which is the meaning of the elder. Must be the husband of one man. Now, this is very controversial. Talk to some of you already. And and I know how painful this can be. I'm sure there are divorced people in this room. And you're wondering if you're going to wear the big D letter on your shirt for the rest of your life and be a second class citizen. Some of those would be the feelings that begin to crop up inside a person who's divorced and remarried. So let's walk our way through this. I'll give you my reasons for arguing for this third position, which is what I think it means. The main argument against number one, namely polygamists, is the use of the parallel phrase one woman man in first Timothy five nine, in reference to widows whom the church was to enroll in a welfare service order. She must be one man's wife. One man's wife. Just exactly the same words. Reverse to apply to a woman. There was one woman. Man here. It's one man. Woman applied to the widows. Since polyandry. That is. A woman having several husbands at once was simply not a practice. This very probably means that the woman had not divorced and remarried. Not that she wasn't a polyandry. So since the since the phrase in relation to women cannot refer to polyandry, it likely does not to refer to polygamy for the men. That's my that's my main argument against polygamy being addressed there. Now, by implication, I think polygamy is wrong.


I mean, I think it's wrong from Jesus teaching that every man should have his own wife. And from Genesis 224 and elsewhere is it's something to be moved beyond. I just don't think that's what Paul is addressing here, because the phrase doesn't refer to that in relation to women. But now I have not defended this position yet that I think it means she should not have been remarried after divorce while her husband was still living. Why do I think that? Where do I get that? The phrase in five nine surely did not mean that the widow was excluded from the order. If she had remarried when her first husband died. Why? Why? Four in 514. The younger widows. So now you have, say, a woman, 25 and her husband's killed at war or something like that. The younger widows were encouraged to remarry. Paul said, I want you to remarry. He didn't like what became of these younger women when they were gabbing about from house to house, leaning on so many different people. They got into trouble, so he encouraged them to remarry and it is unlikely that having said this, Paul would then later exclude them from the widows order because they had followed his advice so he wouldn't get that. So he says to young women who lose their husbands remarry, This is good for you. I want you to remarry. Don't don't stay single if you can. And then here's their 65. They lose their husband. They don't have any support. No federal government can take care of them. It's going to be the church or nobody. And so they have this system of of widows enrolling. And Paul's is sorry you had a second husband, You're excluded. And she said, Well, you told me to have a second husband.


So I, I don't think one woman, one man woman means either polyandry or remarrying after the death of the husband. Well, what's left to refer to then, in my answer is divorce and remarriage. And if that's what it means for the woman, I'm inclined to think that's what it means for the man. Same phrase. That's my basic argument. Yeah. And we use it in. Yeah. Good. Good point. Good point. And what would you do if I was going to talk about. Wondering if you want to talk about what if you were going to talk, if you would have said never. Is there a reason? What Did you know that you didn't use this one? Which would. Good question. I don't know what the Greek phrase for polygamy is, but he certainly could have said not have to watch it once or something. But. The answer. Let me pose the question again for the tape here. There is a word for divorce and Jesus uses it to to forsake or to separate from. And why didn't he use that here if he meant to teach clearly that a divorced and remarried person is meant. Why this phrase? One woman man? And I hear the force of that argument because I used it just a minute ago. The phrase probably I mean here I'm just thinking out loud, probably is as broad as it is one woman man or the husband of one woman to cover a broad range. In other words, it's general enough to say there are different ways you can become a two woman man. You can become a two woman man to polygamy. You can become a two woman man two Inappropriate remarriages that I use inappropriate because there are some remarriages that are not like after death.


And you can become a two woman man by having secret affairs on the side and not have a divorce. And so he's he said there's a fundamental issue here of the kind of man that should be there with regard to how he relates to a woman. And the answer is he better relate to a woman biblically and one woman. Now, here there are there are different ways that very godly and very careful scholars come down. For example, we referred to Believers Chapel in Dallas when, as Louis Johnson's wife died, this was Johnson main teaching elder in that church for years. When his wife died, he resigned because he was no longer the husband of one wife. That's a very literal interpretation, right? Very narrow. So and I love, as Louis Johnson teacher, great scholar, great thinker, but I say, wow, Dr. Johnson, really? You want to give it that meaning? That's really tight. I don't understand. It sounds like what you're saying is they will. The church. Right. It sounds like I don't know what else to. I don't know what else it might mean, but. Yeah. No, no. It's not that you won't help them. There's. There's an order here. This is. You're putting your finger on it. Really? I mean, this. I've asked myself this question. I want to clarify in my mind. I don't want to write and I'm with you. I just want. I want to know what he means to the question he's asking is, am I saying that a woman who divorces her husband, say at age 35 repents inappropriately, whatever that may be, she she just leaves, doesn't like him anymore, has a boyfriend, there's a divorce. Repents 15 years later meets a godly man. She marries and turns 65.


Her husband dies and she applies for this order. This order that is, there's some kind of group going on here because there's qualifications you're supposed to meet to belong to it. And Paul says she shouldn't belong to that doesn't mean she can't be said, she can't be housed, can clothed and cared, cared for. But but there seems to be some kind of order here, like a like a nunnery, you know, What do you call that? Not monastery convent. Yeah, like that. And. And you say, well, whoa. That you mean then that something in her past way back when will keep her out of this convent or out of this order of, of women and posted. Yes, I think so which is why I would on the flip side apply the same thing to a past issue in an elder's life. They many people will say, Oh, that's a long time ago. The man it isn't what happened isn't what he's like today. That counts for the elder ship, I say, Well, yes, mainly. But when it comes to the issue of what his marriage track record is, there's something about and here I'm giving you my bottom line thinking on this. And I, I admit to varying interpretations here. And we as a council have had varying interpretations on this. But the bottom line seems to be, if you ask why, Paul, would you exclude a godly man who's put behind him an illegitimate, divorced and remarried 40 years ago experience, a dramatic transformation has proved himself for 30 years a God fearing, praying, upright. Holy man, why would you exclude him from the council, for goodness sakes? And I think the answer would be because the marriage issue is the one thing that is when it comes to the public overall representation to the world.


And the church abides if you want, you want elders who embody in their marriage track record the ideal as much as possible. And if that's not his reason, then I don't have one there. And then back there is this exclusion that every time. Now he does well. Okay. Very good question. Let me repeat it. Pastor Joe is abandoned by his wife, Sally, in an affair. She leaves sheep. She takes all the legal initiatives she can. She divorces, she remarries. Is Joe disqualified from the pastorate? I think I would say not necessarily if he doesn't remarry. I put it carefully like that, because you've got these other issues of irreproachable ability and ideal and some of these others manage your household well. So whatever church is going to call him or keep him must be profoundly satisfied through rigorous efforts that he didn't fall short of those and helped bring about this. Demise of the marriage, that it wasn't because of a failure to manage his household. Well, it is a scary and sad thing, is it not, that a woman who forsakes the faith can hold a man hostage and ruin his ministry like that and hold that over it? I mean, Noel could do that to me. I mean, I tremble at that thought that she could go crazy in her head, forsake the faith and say to me, Give me all the kids or whatever and etc., and I'm bringing you down. I bring you down. I'm going to ruin your ministry. She could do that. So go ahead. As I was wrestling. That's very helpful. And I was just thinking that that would be such an. Yeah. Like, Yeah. Right. So the point being made here is that if something in a marriage not owing necessarily to your own defect makes it inappropriate for you to remain as pastor or elder, that may not be thought of, mainly in terms of ruining a ministry, but opening another ministry by saying it right.


And that that new calling, while it might be incredibly painful to leave the one you leave it for reasons that simply honor the text. You know, when you read the Old Testament, for example, and they say certain kinds of defects in body kept you from being a priest, you said, whoa, that seems unfair that the man who's had an infection or something is wrong with his body or something and he can't serve as a priest. Say, our American idea of fairness is is Oh, no, no. It's his heart that counts. And yet there might be these wider issues at stake that are not a comment on his own heart, but rather are a way of preserving something at the corporate public level that is healthy for the church to preserve. One more comment on this. Yeah. Whoever had their first. 20 years ago. I was find it like this. That's exactly the kind of question we have to answer. Does a past suppose you were worse than a drug culture? 20 years ago, you killed, you were in prison, you stole. You hear people breathing out murders and threats. Does that hang on the same way I'm suggesting that your marriage state hangs on, and I don't think so, because we'd all be excluded. I think if that were the case, anybody who grew up in an unbelieving atmosphere and did any kind of sin would be excluded. I don't think all those. But your your present marriage situation is, according to Jesus, defined in its appropriateness by what's happened in the past as well. So you take Luke 16, 18 and Mark ten and and Matthew five and 19. Whether or not your marriage now is adultery or not, he says, has to do with how this thing came to an end or whether you left a woman or not.


So there's the difference. I think that the present marriage is a reflection of something either good or bad. Presently, right now, that is owing to the marital situation in the past. What about the role model? The question is, what about Jeremiah if his wife, I don't remember the details here, abandoned him. He continues to be a josiah. You said Damascus. I said I'm forgetting here. Well, yeah. They were told to walk naked for three years, too. There's some strange things going on here in these pathetic. Go get yourself a prostitute for a wife. And I think the Lord makes exceptions to make some really wild statements at times. I wouldn't want to build on on those prophetic, symbolic activities, any normative church activity. Now, I'm kind of we got 10 minutes to go here and we really could spend the rest of it on this issue of divorce, remarriage. We have a statement on this, a statement on divorce and remarriage. And I have a paper about divorce, remarriage. And our counsel does not have one mind about what divorces and remarriage are appropriate and inappropriate. We never have been able to come to a consensus on that. We have worked on it for years. But back when we spent four years working on it, we didn't. So we drew up a paper that was the closest thing we could get that we agreed on and we produced that. And we make that the guidelines for discipline the church, not my more narrow view, but what we could come to a consensus on is now what functions is how we govern. And then we decided that at the level of leadership we would draw a fairly narrow circle so that an elder should not be divorced and remarried here.


Others of you, let's just face it, that phrase husband of one wife is not crystal clear. I'm not going to go on a warpath against any of your churches that interpret that in a way that is less narrow than we do. It's just you make an effort, you do the best you can contextually. You try to bring in Jesus teachings about what you thought he meant about the kinds of divorces and remarriage that were appropriate or inappropriate. You talk about the I think the cultural milieu is it affects me and what I'm willing the risks I'm willing to take these days and who I will marry and not marry. I think just somebody in our wild eyed litigious divorce culture needs to stand up and take a strong view about the preciousness and the sanctity of marriage, even if not many people agree. Those kinds of things figure in. So maybe we've said enough that you can see the difficulty of it. You see where we are and you hear me say, you're going to have to it really it really will not matter in the end if every pastor in this room comes to a strong conviction and you can't get anybody follow you, well, you're going to have to go back to the drawing boards anyway, because if you're going to lead a people, you're going to have somebody following you. It won't do any good to have a view and nobody in your church will submit to the view. You have to leave the church. Are you going to fill it with some compromises? And you've got to decide what are the issues in which we're going to compromise and the issues which we're not going to compromise. And this is one I am I am going to compromise on just because at the level of leadership, a phrase like a one woman man is not lucid enough for me to be sure that the narrow circle we drew around it is the only legitimate one to draw.


You just have to draw one and agree on it as a church and get the biggest consensus you can get. And if that feels too big for your conscience, you'll have to leave. So that's enough. Maybe on that, take ten more minutes on a few of these others. He needs to be temperate. It says. What's that mean? The word is used two other times in the New Testament. In 311 of the women deacons and in Titus, two to about older men. It's odd that it is used here, even though in verse three the elders must not be addicted to wine. May Parowan are not too much wine. Perhaps here the point is more general, namely that his temperance extends over other things besides wine. Or perhaps the repetition comes because in verse three, following there begins a list of things which the elder is not supposed to be, and Paul felt obliged to include the problem of wine in the negative list, as well as the positive list. At any rate, I think temperate is broader here than just wine. This needs to be a person who is not given to excesses in things that would be harmful to him. Coffee. Sugar over eating, etc. The standard is one of self-control mastery of his appetites. Wine would surely not be the only drink or food that a person can misuse. Next qualification is called sensible soft fruit. Not in Greek. Sensible, prudent. Reasonable. The word is used in those places. It is related to suffering, which means to be of sound mind like the demonic after he was healed in Mach 515. The basic idea seems to be having good judgment, which implies seeing things as they really are. Knowing yourself well and understanding people and how they respond, we might say being in touch with your feelings as they say or used to say, or being in touch with reality so that there are no great gaps between what you see in yourself and what others do.


This is a this idea of self-knowledge and the knowledge of others with a sober, wise, prudent, reasonable assessment of circumstances and persons. This is something you can't begin to quantify. This is why you have to have remarkably mature people in the interview process to try to discern this. Or as you watch men in the church over the years. Do they rise to the surface as men who, when they stand up at a business meeting, when they say something, you say that was insightful, that was helpful, that was balanced, that that reflected an insight into human nature and the dynamics of this moment. He didn't stick his foot in his mouth over and over again. He pulled people's feet out of their mouths and they didn't even mind it. What a gift. He should be a leader here. We have we have people that are really good at their. Dignified cosmos, respectable or honorable. The idea seems to be one of not offending against propriety. A person who comports himself in situations so as not to step on toes unnecessarily. In other words, it is probably no absolute about dress in the world, for example, or absolute about demeanor in certain situations. But every culture has certain expectations and you can fall off the n on either side of these expectations. And a respectable or honorable person, a Cosmos person, will take thought for what is beautiful and what is appropriate. And he'll try to discern a situation, and he won't go blundering into the situation and bring reproach again upon the gospel or himself by dressing in some absolutely ludicrous way or speaking in some language that offends everybody or is ignoring norms and mores but respectable, hospitable one who loves of the locks and on love of strangers, the literal translation, and one who loves strangers, that is, who is given to being kind to newcomers.


And makes them feel at home. A person whose home is open for ministry and who does not shrink back from having guests. Not a secretive person. In other words, an elder should be a more capacious type. Who? And we're not all the same here on the Elder Counts. Everybody's not the same personality. But there should be some sense of on Sunday morning. They're not running away from people, mainly running toward people. And it helps to have a wife of a certain kind here. But that, too, is is another one of those ambiguous, difficult things. What if a man is hospitable and the poor woman is is so self-conscious and so nervous, She she's thinks she's going to be judged by every speck of dust that's there. And we need to we need to breed real freedom to serve soup and paper plates. On Sunday dinner to guests. My wife made a great hit in the first year we were here when President Lundquist came from the College Bethel College and Seminarian spoke for us and we invited him over and she served him on paper plates with soup and salad because she's not about to cook on Sunday. And it ain't for any religious reason either. And we just said, you're just one of us today, and it gives you great freedom to have lots of people over because soup is easy, right? Just the bowl can be huge. And and the paper or Styrofoam bowls are cheap. So invite over every other person you see until your table is full. Needs to be an app teacher. Goodness. We've said enough about that, I think. Thank you for listening to this lecture. Brought to you by biblical training, dawg. Your prayers and financial support enable us to provide a biblical and theological education that all people around the world can access.


Blessings. As you continue to study and live out your faith and as you grow in your relationship with the Lord.