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The New Testament Church 0003 - Lesson 6

Its Offices (Continued)

  1. THE OFFICE OF A BISHOP (Continued)
    1. The Qualifications of a Bishop (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9)
      1. He must be a man (1 Timothy 3:1).
        1. “If a man” desire the office (1 Timothy 3:1)
        2. The husband of one wife (1 Timothy 3:2)
        3. Ruleth well his own house (1 Timothy 3:4)
        4. “If a man” know not how to rule (1 Timothy 3:5)
      2. He must be blameless (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6, 7).
        1. Forms of the word blame
          1. The word blame occurs four times (Genesis 43:9; Genesis 44:32; 2 Corinthians 8:20; Ephesians 1:4).
          2. The word blameless occurs fifteen times (Genesis 44:10; Joshua 2:17; Judges 15:3; Matthew 12:5; Luke 1:6; 1 Corinthians 1:8; Philippians 2:15; Philippians 3:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 1 Timothy 3:2, 10; 1 Timothy 5:7; Titus 1:6, 7; 2 Peter 3:14).
          3. The word blamed occurs two times (2 Corinthians 6:3; Galatians 2:11).
          4. The word unblameable occurs two times (Colossians 1:22; 1 Thessalonians 3:13).
          5. The word unblameably occurs one time (1 Thessalonians 2:10).
        2. A general definition would be a guilty responsibility concerning a matter .
        3. We can only be perfectly blameless in Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:8). Therefore, the bishop must be one who is saved.
        4. However, there is also a practical side of being blameless.
          1. It means to have no fault that others can righteously condemn.
          2. A man of God must be one who has done all that can be done to make wrongs right.
          3. If he has wronged someone, he has made/is making it right.
      3. He must be the husband of one wife (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6).
        1. The controversy introduced
          1. Does this mean only one marriage ?
          2. Does this mean only one wife at a time ?
          3. Does this mean only one scriptural marriage at a time ?
          4. Does this mean a single man does not qualify ?
        2. In some circles this is the most controversial of all the qualifications. Perhaps it is because:
          1. The phrase is open to multiple interpretations.
          2. The interpretation deeply affects people’s lives.
        3. Is this qualification an argument against bigamy?
          1. One of the most common interpretations is that the phrase refers to bigamy; that is, a man being married to two wives instead of just one.
          2. The language of the phrase would allow for this interpretation.
          3. However, there are serious problems:
            1. The problem referred to in 1 Timothy and Titus had to be a common one because of the prominence given to it in the lists of qualifications.
            2. No other verses in the entire New Testament say anything about the sin of bigamy.
            3. Historical records show that neither the Romans nor the Jews of New Testament times commonly practiced bigamy.
              1. Both groups preferred to divorce and remarry.
              2. The Romans would have mistresses in addition to their wife, but she was not considered a wife.
        4. Is this qualification an argument against divorced pastors?
          1. The connection with blamelessness points to a connection with divorce and remarriage. In both lists, the first qualification is to be blameless and the second is to be the husband of one wife. Very likely, being the husband of one wife is one of the ways to be blameless. Consider the following:
            1. God speaks of divorce and remarriage (except in certain cases) as a commission of the sin of adultery (Mark 10:9-12). This would certainly bring blame on the guilty parties.
            2. After divorce and remarriage has been committed, there is no way to go back and fully make up for the blame.
          2. A pastor and his family are to be “ensamples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:3).
            1. A pastor is to live such a life before his people that it can be used as a pattern for the lives of the church members.
            2. One of the most common problem areas in ministry is that of marriage problems. A man who has been divorced and remarried, for whatever reason, will have little credibility when he tells his members that they must remain together in their marriage in order to be right with God.
          3. We know that God holds the testimony of those who have married only once as more worthy of honor.
            1. The “widow indeed” in 1 Timothy 5 is a widow who was worthy of support by the church. She must have a strong spiritual testimony and be truly destitute. One of her qualifications was that of “having been the wife of one man” (1 Timothy 5:9).
            2. This poses a problem for the bigamist interpretation of “the husband of one wife” phrase. If the restriction given to bishops does not refer to serial marriage, then the widow supported by the church in her old age was required to have higher standards than the pastor of the church.
        5. Considerations concerning this matter
          1. Good men have and will continue to disagree over this matter.
          2. Honest differences of interpretation are possible from the text.
          3. Others are not responsible to you, but to God, for what they do (Romans 14:4-5).
          4. The choice of a pastor is between the man of God, the church that calls him, and the Lord.
      4. He must be vigilant (1 Timothy 3:2).
        1. The word vigilant only occurs two times in Scripture (1 Timothy  3:2; 1 Peter 5:8) and means to stay alert to danger or trouble .
        2. This quality is especially important for a pastor. He will have to protect the flock from wolves without and traitors within (Acts 20:29-30).
      5. He must be sober (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8).
        1. This word and its variations are used only in the New Testament and means to be seriously minded .
        2. A pastor must take his life and his service to God seriously. His calling is a holy calling, and it cannot be taken lightly.
      6. He must be of good behaviour (1 Timothy 3:2).
        1. The word behaviour has to do with a person’s external actions.
        2. God uses men with many different personalities, but He expects a pastor to know how to behave himself.
      7. He must be given to hospitality (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8).
        1. Hospitality is the act of being friendly, kind, and helpful toward others.
        2. The qualifications in Titus require the pastor to be “a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men” (Titus 1:8).
        3. This requirement is expected of Christians in general (Romans 12:13). The widow indeed is judged by “if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet” (1 Timothy 5:10).
        4. The pastor must be one who reaches out to others in order to strengthen them in their walk with the Lord. He must be ready to minister to their needs and show them kindness.
      8. He must be apt to teach (1 Timothy 3:2).
        1. Apt refers to being able and willing to do something. It also means that you are inclined to do it. It comes naturally as a part of your way with others.
        2. If the pastor is apt to teach, he must:
          1. Have a good knowledge of the Bible and the Christian life (Titus 1:9)
          2. Have an understanding of how to teach God’s truth to others
          3. Tend towards teaching the truth of God in many different situations
          4. Be patient and gentle towards others while they are learning (2 Timothy 2:24)
Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 30:25

The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;