Pastors and Elders

[1] The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. [2] Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, [3] not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. [4] He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, [5] for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? [6] He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. [7] Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. (1 Timothy 3:1-7 ESV)

I have had the desire for a while now, ever since my conversion, to become an overseer. It use to be a red hot passion for God and His truth to be rightly proclaimed. It is still red hot, but my passion, my desire has changed. That change has become a deep seated conviction that is ruling and taking over my life. That conviction is found in this passage.

I must be brief, for there is too much to say about the purpose of the letter to Timothy from Paul. But here, in chapter three, we see Paul telling Timothy the kind of person to set over as an overseer. What follows in verses two through seven is the resume of an overseer. And as I reflected on this resume more and more, I realize how long it may be before I become an overseer, and how I wish it probably be longer. The reason I want it to be much later rather than sooner is because the resume is not an easy one. It’s a difficult one. But not only is it a difficult one, it’s something every Christian man ought to aspire to.

As you read the passage you see how what is described as a model man. And any model man ought to be modeled after. We shouldn’t believe nor think that only overseers ought to be those kind of men. No, this ought to be the kind of man every Christian male is. Of course I am not saying marriage is for every Christian man, but that in general even a single man who is given the gift of celibacy ought to be a ruler of himself and his finances and life, and rule it all well.

But more personally, as I have reflected on this passage, my desire has changed. No longer do I merely want to be an overseer. And yes, I say merely. For there are many overseers who are bad overseers, and there are many overseers who do not fit this description. As I have thought about this passage, I have come to the red hot conviction that I ought to be like this man, regardless of becoming an overseer or not.

In the country and time I live today, we need more men who will be above reproach. We need more men who manage their households, and are the husbands of one wife. We need more men who are men. The man described here is a man among men, and that ought to be every Christian man.

I pray God may raise up more men like this, and that some of those men may be given a desire to oversee. For now, I pray for myself that God would make me like this man, and that I not become an overseer unless He has proven me to be this man. I continue to desire that His word and truth be rightly proclaimed, but I pray more that if I am to do so, that I be a man among men.

About TruthN

Husband. Father of one. Writer of fiction. Massage Therapist. Video Game, Comic Book, Fiction, and Non-Fiction enjoy'r. Reader of Theology. You may find him reading the Bible. View all posts by TruthN

5 responses to “Pastors and Elders

  • Jamie Carter

    The saying is trustworthy: If *anyone* aspires to the office of overseer, he or she desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife or the wife of one husband, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He or she must manage his or her own household well, with all dignity keeping his or her children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his or her own household, how will he or she care for God’s church? (Obviously, single men and women just aren’t leadership material in the minds of 1st century Mediterraneans.) He or she must not be a recent convert, or he or she may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he or she must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he or she may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

    I figure if we stop pressing men to be biblical caricatures we’ll find that once the burden is shared equally we’ll all rise to the occasion, with some astounding women as leaders and amazingly gentle men living happier lives together.

    • TruthN

      Thanks for commenting.

      Of course that can sound great, but that’s not what the passage is saying or has said, unless you can demonstrate that Paul means for it to be read the way you changed it. And there is no doubt that women can be better leaders than many men, but the question is, is God pleased when women lead? You’ll be hard pressed to find positive things said about women in leadership in the Bible.

      But, also it’s false to say “we’ll find that once the burden is shared equally we’ll all rise to the occasion.” My experience has been that when women lead, men get really lazy. I’ve seen it in churches, marriages, families, businesses, and in myself.

      • Jamie Carter

        God personally selected Deborah to lead for forty years – that’s plenty of time to have raised up just about any man for the task, but she was just like the other Judges – specifically chosen. Looking at 1st and 2nd kings, the men that were in charge all seemed to have failed miserably with a few exceptions. It seems like God wasn’t pleased with those men when the outdid their fathers in leading the Israelites astray. The Bible is full of dozens of male leaders who were worse than the handful of women leaders that were described.
        Odd, my experience says otherwise – many hands make light work. Men weren’t designed to go it alone, not even as leaders.

      • TruthN

        We can get into Deborah if you want to, but specifically I’d like you to address the way you rewrote God’s word. Do you have any textual evidence to demonstrate that this is the proper way to handle this passage?

        I will not deny many men are demonstrated to be horrible leaders. The Bible definitely demonstrates that.

        Perhaps our experience is similar, but we are defining words differently. I believe and accept the phrase, many hands make light work. That’s definitely true. And at face value I also would agree that men weren’t designed to be alone. Genesis 2 proves that. However, if when you say, “not even as leaders,” you mean women lead along side of, I would have a problem with as would Paul. But, that also depends on what you mean by leadership.

        Some “leadership gurus” today would define leadership as influence. And women will certainly have influence upon their husbands and upon the church. That’s why women are taught to teach the younger women, and that’s why God warns the Israelite’s not to marry women outside of Israel because of the influential power of women. However, influence isn’t the same as leadership.

        Leadership is an authoritative role that takes responsibility for all those they lead, and think and care about the direction they are leading. I wish I had a better more Biblically precise definition, but I have not fully defined the terms for myself yet so this is a working definition.

        But I derive this definition from Jesus Christ and what He did and He continues to do. And this is why Paul says in Ephesians 5 that husbands are the head of the wife. He doesn’t say husbands should act like the heads or strive to be the heads, but that they are by simple fact in being a husband. Which means the head can be a good or bad head, and that head can lead or not lead, stay in the home or leave the home, and yet they are still the head because there is a distinct function a husband and father plays in every life. And if that man is absent, its not because they aren’t the head, but it’s because they are acting as a horrible head, and by his absence he is causing the home to function much differently. And some husbands, by their presence but their laziness, or uncaringness, their homes go into disarray, and often women get exasperated because of this. She may keep the home in order and do many things he ought to do, but I haven’t met a women in this position who wishes their husband would do less or keep doing what their doing. Often they sound tired, and desire their husband just to “man up.”

        (My experiences range from all sorts of backgrounds, many I had met at a mega church, but many more I talk to on a daily basis as a massage therapist. It’s amazing the things people will tell you.)

        Now, it might not be every case because we live in America where gender and sexuality are meaningless terms since we can pick and choose, but I have yet encountered such cases.

        But to summarize, I’d like you to define what you mean by leadership and where you get that definition, and to, if you can briefly or simply, describe how and why you read the text that way.

        Thank you for responding and sorry about the length. I don’t mean to put so much in but I hope it helps you see more where I see things from, and perhaps push this conversation forward. I enjoy it because it causes me to sharpen my thinking in areas that I have thought about but not yet have had someone push back on, and so I pray it continue to be of use to you and I.

        EDIT: Let me clarify as well that I believe the type of leadership discussed in the scripture here is not leadership in all areas of life. It is specifically talking about the church and the home. This may apply to other areas, but this text does not necessitate that. So when I say leadership in these comments, I mean primarily leadership in the church and home. Just want to clarify.

      • TruthN

        Actually, I started reading one of your latest blog posts and I see a little bit more of where you are coming from. Perhaps you can just point me to some of your posts and I can read them, and then maybe I’ll respond in a blog post of mine so the comments don’t get smaller and squished, and it be more tedious? Let me know what you think, and send me some links to blogs of perhaps some of the concepts that you’ve already discussed or wrote about, this way you don’t need to rewrite it all.

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