The Other Qualifications for Elders

Text: 1 Timothy 3:4-5

Most of the qualifications for elders have to do with their character. However, there are other qualifications regarding his family, ability, and personal history. We will consider these other qualifications in this lesson.

His Family

He Must Be the Husband of One Wife (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6)

  • Verb tense is present infinitive – he is and continues to be
  • Nothing wrong with being single (1 Corinthians 7:8, 26), but a single man cannot be an elder – not divorced, separated, or widowed; “must be” (1 Timothy 3:2), not “must have been”
  • Qualifications for his wife as well (1 Timothy 3:11) – implication is that his wife will be involved in the work, though it is not specified how

He Must Manage His Own Household Well (1 Timothy 3:4)

  • Ruleth well his own house (KJV) – he has proven that he can exercise oversight properly in the home (1 Timothy 3:5)
  • The husband is the head of the household (Ephesians 5:23) – he must lead like Christ (Ephesians 5:25, 28-29)
  • Elders oversee/lead the congregation (1 Peter 5:2) – they must shepherd like Christ (1 Peter 5:4)

He Must Keep His Children Under Control (1 Timothy 3:4; Titus 1:6)

  • This means that his children obey him and respect him – result of discipline (Ephesians 6:4; Hebrews 12:9-11)
  • He must help keep the church “under control” – not by “lording it over” them (1 Peter 5:3); discipline sin and error (2 Thessalonians 3:6; Romans 16:17)

He Must Have Children Who Believe (Titus 1:6)

  • Does this mean his children are faithful to him or faithful to Christ? … it is true that they must be faithful to him – must keep them under control (1 Timothy 3:4; Titus 1:6); he should also be leading them to Christ (Ephesians 6:4)
  • But this means that they must be Christians, not just prospective Christians – “faithful” can mean trustworthy, but in this context it is referring to a believer in Christ; used this way majority of times in the epistles (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:17; 2 Corinthians 6:15; Ephesians 1:1; 1 Timothy 4:12; et al.)
  • Same word used for elders’ wives (1 Timothy 3:11) – could she be a non-Christian, as long as she is a committed and faithful wife?

His Ability

He Must Be Able to Teach (1 Timothy 3:2)

  • This can include preaching (1 Timothy 5:17) – but not necessarily
  • Many ways to teach – preach, teach Bible class, one-on-one-studies, group studies

He Must Be Able to Exhort in Sound Doctrine (Titus 1:9)

  • Positively proclaim the truth (Acts 20:27)
  • Encourage others to obey it (Acts 14:22)

He Must Be Able to Refute Those Who Contradict (Titus 1:9)

  • Able to oppose false teachers that will arise – more difficult to answer error
  • He must silence false teachers (Titus 1:11) – requires one to know the truth, be able to “demolish arguments” (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV), and explain it clearly so that others understand

Other Qualifications

He Must Desire the Work (1 Timothy 3:1)

  • There is some question about whether this is a “qualification” – while different from other qualifications, it is still a requirement
  • He must be willing to serve (1 Peter 5:2) – God never forces us to do anything against our will
  • But when a qualified man is unwilling to serve, there is a problem – we must do what we can for God (Matthew 25:14-30)
  • Aspire” – to stretch one’s self out (Thayer); grow, improve; requires development; one must start early in life

He Must Not Be a New Convert (1 Timothy 3:6)

  • Practical – most new converts will not meet other qualifications
  • The other reason is so that he will not become conceited and fall into condemnation – ideally, every elder will have been under other elders prior to being appointed

He Must Have a Good Reputation (1 Timothy 3:7)

  • This does not mean that false accusations disqualify him – Christians are often falsely accused (cf. Acts 21:27-29; Matthew 5:11)
  • He must consistently do good before all


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