Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | December 22, 2020

“An overseer, then, must be … able to teach”

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Timothy 3:1-7.

“It is a trustworthy statement:  if any man aspires to the office of overseer (also known as elder – Bill’s note), it is a fine work he desires to do.  An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.  He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.  And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”  1 Timothy 3:1-7.

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Today’s devotion will focus on the requirement that an elder must be able to teach. 

We do remember the prior Scripture:  “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.”  1 Timothy 2:12.  So, today’s Scripture requirement (that only men can become elders) makes sense and is consistent with the prior Scripture.

“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”  Acts 20:28.

Consider the following from the Belgic Confession.

Article 30:  Concerning the Government of, and Offices in the Church.

We believe, that this true Church must be governed by that spiritual policy which our Lord hath taught us in his Word;  namely, that there must be ministers or pastors to preach the Word of God, and to administer the sacraments;  also elders and deacons, who, together with the pastors, form the council of the Church:  that by these means true religion may be preserved, and the true doctrine everywhere propagated, likewise transgressors punished and restrained by spiritual means:  also that the poor and distressed may be relieved and comforted, according to their necessities.  By these means everything will be carried on in the Church with good order and decency, when faithful men are chosen, according to the rule prescribed by St. Paul in his Epistle to Timothy.

Article 31:  Of the Ministers, Elders, and Deacons.

We believe, that the ministers of God’s Word, and the elders and deacons, ought to be chosen to their respective offices by a lawful election by the Church, with calling upon the name of the Lord, and in that order which the Word of God teacheth.  Therefore every one must take heed, not to intrude himself by indecent means, but is bound to wait till it shall please God to call him;  that he may have testimony of his calling, and be certain and assured that it is of the Lord.  As for the ministers of God’s Word, they have equally the same power and authority wheresoever they are, as they are all ministers of Christ, the only universal Bishop, and the only Head of the Church.  Moreover, that this holy ordinance of God may not be violated or slighted, we say that every one ought to esteem the ministers of God’s Word, and the elders of the Church, very highly for their work’s sake, and be at peace with them without murmuring, strife or contention, as much as possible.

“For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.  For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.”  Titus 1:5-9.


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