1 Timothy 3: Are the Qualifications of an Overseer For Today?

The qualifications of church leaders as noted in 1 Timothy 3 have come under attack in recent days because there is a much more liberal view taken by those who are in the position of church leadership. The reality is that all men should fulfill the requirements noted by his actions and how he governs his life and his family. Every man should adopt and live in this way, and as we choose our pastors and overseers, we should be comfortable in choosing someone with these standards.

The qualifications for the office of pastor are clear: “An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher, not addicted to wine, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy–one who manages his own household competently, having his children under control with all dignity. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a new convert, or he might become conceited and fall into the condemnation of the Devil. Furthermore, he must have a good reputation among outsiders, so that he does not fall into diisgrace and the Devil’s trap (1 Timothy 3:2-7).”

To be blameless and above reproach is to be without fault. The issue is not to single out someone’s faults, but rather to adhere to God’s high standard according to His word. We know that there is a high standard because God declares that “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).” The compromises of today have diminished or lowered the standards, which has allowed the permeation of causes into churches that contradict God’s Word.

The qualifications in 1 Timothy 3 allow the ability to teach and counsel on the complete will of God (Acts 20:27; Ezekiel 3:17-21; Romans 2:21-23). In order to be able to teach Scripture effectively, the teacher has to have a high standard of morality and lifestyle and that his personal life is an asset to the church and its people. He is to be the husband to one wife. The reference to this passage (1 Timothy 3:2) is not to be loosely interpreted for men and women, especially when you consider that there are many marriages and divorces that occur today for many different reasons. The standard of marriage between a man and a woman is upheld through these high standards (Genesis 2:14; 1 Corinthians 7:10-15). The overseer also must be vigilant in the use of not just wine, but even how he handles his food, possessions, gifts, and even his temper. This is an issue on how he uses self-control. To be of sound mind is in how one makes good decisions and is not clouded by wrong thinking, prejudices, narrow-mindedness, unfairness, or even bigotry. Self-control is also to curb one’s desire and impulses, not forcing his own will onto others, especially in the pastor’s case where he has a congregation. A good overseer always seeks the will of God, and does not allow his own will to overshadow it, and exhibits good, respectable and orderly behavior (1 Corinthians 6:12; 10:23; 1 Timothy 5:25). Even if you have a right to do something, the position of overseer means that your choices should be of good taste. “‘Everything is permissable,’ but not everything is helpful. ‘Everything is permissable,’ but not everything builds up. No one should seek his own good, but the good of the other person (1 Corinthians 10:23-24).”. An overseer must also be hospitable and generous to guests in his home. He also must have the aptitude and skill to teach Scripture and be helpful to others (2 Timothy 2:24-25). A good teacher should always challenge themselves in what they know and understand in order to be able to continue to challenge those that they instruct.

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