Qualifications of Bishops
Verse 1 – This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.
Notice that Paul didn’t say, “If a man or woman…” This position is for a man only. Some may disagree, but I didn’t write it.
Verse 2 – A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach;
Let’s look at the qualifications for a bishop of a church: Blameless; not perfect, but a man that has no immorality charge against him or holding any false doctrine; the husband of one wife at a time when polygamy was not uncommon, this is understood as prohibiting polygamy.
Temperate and sober-minded: Abstinent, especially in respect to wine. A minister should have a watchful care over his own conduct. Good behavior; a minister of the gospel should have good manners; have had good training to teach the gospel; he should be an example as a pattern in all that goes to promote the welfare of mankind.
Given to hospitality; this is a duty of all Christians. They should be friendly, generous and able to entertain guests, visitors, or strangers. Able to teach: He must be able to preach and teach the gospel, to communicate to his fellow-man the knowledge of the truth.
Not everyone is qualified to teach just because they have a desire to do so.
Verse 3 – not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous;
Not given to wine; one who is not in the habit of drinking wine, or is accustom to sit with those who indulge in it. It should be avoided altogether. Greed and covetousness goes hand in hand. There is nothing that does more harm to a minister, than to see greed from the pulpit!
Verse 4 – one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence
Verse 5 – (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?);
Sometimes Christians make the mistake of thinking their work is so important that they are justified in neglecting their own families. Home is where the character of leadership is built.
Verse 6 – not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.
Novice: New believers. Too often I’ve seen this happen because a new believer has such a zeal for Christ. However, this is a huge mistake to put them in a position of leadership. They have not had time to grow and mature, let alone study the Word of God. This will not only cause harm to themselves, but those around them.
Verse 7 – Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
Having a “Pastor’s heart for the lost.”
Qualifications of Deacons
Verse 8 – Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money,
Basically, they need the same character or qualifications of a bishop. “Double-tongued” – men who say one thing and do the opposite.
Verse 9 – holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.
Though a deacon is not a preacher, he still must hold the correct doctrine of faith.
Verse 10 – But let these also first be proved; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless.
Meaning: They need to be watched for a while to see if they truly are pure-minded and holy in their conduct, according to doctrine. The leaders definitely need someone close enough to them in the home to see how they treat their own wife and children.
Verse 11 – Likewise their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.
Verse 12 – Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
Verse 13 – For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness int he faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Conduct Yourself in the House of God
Verse 14 – These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly;
Verse 15 – but if I delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourselves in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
Verse 16 – And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God has manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed in the world, received up in glory.
So, we have a pastor, bishops and deacons, that have high qualifications for the body of believers, but nowhere did I read or see where Paul appointed “associate pastors.” Appointed bishops should be able to preach if the pastor is away or sick. Just a thought. When a church becomes too big to see to the congregation’s spiritual needs, maybe it’s time to break-off into smaller ones. Just my opinion.