Wednesday, April 4, 2007

By way of introduction, Paul tells Timothy that:

1 Timothy 3:1 It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.

If there is a man who aspires to be an overseer (Lit. episkopos), it is a good work he desires to do. The word for 'aspires' is orego which means "to stretch oneself out in order to touch or grasp something." Furthermore, this verb form is in the present middle. Thus, the present indicates that it is a constant, habitual desire. The middle indicates that he longs for this position for himself (a reflexive nuance). In fact, the Homerian Greek, orego was used for "exerting oneself or stretching oneself forth" with all his might. If a man desires to be in the office of leadership in the local church with this kind of stretching oneself out to the point of exhaustion - desire, then it is a good work that he desires (epithumei - "to desire, long for, lust").

Now, it will not be possible for me to lay out every characteristic and qualification that Paul mentions both here and in Titus 1 (or else we'd be here all day and I wouldn't get any seminary work done). So over the next few blogs, I will choose one or two significant ones and dwell on them.

Notice Paul says:

1 Timothy 3:2 2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

These are the positives in the list. The next verse (v.3) gives the 'negatives' in the qualifications. The first one is most important, for it is first in Paul's mind as he writes this. It is the word for "above reproach" (Gk. anapimpleiton) which means, "not being laid hold of;" or when used with moral conduct, "blameless, above criticism; above fault." In other words, the overseer is first of all - and most generally - to be one with whom there can be no accusation taking a hold of him. He must be so above reproach that all accusations against him fail. In his morality, in his family, in his marriage, in his devotional life, in his speech, in his conduct, in his purity, in his mentality...whatever. Above Reproach!

The second characteristic is "the husband of one wife." Literally this reads in the Gk. a one woman man. I do not believe that this mandates an elder to be a married man. However, what I do believe is that this verse so clearly commands that every single elder - who is married - must have ONE WOMAN in his life. There must not even be anyone contending for second place. There must be NO OTHER WOMEN involved in the minister's life. Period. Why? Remember the first characteristic, an elder is to be "above reproach!" Give no occasion for an accusation.

One more (since I'm enjoying this study so much) and that is "able to teach." It is the Gk word didacticon which can be translated "apt, skillful, competent in teaching" or it could mean "teachable."

I take the view, first of all, that this is not referring to one who is teachable. Though an elder and one in leadership MUST have a teachable spirit (which comes from humility and a gentle and selfless spirit), but this cannot be gathered from this word. But what I do see this word to mean is that the person seeking the office of overseer must be one who: 1) Is capable in the Scriptures with a knowledge of the Gospel and sound theology; but also 2) Has the ability to teach in a thought-provoking, intelligent and captivating way. He must not be so dull that he causes all his hearers to fall asleep every time he speaks.

Hope this is of help...more tomorrow :=)

4 comments:

the girl next door ;-) said...

Well, Honey, so far, so good... I would say that you QUALIFY!!! =)

Geoffrey R. Kirkland said...

No bias there, I'm sure ;=)

St. Louis Mom said...

And I would echo that sentiment, and add that there is no bias here either! : )

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