FOUNDATIONS

Lessons designed to promote the integrity of scripture and church!

I Corinthians 3:11“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is    JESUS CHRIST  

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

 

THE BODY OF CHRIST

THE ORDER OF THE BODY OF CHRIST – PART 14

The Elders – Qualifications

In these lessons, we will look at the Divine qualifications for the ones who would be shepherds of the Lord’s body. Please note, and use the “Quick Glance chart of the Qualifications of Elders” also provided with this portion of this study.

We will look into these qualifications in a semi-organized way; looking at some of the basic elements first (A Man, Desires the Work), then the domestic qualifications (Husband of one wife, rules his own house well, number of children required, and faithful children), and finally all the other qualifications.

With these things in mind, let’s get started!

His Children –

As we mentioned in the previous lesson, the family qualifications of a potential elder rightfully come under very close scrutiny because:

  1. They are qualifications which are more easily seen than others.
  2. They are qualifications which give a clear indication of how a man may oversee God’s house.

In discussing the elder’s dealings with his children, we have a couple of major points that we need to consider:

  1. The number of children required.
  2. What is meant by, “Having his children in submission with all reverence” 1 Timothy 3:4; and “having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination” Titus 1:6.

The Number of Children –

As we begin to look at the number of children required by the Spirit for an elder, we have to come to a consensus on the use of the Greek word, “Tekna”, or “children”.

But even before we do this, we must understand that the candidate for this work must have children; a man without children at all cannot be considered at all!

The use of this term in scripture answers the age old debate about the use of this term, note:

Ephesians 6:1Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”

As we can see with very little effort that Paul’s instruction must be obeyed by the single child as well as many, so we can clearly see that if refers to one or more.

Titus 2:4that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children

Of course we would all agree that a young woman must love their children whether they have one or more.

Colossians 3:21Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.”

It would never be accepted as approved for a father to provoke a single child, so we can know that Paul means one or more.

1 Timothy 5:4But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God.”

Here, children should learn to show piety (devotion and reverence), whether they are one or more, and we all know that if a single child objected to his obligation to their parents, they would soon be reminded that it is applicable to one or more.

Genesis 21:7She also said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age.””

Sarah, the aged wife of Abraham had no misunderstanding concerning the use of this terminology in describing one or more children.

Outside of Biblical application, we commonly use this word the same way; for example:

A note may follow your child home from school, “We would like everybody to bring your children to the school nurse tomorrow for a vaccination update check”.

Would those with only one child be exempt from this instruction; of course not! Paul did not have to say one or more in every case due to the fact that everyone receiving this instruction understood that the plural term “Children” meant one or more.

Someone might say that a man with a plurality of children is “more qualified” than a man with only one. We, of course, ought not to be concerned with “More” qualified, verses qualified. A man, who is more apt to teach, would not disqualify a man who is apt to teach. A man who is more hospitable would not disqualify a man who is hospitable.

Personally, and in a humorous fashion, I have always thought that a man has not known the difficulties of parenting until he has raised a daughter. But God be thanked that we will not bind anything on a potential servant of the Most High God by our opinions.

Having Faithful Children –

When Paul used the term faithful in the qualifications to Titus, he used it in the sense it is used by the original meaning, “Constant”, “Worthy of Trust”, or “Reliable”. Many have historically taken this to mean that the children have obeyed the Gospel. So, does the use of this word in the context demand that the elder’s children are Christians?

First, as we have noted the accurate meaning of the word, does the context support “Faithful to God through Jesus Christ” or “Faithful to the elder?”

The last portion of the verse contextually answers the question; the faithful behavior of the children before the elder would lead no-one to claim that the elder’s children are insubordinate or having a lack of moral restraint (remembering that the determination being made here is “can he rule his own house well?”).

In fact, the use of the term “Faithful” when speaking specifically of the obedient Christian specifies this by the use of certain nouns to accompany this; such as, “Faithful in the Lord”, or “Faithful in Christ” – see: 1 Corinthians 4:17; Ephesians 1:1; 6:21; Colossians 1:2, 7; 4:7; etc…

We are looking at the ability to demonstrate things in the rule of his own house that the potential elder can control to demonstrate his abilities to shepherd the Body of Christ.

If an elder has demonstrated that he has trained his children in the way that they should go, it is true that they should not depart from it – Proverbs 22:6. However, the potential elder cannot in any fashion force his children to obey the Gospel as that is something that each of them must come to answer for themselves; nor is their obedience the question of his qualifications.

Is it helpful in the appointment of elders that his children are obedient to the Gospel; absolutely!!!

Even the Apostle Paul noted time and again that although not all things were mandatory; however, there were many things that were best, or a concession to a better practice – 1 Corinthians 7:6-9; 9:19-23; 10:23; etc…

Next: “Other Qualifications!”