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 15

 

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!

Other Qualifications -

With the domestic qualifications behind us, we can now move on to the other qualifications, in no specific order.

Not a Novice –

1 Timothy 3:6not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.”

The two qualifications of experience are both qualifications that are not required of every Christian (initially; however, in time it is). The term “Novice” literally means, “Newly planted, a neophyte (beginner), a new covert, or one who has recently become a Christian.”

The reason for this qualification is given in avoiding elevation by pride after the fashion of the adversary.

The Lord never would have the barren or unfruitful (2 Peter 1:8) to be the guides to the flock. These are those who by the reason of use, exercise of the senses to satisfactorily discern good and evil (Hebrews 5:14).  

Apt to Teach –

1 Timothy 3:2A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach

Titus 1:9holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.”

This qualification has two principles behind it:

  1. The elder must have the ability, aptitude, and skillfulness in teaching.
  2. He must have additionally, the willingness to teach others.

This means first, he must have a thorough knowledge of God’s word, for one cannot teach what one does not know. This is why Paul stated to Titus, “Holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught”. Obviously, a man who does not know God’s word, nor where to find and support in context what he says, is not a man that fits this qualification. He must be a serious student of God’s word (in the sense that a working knowledge must be honed in constant exercise – Hebrews 5:14), before he can be considered a teacher of it (the ability by sound doctrine to test all things – 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22).

Secondly, a candidate for elder is not only a student of God’s word, but he must have developed the capability of communicating that knowledge to others effectively. Teaching is not merely standing before a group and reading (although God’s word can teach on its own), but communicating the ideas into practical practice, and making sure that the purity of context is maintained apart from theory or subjective thought.

Titus 1:10-11For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.”  

Thirdly, a potential elder must be willing to put it all into action. Paul told Titus “That he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and to convict those who contradict”.  This statement depicts two strict duties; a positive and a negative:

  1. Exhort – to charge children of God through Jesus Christ to do their duty.
  2. Convict those who would otherwise not be content with sound doctrine, becoming subversive, in order to stop them and produce repentance.

2 Timothy 2:24-26And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

Fourthly, we must separate some fact from fiction. If someone were to consider a man for the extensive work of an elder by thinking that he does not have to, from time to time, teach publicly; they do not fully understand this specific qualification of experience. The use of teaching as depicted by the Apostle Paul to Titus demands that the shepherd must be able to communicate with all the sheep at once from time to time; and additionally requires more skill in teaching than just being a good example.

God’s overseers, shepherds, must be able to teach and stop the mouths of those who will not hold to sound doctrine effectively. In any occasion when this may occur, and attempts are made to introduce subversion, can an elder sit by and not stop this from happening, just because he cannot teach publicly? In fact, this would disqualify him from what Paul is instructing that they must be able to do!

He does not have to teach publicly all the time; however, he definitely must be able.

A Good Report from Without –  

1 Timothy 3:7Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

This qualification means that one who is qualified to serve as an elder is not only blameless as far as living according to the teaching of Christ is concerned (more on this in the next lesson), but that he has a good reputation among those who are not Christians. It does not mean that all men must speak well of him, for men did not speak well of the Lord Himself, and note His words to His disciples:

Luke 6:26Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did their fathers to the false prophets.”

It does mean, however; that a man should be known as one who deals fairly, shows respect, and is morally upright and honest in every way when he is among those who are not Christians. The necessity of the qualification is expressly stated, “Lest he fall into the reproach and snare of the devil”.

A man who does not truly have this qualification will sooner or later be found out and if this is not proved before he becomes an elder, the Body of Christ will be the subject of derision from outsiders (“Just as Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” 2 Corinthians 11:13; Paul uses this illustration to describe those who falsely claim to be Apostles, and the damage of these false teachers no matter what they claimed, was costing the Body of Christ in Corinth their souls).

Next: “Blameless and More Qualifications!”