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Class Notes

LESSON 6 The Scriptural Qualifications for Elders

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n Lesson 4 we studied the history of the leadership of elders, first in the Old Testament, and then we saw how the concept transferred into the New Testament church. We studied the general role of the elder in that lesson. In this lesson we want to study what kind of a person qualifies to be an elder. The goals of the lesson are: •

To analyze the various qualifications that Scripture stipulates for the position of elder.

To evaluate our life in the light of Scripture to see in what areas a person qualifies for elder, and in what areas he needs to work on.

The two principal passages in the New Testament that deal with the qualifications for elder are found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. Please read these passages now. It might be helpful to place a bookmark in these two passages, because we will flip back and forth between them many times. Instructions for this lesson: We will divide these qualifications into different aspects of a person’s life. Since we don’t pretend to be Greek scholars to analyze what the original text says about each of these, we are going to use two modern translations, the New American Standard Version (NASV) and the New International Version (NIV). Then please fill in your interpretation of what these words mean in the column marked “Your Understanding.” You may also want to look up some of these words in a dictionary, if you are not familiar with them. If there are terms you still do not understand clearly, you may look the passage up in another modern translation or paraphrase. After each section we will also ask some questions to help you think through the implications of these qualifications. 47


Preparing to Lead God’s People

Class Notes Personal qualities Reference

NASV

NIV

Titus 1:7

Not self-willed

Not overbearing

Titus 1:7

Not quick-tempered

Not quick-tempered

I Tim 3:3 Titus 1:7 I Tim 3:3

Not pugnacious

Not violent

Gentle

Gentle

I Tim 3:3

Uncontentious

Not quarrelsome

I Tim 3:3 Titus 1:7 Titus 1:8

Not addicted to wine Sensible

Not given to much wine Self-controlled

I Tim 3:2

Temperate

Temperate

I Tim 3:2 Titus 1:8

Prudent Self-controlled

Self-controlled Disciplined

Your understanding

Doing all right

Needs work

Doing all right

Needs work

1. Which of these personal qualities do you consider to be the most important?

2. Notice that several of these qualities are stated negatively (not quicktempered, not violent, not quarrelsome). Why do you think it is important that a church leader not have qualities of this nature?

Family Qualities Reference I Tim 3:2 Titus 1:6 I Tim. 3:4 I Tim. 3:4 Titus 1:6

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NASV Husband of one wife Manage his own household well Children under control with all dignity

NIV Husband of one wife Manage his own family well Children obey him with proper respect

Your understanding


Lesson 6 – The Scriptural Qualifications of Elders

3. Why do you think it is important that an elder be a model husband and father?

Class Notes

Leadership Qualities Reference

NASV

NIV

I Tim 3:2

Able to teach

Able to teach

Titus 1:9

Able to exhort in sound doctrine Refute those who contradict

Encourage others by sound doctrine Refute those who oppose it (sound doctrine)

Titus 1:9

Your understanding

Doing all right

Needs work

Doing all right

Needs work

4. Why do you think that an elder must be able to teach?

5. How can an elder prepare himself doctrinally to be able to “encourage others” by sound doctrine and to “refute those who oppose it?”

Social Qualities Reference

NASV

NIV

I Tim. 3:2 Titus 1:8 I Tim. 3:2

Hospitable

Hospitable

Respectable

Respectable

Titus 1:8

Loving what is good Has a good reputation with those outside the church

Loves what is good

I Tim. 3:7

Your interpretation

Has a good reputation with outsiders

49


Preparing to Lead God’s People

6. Why do you think that an elder must get along well with those outside the church as well as those inside it?

Class Notes

Spiritual Qualities Reference I Tim. 3:2 Titus 1:7 Titus 1:7

NASV

Titus 1:8

Is above reproach as God’s steward Just

Is above reproach, Blameless Entrusted with God’s work, blameless Upright

Titus 1:8

Devout

Holy

I Tim. 3:6

Not a new convert

Not a recent convert

I Tim. 3:3

Free from the love of money Not fond of sordid gain

Not a lover of money

Titus 1:7

Is above reproach

NIV

Your understanding

Not pursuing dishonest gain

7. Why is Christian stewardship an important spiritual quality for an elder to have?

8. Notice that age is not a qualification for being an elder. How could you sum up these spiritual qualities in one word?

The Spirit-filled Life There is a spiritual qualification that the Apostle Paul did not address, probably because he assumed that it was already being met. The elders need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. This was one of the requirements for the original group of deacons (Acts 6:3), and the elder should meet all the qualifications that the deacons are required to have. 9. Are you living a Spirit-filled life?

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Doing all right

Needs work


Lesson 6 – The Scriptural Qualifications of Elders

10. What “fruit” of the Holy Spirit’s control do you see in your life?

Class Notes

We will address the subject of the need for reliance on the Holy Spirit’s power for effective ministry in the final chapter of this book.

Application: 1. If you are an elder, or are being trained to be an elder, how do you measure up? Please go over each list of qualities and indicate if you are doing reasonably well or if you need to work at some of these qualities.

2. Elders are not “super-saints.” What should elders be striving for?

3. What is the danger of choosing elders who do not measure up to the qualities described in I Timothy 3 and Titus?

4. Do you think that an elder have to have all the qualities mentioned in Scripture?

5. What should an elder do to acquire the qualities that he is missing?

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Lesson 6