"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY"
The Work And Qualifications Of Bishops (3:1-7) INTRODUCTION 1. Instructing Timothy as to proper conduct in house of God (1Ti 3:15), Paul discusses the work and qualifications of those who would serve as 'bishops' - 1Ti 3:1-7 2. The word 'bishop' comes from the Greek word episkopos... a. Translated 'bishop' in four passages - Php 1:1; 1Ti 3:1,2; Tit 1:7 b. Translated 'overseer' in three passages - Ac 20:28; 1Pe 2:25; 5:2 3. Paul describes the position (office, KJV, ASV, NASB) as "a good work"- 1Ti 3:1 a. What exactly was the 'work' of a bishop in the New Testament church? b. How did the required 'qualifications' prepare them for this work? [Consider first...] I. THE WORK OF BISHOPS A. IN THE ORGANIZATION OF NEW TESTAMENT CHURCHES... 1. A congregation that was completely and scripturally organized - e.g., Php 1:1 a. Contained a plurality of qualified men serving as bishops b. They were assisted by qualified men serving as deacons 2. The bishops were also known as a. Elders (Grk., "presbuteros", presbyter) for they were older men - cf. Ac 20:17,28; 1Pe 5:1-2 b. Pastors (Grk. "poimen", shepherd) for their task was to shepherd and feed the flock of God - cf. Ac 20:17,28; 1 Pe 5:1-2 3. Bishop, elder, and pastor were not three distinct offices, but different ways to describe the men and their work - cf. Easton's Bible Dictionary, Moody Handbook of Theology B. IN THE SERVICE OF NEW TESTAMENT CHURCHES... 1. Bishops were 'shepherds' (pastors) of the flock (congregation) a. Taking heed to themselves - Ac 20:28a b. Taking heed to the flock of God among them - Ac 20:28b; 1 Pe 5:2 c. Leading by example - 1Pe 5:3 d. Watching out for trouble - Ac 20:29-31 e. Depending upon God and His Word - Ac 20:32 2. Bishops were to be 'teachers' and 'rulers' of the flock a. Able to teach - 1Ti 3:2 b. Able to rule others well - 1Ti 3:4-5; 5:17 c. Holding fast what they were taught - Tit 1:9 d. Able to use the word to exhort and convict - Tit 1:9 [The work of bishops (elders, pastors) was to oversee the flock, leading and guarding the sheep. This helps us to understand why Paul calls it 'a good work'. Such a work required qualified men. The qualifications are found in two places (1Ti 3:1-7; Tit 1:5-9)...] II. THE QUALIFICATIONS OF BISHOPS A. GENERAL QUALIFICATIONS... 1. They describe what an bishop 'must be' - 1Ti 3:2; Tit 1:7 2. A bishop must be 'a man' - 1Ti 3:1-2; Tit 1:6; cf. 1 Ti 2:11,12; 1Co 14:34-37 3. A bishop must be 'blameless'- 1Ti 3:2; Tit 1:6,7 a. One against whom no evil charge can be sustained b. Free from accusations that can be rightly proven - cf. 1 Ti 5:19-20 B. FAMILIAL QUALIFICATIONS... 1. The husband of one wife (i.e., married) - 1Ti 3:1; Tit 1:6 2. Ruling his own house well - 1Ti 3:4-5 3. Having faithful children, not accused of dissipation or insubordination - Tit 1:6 C. SPECIFIC POSITIVE QUALIFICATIONS... 1. Temperate (vigilant) - 1Ti 3:2 2. Sober-minded (prudent, sensible) - 1Ti 3:2; Tit 1:8 3. Good behavior (orderly, respectable) - 1Ti 3:2 4. Hospitable (given to hospitality) - 1Ti 3:2; Tit 1:8 5. Able to teach, exhort, convict - 1Ti 3:2; Tit 1:9 6. Gentle (patient) - 1Ti 3:3 7. Good testimony from without (well thought of) - 1Ti 3:7 8. Lover of what is good (of good men, of goodness) - Tit 1:8 9. Just (upright) - Tit 1:8 10. Holy (devout) - Tit 1:8 11. Self-controlled (temperate) - Tit 1:8 D. SPECIFIC NEGATIVE QUALIFICATIONS... 1. Not given to wine (not a brawler) - 1Ti 3:3; Tit 1:7 2. Not violent (no striker, not pugnacious) - 1Ti 3:3; Tit 1:7 3. Not greedy for money (not fond of sordid gain) - 1Ti 3:3; Ti 1:7 4. Not quarrelsome (not contentious) - 1Ti 3:3 5. Not covetous (no lover of money) - 1Ti 3:3 6. Not a novice (not a new convert) - 1Ti 3:6 7. Not self-willed (must not be arrogant) - Tit 1:7 8. Not quick-tempered (not soon angry) - Tit 1:7 CONCLUSION 1. The list of qualifications can be revealing about the work of bishops... a. Their work involves teaching, patiently guiding and leading the family of God b. Their work try one's patience (when there is murmuring, discontent, or apathy among brethren) c. It can place one in volatile situations (e.g., that faced by the apostles, cf. Ac 6:1-2) d. It can be tempting for those attracted by money (e.g., Judas, the Pharisees) 2. For the flock of God to be well-fed and well-led, it requires men who meet both... a. The positive qualifications (what a bishop must be) b. The negative qualifications (what a bishop must not be) It is certainly a 'good work' for one to desire (1Ti 3:1). May the Lord raise up men to serve His flock in this way; for the need is certainly great...! Note: For a detailed series of outlines on the work and qualifications of bishops (elders, pastors), please see my series entitled "Shepherds Of The Flock".<