Clarification on Elders

  1. Elders are spiritually mature Christian men who care about the spiritual health of the church. By spiritually mature, we mean that their general character fits the descriptions (“qualifications”) mentioned in 1 Tim. 3 and Titus 1.
    1. Above reproach” means “no loose ends,” = not able to fault the man, because he has dealt with past wrongs in God’s way (humility and repentance).
    2. Husband of one wife” means “one-woman man” = he is faithful to the woman he’s with, not a philanderer.
    3. Sober-minded” means “sees and thinks about life just like God does” instead of being “drunk” on the world’s way of thinking
    4. Self controlled” means “self controlled” [smile], instead of controlled by impulse and/or base desires and emotions
    5. Respectable” means “someone you can look up to”… “a good example.” (doesn’t mean the guy is a stuff shirt)
    6. Hospitable” means he likes to have people over to his house or to dinner, because he likes people.
    7. Apt to teach” means that when the opportunity arises, he has the ability and desire to point people to the Bible or find the answer from the Bible. He “studies to show he is approved by God” and knows how to rightly discern (interpret)
      the Word. It does not mean he is expert at everything, but it means he knows how to “answer” or find an answer for those who attack the ESSENTIALS of Christianity.
    8. Not a drunk” means ‘not an alcoholic’… other addictions could be inserted here, I am sure.
    9. Not violent but gentle” means he doesn’t settle matters with his fists. Rather, he uses words and reason and patience.
    10. Not quarrelsome” means he doesn’t look for contention; and when others disagree, he doesn’t “get outraged.”
    11. Not a lover of money” is self explanatory. Someone who talks about getting more money, wants to be rich, schemes and plots, or “can be bought” is not the man you want.
    12. Manage his own household well, keeping his children submissive…” means he doesn’t exasperate, provoke or overtly ‘control’ his wife or children. He leads by example, compassionate correction and patient instruction. These things “keep” children in submission.
    13. Not a new convert” because he needs to be spiritually mature.
  2. Every elder will (by nature of God’s gifting) display at least one of the 4 “leadership gifts” (Eph. 4:11). — *Hint: An elder may display more than one “leadership” gift, and (by necessity) will be consistent in prayer life and ministry of the Word (Acts 6).
    1. Apostle — Often used by God to start new churches where one is needed
    2. Prophet — Often used by God to call God’s people into correct relation with God by:
      1. Proclaiming God’s Way (i.e. covenant stipulations; ex. Repentance, Mercy, Grace, Self Denial, Yielding to the Spirit, Essentials of the Christian Faith)
      2. Proclaiming God’s plan for the future (aligning with the Bible).
    3. Evangelist — Often used by God to invite people to salvation in Christ
    4. Pastor/Teacher — Often used by God to bring people into spiritual health through clear teaching of the Word
  3. When an aspiring elder goes through “laying on of hands by the presbytery (a.k.a. group of seasoned elders),” then he is ceremonially recognized by the whole church as a spiritual overseer of the church (1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 2:2; Titus 1:5;
    Acts 13).
  4. At least 2 elders oversee the church together, and whichever elders guide the church by laboring faithfully in the Word should receive “double the loving respect” that the fellow elders receive (1 Tim. 5:17).

An elder does not have to have extensive Bible training (theology; original Bible languages), but he should be able to give clear biblical answers for the ESSENTIALS of the Christian faith (Titus 1:9; 2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Peter 3:15) and guide people to biblical answers as they need them for spiritual health (2 Timothy 2:25).

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