A bishop then must be …… 1 Timothy 3:2
- Blameless – You would have to look long and hard to find something in a man’s life to disqualify him from the office of minister. Certainly you will find traits that you do not like but do they disqualify him? * “He doesn’t wear a suit and tie.” * “His hair is a bit too long.” * “He goes to the movies..R rated!” * “Someone said he smokes cigars * “My friend works at … and saw him sample some wine. * and then he ordered a glass!” * “…and then there’s his wife….” * ” …. and those kids they laugh too much (or they never smile), and they where pants!!!! ” Dearest reader, these are not traits that disqualify a man from ministry but these pet peeves say much about you, your erroneous view of God and of Scripture. You are guilty of judgment, pride, and a deafness to the Spirit’s correction. I would counsel you, as would Paul, to examine thyself to see if you are in the faith.
- The husband of one wife – This does not mean he must be married (see Paul’s counsel to single men)
- Vigilant – He is ever watchful over himself, his doctrine, his family, and Christ’s flock. What does he watch for? * Unsound doctrine creeping in. This creeping doctrine can come from anywhere; from within the flock (Acts 20:28-31) or from outside (Jude 4) or from new books. * He watches for straying sheep or sheep causing other sheep to wander. * He watches over the personal safety of individual sheep. That means physical safety, mental/emotional safety, and of course spiritual safety. * He will keep a close eye on the married couple and their well being as well as the single people and their purity. * The elderly and their spiritual well being because it tends to equate to their physical failings. * He is perpetually watching all things in all directions.
- Sober – Serious minded; that is not to say he cannot have a sense of humour but when it comes to all things spiritual and relates to God or His flock this minister is drop dead, stone cold serious. His logic must be deadly and his faith thriving!
- Good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt (able) to teach
- No present day alcoholics and no one that believes they are always going to be an alcoholic (only in recovery). Paul states very clearly and with apostolic authority as well as Holy Spirit inspiration that “such were some of you” (1 Cor. 6:9-11) Notice the tense of the statement it is past. No striker – he must not be a man that lashes out instinctively or looks to settle things with violence. Having said that, there may come a time when this man must become physical in order to protect God’s flock. He may have to “comfort” someone with his rod and staff right out the front door. This is not his first thought of course; he will attempt to be kind, merciful, slow to anger, logical and of good behaviour however when all else fails “with all that lieth in you live peaceable with all men.” Greediness and covetous are big disqualifiers.
- He has his own home in order.
- Not a beginner – satan loves to embarrass the church by overpowering and bullying a new believer. This is one reason why a new believer should be left alone with God and the Word and not put to “service” right away.
- A good report of those outside of Christ – The unsaved may not agree with his doctrine or holiness but they cannot point out anything that would disqualify him from ministry.
These qualifications come from the Word of God and they must be taken seriously and not overlooked or replaced by sentiment. The Word of God is our Authority on this earth; the Word dethrones self, man, sentiment, opinion, likes/dislikes, wishes and wants, etc. etc. etc.
A few more qualifications I might add and these come form experience and common spiritual sense. This experience and common sense does not make itself equal to the Word it only aligns with the Word.
- A minister is a man that can be told anything in confidence. He will not judge or sermonize; instead he will understand that we are all in the same ship tossed to and fro at different time and in different ways. He knows that it is the same Christ that will give grace and hear confessions and forgive sins because He is faithful and just. This man will help as much as he can while remaining loyal to Christ.
- This man should desire God’s Company more than your’s. In other words he would rather be with God than with you or anyone (Acts 20:13).
- This man should know that nice does not = holy or good; nor does sober = mean. Sometimes what is considered “mean” is holy and good (2 Cor. 10:10-11 & all of 3 John).
- This man must be willing to disallow the Lord’s Supper to some or to many (1 Cor. 11) [John Calvin was exiled for his jealousy (love and protectiveness) over the Lord’s Supper].
- This man should, for your sake, understand the relationship between God’s grace and the Christian’s liberty in Christ (Gal. 5:1).
- This man should not be afraid to say, “I’m not really sure but let’s find out and learn together.”
- Numbers cannot be a golden calf to this man, see last posting and more importantly 1 Chronicles 21.
- This man’s ministry must be “95% inspiration and 5% perspiration.” To summarize: the man that is fit to be minister is the man that loves God above all else which includes his family, his health, his wealth and his life which is not his own for he has been purchased by Another at a staggering Cost; he knows this, loves this and embraces this with all he is and with all he ever will be.
Grace be with thee.