ARTICLES

ARTICLES

Studying Elder Qualifications and Appointment

Appointing Elders (Plural)

in Every City (Titus 1:5), in Every Church (Acts 14:23)

OPTIONAL PROCESS:

Step 1 – Education

Step 2 – Congregation Nomination

Step 3 – Individual Elimination

Step 4 – Reputation Examination

Step 5 – Ordination

Step 1 – Education

QUALIFICATIONS FOR ELDERS (OVERSEERS, SHEPHERDS, BISHOPS, PASTORS)

 

Introduction:

  1.  WHY STUDY THIS TOPIC?
  1. Some churches have a lack of qualified men to serve as elders
  2. Others appoint to the eldership those who are not qualified. 
  3. Many deprive themselves of an eldership b/c they have elevated the qualifications for elders to such heights as can never be attained by any human being.
  1. MUST POSSESS ALL QUALIFICATIONS (I Tim 3, Titus 1, I Peter 5)?
  1.  Yes, A bishop then must be….
  1. ONLY A FEW QUALIFICATIONS DIFFER FROM THAT OF EVERY CHRISTIAN.
  2. MUST THERE BE A PLURALITY?
    1.   “The common English version of the New Testament does not contain the term eldership, but the term presbuterion in the original should be so translated.  The adjective presbuteros is uniformly translated as elder, therefore presbuterion should be translated eldership”.  In I Tim 4:14, “our English version has presbytery, which is the Greek word anglicized, and is the exact equivalent of eldership” (McGarvey, 9)
    2. Titus 1:5 (in every city), Acts 14:23 (in every church), Acts 20:17-28 (Church at Ephesus had a plurality of Elders, also called overseers).  The same was at Philippi, Phil 1:1.  

 

I.  EXPERIENCE IN CHRISTIAN LIFE:

                        Apt to teach (1 Tim. 3:2; Tit. 1:9).

  • An apt teacher, capable, able, ready. An aptitude for teaching, capable of instructing others in the word. A man who would teach people must himself keep in advance of them on the subjects on which he would instruct them. Hence, an elder must be a diligent student of the Bible. One cannot communicate that which he does not know.
  • Best defined by Paul (Titus 1:9-11)
  • Greek word didaktikos, Thayer defines, “apt and skillful in teaching.”
  • R.C.H. Lenski comments, “Ability to teach means not merely a fair natural aptitude but the qualification of having been taught”.
  • “must have demonstrated his ability and skillfulness in teaching in order to qualify” (Duncan, 41)
  • Congregations can be led astray if the shepherds do not qualify in this category. 

                        Able to convince and exhort the gainsayers (Titus 1:9)

  • Convince ejlegcw el-eng’-kho; of uncertain affinity; to confute, admonish: — convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove.
  • Exhort parakalew, — par-ak-al-eh’-o; from (3844) (para) and

(2564) (kalew); to call near, i.e. invite, invoke (by

imploration, hortation or consolation): — beseech, call for, (be

of good) comfort, desire, (give) exhort (-ation), entreat, pray.

keleuw, — kel-yoo’-o; from a primary kellw (to urge on);

“hail”; to incite by word, i.e. order: — bid, (at, give) command (-

ment).

  • Gainsayers  ajntilegw, — an-til’-eg-o; from (473) (ajnti) and (3004) (legw); to dispute, refuse: — answer again, contradict, deny, gainsay (-er), speak against. (rJew) is properly to break silence

                        Holds faithful to the word (Titus 1:9)

                        Not a Novice (spiritually immature or new convert) (I Tim 3:6)

  • (3504) neofutov, neh-of’-oo-tos; from (3501) (neov) and a derivative of (5453) (fuw); newly planted, i.e. (figurative) a young convert (“neophyte”): — novice.
  • (3501) neov, neh’-os; including the comparative newterov, neh-o’-ter-os; a primary word; “new”, i.e. (of persons) youthful, or (of things) fresh; figurative regenerate: — new, young.
  • Novice  from the Greek is “newly planted”.  KJV margin note – “One newly come to the faith”. 
  • Why?  “lest being lifted up with pride he fall into condemnation of the devil” – suggesting the sin for which Satan was expelled from heaven was the sin of pride (Luke 10:18).
  • The word elder itself lends to spiritual experience.  “One might be a seasoned and successful business man, an experienced superintendent, or a veteran of the military, and still be a novice in the kingdom of God” (Duncan, 71)
  • Spiritual maturity comes from years of desiring the sincere milk of the word, and then growing to be a teacher who consumes meat on a regular basis.

II.  DOMESTIC RELATIONS

  1. HUSBAND & FATHER:

Husband of one wife (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6).

  • Must be a male.  “Greek word aner “husband” is a word which denotes a man as opposed to a woman.  Of its 215 occurrences in the NT, 156 times it is translated man, fifty times it is translated husband, six times it is translated sir, one time it is translated fellow, and twice (Luke 24:19 & Acts 3:14) it is not translated.  It is never used to refer to a woman or to both men and woman” (Bobby Duncan, The Elders Which Are Among You,  p 20) 
  • Not a polygamist, nor a bachelor, but married. Not more than one wife, not less than one wife.
  • What about MDR?  If either has scripturally put away their former mate b/c of that mates fornication (Matt 19:9), then they are scripturally remarried.  He would be only the husband of one wife.  He can serve as long as his MDR doesn’t cause him to lack other qualifications, such as having a good report of them which are without (I Tim 3:7) (Duncan, p 21)
  • “given to hospitality” is made much easier as a husband of one wife.  The wife helps fulfill this qualification as a family unit (Duncan, p 21).

Rule well own house (1 Timothy 3:4-5; Titus 1:6).

Well governed, able to manage own household well.

A. His children not accused of riot or unruly.

B. His children must be in subjection with all gravity.

C. His children must be faithful, believing.

D. His wife cannot be the "boss" but must be in subjection

     (Ephesians 5:22).

E. The reason: "For if a man know not how to rule his own house,

     how shall he take care of the church of God?"

F.  To meet the qualifications, an elder MUST have children.  If he

      has none, there is no way of knowing whether he has the ability

      to so govern and rule the congregation.   

  1. CHILDREN:

How Many Necessary?

  • “the language itself does not demand a plurality of children” (Duncan, 64)
  • We use children in a general sense to include just one child.
    • Ask a man with one child if he has any children, the answer is yes.
    • Ask a woman whose first grandchild has just been born if she has any grandchildren? The answer, yes.
    • The plural noun includes both the singular and plural.
  • “Children”
    • Matt 22:24 – “levirate marriage” (Latin – levir, husband’s brother’).  Moses said, If a man die, having no CHILDREN, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.” 
    • The word “children” is plural, but has reference to one who does not have a child.  If he has one child, this law doesn’t apply. 
    • Deut 25:5 actually says, “and have no child”.  If “having no children” means not having a single child, then having a single child would be “having children.”.
    • Matt 19:29 – “children” - What about the one whom only has to forsake one child?  Will he receive an hundredfold and inherit everlasting life? Notice: Father, Mother, & Wife are singular.  “Children” is translated from the same plural Greek noun that it is in Titus 1:6.   

Children Believing (Faithful)

  •  (4103) pistov, pis-tos’; from (3982) (peiqw); object trustworthy; subject trustful: — believe (-ing, -r), faithful (-ly), sure, true.
  • (3982) peiqw, — pi’-tho; a primary verb; to convince (by argument, true or false); by analogy to pacify or conciliate (by other fair means); reflexive or passive to assent (to evidence or authority), to rely (by inward certainty): — agree, assure, believe, have confidence, be (wax) confident, make friend, obey, persuade, trust, yield.
  1.  In order for a man to qualify as an elder, all of his children must be children of God (Christians).  ASV – “having children that believe”
  2. However, it is not the case that they must be faithful if not under their roof or out from their oversight.  {Reason} We must not advocate once saved, always saved ideology (impossibility of apostasy).  The parents must raise their
  3. children in the nurture and admonish of the Lord.  It does not always make it the case that a child will remain a faithful Christian or faithful child of God after having left the oversight of the parents or home.  Each child is still left at free will to choose. 
  4. Train up a child in the way he shall go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. This is a proverb, a general truth.  Just because you train him up right doesn’t remove free will from the child.  A child may still choose to depart from his upbringing, and thus will no longer be a faithful child of God. 
  5. “We cannot hold a man responsible for the actions of those who are not his responsibility and over whom he has no control.  When children grow up and establish homes of their own, parents cannot and should not if they could, continue to control the lives of those children.  If a man is qualified to be an elder in every respect, the that his children may become unfaithful after they are grown and out from under his control should not disqualify him” (Duncan, 67).  Hence, “his own house”.  Only those who are in his own house, and under his own houses’ authority.
  6. Married children cannot be ruled over. They leave and cleave to their new family. 

Children in Subjection (I Tim 3:4)

  • Subjection (5292) uJpotagh, — hoop-ot-ag-ay’; from (5293) (uJpotassw); subordination: — subjection.
  • (5293) uJpotassw, — hoop-ot-as’-so; from (5259) (uJpo) and (5021)(tassw); to subordinate; reflexive to obey: — be under

obedience (obedient), put under, subdue unto, (be, make) subject

(to, unto), be (put) in subjection (to, under), submit self unto.

  • (5259) uJpo,hoop-o’; a primary prep.; under, i.e. (with the generic) of place (beneath), or with verbs (the agency or means, through); (with the accusative) of place (whither [underneath] or where [below]) or time (when [at]): — among, by, from, in, of, under, with. In comparative it retains the same genitive applications, especially of inferior position or condition, and specially covertly or moderately.
  • (5021) tassw, — tas’-so; a prolonged form of a primary verb (which latter appears only in certain tenses); to arrange in an orderly manner, i.e. assign or dispose (to a certain position or lot): —addict, appoint, determine, ordain, set.
  1. WIFE:  (I Tim 3:11)

Wife Grave (dignified, serious-minded)

  • (4586) semnov, sem-nos’; from (4576) (sebomai); venerable, i.e. honorable: — grave, honest.
  • (4576) sebomai, — seb’-om-ahee; middle of an apparently primary verb; to revere, i.e. adore: — devout, religious, worship.
  • Wife must be grave - serious, somber about the business to be conducted.

Wife is not a slanderer

  • (1228) diabolov, dee-ab’-ol-os; from (1225) (diaballw); a traducer; specially Satan [compare Hebrew {7854} (satan)]: —false accuser, devil, slanderer.
  • Not slanderers - not one who is going to talk maliciously regarding others.

Wife Temperate, sober (self controlled)

  • (3524) nhfaleov, nay-fal’-eh-os; or nhfaliov, nay-fal’-ee-os; from (3525) (nhfw); sober, i.e. (figurative) circumspect: — sober.
  • (3525) nhfw, — nay’-fo; of uncertain affinity; to abstain from wine (keep sober), i.e. (figurative) be discreet: — be sober, watch.
  • Sober - having the right attitude toward herself.

Wife faithful in all things

  • Same Greek as “faithful” children in vs 4
  • Faithful in all things - She must be a steward as well, as she will aid him in his work.

III. CHARACTER

Desire the work (1 Timothy 3:1).

  • Desire is translated from 2 Greek words.  First, “to stretch one’s self out in order to touch or grasp something, to reach after or desire something” (J.H. Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the NT, p 452).  The second, “to have a desire for, long for” (Thayer, p 238).  The later is equal to our expression, “to set one’s heart upon” (Thayer). 
  • A man will not give his best if he does not desire the work. If he qualifies in other ways but does not have the desire, he should not serve until he can desire to serve - work. The word "work" needs to be understood and emphasized; it is a work.
  • Certainly it is an honor to be appointed to the eldership, but the eldership was not designed by God to be an honorary position; it is rather a work.  For example, look at Acts 20:28-31.  Elders must watch, warn, and protect the flock from wolves.  This is a great responsibility.  In I Peter 5:2-3, elders are to feed or tend the flock.  The Greek here means literally “to shepherd”.  The souls of all the members of the congregation are entrusted into the care and keeping of the elders.  This is the responsibility being sought by one desiring the eldership. Heb 13:17 states that elders will give an account of the souls entrusted into their care.  (Bobby Duncan, The Elders Which Are Among You,  p 11-14)
  • Example of Desire – Heb 11:16

                        Good testimony (report) from without (1 Tim. 3:7).

  • One who has a good report from those which are without (not members of the church). Well respected by those outside the church. Well thought of by outsiders.
  • “What kind of reputation does he have among the people with whom he lives and where he work?
  • What do the people with whom he has done business think of him?
  • What kind of reputation does he have among his own neighbors?
  • What kind of estimate of the church will these people have when they learn he has been appointed to serve as one of the overseers of the flock?” (Duncan, 73)
  • Justice and Holiness effect one’s reputation without tremendously. 
  • Warning to YOUTH:  It is important to maintain a good name.  “The wild oats one sows, even while he is young, may be a great hindrance to his usefulness in the service of God many years later” (Duncan, 75).

Blameless -- above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6).

  • One against whom no evil charge can be sustained -- innocent -- not guilty of evil. This does not mean that elders must be sinless (Romans 3:23, I John 1:8). Jesus is the only man who ever lived a sinlessly perfect life (Heb 4:15). This man must be a man about whom no uncomplimentary evil rumors are circulated; character is to be unimpeachable. Elders must be men who live pure, clean lives.
  • Blameless means
    • literally, “that cannot be laid hold of” (W.E. Vines, Expository Dictionary of NT Words [London: Revell, 1962], p 131).
    • “not apprehended, that cannot be laid hold of”, “that cannot be reprehended, not open to censure, irreproachable” (J.H. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of NT, p 44)
    • “…of such character that no one can rightfully take hold of the person with a charge of unfitness (R.C.H. Lenski, Commentary on the NT [Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1961] Vol. IX, p 579). 
    • “men whose character is unimpeachable, who stand high in public estimation, known for their pure life and spotless integrity (David Lipscomb, A Commentary on the NT Episltes [Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1958], Vol. V,  p 146).
    • “one who cannot be attacked (even by non-Christians) because of his moral conduct” (Gerhard Kittel, Theological Dictionary of the NT [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978], Vol IV, p 9).
  • If they are to be “ensamples for the flock to follow” I Peter 5:3, then it would make sense that the shepherd would lead his life fit to be followed.
  • If an elder is to lead the congregation in recovery of unfaithful members, then they must be blameless.  Their work will be ineffective otherwise.  How can he admonish or rebuke one in sin is he himself is guilty. 
  • “the Greek word here translated ‘blamesless’ is a negative form of the word from which our word epileptic or epilepsy is derived; and this disease of the nervous system is so named because it is characterized by seizures.  This bit of information would help us appreciate what the apostle meant when he wrote that an elder must be blameless.  His conduct must be such that it will be impossible for anyone to seize upon some flaw in his character and render him powerless in the performance of his duty.” (Bobby Duncan, The Elders Which Are Among You,  p 17)
  • Titus 1:6 and I Tim 3:2 are translated from 2 different Greek words.  The word in Titus 1 “signifies that which cannot be called to account…that is, with nothing laid to one’s charge (as the result of public investigation)…” “It implies not merely acquittal , but the absence of even a charge or accusation against a person (Vines, p 131).

Just (Tit. 1:8).

  • One fair in his dealings, exact, upright, acting without partiality. \
  • “Justice has to do with treating one’s fellow human beings in a fair and equitable manner” (Duncan, 74)

 

Sober -- sober-minded (1 Timothy 3:4; Tit. 1:8).

  • Good common sense, mature in judgment, not frivolous, flighty, or flippant. But prudent, dignified, quiet, cool, collected, grave. Realizing the importance and earnestness of life.
  • “One may be lacking in sobriety and yet not be intoxicated by some alcoholic beverage” (Duncan, 29)
  • Sophron is from sozo (save) and phren (mind). “Holding on to or preserving one’s mental faculties in inherent in the word.” (Duncan, 29)
  • “of sound mind, sane, in one’s senses” and “curbing one’s desires and impulses, self-controlled, temperate” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of NT, p 613).
  • Translated sober Titus 1:8, Temperate Titus 2:2, Discreet Titus 2:5.
  • “those who oversee God’s congregation cannot be impulsive, gullible, or unreasonable men, but that they must be those who are sane and sound in their thinking.” Responsible, self-restrained, not flighty or flippant. ( Duncan, 30)
  • Elders must make sound decisions.  Emotions must not overrule intellect. 
  • Do not confuse sobriety with timidity or fear.  An overcautious elder may hinder the church in its work.

                        Holy (Tit. 1:8).

  • One devoted to God, living for God, godly, one cleansed from defilement of flesh and spirit.
  • “Holiness has to do with the proper discharge of one’s duty toward God” (Duncan, 74)

Lover of good men (Tit. 1:8).

  • A lover of goodness, has sympathy with all that is good and noble. A lover of good character in others.
  • ASV leaves off men correctly, and translates “lover of good”.
  • Greek philagathos Thayer – “loving goodness”. 
  • “loving what is good”  (Moulton and Milligan; The Vocabulary of the Greek NT)
  • Philos ‘friend’ (from phileo ‘love’) and agathos ‘good’. 
  • Some are not interested in things that are good.   They may drive across the state to attend a circus or a Football game, but cannot be persuaded to drive across town to attend a gospel meeting or a Bible Lectureship.  Those mentioned above are not wrong, but it show that some do not have their priorities aligned properly.

3 passages written to all Christians to consider: Col 3:1-2; Matt 6:19-20; Phil 4:8

Given to hospitality (1 Tim. 3:2; Tit. 1:8).

  • A lover of hospitality. Not forgetful to entertain strangers (Heb. 13:2). Entertains members and strangers in the home - having the spirit of the good Samaritan. Shows a warm welcome to visitors at services, sets an example for the flock to follow.
  • Greek philoxinos from philos (friendly-verb form means to love) & xenos (stranger).  “One who loves and is friendly to strangers is one who is given to hospitality” (Duncan, 37)
  • All saints are to be “given to hospitality” (Rom 12:13). 
  • Hospitality is a natural outgrowth of love – (Heb 13:1; Rom 12:10; I Peter 4:8-10)
  • The Golden Rule motivates us to practice hospitality (Matt 7:12)
  • Heb 13:12 – entertain strangers, Matt 25 teaches we serve our Lord by serving our fellow man (Matt 10:42)
  • Genuine & Sincere interest in helping others (Acts 20:34-35; Gal 2:10), concerned about the needy, the widows, and the orphans (Rom 12:13; Heb 13:2) (Deaver, 13).

Gentle -- patient (1 Tim. 3:3).

  • Meek, considerate, kind, peaceable. Able to bear, endure strain. Not harsh nor unkind in manner.
  • Greek word translated “patient” occurs 5 times in the Greek.  In Titus 3:2; James 3:17; I Peter 2:18 it is translated “gentle”.  In Philippians 4:5 it is translated “moderation”. 
  • “a reasonable man who stays within the limits of what is moderate & orderly” (Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of NT, II, 588). 
  • Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of NT defines “seemly, suitable…equitable, fair, mild, gentle.”

Temperate (Tit. 1:8).

  • Greek word naphalios signifies “abstinate with respect to wine” By association it means sober, careful, circumspect, I Thess 5:6,8; II Tim 4:5 (Deaver, 12)
  • One self-controlled, using moderation so as to blend the faculties to the highest degree. Ability to deny self.
  • Thayer defines “strong, robust…having power over, possessed of…mastering, controlling, curbing, restraining…controlling one’s self, temperate, continent.” 
  • Kittel – “to be inwardly strong”.  Opposite is “one who has no inner strength, who is undisciplined” (Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of NT, II, 340).
  • Heb 13:7 – We should be able to imitate their faith.

                        Is he a striker (brawler, violent)? (1 Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:7)

  • (4131) plhkthv, plake’-tace; from (4141) (plhssw); a smiter, i.e.pugnacious (quarrelsome): — striker.
  • Striker defined by Thayer – “Bruiser”, one who is “ready with a blow”.  Also, “a pugnacious, contentious, quarrelsome person”.
  • “not a brawler” defined by Thayer – “abstaining from fighting” metaphorically means “not contentious”. 

Is he quarrelsome (fighter)? (1 Tim. 3: 3)

Is he self-willed (head strong, contentious)? (Titus 1:7)

  • Greek word authades ‘selfwilled’ is used twice in the NT, here and in II Peter 2:10.  Denotes one who is “dominated by self-interest, and inconsiderate of others, arrogantly asserts his own will” (Expository Dictionary of NT Words, by W.E. Vine).
  • “one so far overvauling any determination at which he has himself once arrived that he will not be removed from it (Trench’s NT Synonyms).
  • Such words as “self-satisfied, arbitrary, unconsidered, morose, gruff, blatant, and shameless” (Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of NT)
  • “human impulse violating obedience to the divine command” (Duncan, 77).
  • Self willed dominated by self-interest.  Arrogant. 
  • III John 9-10  Diotrephes – loved the preeminence.
  • Elders must follow Phil 2:3
  • Contentious – Greek word “amachon is one who is not of the fighting kind” (Deaver, 14)

Is he soon angry (quick tempered)? (Titus 1:7)

  • “soon angry” defined by Thayer -  “prone to anger, irascible”
  • “One who is prone to outburst of temper, easily angered, contentious, quarrelsome, ready to fight, cannot be an elder in the church of Christ” (Duncan, 51).
  • This is not the example of our Lord (I Peter 2:23)
  • Anger itself is not sinful (Eph 4:26), but uncontrolled anger is (James 1:19; Prov 14:17,29; Prov 19:11)

                        Is he a lover of money (covetous, greedy)? (1 Tim. 3:3)

  • An unhealthy desire for material possessions – an inordinate desire for money. Unholy desire for gain.
  •  “not covetous” I Tim 3:3 literally means “not to be fond of silver”.  Same Greek word appears in Heb 13:5
  • Condemned in Col 3:5; I Cor 5:10; Ex 18:21
  • If an elder was greedy of filthy lucre, then the people would be materially oriented and very little interested in spiritual matters.
  • “A covetous eldership will make a covetous church, and a covetous church is a dead church.” (McGarvey, 59).

 

IV.  HABITS OF LIFE

                        Vigilant (1 Timothy 3:2).

  • Greek word nephalios, literally means “holding no wine” (Gerhard Kittel, Theological Dictionary of the NT [Grand Rapids, 1978], Vol IV p 939). 
  • In the NT, the word is not used in a literal sense, but a metaphorical sense; calm, dispassionate, and circumspect (Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the NT [Grand Rapids, 1969], Vol IV. p 229). 
  • This same word is translated sober in I Tim 3:11 and Titus 2:2
  • “An elder must be characterized by the ability to think and reason clearly – that which the man who is filled with wine certainly cannot do” (Duncan, p 23)
  • “Watchful and vigilant imply acute perception of what is dangerous or potentially so” (Duncan, p 23)
  • Watchful, both for himself and all the flock (Acts 20:28).
  • Synonyms: alert, wide-awake. He must be awake to dangers, weaknesses, opportunities, development of Christians. He cannot watch the flock of God properly if he does not have contact with them. Should have vision (Phillipians 3:13-14).
  • Elders must be vigilant in the following 6 areas:
    • To their own lives (Acts 20:28)
    • With reference to the welfare of the congregation. (Acts 20:28)
    • God’s flock must also be protected from false teaching.
    • Elders must be students of the word so they may defend the flock against false teaching.
    • Elderships must employ gospel preachers who will preach the word (II Tim 4:2) so the flock is feed.
    • Watch (Acts 20:31, Heb 13:17)
  • asd

Good behavior -- orderly (1 Tim. 3:2).

  • Modest, well-mannered, well behaved, dignified, orderly in dress and habits. Not sloven in appearance or sloven in manners.
  • Greek word kosmios is translated “orderly” in ASV.  Same word translated “modest” in I Tim 2:9, and in the same verse the verb form is translated “adorn”. 
  • Mannerly, Gentleman. “denotes a quality of mind and character which will then naturally manifest itself in the life (R.C.H. Lenski, Commentary pg 282-283)
  • Thayer – “of good behavior – well-arranged, seemly, modest.  A well ordered life”
  • Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of NT, “The concept always contains the idea of control of the body and its movements and impulses.” When discussing the Greek word kosmios, Kittel used words like “order, adornment, self-controlled, disciplined, well mannered, and honorable.”
  • “One who cannot order his own behavior with disciplined self-control and dignity should never be appointed to the eldership” (Duncan, 35) 

                        Not given to wine (no brawler)

  • Does he drink alcoholic beverages?
  • The Greek word paroinos, literally means “by or beside wine”.  A marginal note in the KJV says, “ready to quarrel, and offer wrong, as one in wine.”  The ASV translates the word “no brawler”. 
  • Wine is generic determined based upon context.  It can mean in the grape, freshly squeezed, or fermented. 
  • If drinking any amount of alcoholic beverages is wrong, why didn’t Paul say that elders should not drink wine at all?
    • If he had, then they would not have been able to eat grapes, drink grape juice, or eat dried grapes (raisins).  They would have been under restrictions like the Nazarenes (Num 6:3).
    • The Prohibition is not against all wine, only fermented.
  • Elders cannot be brawlers b/c their examples would be tarnished and it is behavior that is contrary to the kingdom of our Lord.
  • Elderships would be unable to meet and make decisions without brawling, quarrelling, being contentious, as if they had been drinking strong fermented drink.

Step 2 – Congregation Nomination

 

Though NOT a binding example, this is an example of how the apostles asked the early church to look out among themselves and select seven men to carry out the service of tables and minister to the Grecian widows.  There is no indication that these men met the qualifications of 1st century deacons that served under qualified elders.  These men were chosen to serve a specific role and purpose.  Two of these men, Phillip and Stephen, left and became full time evangelist (gospel preachers).  These men were also officially recognized (appointed) by the apostles.  Since we no longer have apostles, this could not be practiced today. 

 

Acts 6:3 – Wherefore, brethren, LOOK YE OUT AMONG YOU seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, WHOM WE (the twelve apostles, vs. 2) MAY APPOINT OVER THIS BUSINESS.

 

Step 3 – Individual Elimination

(Asked personally if work desired and if qualified)

 

In order to keep congregational tension at a minimal, each individual that has had their name submitted will be asked personally and privately 3 questions by the current elders: 

1)  Do you desire the work? 

2)  Is there anything that might hinder you from becoming an elder? 

3)  Do you meet all of the scriptural qualifications listed in I Tim 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9, &

      I Peter 5:1-4

 

Those that answer NO to #1 or #3 or YES to #2 will be removed from the nomination list and will not be announced to the congregation publicly.  Therefore, if you submitted a name to be considered and do not hear it listed as a nomination publicly, then that individually personally removed their name from the nomination list. 

Step 4 – Reputation Examination

(2 weeks for any accusations of qualifications or reputation without)

 

Any qualifications of a candidate may be brought into question during this period.  The process is as follows:

  1. Member questions a particular qualification of candidate by marking it on the “qualification worksheet”, signing their name, and turning it in to a current elder.
  2. The elders will arrange a time in which the individual questioning will be brought in a meeting with the current elders and candidate to discuss the issue at hand.
  3. If the questioning individual has a “scriptural objection” to the candidacy of the nominee as elders, then this candidate will be asked to remove their name from the nominee list. 

Step 5 – Ordination (Appointment)

(Evangelist officially appoints elder to congregation - Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5)

           

Though the evangelist appointed elders in every church and every city, this was due to the fact that the early church did not have elders at those locations at the time.  This is why Titus was left in Crete, to set things in order.  Therefore, the evangelist has the authority to appoint and ordain elders.  This however doesn’t mean that he must.  If a congregation already has elders ruling the congregation, then it is scriptural in the realm of expediency for the current elders to appoint (ordain, officially recognize) the new scripturally qualified men to serve as elders to the congregation.  Elders do have delegated authority in the church given by our Lord.   It is with that authority that they may present to the congregation the new shepherd(s).  

Works Cited

Duncan, Bobby.  The Elders Which Are Among You: The Qualifications, Selection, and Appointment of Elders.  Publishing Design, Inc.  1989.

McGarvey, J.W.  A Treatise on The Eldership.  Reprint of 1870.  Dehoff Publications.  1990. 

Deaver, Roy.  Leadership Training Series: Elders and Deacons.  Brown Trail School of Preaching.  Biblical Notes Publishing.