15 Qualifications Of An Elder In The Church – 1 Timothy 3

From my reading in 1 Timothy 3 in the One Year Bible New Testament.

Paul lets Timothy know that if someone wants to be an elder in the Church then that is not a bad thing. It is an honorable position to be taken seriously. Here are some of the requirements Paul gives for being an elder.

“So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach.” 1 Timothy 3:2

1. Above Reproach

Being above reproach literally means “pertinent to what cannot be criticized – ‘above criticism…'” (Louw-Nida). It is important to live in a way that doesn’t make people questions your legitimacy. If possible elders should avoid the appearance of evil, and getting in questionable situations.

2. Faithful To His Wife

An elder must be a one woman man. He must be completely committed to his wife.

3. Self-Controled

The elder must be able to control himself. If he can not lead himself then how can he lead the church of God.

4. Lives Wisely

If leaders are living wisely then they will be a good example to their flock. A person who is living wisely can be trusted to make wise decisions for the people he leads.

5. Has A Good Reputation In And Out Of The Church

“Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap.” 1 Timothy 3:7

Not only should an elder have a good reputation in the church but also in the community. A leader should be a person of character wherever they are.

6. Enjoys Having Guests In His Home

This person sees the value of hospitality. An elder should not be a hermit. They should be willing to open their home to people.

7. Able To Teach

The ability to teach God’s word accurately is very important for an elder. If the leaders of the church can not teach, the whole group will be weak theologically and spiritually. Paul goes on in verse 3…

“He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money.” 1 Timothy 3:3

8. Not A Heavy Drinker

He can’t be the town drunk! Someone who is addicted to alcohol should not be leading the church.

9. Not Violent

A violent person will be prone to explode under the pressures of leadership.

10. Gentle

Gentleness is the opposite of violent. An elders should be approachable and kind to the people he leads.

11. Not Quarrelsome

If a person loves to fight they should not be an elder. The elder often has the role of peacemaker and shouldn’t be the one starting conflict.

12. Not Greedy

Greedy pastors and elders have made Christianity look bad to the lost world. An elder should not be someone who loves money more than they love God or the people in their ministry. Paul goes on…

“He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?” 1 Timothy 3:4–5

13. Manages His Family Well

Paul makes a great point that if he can not manage his family well then how can he manage the church.

14. His Children Respect and Obey Him

The elder must do all in his power to parent his children well. This will serve as an example to his flock. Paul continues…

“An elder must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall.” 1 Timothy 3:6

15. Not A New Believer

Giving a new believer leadership too soon can lead him to become proud. A person may be very gifted but if his character does not grow in proportion to his giftedness then it could lead to pride and ultimately his fall.

Leading God’s church is a great privilege and we should hold our Elders to these standards.

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About David Worcester

I am the founder and director of a campus ministry at San Diego State called Challenge. I am also serving as an ordained elder at Mission Trails Church. I love speaking and writing about college ministry, gospel appointments, and practical ways to live out God’s Word! I am also passionate about: leadership training, learning, missions, church planting, surfing, hiking, sports, photography and traveling (So far I’ve visited 23 countries & all 50 states). I’m married to Jessica Worcester who I fell in love with while doing college ministry together and we have a two year old son named Samuel. I graduated from from the University of Oklahoma (OU) with a degree in Film & Video Studies. And I received my Masters in Theological Studies from Gateway Seminary. I am an ordained minister who loves speaking and writing about practical ways to live out God’s Word in life and ministry.

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