Reading For Monday 1 Timothy 3:1-16
These verses are not just a set of instructions on how to identify and appoint new leaders. The church at Ephesus required a radical overhaul of the church’s leadership. Some men had wandered from the truth and led others astray which necessitated that they be replaced with men of integrity who could lead the church. Overseers and deacons are the two words used to refer to leaders for the church. Overseers who are sometimes referred to as elders watch over, lead, and teach the Word of God in the local church while deacons work alongside them so that the elders can exercise their ministry effectively. This is the pattern set out in Acts 6 when seven men were appointed to take on some practical tasks to enable the Apostles to give their attention to prayer and to the ministry of the word.
The overseer/elder should have a desire to serve the church in this capacity and not merely be suggested by someone based on their giftedness or popularity. Paul says that overseers and deacons should possess a healthy marriage, be self-disciplined, able to relate to people, not given to drunkenness, have integrity in his relationships, not love money, and have an orderly home. The primary difference between a deacon and an overseer is that an overseer must be able to teach which is to apply God’s Word to the situations that people in the local church face. These Christians had allowed themselves to be led astray by false teaching, divided by arguments, and distracted by rules and regulations introduced by their new teachers.
This is a passionate plea for Timothy and the Christians in Ephesus to address an urgent situation. Paul plans to visit the church himself, but the needs are so urgent that he must write to them so that they will know how one ought to behave in the household of God. God's household is the family of the living God and the pillar and buttress of truth. The mystery Paul announces here would have remained unknown had it not been revealed by God. The Son of God became a real human being that was like us in every way, except for our sin. Jesus was vindicated by the Spirit in his ministry and his resurrection. The angels were at the empty tomb, telling the disciples that Jesus was no longer there because he had been raised from the dead. The good news was proclaimed, believed, and Jesus returned to his glory.
Things To Consider:
- Why does the church need leaders?
- How does Jesus use leaders in the church?
- How should leaders be identified?
- Why is the way in which one conducts themselves in their home so important?
- Why should the church not use recent converts?
- Does age play a part in the selection of leaders?
- Why are wives mentioned if they do not hold the office?
- Why does Paul remind the church of the mystery of godliness?