14 Qualifications (or so)


This morning I’ve been reading Titus 1 where Paul lists all these qualities for leadership. Since there have been so many scandals in the leadership of the church lately, this list seemed extra pertinent. So, I thought I’d break it down a little. Paul says that these are qualities that belong to ‘bishops.’ The word is episcopos in Greek, and it translates to ‘overseer.’ Very likely it simply means the pastoral overseer of a given congregation. If you want that job, here are the qualifications:

1. You must be a faithful manager of your own household first. This is likely the meaning of the instructions regarding ‘husband of one wife’ and children in the faith. The implication is that if you cannot manage your own household, you have no business managing God’s.

2. As a manager of God’s house, you must be blameless–i.e., as a steward, as the office manager in the local church, you must not give any reason for accusations on the basis of your management.

3. You must not be stubborn, or arrogant–i.e., you need to be someone who listens, someone who judges matters according to the way they are, someone who prioritizes God’s ways over being right themselves.

4. You must not be quick tempered–i.e., you need to be someone who is patient, who gets angry for the right reasons.

5. You must not be a drunkard–i.e., you need to be someone who isn’t trying to escape the world, or dull his pain through pleasure; a person known for moderation.

6. You must not be a bully–i.e., you need to be someone who uses power justly, who recognizes weakness in others and refuses to exploit it.

7. You must not be fond of dishonest gain–i.e., you need to be a person who refuses to benefit financially at someone else’s expense; moreover, you need to be someone who has a concept of the real purpose and meaning of wealth; someone who has a right relationship with mammon.

8. You must be someone who is hospitable, or loves strangers (the Greek word is philoxenon). Hospitality is often how households in the Bible are judged.

9. You must love the good (the Greek word is philoagathon, a play on words for Paul). Loving the good entails hating evil, and hating those evils that might corrupt your house.

10. You must be moderate-minded, self-controlled. Here the Greek word points to the ordered life of a wise person. This means living in an ordered, holistic way.

11. You must be just. This means to keep your life and doctrine closely to the teaching of God.

12. You must be pious. This means you are someone who lets his consciousness of God act as a wellspring for action.

13. You must be self-controlled. The word here probably means that you should manage your passions so that they have a right relationship to your responsibilities.

14. You must cling to the word of faith, according to the instruction. In this, you must be someone who relies on the faith handed down to us, and does not alter or invent your own.

Such a man, Paul tells us, will be powerful to announce the word and to refute opposition. Failure to be such a man, Paul infers, will result in either impotent preaching, or impotent defence.


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