1 Timothy 3:4-7 (Overseers and Their Qualifications)

1Ti 3:4-5     In what ways is the family at home a microcosm of the Church?  See 1Ti 3:15, 5:1-2, Mk 10:29-30.  What does this teach us about the importance of the family at home for the health and strength of the Church?  What is the answer to the rhetorical question Paul asks in 1Ti 3:5?  If one has a perverse understanding of life at home, what will be his understanding of life in the Church?  Is it possible for one with a perverse understanding of the family at home to lead others to be perfected as a part of the family of God?  See Lk 6:39.  In 1Ti 3:4, with what words does Paul explain what he means that an overseer must “manage his own household well”?  Note: “keeping his children under control” is literally “having children in subjection”; NIV = “see that his children obey him”; see 1Ti 2:11 where the same word is translated submissiveness.  What does he mean by “with all dignity” or “gravity” (KJV)?  See 1Ti 2:2 for the same word.  Does Paul mean to say that it is the overseer who is to manage his household with all dignity, or that he is to manage his household in such a way that his children “obey him with proper respect” (NIV)?  In what ways does a good father take care of his children?  In what parallel ways will a good overseer take care of the church?  Note: “take care of” is an emphatic form that means “to take really good care of”; see Lk 10:34-35, 15:8 and Acts 27:3 for the sort of extraordinary care an overseer is expected to give the church.  See Jn 10:12-13 for the difference between the ordinary care of a hireling, and the extraordinary care of a true shepherd.  If a man has not exercised extraordinary care for his own children so that through his neglect they have fallen prey to the predators of the world and are unruly, should he be counted upon to exercise care over the children of God?  What do these verses teach us about how a man can best prepare to be an overseer/elder/pastor?  Does a man have any business neglecting his own children for the sake of the ministry?  Should a man without children or whose children are very young be considered for the office of overseer/pastor/elder?  What does the term “elder” that is used synonymously with overseer communicate about the normal age of an overseer?  What then is the importance of those who are older for the health and strength of the Church?  What if those who have successfully raised their children should “retire” after the manner of the world and leave the work of ministry to those who are younger?

1Ti 3:6-7     What two additional qualifications does Paul list in these verses for an overseer?  What is the great danger of appointing a new Christian to the office of overseer, regardless of his worldly qualifications?  What is the “condemnation of the devil”?  See Is 14:12-15.  What response should it evoke within us to realize that Satan was once a mighty and blameless servant of God (Ez 28:14-15) who through religious pride fell into condemnation to become the devil who still masquerades as an angel of light?  Might the same befall religious leaders still today?  See 2 Cor 11:13-15.  Might the same befall even us?  Clearly an overseer must have a good witness from those within the church; why does Paul say he must also have a good reputation with those outside the church?  See also Mat 5:16, 1 Pet 2:12.  In what way does Satan use the reproach of those outside the church to snare the servant of God and besmirch the Lord Jesus and His Bride the Church?  How is such to be guarded against?  See 1Ti 3:2, 10.  In 1Ti 3:6 “new covert” means literally “newly planted”; how do the qualifications for overseer that Paul has given require that the overseer not be a “newly planted” or recent addition to the church he is to oversee?  (See 1Ti 5:22).  Is it possible for a church to discern from a resume and interview if a candidate is above reproach, a one-woman man, etc…?  (See 1Ti 5:24).  Would not the early disciples have found it strange to have no one of spiritual maturity within a local church to oversee and shepherd God’s people, so that they had to form a search committee and look elsewhere for someone to hire (i.e., a hireling)?

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