1 Timothy 3
ORDER IN THE COURT: As twenty-first century Americans, we have a distrust for institutions. This isn't without reason, for it's almost impossible to find a institution anywhere that doesn't have some sort of major flaw in its history. Unfortunately, this is true of the Church as well; it's all too easy to think of example after example of ways the Church as an institution has caused harm over the centuries. So our reaction is to want to privatize our religion, to just break away from the inevitable sins of the institution and form my own little church consisting of me and Jesus.
But such individualism has never been a mark of God's people. We are designed and created to live in community, and communities require order. God has ordained elders and deacons to provide that order, and in this chapter, Paul instructs Pastor Timothy in what sort of Godly men should fill these positions.
HE NOT SHE: Once again it becomes awkwardly evident that God has called men to these leadership roles in the church, in that Paul consistently uses masculine pronouns and refers to how these men must lead their families and treat their wives. This seems awkward to us because we rightfully assert in our society that women are equal to men in every respect, a position which is wholly compatible with scripture. Yet even in this equality, God calls men to some roles, and women to others. Chapter three lays out the characteristics for men called to be elders (overseers), men called to be deacons (literally: servants), and women (v11). Although there are different ways to interpret v11, it seems that Paul is not referring to women in general, rather he means women who play important roles in the life of the church, roles that we read about women fulfilling in the gospels, Acts, and in the credits Paul gives to women at the end of several epistles. God has designed the Church to require the gifts of both men and women to be successful.
CHARACTER COUNTS: Just being male is not a qualification to be an elder or a deacon. Being well educated in theology is certainly helpful to do the job, but it's never listed in the Bible as a requirement. Rather, all of the criteria given in the New Testament, especially in this chapter, have to do with a man's character, which means his ability to "conduct himself in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth (v15)."
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Jesus Christ, Beyond all question, who appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory (v16)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask that God will help you conduct yourself as a member of His household.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: