SUGGESTED VERSES FOR MEMORIZATION & MEDITATION
For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. (Titus 1:7-8)
He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also rebuke those who contradict it. (Titus 1:9)
Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. (Hebrews 13:7)
After walking through Paul’s greeting to Titus, we last discussed Paul’s idea for church leadership. Paul’s charge to Titus was to organize each church in Crete by appointing elders in them. Because each city contained one church during the New Testament period, the apostle intended for each church to be governed by a plurality of elders. Of course, most churches today are not led by multiple elders, but it is crucial in all things that we allow the Bible to dictate our views rather than history or tradition.
Today, we dive into the next few verses of Titus in which Paul will discuss the qualifications necessary for being a church elder. Paul urges that elders should not be drunkards, quick-tempered, or greedy for gain, but instead should be self-controlled, lovers of good, and holy. The entire list of qualifications could be easily summed up in the phrase that Paul uses twice: above reproach. The church’s overseers live lives above reproach, which means that unaccusable or blameless lives.
Considering the experience that many have had with church leaders (or of being a church leader), we might quickly begin to wonder who then qualifies to be an elder or a deacon. Fortunately, the Bible never calls us to attempt to make ourselves holy and above reproach; rather, Jesus reconciled us in His body in order to present us “holy and blameless and above reproach before Him (Col. 1:22).” Thus, elders are called to lead the church in clinging to “the trustworthy word as taught.” They lead by holding fast to our hope in Christ and urging the body to follow their example.
Read verses 6-8 and discuss the following.
- Paul calls overseers (or elders/pastors) “God’s steward.” What does it mean to be a steward of God?
- Paul gives to Titus a long list of qualifications for how an elder ought to live and not live, but all of them can be summed up in the command to be above reproach. What does the apostle mean by being above reproach?
Read verse 9 and discuss the following.
- In this verse, Paul provides the only listed duty of an overseer. What is that duty? Why is it such a crucial responsibility?
ACTIONS TO CONSIDER
- Consider your relationship to a local church and church leadership. Do you faithfully seek to live out Hebrews 13:7,17?
- Pray specifically for the church’s elders and deacons that they would live above reproach in Christ, leading in the church into how to cling to the truth of the gospel.