1 Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task.
2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,
3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect.
5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)
6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.
7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
8 In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain.
9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience.
10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
11 In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well.
13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.
Above Reproach (3:1–7)
The apostle Paul outlines qualifications for aspiring pastors and elders. In this list, only one qualification has to do with skill (teaching); the rest deal with the leader’s personal life—their character and relationship with their family. And these are not just standards by which overseers are appointed; they must also live by these standards. It is easy to evaluate a pastor by their eloquence or the structure of their message. But who they are out of the pulpit is much more crucial to the ministry. Therefore, we must pray for our church leaders and their families because it is by living according to Christ’s standards that they will be able to properly take care of God’s church.
- How often do you pray for your church elders and pastors? Take some time to pray for the leaders of your congregation today.
Trustworthy Ministers (3:8–13)
In the early church, deacons were leaders who took care of the physical needs of church members through ministries of mercy. The standards for deacons are just as high as those of pastors and elders. Their appointment depends not on how long they have served in the church or what needs they are expected to meet, but on the soundness of their faith, conscience, and character. The church needs people to take care of its spiritual, material, and organizational needs, and all types of service must come from a sincere faith that bears fruit in the everyday lives of those who aspire to serve. May we, likewise, also build our ministries upon the foundation of godly character.
- In what ways do you aspire to serve the church? What aspects of your life need to be better aligned with your faith?
A letter to God
Father, I pray for those You have called to lead Your church. Fill them with Your Holy Spirit and wisdom so that they may feed Your people with Your life-giving Word with all diligence and faithfulness. May their lives and ministries bring You glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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