Monday in the Seventeenth Week of Ordinary Time

1 Timothy 3:2

Qualifications for Overseers

I ended yesterday’s devotion by saying that pastors are not required to be likeable.  I do not mean to say that pastors should strive to be unlikeable, but only that “likeable” is nowhere mentioned in Scripture as a qualification for any office which God has established.  In fact, God’s prophets were often hated by God’s own people and even martyred.  Furthermore, being a people-pleaser is condemned every place it is mentioned in Scripture, and no group of people could be indicted for that sin more than pastors.  I call this to your attention so that if you are one who complains that you and your pastor don’t quite “hit it off” or that he seems oftentimes aloof, bear in mind that he is not there to be your “bud,” and that his “aloofness” might be due to a character that concerns itself with matters that require deep thought and meditation, so that when he does speak to you, he might speak a meaningful word into your life rather than talk to you about the weather.

We left off yesterday with “hospitable.”  Hospitality was huge in the ancient world.  It is still the way today in the Mediterranean world where if you enter someone’s house you will be expected to sit down to eat.  Indeed, bishops in the early church were expected to open their houses to people on a regular basis that weary travelers might have a meal and a place to sleep for the night.  Perhaps such a practice is no longer needed in our day, at least in the “developed world,” but this only means that we must find other ways to practice hospitality.  In other words, being hospitable is not an option, and in our current hyper-partisan society, it might be the best way to bear witness to Jesus Christ.  And be aware that the Scripture is speaking of personal hospitality—not soup kitchens or homeless shelters, though these are certainly needed.  But how often do we give money to these places so others can be hospitable for us?  At any rate, pastors must return to placing a premium on showing hospitality to all people and especially those in need.

An elder must also be “able to teach.”  This qualification is not listed for deacons indicating that this qualification marks the pastor from the deacon.  The pastor must teach and preach the word of God and rightly divide the “word of Truth.”  And allow me to say, THIS REQUIRES TRAINING.  Yes, there have been men who were good teachers who did not have a seminary education, but they are the exception.  A pastor needs to know Greek, some Hebrew, Bible, theology, church history, and basic church management—and at a good Bible-believing school.  We need Spirit-filled AND educated ministers that we may have men who are “able to teach.”

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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