Tuesday in the Seventeenth Week of Ordinary Time

1 Timothy 3:3

Qualifications for Overseers

It’s taken three devotions to get to verse three but that only proves the importance of this passage of Scripture.  The Church can’t have just any man; she must have men who are qualified for the office of pastor.  Better to have a few that are qualified that many who aren’t.

With verse three, Paul adopts negatives to tell us what an overseer must NOT be: “Not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.”  The Bible does not teach abstinence, but there is no question that alcohol has wrought havoc in millions of lives and destroyed countless families.  It is something everyone must treat with care; this is especially true for ministers.  It is such dissolute behavior as this along with sexual immorality and indiscretions regarding money that brings public disgrace upon the ministry and the Church.  One might think it would go without saying that a bishop should not be violent but then we consider discourse in our own time.  There is no question but that social media has so corrupted public discourse that rudeness is a fashion.  The former qualifications (sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable) completely exclude men who are quarrelsome.  Scripture in many places calls our God “slow to anger.”  This requires a cool head, a steady hand, and certain amount of reserve regarding displays of emotion.  A pastor should always be warm and gentle but not easily aroused to flights of hysteria or bogged down in worry or morbid preoccupation. 

The last “not” is that he must not be a lover of money.  This is a difficult one.  Big name television preachers notwithstanding, the ministry is not a profession one enters for the sake of getting rich.  Pastors and their families often go without many of the luxuries other families take for granted, from vacations to Christmas gifts.  Discontent is often hard to fight and gratitude hard to come by.  Pastors must seek blessings in other places.  When the Israelites were apportioning the land, “the Levites [had] no portion…for the priesthood of the Lord [was] their heritage” (Joshua 18:7).  Pastors must learn that their remuneration comes from heaven, both in the present blessings of ministry and the crown they shall one day receive in glory.  And we must all learn to be content (Philippians 4:11; 1 Timothy 6:8). 

Being an overseer means there are some things you simply cannot do.  Call it a double standard, but it goes with the territory.  But the Church needs men who will take up the cross for the joy of godliness.

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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