What Is the Context of Being above Reproach?

A church leader should stand firm to counter false teaching. A church leader should be able to teach the truth of God, which requires a steady spiritual understanding. This is a spiritual gift and expertise, which must be upheld.

Hand on top of a Bible

Qualifications for church leaders technically apply to every Christian. Titus 1:5-9 clarifies the prerequisites of the individuals who would be in leadership positions of a church. Those that consider themselves to be the elders of the church and pastors should meet these standards to serve in those jobs.

Paul records issues like morality, command over their family, and the capacity of truth teaching. Paul gives a comparable, similarly significant rundown in 1 Timothy 3:1-7. Additionally urgent is the capacity to stand up and give correction to the individuals who would try to teach false doctrines.

Crete is a small island in the Mediterranean Sea. At the time, it had a large Jewish population. Undoubtedly the churches there were founded by Cretan Jews that were probably in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:11).

Paul had selected elders in different churches during his ministry (Acts 14:23). He was unable to remain with each congregation, yet he realized that these new churches required solid spiritual authority.

The men that were picked were to lead the churches by showing sound tenets, assisting believers with developing in spiritual maturity, and preparing them to live for Jesus Christ regardless of the resistance.

What Is the Significance Being above Reproach?

Here Paul discloses the foundation of his letter. Paul and Titus had served together evangelizing to the individuals of the island of Crete. Paul later left, with Titus remaining.

This occurred after Paul's home imprisonment (Acts 28), which finished around AD 62, and his second Roman detainment, which probably happened at some point in AD 65. This subsequent stretch is recorded in the Book of 2 Timothy.

Titus stayed in Crete for two reasons: to start with, there was incomplete business when Paul left. Titus was the man answerable for finishing it. This expression might be general in nature, with the later pieces of the letter offering subtleties of what this incomplete work included.

Second, Titus was to "ordain elders in every city." The uplifting news was that numerous towns had a positive reaction to the Christian message. There were possible home churches in every town. In any case, these new churches needed leaders.

Titus was to ordain elders. This was not a vote, yet an interaction in which Titus chose authentic men dependent on the standards given in verses 6-9.

Paul momentarily portrays a few capabilities that elders or bishops ought to have. He provided Timothy with a comparable arrangement of directions for the congregation in Ephesus (1 Timothy 3:1-7, 5:22). We will see that a substantial portion of these capabilities, or qualifications, include character, not their ability or knowledge.

An individual's way of life and connections give a window into his personage. We ought to consider these capabilities as we assess an individual for a leadership position in our churches.

While it is critical to have a senior leader or minister who can viably preach God's Word, it is significantly more essential to have one who can experience God's Word and be a model for others to follow.

What Are the Qualifications?

In 1 Timothy 3, the qualifications begin with, the person must be “blameless,” have a strong moral character.

Secondly, the elder was to be "the husband of one wife." Though this expression has created discussion, it incorporates two perspectives.

To start with, elders were male. Women would not have been acknowledged as heads of a neighborhood house church, either in Jewish culture or among Gentile Christians on Crete. However, a man did not need to be married, but an elder must be male.

The expression suggests a man known for a dependable obligation to one spouse. The necessity says nothing regarding past relationships or separation. The emphasis is on the individual's present relationship.

Third, any children of an elder should not be “accused of riot or unruly.” This is not equivalent to children who are still in their youth and do not yet know Christ on a personal level. Nor does it incorporate those who are mature enough to live alone, away from the control of their father.

The elder’s offspring were not to be known for being wild or insubordinate, defiant, unbelieving, or rampant partying. These assertions likewise infer that Paul's attention was on men whose kids were more established, rather than men with small kids. As such, extremely young men would not be suitable decisions to be an elder.

Bishops (overseers) are to be “blameless” as “the steward of God.” These neighborhood church leaders worked in much the same way as leaders of the nearby Jewish temples. They coordinated individuals of a neighborhood to God's standards.

This required being unquestionably sound or above reproach, which was expressed in verse six. Moreover, five different qualities are required.

First, the elder is to be humble, not “self-willed.” This type of person is more concerned with doing what he wants and not looking out for others.

Second, men who were “soon angry” were not considered fit to lead others. That is, a person who can easily lose their temper, could not lead a church.

Third, an elder could not be “given to wine,” which means one who had the temptation for alcohol or the disease of alcoholism. Before refrigeration, nearly everybody drank a specific measure of wine.

The people who become drunk were either exhibiting misguided thinking, reliance on some different option from Christ, or seeking pleasure for a way of life. These are incongruent with being a church leader.

Fourth, a church elder could not be a "striker." That means he could not be a violent person. The matching rundown in 1 Timothy 3:3 adds the aptitude of gentleness, showing somebody delicate to the necessities of others.

And fifth, an elder was not to be greedy for money (1 Peter 5:2). To this person, the position is just a job, a way to make money and get rich.

Six traits are given in Titus 1. An elder must first be “a lover of hospitality.” Back then, churches met in homes and a key virtue in the Middle East was hospitality.

Second, he had to be a “lover of good men.” Someone who loved evil could not lead Christian believers. He had to have goodness in his heart.

Third, he had to be “sober.” This is referring to someone who is sensible and has common sense.

The fourth and fifth traits are “just” and “holy.” This refers to being upright and being set apart (1 Peter 1:15). Being holy was a focus in the Old Testament as being like and reflecting God’s nature.

Sixth, an elder is to be “temperate,” which means self-controlled. An elder senior should be able to keep on track and stay focused. Paul's letter to Titus will keep on speaking about the need to show the truth of God and disprove the individuals who went against it.

Why Does This Matter?

An elder must be “holding fast the faithful word.” This means that the elder must be able to correctly interpret God’s Word. This was important for the Jewish leaders of the Old Testament (Ezra 7:10), as well as finding men that were faithful in the New Testament (2 Timothy 2:22). It remains that way today.

A church leader should be able to teach the truth of God, which requires a steady spiritual understanding. This is a spiritual gift (Romans 12:7) and an expertise, which must be learned (2 Timothy 2:15).

A church leader should stand firm to counter the individuals who go against the truth. Titus confronted numerous falsehoods. He and the church elders must “be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”

That means to promote healthy teachings and to refute those who oppose them. Standing firm requires a strong offense and defense in imparting God's truth.

For further reading:

Who Are Church Elders? What Are Their Origins?

What Does it Mean That We Are Co-Workers with God?

What Does Godly Leadership Actually Look Like?

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Chris SwansonChris Swanson answered the call into the ministry over 20 years ago. He has served as a Sunday School teacher, a youth director along with his wife, a music director, an associate pastor, and an interim pastor. Chris is a retired Navy Chief Hospital Corpsman with over 30 years of combined active and reserve service. During his service, he received numerous awards and citations. Chris holds a Doctor of Ministry, an M.B.A., and a B.S. in health administration. Chris and his wife Vicki of 24 years reside in Madison, Alabama. If you are interested in having Chris deliver God's Word at your place of worship, you can reach him here.