By Pastor Matthew Dyer
December 18, 2022
Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 3:1-7
The word Pastor is misused in a lot of Churchianity today, and if we look back in history and in the Bible, we see a totally different picture of what a Pastor is supposed to be than what we see today. Today it is not uncommon for a so-called Pastor to be a very effeminate, weak physically and mentally man, who doesn’t know the Bible, and in many cases the Pastor may even be a woman.
I know for many of our people they see this, and they say to themselves “if these are the leaders of Christianity, then I don’t want anything to do with it.” People that come to that conclusion are wrong and right. They are right in the fact that they shouldn’t have anything to do with something like that, and wrong in the fact that it is of Christianity. Because when we read the Bible, it gives us qualifications for being a Pastor, Elder, and Deacon which were leaders of a local Ecclesia that would cut all people like that out today.
The reason this is important, is our people need to know what the difference is, because we truly need more men to step up to the plate and be Godly Biblical Pastors and teachers.
I know many men in Christian-Israel that could do it, but many of them choose not to because it isn’t always the greatest job. It is one, at times, you feel like you’re always being attacked, because so many people have been burned by false Pastors, they sometimes assume you may be one too, and instead of using Scripture to check the Pastor, they just assume. Some people even throw Pastors& teachers out altogether and have come to the conclusion that they are all BAD, and they are unnecessary. This of course is unbiblical.
So today we are going to look at Biblical qualifications for a Pastor and Deacon within the Bible so we as Israel may know what they are supposed to be like. Our main text is going to be 1st Timothy 3:1-13. We are going to look at this passage verse by verse.
“This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.”
Several things to note here. The word bishop here is the same Greek word often translated as Overseer as well. It is basically a Pastor, or the leader of that local Ecclesia or Church.
In the 1st Century the Ecclesia (Church) was much more than a weekly meeting house, with pews, stained glass windows. There is nothing wrong with those buildings, but the issue is when we keep our Christianity within those 4-walls and never advance outside that building. In the 1st Century the Ecclesia (Church) was truly a Christian Community. We see this same type of Ecclesia in American history with the Christian Puritans in the 1600 and 1700s. Alexis de Tocqueville in his book Democracy in America published in 1835 said this:
“They [the Puritans] exercised the rights of sovereignty; they named their magistrates, concluded peace or declared war, made police regulations, and enacted laws as if their allegiance was due only to God. Nothing can be more curious and, at the same time more instructive, than the legislation of that period; it is there that the solution of the great social problem which the United States now presents to the world is to be found”
We need this today within Christian-Israel, we need strong communities and those can only be as strong as the people that make up those communities and their leaders.
The Bishop or Pastor was the leader of that community, and truly watched over the whole Ecclesia physically and spiritually as well. Many of our people think that if a man gets up and teaches from the Bible he is automatically a Pastor. This isn’t true, and I think this also keeps many very knowledgeable men from stepping up and doing more Bible teaching because they think they will have to become a Pastor. These men would be more of an evangelist, which we need more of as well.
Another thing that is very important, it says if a MAN desires to the office of bishop. It doesn’t say woman, it doesn’t say child. It says a MAN. Now there are many people who have a problem with that, they want woman to be Pastors, and they act like if you don’t let woman be Pastors for some reason you must hate woman or you must think woman have no use in the Body of Christ, or some other stupid response. The truth is there is no such thing as a biblical Pastor or Bishop that is a woman. She can call herself a Pastor, but that doesn’t make her one. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a roll in the local Church, no more than all the men that don’t want to be Pastors don’t have a roll in the Church. It doesn’t matter if she knows the Anglo-Israel truth or is a good teacher. It doesn’t matter! The Bible is clear on this.
Let’s read verse 2: "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;”
A man who desires to be a Pastor must be blameless, or the NASV says “must be above reproach.” In other words, he must not be in open sin or rebellion, or involved in inappropriate behavior that would bring shame to the local church. This doesn’t mean he must be sinless, as no one could be a Pastor. Adam Clarke, the 1800s commentator said this concerning this verse:
“Christian bishop must be blameless, a person against whom no evil can be proved; one who is everywhere invulnerable; for the word is a metaphor, taken from the case of an expert and skillful pugilist, who so defends every part of his body that it is impossible for his antagonist to give one hit. So this Christian bishop is one that has so conducted himself, as to put it out of the reach of any person to prove that he is either unsound in a single article of the Christian faith, or deficient in the fulfillment of any duty incumbent on a Christian. He must be irreprehensible; for how can he reprove that in others which they can reprove in him?”
What Mr. Clarke is saying is there doesn’t need to be open rebellion to God within a Pastor, as he is the one who rebukes such actions within the local Church, and he could not rebuke it if he was guilty of it himself. A Pastor must be very disciplined in his life. This principle is given by Jesus in Matthew 7:3-5 where he says:
“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
If a Pastor is a drunk, it wouldn’t be right for him to rebuke the local drunk in town, right? If the Pastor is an adulterer, it would not be right for the Pastor to go rebuke or cast judgment on the local adulterer. And so on…
Verse 2 also says that a Pastor must be “the husband of one wife.” This also would forbid female Pastors, unless someone can explain Biblically how a female Pastor can be the husband of one WIFE. It also would mean that a Pastor has to be married, and one married to one wife and not a polygamist.
Verse 2 goes on to say a Pastor must be “vigilant” or in other words watchful & prudent. A Pastor has to watch over the Ecclesia, and if he is not awake and vigilant, he is not watching over them properly. For example, a Pastor has to be watchful for false doctrines to not creep in among the Church, and then when they do he has to address them according to Scripture. If he is asleep at the wheel so to speak, he can’t do this.
Verse 2 also says he must be “sober” or sound in mind. It would not be a good thing to have a man who was not clear in the head to be the leader of the community. This is the man that is supposed to be vigilant and prudent watching over the flock, and if you are not sober in mind you can’t do that.
Verse 2 also says he must be “of good behaviour, given to hospitality.” Being of good behavior is self-explanatory but given to hospitality. This is something that has been lost in large parts of America today because of the world around us. But back in the 1st century there were not very many inns and there wasn’t any Super 8 Motels. People were expected to invite guest or sojourners into their home. What better person to do this as the leader of the community.
Verse 2 also says that a Pastor must be “apt to teach”or the NASV says he should “skillful in teaching.” Now I think this is pretty simple to understand, the Pastor needs to be able to teach. Which means one of the main jobs of being a Pastor obviously is to teach. They need to be able to communicate with their people and teach them from the Word of God. I also don’t think this simply means being able to communicate well, but also would include the quality of the information being taught. Many men who call themselves Pastors hardly teach anything on Sunday morning. If they use the Bible at all, it is normally taken extremely out of context.
True Pastors of Israel should be teaching like 2 Timothy 2:15 instructs. Let’s turn there to 2 Timothy 2:15
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
We all need to rightly divide the WORD of God; a Pastor or teacher especially so. Now let’s turn to back to 1st Timothy 3:3
“Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous”
Now the verse qualification is the Pastor must not be “Not given to wine.” Now although I think it would be better for the Pastor not to drink at all, this Greek word does not mean that exactly. It is normally understood that this means to be given to much wine or being a drunkard.
Thayers Greek Lexicon says this about the word: “one who sits long at his wine, given to wine, a drunken”
Adam Clarke says this about it: “This word not only signifies one who is inordinately attached to wine, a winebibber or tippler, but also one who is imperious, abusive, insolent, whether through wine or otherwise.”
Verse 3 says that a Pastor should not be a “striker.” This basically means a person is short tempered to the point of he would be willing to hit a person over the smallest offense. Many translations put this word as violent, which I can understand why. But now a day’s mean people would take self-defense as violence, which we can clearly see in scripture is perfectly acceptable.
Verse 3 says a Pastor should not be “greedy of filthy lucre” or the NASV says “free from the love of money.” This is also simple. Pastors should not be overly interested in personal monetary gain from their position. This doesn’t mean Pastors have to live in a cardboard box, or that they shouldn’t be paid, but having a greedy Pastor is going to lead to some big issues.
Verse 3 says that a Pastor should be “patient” and“not a brawler, not covetous.” A Pastor needs to be patient or meek when he is dealing with the Church. I think this does along with being able to teach as well. A teacher that is impatient with his student is not one that is going to get good results.
In the KJV it says that a Pastor shouldn’t be a “brawler.” This Greek word simply means that Pastors shouldn’t be a contentious person, but rather peaceable. Thayers Greek Lexicon says that it can mean “more rarely abstaining from fighting.” I am sure we all know someone who is hard to talk too, because it seems like they are just ready and waiting for a fight with you. This is what this is speaking about.
Now let’s read 1 Timothy 3:4-5
“One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity. (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)”
This qualification is pretty simple as well. A Pastor must have his own house in order. How can one expect a man to be a leader in the Ecclesia (Church) Government, if he can’t even keep his own house in order. Meaning the chain of command is first God, then Man, then Woman, and then the Children.
We won’t turn there, but we can see how this can cause a lot of issues for all parties involved when we read 1 Samuel chapter 1-2 concerning Eli the priest and his two very sinful sons. They were so bad that they were laying with prostitutes in front of the temple, and Eli did nothing about it. I preached a sermon on this a few months back titled “Are you a Christian Activist or an In-Activist?” which is on YouTube.
Now let’s read 1 Timothy 3:6: “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.”
This means you can’t have a person that becomes a Christian one day, and wants to be a Pastor the next. Or someone who has been a Christian, but really hasn’t taken their walk seriously until recently, and now they want to be a Pastor and leader.
This is just bad management. You want someone leading and teaching that has been studying God’s Word and doctrine long enough to be able to teach it, and that is strong enough in the faith to withstand hard times. This doesn’t mean Pastors have to be studied in all things but does mean they need to be seasoned to a degree. For example, when you plant a new plant in the garden it is weak. A strong wind or a hard rain can wash it away. You don’t want this for a leader in the Church. You want someone with strong roots.
It says in this verse that if they are a novice, that they can be lifted up with pride and fall under condemnation of the devil. Why do you think pride is an issue? Well because it would be easier for a novice, a baby Christian, to fall under the idea that them being a Pastor somehow makes them better than everyone else. A Pastor, Bishop, Overseer, or whatever term we want to use is not any better in the eyes of God then anyone they are preaching too. They have more work and more responsibility, but they are not somehow more holy than what many call a “layperson.”
Now let’s now turn to 1 Timothy 3:7:
“Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. “
NASV puts it this way:
“And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil.”
Now in this verse the word “the church” is added. But what I believe is being said here, is the Pastor needs to have a good reputation outside his local Church and to other Churches. Reason why, is because anyone who is a Christian has a bad reputation among those who are non-Christians. During the 1st Century, Christians were accused of being cannibals and many other things. This would have been considered bad reputation, but they were untrue things.
Now let’s now turn to 1 Timothy 3:8: “Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre”
It is important to note this word LIKEWISE at the start of verse 8. In the Greek this word means “in like manner” as seen in Luke 20:31, or “after the same manner” as seen in 1 Corinthians 11:25. So what is being said here is the same qualifications for a Pastor or Bishop are to be taken for a Deacon, which was basically an assistant or aid of the Church, and to the Pastor. So truly the qualifications for both Deacon and Pastor are the exact same. Including Deacons being men, because it also says in the same chapter “Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.” Once again, it is hard to explain biblically a female being the husband of one wife. Biblical Deacons can only be men.
As a side note, some say this is not true because of Romans 16:1 says this: “I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea”
Some translations like the New International Version, New Living Translation, and the Amplified Bible put this word Servant as Deacon or Deaconess. The reason being is this is the same word used for Deacon elsewhere in the Bible. The Greek word for Deacon means servant, so one must look at the context to see if it means a general servant or someone that aids or helps, or the office of a Deacon. Much like we have to look at the Greek word Ethnos (Gentile) and look at the context to see what “nations” it is speaking of.
One of many examples of this is John 2:9 where it says: “When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,”
The word servant here is the same word used for Deacon elsewhere. But I don’t think we can say in this passage that they were speaking of the Deacon of a local Ecclesia, but rather someone who was helping or aid the feast. Same goes for Phebe.
Now one thing I want to point out that all men and woman need to understand. These qualifications are not unreasonable and are things we ALL need to strive for in our Christian walk. Not including being a husband of one wife for woman of course. These are all things we need to be doing.