The Role Of Men In The Church
For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you—if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.
Titus has two responsibilities. 1 - Set things in order. 2 - Appoint elders. Paul’s letter deals with these two topics. The first, setting things in order, monopolizes the majority of the book. Since the second, appointing elders, is the shorter topic, Paul deals with it first.
I do want to call our attention to this word “appoint”. This is the Greek word καθίστημι (kathistēmi) meaning appoint; put in charge. To appoint (duty) v. — to assign a duty, responsibility or obligation to someone. Finite verb, aorist, active, subjunctive, second person, singular.
Appoint - καθίστημι (kathistēmi)
Paul gave Titus the responsibility of appointing these men. He was to assign them a duty. We already noted in Timothy how they had to be willing. However, The implication of this word is that you find someone who meets these qualifications, and you put them in the position! Also present here is the idea of a rather extensive vetting process. The one being considered for eldership is to open his life up to be examined. Unwillingness to do so would indicate that the man is not qualified.
Here we get into the qualifications. Many of these will be repeats of 1 Timothy so I just want to hit a few highlights. First highlight. “Is”. This is a present, active, verb. Paul is not speaking to the elder’s life prior to salvation. He is speaking of the present! Who is he right now? Blameless = unaccusable. A one woman man. Faithful children. In Timothy Paul stated it as “ruling his household well”. While his children are in his home and under his authority, they need to behave a certain way.
Blameless is repeated here. Why must a bishop or elder be blameless? He is a steward of God! “Steward” is the Greek word οἰκονόμος (oikonomos) meaning steward; manager. Administrator (supervisor) n. — one who supervises or has charge and direction of. Noun (subject), accusative, singular, masculine.
Steward - οἰκονόμος (oikonomos)
When a man is appointed to serve as an elder, he is working under God as a supervisor. Peter calls them under-shepherds. He is looked up to and honored and he must strive to be a good representation of Christ!
He can’t be self-willed = stubborn. Easily angered. Not one who is addicted to alcohol. Not violent - a cruel, brutal, bully. Not greedy. This word emphasizes money gained through disgraceful means.
These are all negative statements. One of the things I love about this Titus account is that Paul follows the negative with some positives!
I heard a speaker comment recently about the “buts” of Scripture. Some are bigger than others. In this verse the word “but” introduces contrast. An elder is not to be the things listed in vv. 6-7. However, He is to be the things listed in vv. 8-9.
Hospitable. Loving strangers. Treating people generously. A lover of what is good. This goes beyond just someone who enjoys seeing good prevail. This is someone who actively pursues good. Sober minded = self-controlled in regards to passions and desires. Just = righteous. His standards of morality and justice must be impeccable. Holy = set apart. An elder has separated himself from this world with the purpose of pleasing God. Self-controlled = in regards to actions.
This description is of someone who is centered on Jesus Christ!
This verse is one that I believe really defines what the role of the elder is. Paul gives us four things that an elder must be.
An elder must be devoted to the Word of God.
“Holding fast” is the Greek word ἀντέχομαι (antechomai) meaning help; be devoted to. To be devoted v. — to give oneself entirely to a specific person, activity, or cause. Verb, present, either middle or passive, participle, singular, accusative, masculine.
Holding fast - ἀντέχομαι (antechomai)
Elders are to be men of the Word. This is one of the primary qualifications. What does it mean to be devoted to the Word? How many men do you know who can name all the players on their favorite sports team? Or they can tell you the horsepower and specs of the hottest cars. Or the ballistic info on their favorite gun. We are to know Scripture like that. Where are the main sections, stories, doctrines. What does it have to say about important topics? This is what it means to be devoted to the Word!
An elder must be educated.
Either formal or informal. Paul doesn't specify here. An elder is to be a learner. Someone who is constantly seeking to better their understanding of truth. The elder needs to be taught the tenets of the faith. This is with specific purpose. The goal of this teaching is specified next.
An elder must have sound doctrine.
The goal of the elder being taught is that he can have sound doctrine. “Sound” is the Greek word ὑγιαίνω (hygiainō) meaning healthy; be healthy; be sound. to be correct ⇔ be healthy v. — to be correct or accurate, conceived as being free from infirmity or disease. Verb, present, active, attributive participle, singular, dative, feminine.
Sound - ὑγιαίνω (hygiainō) healthy; be healthy; be sound. to be correct ⇔ be healthy v. — to be correct or accurate, conceived as being free from infirmity or disease. Verb, present, active, attributive participle, singular, dative, feminine.
Sound - ὑγιαίνω (hygiainō)
This is where we get our English word hygiene. The implication here is that there is doctrine that is unsound. Doctrine that is not healthy, correct, or accurate. Have you run into any of that? The elder is responsible for discerning the difference between healthy and unhealthy doctrine. He is to hold healthy doctrine. Doctrine is essentially the body of truth presented in Scripture and held by the church. Why is it so important to preserve healthy doctrine? For the same reason good hygiene is important. The health of the body depends on it! If our doctrine is corrupt it has a negative impact on the body of Christ. Let me illustrate. “Judge not”. This phrase has been claimed by many as grounds for giving others free reign to sin. That has nothing to do with the verse! The context of this passage in is of seeking God’s kingdom first in the end of ch. 6 and of ensuring that your own life is in order later in ch. 7. This phrase is a caution that when we examine our brothers and sisters in Christ, we invite them to examine us. The passage is very clear that are supposed to examine one another, but we are to examine ourselves first. This is made even more clear when we connect it with passages like and others where we are directly commanded to confront sin. The unhealthy doctrine of “judge not” is born from faulty Bible interpretation which has led to a Christian body afraid of confronting sin! The result is that the cancer of sin is destroying the body of Christ and it isn’t even being treated!
The elder is God’s surgeon, wielding the Word of God to help remove the cancer of sin.
Having healthy doctrine enables an elder to do the fourth thing Paul mentions here.
Doctrine - διδασκαλία (didaskalia) teaching; instruction. Teaching (content) n. — a doctrine (or collection of doctrines) that is taught. Noun (prepositional object), dative, singular, feminine.
An elder must be able to confront.
“Able” is the Greek word δυνατός (dynatos) meaning strong; powerful; possible. To be able v. — to be or become sufficient to meet a need or task. Predicate adjective, nominative, singular, masculine.
Able - δυνατός (dynatos)
Notice the progression. As the elder is taught the Word and becomes devoted to it, he gains the ability to exhort and convict through sound doctrine! The ability of an elder to properly execute his responsibility is directly tied to how he handles the Word of God. This is how essential our hermeneutic is. How we interpret Scripture matters! The elder is to use sound doctrine to exhort and convict.
“Exhort” is the Greek word παρακαλέω (parakaleō) meaning urge; implore; exhort. To exhort v. — to earnestly support or encourage a response or action. Verb, present, active, complementary infinitive.
Exhort - παρακαλέω (parakaleō)
I understand this to be directed towards fellow believers. it is connected to the root for “comforter” which is used to describe the Holy Spirit. When a brother or sister in Christ gets led astray, we exhort them. We lovingly and earnestly draw them back to sound faith. There is a tenderness to this word that isn’t present with the next word.
“Convict” is the Greek word ἐλέγχω (elenchō) meaning reprove; expose; convict. To sternly admonish v. — to admonish someone strongly; likely using argumentation to convince and refute. Verb, present, active, complementary infinitive.
Convict - ἐλέγχω (elenchō)
This is a word of argument. It is a stern corrective rebuke. It is a very strong word that carries with it the idea of shame and reproach. When it comes to matters of truth, the elder is to be unyielding. He is to expose error that truth may be seen. Both the exhorting and convicting is to be practiced towards those who contradict.
“Contradict” is the Greek word ἀντιλέγω (antilegō) meaning contradict; speak against. To contradict v. — to answer with a contrary assertion or in counter to. Verb, present, active, substantial participle, plural, accusative, masculine.
Contradict - ἀντιλέγω (antilegō)
It is an elders job to be able to answer those who speak contrary to Christ! When Scripture is contradicted. When Christ is spoken against. An elder steps up and uses sound doctrine to exhort and convict! We are never to stand by and hear Christ maligned!
This is who an elder is. These are his qualifications. And in v. 9 we see a little bit of what an elder does. An elder is an armored defender of the truth of God’s Word.
Ben mentioned as he went through , that these are more qualifications than roles. For a brief glimpse at the roles, please turn to…
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.” (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
The Gift Of Gifted Men vv. 7-8
The Gift Identified v. 9
The Gift’s Purpose vv. 10-16
Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” Then Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.” So when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.