by Robert Chamberlain
Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,
1 Timothy 3:2 ESV
Even if we’re not overseers/elders, the characteristics called for in them are things that we should all aspire to. Every Christian should be above reproach, because any reproach we have reflects badly on Christ. And it’s essential for elders to be above reproach.
Apparently, in the Greek, “the husband of one wife” is literally “a one woman man”. So it’s not just polygamy that’s prohibited here but any extra marital sexual activity. Sexual purity is a must for elders of the church of God.
Sober-mindedness doesn’t mean to say that elders can’t have a sense of humour. It’s just that they have to take their role of caring for God’s flock seriously. It wouldn’t be great to have an elder who makes a joke of our spiritual woes!
Elders also need to be respectable, hospitable, and able to teach. We sometimes think of hospitality as having our friends round, but the Greek apparently means literally “kindness to strangers”- so it’s about being generous to people we don’t know. Teaching isn’t necessarily in a Sunday sermon but also in a small group or one- to- one.
“Father God, we pray that whether we’re elders or not, that we would display these good characteristics in our lives. May we be people of integrity, to the praise of Your glory, amen”