I. Scriptural Qualifications for Elders
1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9

1. Blameless – above reproach and disrepute
2. The husband of one wife – literally a “one-woman man.” This does not refer to marital status, but to purity.
3. Temperate – vigilant and serious minded
4. Sober-minded – self-controlled, curbing one’s own desires and impulses
5. Of Good Behavior – well arranged, seemly
6. Hospitable – “lover of strangers”, generous
7. Able to Teach – a skillful teacher
8. Not Given to Wine – One who does not abuse or become addicted to wine
9. Not Violent – not a “bruiser” or given to fights
10. Not Greedy for Money – Generous, not controlled by a desire for money
11. Gentle – reasonable, fair
12. Not Quarrelsome – not contentious or looking for trouble
13. Not Covetous – not controlled by desire for possessions
14. One Who Rules His Own House and Children Well – Manages his family rightly as a husband and father, having a submissive and godly wife and obedient children
15. Not a Novice – not a new convert, mature in the faith
16. Having a Good Testimony among Those Outside – an upstanding reputation even to those outside of the church
17. Not Self-willed – not self pleasing or arrogant
18. Not Quick Tempered – not prone to get angry quickly, not hot headed
19. A Lover of What is Good – loving and desiring what is good
20. Just – upright
21. Holy – devout, pleasing to God
22. Self-controlled – disciplined
23. Holding Fast the Faithful Word – Believing and being convinced of the truth of God’s Word and offering the truth to others

II. Scriptural Terms for the Elders
1 Peter 5:1-2; Acts 20:17, 28; Ephesians 4:11

1. Episkopas – translated “bishop” in most Bibles, the word means an “overseer, guardian, decision maker, or manager.”

a. 1 Peter 2:25 – Christ is the “overseer” of our souls
b. Philippians 1:1 – the leaders of the church at Philippi are called “bishops”
c. 1 Timothy 3:1 – The position of “bishop” is a good one to be desired by qualified men
d. 1 Timothy 3:2 – A “bishop” must meet qualifications listed in vs. 2-7
e. Acts 20:28 – told to shepherd the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made them “overseers”

In Romans and Greek usage culturally, the “overseer” (episkopas) was an authority figure representing Caesar in a conquered territory (Pontius Pilate was the Roman episkopas in Jerusalem). The term signified the person’s authority, their accountability to a higher authority above them, and their task of introducing a new order of life to a conquered people.

2. Presbuteros – translated “elders” it means one who is older or mature. It also refers to a “council of elders” (plural).

a. Acts 14:23 – a new church is planted by appointing elders
b. Acts 20:17 – Paul sent for the elders at the church in Ephesus
c. 1 Peter 1:1; 5:1-2 – the churches scattered over Asia had elders

Biblically, the elders (plural) “rule” the church by unanimous decision led by the Spirit and guided by the Word of God. They do not rule by majority vote. (1 Cor 1:10; Eph 4:3; Phil 1:27; Phil 2:2)

3. Poimen – translated “pastor” , the word means shepherd, one who cares for, protects, and leads

a. Hebrews 13:20-21 – Christ is our shepherd
b. 1 Timothy 5:17 – the labor of shepherding refers to effort, not amount
c. 1 Timothy 3:1-7 – They must be qualified men
d. Titus 1:6-9 – Restatement of qualifications
e. Ephesians 4:11 – they are given by Christ to His Church

The pastor then is a shepherd, serving under and appointed by Christ to lead, feed, and protect the flock, the local church. The pastors model of course is Christ, who Himself is the Good Shepherd.

In examining these terms then we see that they do describe one man in one office, that of a pastor-teacher. The term elder refers to who the man is (his identity as mature in the faith), the term overseer refers to what he does (his job as manager), and the term pastor refers to his heart as he does the job (his character as a shepherd)!

III. Scriptural Accountability for the Elder
1Timothy 5:19-22

1. Ephesians 4:11 – Christ as Lord of His Church gives pastor-teachers to the Church
2. Acts 20:28-31 – the Holy Spirit leads in the appointment of elders
3. 1 Timothy 4:14; Titus 1:5 – The elders, with the congregation, appoint new elders
4. Hebrews 13:17 – The elders are accountable to God for his work and his flock
5. Ephesians 5:23 – Christ is head (Lord) of the Church
6. 1 Timothy 5:19-22 – The elders are accountable to each other and the Church

IV. Scriptural Duties and Requirements for Elders
1 Peter 5:2-3

1. Shepherd the Flock – 1 Peter 5:1-3

a. Exercise oversight willingly
b. Without abusing power
c. Never for dishonest gain
d. With eagerness
e. Leading by example, not by domination

2. Equip the Saints – Eph. 4:12-16

a. For the work of the ministry
b. For the edification of the Body
c. To be unified in faith and knowledge of the Son of God
d. To be mature and like Christ
e. To be certain of what they believe
f. To speak the Truth in love
g. To work together in growth and edification in love

3. Charge (command, instruct) the Saints – 1 Tim. 1:3-4; 6:17; 2 Tim. 2:14

a. To teach sound doctrine
b. To refuse lies that cause disputes
c. Not to be haughty if they are rich
d. Not to trust in riches but in the Living God
e. Not to strive about words to no profit

4. Teach – 1 Tim. 2:7; 4:6, 11; 6:2; 2 Tim. 4:2

a. Faith in Jesus
b. Truth
c. Sound doctrine
d. Contentment
e. Honorable living
f. With longsuffering while convincing, rebuking, and exhorting

5. Reject – 1 Tim. 4:7; 2 Tim. 2:16; Titus 3:10

a. Fables
b. Profane and idle babblings
c. A divisive man after one or two warnings (church discipline)

6. Exercise godliness – 1 Tim 4:7, 10, 12-16; Titus 2:15; 2 Tim. 1:6

a. Labor and suffer reproach if necessary
b. Let no one despise your youthful age
c. Be an example to the believers
d. Give attention to reading, exhortation, and doctrine
e. Do not neglect your spiritual gift(s)
f. Meditate on God’s Word, giving yourself to it completely
g. Have evidence of your spiritual progress
h. Take heed to yourself and your doctrine
i. Continue in truth

7. Exhort – 1 Tim. 5:1-3; Titus 1:9

a. Others
b. And convict (convince) with sound doctrine those who contradict truth

8. Rebuke – 1 Tim.5:20; Titus 1:10-13

a. Sinners in the presence of all
b. By stopping the mouths of insubordinate, idle talkers
c. Sharply those not sound in the faith

9. Keep – 1 Tim. 5:22; 1 Tim. 6:14; 2 Tim. 1:14

a. Yourself pure
b. The commandments
c. The Word that has been committed to you

10. Pursue – 1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Tim. 2:22

a. Righteousness
b. Godliness
c. Faith
d. Love
e. Patience
f. Gentleness
g. Peace

11. Remind – 2 Tim. 2:14; Titus 3:1

a. Of the gospel
b. To be obedient

12. Be – 2 Tim. 2:1, 24; 2 Tim. 4:2, 5

a. Strong in grace
b. Gentle
c. Able to teach
d. Always ready
e. Watchful in all things

13. Do not – 2 Tim. 1:8; 2:24;

a. Be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord
b. Quarrel

14. Speak – Titus 2:1, 11-14, 15

a. Things proper for sound doctrine
b. These things
c. Exhortations, rebuking with all authority

15. Withdraw, avoid, flee, and turn away from – 1 Tim. 6:3-5, 11, 20; 2 Tim. 2:22-23; 3:5, 9

a. False Teachers
b. Greed and evil
c. Profane and idle babblings, contradictions
d. Youthful lusts
e. Foolish and ignorant disputes
f. Evil-doers (according to 2 Tim. 3:1-5)
g. Foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, strivings about the Law (with false teachers)

16. Hold Fast and Lay Hold – 2 Tim. 1:13; 1 Tim. 6:12

a. The pattern of sound words
b. Eternal life

17. Minister the Word – 1 Tim. 5:21; 2 Tim. 2:2, 25; 3:14; 4:2, 5

a. Observe God’s Word without prejudice or partiality
b. Commit the Word to faithful men who can teach others
c. Correct those in opposition
d. Continue in the Word
e. Preach the Word, being instant in and out of season
f. Do the work of an evangelist
g. Fulfill your ministry and calling

18. Prove yourself a good worker – 1 Tim. 1:18; 6:12, 20; 2 Tim. 2:3, 15; 4:5

a. Wage a good warfare
b. Fight a good fight
c. Guard what is committed to your trust
d. Endure hardship and affliction
e. Be diligent
f. Rightly handle the Word of God

19. In the Church – James 5:14; 1 Tim. 2:1-2; 4:14; 5:3; 2 Tim. 1:8; Titus 1:5; Acts 15:22

a. Pray for all men, especially the sick
b. Ordain and appoint other leaders (elders, teachers)
c. Honor widows
d. Share in the sufferings of the gospel
e. Set in order things that are lacking
f. Set church policy

V. Scriptural Responsibility of the Congregation to their Pastors
Hebrews 13:7

1. Hebrews 13:7 – Obey them, remembering and following their faith
2. Hebrews 13:17 – Be submissive to them
3. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 – Recognize him and his authority, esteeming him highly in love, maintaining peace in the Body
4. 1 Tim. 5:17-19 – Count him worthy of double honor, remember that he is worthy of his wages and to be supported by the ministry (see also Matt. 10:10; Luke 10:7; 1 Cor. 9:9-14), do not receive an accusation against him unless it is made by two or three witnesses