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                        "SHEPHERDS OF THE FLOCK"

               Their Qualifications - Familial Qualities


1. In examining the qualifications of elders, we began with some
   preliminary considerations...
   a. Whether a desire for the office is a necessary qualification
   b. The qualifications describe what an elder must be, not have been
   c. An elder (i.e., bishop, pastor) must be a man, not a woman
   d. An elder must be blameless; not perfect, but free from any
      provable charge

2. A quick perusal of the qualifications (cf. 1Ti 3:1-7; Tit 1:5-9),
   reveal that elders must possess certain qualities related to several
   a. Marriage and family
   b. Personal conduct
   c. Church and community

[In this lesson, we'll examine an elder's "Familial Qualities",
qualifications that pertain to his family...]


      1. He "must be" the husband of one wife - 1Ti 3:2; Tit 1:6
         a. This rules out a polygamist
         b. It also rules out a single man
      2. Some interpret Paul to say "if one is married, he must be
         husband of one wife"
         a. Yet Paul does not say "if"
         b. He says an elder "must be" - 1Ti 3:2
      3. Disregard what Paul says, and we can teach anything
         a. Some say the bishop must be single (e.g., Roman Catholicism)
         b. Some say the bishop (pastor) can be single (e.g., many
            Protestant churches)
      4. Yet the scriptures say the bishop (pastor, elder) must be the
         husband of one wife!
         a. Shall we follow the commandments of God, or the traditions
            of men?
         b. Consider carefully the warnings of Mk 7:6-13; 2Jn 9

      1. What about a widower?
         a. If his wife passes while he serves as an elder, should he
         b. Remember that Paul describes what an elder "must be" (not
            have been)
         c. If a man is no longer the husband of one wife...
            1) He does not meet the qualifications laid down to become
               an elder
            2) If an elder, he no longer meets the qualifications of
               what an elder "must be"
      2. What about a digamist (a widower who has remarried)?
         a. He is certainly not a bigamist (husband of two wives)
         b. He has a right to remarry - cf. Ro 7:1-3
         c. He is presently the husband of one wife, which is what an
            elder must be
      3. What about one divorced and remarried?
         a. Presuming that he has been scripturally divorced and
            remarried - cf. Mt 19:9
         b. He is presently the husband of one wife, which is what an
            elder must be

[Such questions might not be answerable with certainty.  If one is to
error, then let it be on the side of literalness, rather than looseness,
when it comes to handling the Scriptures.  Now let's consider...]


      1. Ruling his own house well - 1Ti 3:4-5
         a. What this means
            1) "having his children in submission with all reverence"
            2) His children submit to his rule with respect
         b. Why this is necessary
            1) "if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how
               will he take care of the church of God?"
            2) It is indicative of one's potential to rule as an elder
               - cf. 1Ti 5:17; He 13:17
      2. Having faithful children - Tit 1:6
         a. What this means
            1) Either children who believe, or children who are faithful
            2) Whether it means they must be Christians is discussed
         b. Why this is necessary
            1) It reflects his ability to rule the house of God
            2) It reflects his fitness to oversee the children of God
      3. Not accused of dissipation or insubordination - Tit 1:6
         a. What this means
            1) dissipation (Gr., asotia) - an abandoned, dissolute life;
               profligacy, prodigality; indulgence in sensual pleasure
            2) insubordination (Gr., anupotaktos) - disobedient, unruly
         b. Why this is necessary
            1) Children so accused brings shame on their father - cf.
               Pr 28:7
            2) Such children bring doubt on a father's ability to rule
               his house - cf. 1Ti 3:5

      1. Must the children be Christians?
         a. Consider the following translations:
            1) "having children that believe" (ASV)
            2) "whose children are believers" (NRSV)
            3) "having children who believe" (NASB)
            4) "whose children believe" (NIV)
            5) "whose children are well-trained and believers"
               (Amplified New Testament)
            6) "having children who are believers" (Wuest's Expanded
            7) "with children who believe" (Moffat)
         b. Consider the following Greek authorities:
            1) "one who has become convinced that Jesus is the Messiah
               and the author of salvation (a believer)" - Thayer
            2) "believing (in Christ), a (Christian) believer" - Arndt &
            3) "believing children, or children that believe" - Vincent
            4) "believing children, or children who are believers"
               - Wuest
            5) "a believer, Christian" - Robinson
         c. Consider the following commentators:
            1) "brought up in the true Christian faith" - Henry
            2) "Believers, adorning the doctrine of the gospel by purity
               and obedience. There must be evidence that they have been
               brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
               - Croskey, Pulpit Commentary
            3) "Paul wants only men who believing children, not men
               whose sons and whose daughters are still pagans. A
               handicap such as that would be too great for an elder."
               - Lenski
            4) "The apostle required that the children of him who was to
               be ordained a bishop should be Christians, and of a sober
               behavior; because the infidelity and vices of children,
               at least in the eyes of the vulgar, bring some blame on
               their parents. And therefore it is added, in the next
               verse, 'for a bishop must be blameless.'" - MacKnight
            5) "having children who share the Christian faith of their
               fathers and who adorn that faith with a godly conduct. A
               man whose children are still pagans or behave as pagans
               must not be appointed elder." - Hendriksen
            6) "It is not right or healthy for the elder to have pagan
               children. If the prospective elder accepted Christ late
               in life, he might not be at fault for the belief of his
               children, but he cannot ignore his relationship to them.
               If his children are pagan in their attitude and conduct,
               it will reflect on him and his service to Christ."
               - Dewelt
            7) If an officer should have unbelieving children, it might
               indicate that he was either careless as a Christian, or a
               recent convert; and if his children were insubordinate,
               it might indicate that the 'elder' lacked the ability to
               rule the 'household of God', the congregation of
               believers." - Erdman
         d. In summary, here are reasons to hold that "faithful
            children" means Christians:
            1) The testimony of translations, scholars, and commentators
               overwhelmingly favor it
            2) When a man's children are faithful Christians, there is
               good reason to believe that he has experience in...
               a) Raising others in the training and admonition of the
                  Lord - cf. Ep 6:4
               b) Ruling in such a way that inspires both obedience and
            3) When a man's children are not faithful Christians, there
               are lingering questions...
               a) Is he at fault, not having been careful to watch over
                  his children?
               b) Has he had experience in raising others in the faith?
               c) Has he had experience in inspiring others to follow
                  his example?
      2. Must there be a plurality of children?
         a. "Children" (Gr., tekna) literally means more than one child
         b. The plural (children) can sometimes be used to refer to the
            singular (child)
            1) This is known as plural of class, or the plural
               containing the singular
            2) Examples of this include Lk 20:28; 1Ti 5:4
            3) Paul appears to use it this way in 1Ti 5:10; Tit 2:4
            4) Leading some to conclude that an elder can have only one
         c. Yet there are clear advantages to having more than one child
            1) Children are different, to which parents with multiple
               children can attest
            2) Raising multiple children requires dealing with diverse
               personalities, with challenging relationships and
               conflicts between them
            3) Having a plurality of children better qualifies a man for
               the challenge of leading a plurality of members in the
            4) Having more than one child certainly removes any doubt
               that one has met the qualification of having "children"
      3. Must all of the children be Christians?
         a. Some argue an elder must have faithful children, but not all
            have to be Christians
            1) Literally, you could still say that he has "faithful
            2) Yet questions may remain as to why there are unfaithful
         b. Some scenarios might be less troubling; for example:
            1) A man has four children
            2) The two older children are Christians
            3) The two younger haven't attained the age of
               accountability, but do have a childlike faith in God and
            4) To the degree the latter are accountable, are they not
               "faithful" as well (though not yet Christians)?
      4. What if a child becomes unfaithful away from home?
         a. To be consistent with the premise that the qualifications
            are those which must be present in an elder, an unfaithful
            child would disqualify an elder
         b. Can one reason that the father is no longer accountable when
            the child no longer lives under the same roof? My own
            1) Does not the father-child relationship continue through
               a) I must still honor my parents - Ep 6:4
               b) I still bear responsibilities toward my parents - cf.
                  1Ti 5:4,8
            2) There would be the problem of demonstrating one's ability
               to watch over souls
               a) How do we know he is able, if his children are not
               b) The father may not be at fault, but who can know for
            3) The only way an elder can serve free from distracting
               questions is if he continues to have "faithful children"


1. Some questions may not be answerable to the degree of certainty; yet
   let it be clear...
   a. An elder must be the husband of one wife
   b. An elder must have faithful children
   c. An elder must rule his own house well, with children under

2. Where questions linger and doubts remain...
   a. Each congregation should strive resolve the issues to the
      satisfaction of all its members
   b. It does not hurt to err on the side of safety
   c. If possible, elders should be free from any doubts that would
      hinder their ability to serve
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