Verse of the Day

My Musings, Observations, etc.


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January 25, 2011
The Bible defines only two offices in the church--the Pastor and the Deacon. These are the two offices which should attend to the needs of the local, New Testament church.
The first thing to realize about the two officers is the scope of the officers. Since the church is self-governing or autonomous, the two offices of pastor and deacon exist only within the local church.
The first office we will look at is the office of the Pastor. The terms pastor, elder, bishop and overseer all refer to the same office, the office of the Pastor. The Bible has defined a very clear set of qualifications for the pastor. We find those qualifications in the following passage:

1 Tim 3:1-7 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. (2) A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; (3) Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; (4) One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (5) (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) (6) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. (7) Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

This passage defines a very specific list of qualifications. We will examine each of these qualifications in some detail.


It is often said that the preacher and his family lives in a glass house. The family is, quite literally, under a magnifying glass, under constant examination by the church family as well as outsiders. The pastor is a man, he is living in flesh as we all are. The doctrine of sinless perfection is a lie - the pastor is capable of sin just as we all are. However, to be qualified, the pastor must be without blame. It should be impossible to find glaring fault in the Pastor's life. As born-again believers, we are all a part of a royal priesthood. We can all go to the Lord with our sin. The pastor is no different. When he sins (and he does), he should be quick to run to the Lord and confess those sins. He should be equally quick to allow the Lord to deal with him regarding his sin.

Husband of one wife

This one seems to be of great contention or confusion in these latter days. It is very sad to see so many good people end their marriage in divorce. There is much to be said on the topic of divorce and remarriage, but that is not the topic here. The topic here is the qualifications of the pastor. The pastor is to be the husband of one wife. This is not to be misinterpreted as the husband of one wife at a time. Consider this passage:

John 4:16-18 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. (17) The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: (18) For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

Of course, Jesus never asked a question to get information. He asked this woman to go get her husband, knowing that the man she was with was not her husband. The point here is that Jesus also pointed out that she had five husbands in the past. In comparison with 1 Tim 3:2, we can clearly see that the Lord is speaking of the total number of marriages. The pastor should be the husband of one and only one wife. There should never be a pastor who has been married, divorced and remarried.

Sadly, there is another aspect which must be addressed. In our day there are many women who believe they are called to preach and even pastor. It is quite simply impossible for God to call someone to do something which directly contradicts the Word of God. A woman cannot be the husband of one wife.

Likewise, a man who is unmarried is not qualified to be a pastor. He is not the husband of one wife.

Perhaps it is saddest that we have to mention this last one, but a sodomite cannot be a pastor. The sodomite is clearly not the husband of one wife. More than that, though, how could we even dare to dream of God calling someone to shepherd a church when that person is living in open rebellion to the Word of God - living in an open abomination.


Jesus is the shepherd but the pastor is the under-shepherd. Jesus has delegated some of the responsibility of protecting the flock to the pastor. As a shepherd, the pastor must be ever watchful of the trends of society. The pastor must be all but militant in his response to the attacks of the devil and the pastor must be quick to sound the warning when the devil attacks. He does this primarily through his preaching.


There are two possible applications of the word sober. As we will see a little further in this article, the pastor should not be one given to wine (beer, liquor, etc.). While the pastor should certainly not be a drunk, I believe the better application of sober would be one who is marked by sedate or gravely or earnestly thoughtful character or demeanor []. The pastor should be grave or serious. This aspect of his character shows his maturity and his ability to deal with the serious, even life and death decisions he may face. He should be thoughtful as his answers to questions and conversations could have an eternal effect on his flock.

Of good behavior

Again, this is an issue which reflects the pastor's maturity. It would be difficult to respect and trust a pastor who had never grown up.

Given to hospitality

We visited a church once where the pastor was anything but welcoming and we visited that church only once. How could a pastor who had no ability to be hospitable expect to grow a church? Hospitality is the ability to make one feel welcome and comfortable.

Apt to teach

It is primarily the responsibility of the pastor to teach his church sound doctrine. The ability to teach is one of the many abilities pastors have lost in our modern era. However, it is an ability which must be kept in balance. While the pastor must teach, he must also preach. Preaching without teaching is as much out of balance as teaching without preaching.

Not given to wine

The pastor should literally not have a taste for wine. Again, how could a drunken pastor lead a drunk to salvation? The drunk on the street would see nothing different in the pastor. Secondly, how could anyone respect a drinking pastor when the Bible condemns the recreational use of alcohol?

Not a striker

A striker or a brawler is one who cannot control himself, who cannot control his temper. This is another example of poor character in a man - poor character which should not be seen in the pastor. Moreover, one who cannot control his temper is one who is in danger of being taken in the devil's snare - he has no defenses.
Prov 25:28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
You have to remember that in Bible times, a city's primary defense was its walls. If it had no walls or if its walls were broken, the city had no defense. Likewise, one who has no control over his own spirit is defenseless when it comes to the attacks of the devil.

Not greedy

Ultimately, the pastor will have access to a lot of money. Practically, there must be an assurance that the Lord's money will not be consumed on the pastor's own lusts. Moreover, greed is a sign of another character flaw.
1 Tim 6:10a For the love of money is the root of all evil...
The Lord makes it plain that the love of money is the ultimate cause of all evil. How, then, could one be an effective pastor if he is greedy? If he has a love of money


Anytime one preaches, he faces the attacks of the devil. There is no doubt about this. In addition to this, the pastor is dealing with his flock. The pastor is dealing with a large group of people, all of whom are sinners. The pastor must be patient to withstand the attacks of the devil as well as the daily trials of the flock.

Having his children in subjection

This is a huge issue to contend with. Yes, the pastor's children should be well behaved. There are some churches I would not attend because the pastor's children are so badly behaved. In the future, I will be presenting a series of articles about child training. I believe children are a periscope into the home. With more than fourteen years of dealing with teens, I have learned that (so-called) Christian teenagers who have spiritual problems almost certainly live in a home with spiritual problems. If daddy cannot deal with the spiritual problems in the home, how could he be trusted to deal with the spiritual problems in the church? He cannot.

Not a novice

The man who would lead a church must be a mature Christian. Some are saved for only a short time, and feel God's call to preach on their lives. I cannot know if you are called of God or not. However, if you are called of God to preach, you are also called of God to train, to prepare for the ministry. If a preacher is ill-prepared for the ministry, he will be tossed by every wind of false doctrine. He will be easily deceived by Satan.

Of a good report of them which are without

The pastor is the leader of the church and the church is the light of the community. If the pastor has a bad testimony in the community, so will the church. The pastor's testimony will have a dramatic impact on how he is able to witness to the community and grow the church.