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1Timothy, Chapter Three, Lesson One

ABOVE REPROACH            Page 4
V. 2 (Cont’d.)

** Then how is this extremely high standard to be applied?

The parallel passage in Titus 1:6 uses the term anengkletos for above reproach. The present participle einai (be) indicates that the one being considered for leadership is in a present state of being above reproach. That is why we cannot select a new convert for church leadership. There must be a sufficient period of time pass to observe the man’s character as he walks with Christ today. No matter what is in his past, if a man of God has repented and walks faithfully with Christ for years, he can be used in the position of elder because Christ has made him a new creation! cf. 1Timothy 3:6 and 2Corinthians 5:17

** Paul is now going to get extremely specific in his terms to describe the present character of a man who should be considered for church leadership. What is the first specific to which Paul refers?

1) the husband of one wife - as stated earlier, this obviously could not be a woman. The Greek text literally reads, “a one-woman man”. Many churches today sadly use this verse to set aside a man of God who has a divorce in his past. They would most likely have set aside Paul, not wanting a murderer on their board of elders. But this is referring to the man’s present character and the fact that he is solely committed to one woman in his life. A so-called “non-divorced” man who has been married for years to the same woman could be disqualified from leadership because he is attracted to many women even though he has not divorced his wife.

** What is the next specific qualification?

2) He must (presently) be temperate. Nephalios means “wineless” or “unmixed with wine”. Metaphorically this means “alert”, “watchful” or “clear-headed”. Regarding this character quality William Hendriksen writes, “His pleasures are not primarily those of the senses...but those of the soul”. cf. Leviticus 10:9 and Ephesians 5:18

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