OceanSide church of Christ

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Part of the series: CHURCH ORGANIZATION
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Qualifications of Elders (3)

Victor M. Eskew




A.   There are two lists of qualifications for elders in the New Testament.

1.     I Timothy 3:1-7

2.    Titus 1:5-9a.


B.   Both of these lists begin with an interesting term.

1.     I Timothy 3:2


A bishop then must be…


2.    Titus 1:7


For a bishop must be…


C.   Must

1.     This word is a very strong word.  It indicates an imperative and an absolute.

2.    If a man is going to serve as an elder, he has to have these qualifications.

3.     God does not want a man without these qualifications serving as a leader in the local congregation.


D.   Thus far, we have examined three of seven sections of the qualification of elders.

1.     An Elder’s Desire

2.    An Elder’s Family

3.     An Elder’s Spirituality


E.   In this lesson, we will look at another section:  “An Elder’s Temperament.”

1.     Temperament can refer to a person’s disposition, excitability, or moodiness.

2.    It involves his control and outward expression of all that is on the inside of him, especially his emotions.

3.     There are four qualifications that revolve around his temperament.


I.          SOBER (I Tim. 3:2)


A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober…


A.   Definition (4998)

1.     Safe (sound) in mind

2.    Moderate as to opinion or passion

3.     Sane in one’s senses

4.    Curbing one’s desires and impulses


B.   This qualification deals with how a man thinks, reasons, and comes to conclusions.

1.     His mind is controlled by the truth of God’s Word (Prov. 3:5).

2.    He carries out Paul’s instruction from Philippians 4:8.


Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.


3.     He is serious about spiritual things.

4.    He is sound, steady, sure, thoughtful, earnest, cautious, and balanced in his thinking.

5.    He is not flighty, frivolous, and unstable about those things that deal with God, the souls of men, and salvation.


C.   Joseph was a sober man.  The word used to describe him is “discreet” (Gen. 41:33, 39).


And Pharoah said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shown thee all this, There is none so discreet and wise as thou art.


II.        PATIENT (I Tim. 3:3)


A.   Definition (1933)

1.     Appropriate, seemingly, suitable

2.    Equitable, fair

3.     Mild, gentle


B.   The word “gentle” seems to be a good word to describe the patient man.  In fact, the word is twice translated as “gentle” in our Bibles.  (NOTE:  As we look at these two verses, look at the other qualities that surround the word gentle).

1.     Titus 3:2


To speak evil of no man, to be no brawler, gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.


2.    James 3:17


But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.


C.   Practical application:

1.     An elder will be easy to approach.

2.    He will be kind, gracious, and considerate.

3.     He will be forbearing.

4.    He quickly forgives.

5.    He does not harbor anger toward another.

6.    He does not keep a list of all the wrongs others do to him.

7.    He does not harbor a grudge.


D.   Jesus is a wonderful illustration of gentleness, especially during His trial and crucifixion.

1.     He never yelled and screamed at His accusers.

2.    He never physically fought back.

3.     He took the wrongs and the injustices.

4.    On the cross, He prayed for their forgiveness.


III.      NOT SELF-WILLED (Tit. 1:7)


A bishop then must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self willed…


A.   Definition (829)

1.     Self-pleasing

2.    Arrogant


B.   When a person always seeks his own will, he is a person full of pride, that is, full of himself.

1.     He has an overestimation of himself.

2.    He thinks his ways and plans are always right.

3.     He often looks down his nose on the plans and thoughts of others.

4.    Diotrephes seems to have been a man who was self-willed (III John 9).


I wrote unto the church:  but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.


C.   What can happen when an elder is self-willed?

1.     One man dominates the eldership.  Nothing can be talked about or decided unless his is present.

2.    This one elder can make decisions without the input of the other elders.

3.     The congregation is not allowed to question the decisions of the self-willed man.

4.    The church gets the reputation of being “Brother Self-willed’s church.”

5.    The self-willed man controls decisions, programs, mail, finances, and tries to control the pulpit.


D.   God never intended for the church to become a dictatorship.  He never intended for one bishop to oversee the local congregation.


IV.       NOT SOON ANGRY (Tit. 1:7)


A.   Definition (3711)

1.     Irasible

2.    It comes from a root meaning desire or violent passion.


B.   We describe a person who is quick tempered as having a short fuse.  It does not take much to make him blow up.


C.   A person who has quick temper can do things that will lead to the destruction of the body of Christ.                      

1.     Proverbs 14:17


He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly…


2.    Proverbs 29:22


An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth with transgression.


3.     James 1:20


For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.


D.   Elders deal with many difficult situations.

1.     Examples:

a.    Members in sin

b.    Members who disagree with them

c.    Members who are self-willed and soon angry

d.    Members with relationship problems

e.    Situations with those in the world

2.    All of them must be dealt with in a very calm and cool manner.  Anger must not be something an elder constantly display as he discharges his duties.




A.   What a man is on the inside will eventually be displayed on the outside (Prov. 4:23).


B.   In essence, an elder should be a man who is very pleasant to deal with at all times.  Occasionally, he may have a bad day, but this is the exception, not the rule. 


C.   The sheep are not fearful of speaking to him.  In fact, a man with a good temperament is the one who is approached by the members most of the time.