Another trip to New Jersey! Linda and I will be there from September 28 to October 7. I will be preaching at Cedarcroft Bible Chapel and I get to teach Sunday School both September 29th and October 6th! My assigned passage is I Timothy 3. We’ll look at verses 1-11 for September 29 and then later at I Timothy 3:12-16 for the October 6th Sunday School. Let’s take a further look at this first part of I Timothy 3 (vv. 1-11):
This passage divides nicely into (1) qualifications for overseers (vv. 1-7); (2) qualifications for deacons (vv. 8-10); and (3) a comment about either the wives of the deacons or a 3rd category of leadership: deaconesses (v. 11).
The qualifications for overseers, if one examines them closely, could be divided into (1) personal qualities; (2) relational qualities; (3) family qualities; and (4) external qualities.
Satan is deeply invested in messing up the leadership in the local church — we read that one aspiring to be an overseer must not be a “recent convert” because of the temptation of becoming conceited & falling “under the same judgment as the devil” (v. 6). The one aspiring to leadership must have a good reputation with “outsiders” so that “he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap” (v. 7).
We then read of the qualifications of those who wish to serve as deacons (vv. 8-10). Their qualifications are personal (“worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain”) and theological (“must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience”). A TEST is required before such a person serves as a deacon (v. 10)! [Interesting that such a “test” is not mentioned about the overseers. But is assumed?].
Would you pray for those who serve as deacons in your church? I just did.
(to be continued)