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We are still in the context of the Holy Spirit’s exhortation (through Paul) to Timothy about how the church should be structured (3:14-15). In the Lord’s church, the church modeled after the New Testament pattern, those in leadership are called “overseers” or “bishops.” Before men can serve in this role the following must be in place: a desire to serve (not a despot), he must be married, self-controlled, discerning, respected, have a spirit of hospitality, competent to teach, not controlled by outside artificial influences, not quick-tempered, gentle, free from the love of money, and peace-loving (cf. Eph. 4:3).

A few additional thoughts on some of the above. Those who serve must be holy men (males only) of God, no holy women of God are authorized to serve in this role. The word “overseer” (bishop) is not a religious title, but a servant role, a work of God amid those living as saints of God. These holy men of God must be married (thus no unmarried male). Some try to mitigate the phrase “must be” in relation to marriage, but if that is so, then “must be” loses its force in relation to everything else in this context Paul says.

As a holy married man serves the church, he must first learn to serve his family. Again, he is not a despot, one who directs without regard to the sensibilities of his family. Too many churches have been irreparably harmed by men who want a title and not a work. Neither is the holy man of God to serve in leadership without experience in the Lord’s way. It takes time to learn to navigate one’s spiritual walk in a dark world. Having knowledge of the Lord’s will is one thing (and very important), but having experience in living that knowledge will go a long way in helping others do the same.