Paul quickly moves from a man aspiring to the office of overseer to a number of qualifications that are essential for a man to meet in order to be approved for this position. In the coming weeks we will consider each of the qualifications. The truth is, all Christians should desire to meet these qualifications, to the extent they are able.
It is possible for potential elders to err in a couple of ways. They could casually read the qualifications without seriously evaluating their own life in relation to each qualification – they could see them as a general guide. Or they could look at them and feel that no one could ever qualify for the position.
These qualifications must be carefully considered for any man who is contemplating the position of elder. It is their responsibility to understand the meaning of each qualification and evaluate their own life in relation to the qualification. They will certainly be stronger in some areas and weaker in others, but their lives must reflect the standards that God has established for eldership.
Keep in mind that the qualifications are not solely for the purpose of becoming an elder. These qualifications are necessary for a man to serve as an elder. In other words, they must be consistently displayed in his life.
When it comes to the qualification of teaching, understand that all elders will not teach at the same level. Paul reminds Timothy that there are those who are worthy of double honor because they rule well and work hard at preaching and teaching.
The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.
1 Timothy 5:17
Not only is it necessary for men who aspire to the office to evaluate themselves, the church also must understand their role in the process. Elders must not be selected by a nomination of a committee or the church and a vote of the congregation without carefully evaluating the man’s qualifications and giftedness. A failure on the part of the church and church leadership will likely result in a church becoming increasingly less spiritual.
Alternatively, if a church is careful to train and select qualified men for eldership, they will benefit from the corporate wisdom of the elders to accomplish the spiritual purposes of the church.