“An overseer, then, must be above reproach”

1 Timothy 3:2

 

In context:

1 Timothy 3:1-14

1″It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. 2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. 4 He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), 6 and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. 7 And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

8 Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, 9 but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach. 11 Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households. 13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

14 I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; 15 but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.

 

verse 1″It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do”

There is a great shortage of good pastors and shepherds of God’s people today. If a man aspires to that spiritual station or office, “it is a fine work he desires to do”.

Woman overseers or pastors are less common but there have been great pastors like Kathryn Kuhlmann, although this isn’t common. It is safer spiritually and better for a man and woman to minister as a unified pastoral team.

 

verse 2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach

Being above reproach is a salient instruction. This means taking the greatest care. For example, a wise and godly male pastor does not visit women alone in their home. The exception is elderly women.

A wise and godly male pastor will not counsel a woman alone in his office.

It seems in this age of liberalness and so-called freedoms, pastors have become blind-sided to the fundamental scriptural rules of pastoral conduct.

 

“able to teach”

This is a very important part of being a pastor. A pastor must be able to teach with clarity and accuracy, ably handling the Holy Bible in their teachings.

 

verse 3 “not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money”.

All these attributes are very important. The Prosperity Gospel pastors leave the last phrase, “free from the love of money”, out of their Prosperity Gospel.

 

verse 4 “He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?)”

This scripture speaks for itself.

 

6 “and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.”

All my life of 60 years, I have seen new converts and spiritual babes put in positions of leadership, particularly in music, and fail. They become easy pickings of Satan and his minions.

 

7 “And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”

If a pastor is careless in the conduct of his ministry, he will gain a poor reputation of those outside the church. For example, if a pastor visits a young woman of his church at her home while her husband isn’t there, he will deeply offend the husband. He opens himself and the woman to ungodly temptations. He sets an example to the woman that such conduct with a pastor or another man is acceptable, “in the name of Christian love”. This kind of thinking is false, erroneous and spiritually highly dangerous.

I know a pastor who was called out late at night, after midnight, to a church woman’s house because she was in great distress over something. His wife was pregnant and not able to accompany him, She said, “go and help her”. He offered the woman support and words of comfort and had a cup of tea with her. When she calmed down, after praying with her he left. Many decades later, she accused him of making sexual advances to her. He was investigated by his church movement and cleared of wrongdoing, but cautioned against doing such visitations alone in the future. This process took over a year.

Many a pastor’s reputation has been undone by false accusations.

So a pastor must behave with the greatest caution and set an example of humility, godliness and prudence to the Christians that God has entrusted him to care for.