Terry Baxter Devotional

Qualifications of an Overseer: 1 Timothy 3:2-7

Qualifications of an Overseer: 1 Timothy 3:2-7
“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.” 1 Timothy‬ ‭3:2-7‬ ‭
The Apostle now turns to the qualifications of an overseer. This list can be broken into several parts. He instructs Timothy to look at his character, his marriage and family, his temperament and diligence, his leadership ability, his teaching and influence on others, his treatment of strangers, his stewardship and financial integrity, his maturity level as a Christian, his free from addictions and his reputation from those within the community. This is a thorough list that reflects balanced Christan virtue and maturity. Though every Christan man should aspire to this level of maturity and godliness, many are disqualified.
Let me touch on a few that stand out. First, being a Christan convert and maturing disciple of Jesus Christ is essential. This whole list is the outgrowth of a deep and intimate walk with God. Many churches have put men of influence into leadership who have no walk with God and lack godly wisdom and biblical understanding. This is a tragic mistake. How can a man lead others into a deep relationship with God when they themselves are shallow or given to worldly wisdom?
Second, he must be a man of moral and sexual freedom. Jesus, Paul and Timothy were single and morally free. Others like Peter were married with fidelity and devotion to their one wife in keeping the marriage covenant. Matthew 19:1-12, 1 Corinthians 5-7 and 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 should all line up in the life of Christan leader.
Third, when it comes to character and Godly maturity we might summarize by saying they display agape love and the fruit of the Spirit. Does their life reflect a walk with God? Is there ample evidence of the Spirit of God working in them and through them? Are they being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ? Are their children being positively influenced for Jesus Christ or are they showing signs of reacting to hypocrisy not seen in public?
Finally, does the man have a call or mantle from God on his life for advancing the kingdom of God? Is he concerned about the lost and given to disciple making? Does he have the heart of Jesus for missions? Does he have a witness and positive influence for the glory of God among unbelievers?
It is a tragic mistake putting a man in leadership who has no experience or flame in his heart for missions. We could conclude from 1 Timothy 1:1-8 that his prayer life must have a fire for the lost.
Look at the example of Jesus in Matthew 10 and Luke 10. Every disciple Jesus made, He trained and sent on mission trips. This is where vision is formed, gifts are discovered and the power of God is witnessed. How can a man oversee Christan ministry who has no experience with kingdom dynamics and knows nothing of the power of the gospel?
These are questions seldom asked about prospective leaders, but the context of the book of 1 Timothy and indeed the whole New Testament screams these truths. A Christan leader must be a man with a testimony of a transformed life because of his personal relationship with Jesus Christ. His must have a mature and growing walk with God. He should be a man of faith who is gifted and empowered by the Holy Spirit. He should display a positive marriage and family life that validates his testimony and walk with God. He should be a man who is bearing fruit for the glory of God.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global