Evening Bible Study
The book of Acts ends in AD 60 with Paul being in Rome under house arrest.
We believe Paul was later released, and visited various places, including
While traveling, Paul left Timothy in Ephesus to pastor the church.
Timothy had spent many years with Paul and was like a spiritual “son” to
This letter was written somewhere around AD 63, to guide Timothy to correct
the problems in Ephesus.
Timothy is in his mid-forties about now.
Timothy would pastor the church for 30 years, and die a martyr in AD 97.
:1 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a
bishop, he desires a good work.
:1 a man desires … he desires a good work
The New King James is a little deficient here because the two words
translated “desires” are different Greek words.
The first “desires” speaks of stretching out to grasp something.
The second “desires” speaks about a longing, a desire for something. The
word is usually translated “lust”, simply meaning a strong desire.
So … if a man is aiming his life towards one day being a “bishop”, then
this desire he has in his heart is not bad, it’s a good thing.
Some might think that desiring to lead might be a bad thing – not if it’s
:1 the position of a bishop
There are various terms used in the New Testament to describe various
aspects of leadership.
apostle – apostolos – a
delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders
The term is used to describe the “twelve”, but it is also
used to describe others outside the “twelve” (such as Paul and Barnabas).
NKJV) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some
evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
Some churches consider these all as titles of authority
within the current church, while some see “apostles and prophets” to refer more
to the early church.
Also mentioned in the Eph. 4:11 passage.
pastor – poimen
– a herdsman, esp. a shepherd
This Greek word is only translated “pastor” in Eph. 4:11. All
other times it is translated “shepherd”.
elder – presbuteros – an
old man; a rank or office
The term was originally used to describe the leaders of the Jewish nation.
By Acts 11:30, the term began to be used to describe leaders in the church,
especially those in Jerusalem, as when the churches sent a financial gift …
11:30 NKJV) This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of
Barnabas and Saul.
When Paul began his missionary journeys (Acts 14:23), it became his
practice to appoint “elders” in each of the new churches, even though some of
those churches were barely weeks old.
deacon – diakonos – one
who executes the commands of another, esp. of a master, a servant, attendant,
Some churches call their pastors “ministers”, as a derivative of this term.
We’ll see this term later on in our current chapter (1Tim. 3:8f)
position of a bishop – episkope
(“over” + “to see”) – oversight; overseership
The related word (episcopos)
used in Acts 20:28 by Paul to call the elders of the church in Ephesus
20:28 NKJV) Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which
the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He
purchased with His own blood.
Jesus is called a “Shepherd and Overseer” of our souls
The question over the centuries has been – how is Paul using this term
Some churches translate this term as “elders” to describe their governing “board”.
Other churches will use this as synonymous with “pastor”
and use the following as requirements for a pastor.
Other churches use this to describe a fellow who oversees
Over the centuries, churches and denominations have developed several
systems of “church government”, or how to organize the leadership of a church.
Each system claims to be the correct, Biblical system, based on what they
see in Scripture.
This is a hierarchical system, based on our word here for “bishop”.
A pastor or minister is over the local church, then there
are leaders higher up in the denomination that oversee the pastors, and so
Examples of this: Episcopal, Methodist, Roman Catholic
With this system, each local church has a board of “elders” (presbuteros) who oversee the church, and
the pastor of the church is accountable to the elders.
Other churches will not use the term “pastor”, but all the leaders are
“elders” with equal authority.
The guy(s) that teaches on Sunday is referred to as the
Want to guess what kinds of churches use this system? Presbyterian of
course. Many others as well.
This system might not be based on a Greek word, but it’s surely American
because everyone gets a vote.
The congregation is in charge, and votes to elect leaders within the
The pastor is accountable to and can be voted out by the congregation.
Many Baptist churches function with this kind of system.
Calvary Chapels are a bit of a hybrid.
We are “pastor-led” churches, in that the Sr. Pastor is the guy in charge –
and that’s sort of an Episcopal style – except that each church is independent
and there are no leaders (or, bishops) over the churches.
The church also has a board of directors (or, elders) that functions as a
sounding board and accountability for the pastor.
Marks of maturity
Years ago Gene Getz wrote a book titled, “The Measure of a Man”.
In the book, he took the following verses and rather than making it a sleep-inducing
study about church government, he used it as a template for Christian maturity.
No matter what form of church government you subscribe to, the point is
that Paul is giving Timothy guidelines of how to spot maturity in Christians.
Paul said it was a good thing for a man to have a “desire” towards leadership,
towards developing these qualities. Whether you ever become a “leader” or a
“pastor”, it’s good to want to develop these qualities.
:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate,
sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach;
:2 A bishop then must be blameless
“Blameless” is a term that summarizes what’s to follow.
Does this mean that a “bishop” is perfect?
Some folks seem intent on disqualifying others …
blameless – anepileptos – “not
seized upon”; designating one who has nothing that an adversary might seize upon
in order to make a charge against him.
I’ve known men who read through this list and conclude that they could
never become a leader in the church because of some sin in their past. They know
they are not “blameless”.
The balance is that nobody except Jesus is totally “blameless”.
Yet a leader in the church for the most part is one who does not have
glaring moral problems. He has a good reputation.
:2 the husband of one wife
We could translate the phrase, “a one-woman man”, or “a one-wife husband”.
I’ve seen this applied many different ways.
I’ve seen some say that a single man cannot become an elder or a pastor,
because he needs to have “one wife”.
The problem with this is the apostle Paul himself. He was not married
It probably has more to do with the issue of polygamy, as it would have
been in Paul’s day.
The Greek/Roman/Gentile world actually promoted monogamy. A man was to only
have one wife. At a time. But he could also have a concubine on the side
without there being a problem.
The mature Christian man was a one-woman man.
I’ve seen this applied to people who have been divorced and remarried.
Historically, in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, if a man
was divorced or even widowed, he was not allowed to take a second wife and
still be an “overseer”.
Some see divorce as a reason for a pastor to step down from his ministry,
even if he was not technically the one who sinned.
Some rationalize this that it is a symptom of a home life
that’s probably out of balance.
Some churches will allow for a divorced/remarried pastor if there seems to
be a reasonable time of repentance and restoration.
Spurgeon said that before restoration occurs, the
repentance needed to be as “notorious” as the sin.
What do you think?
Maturity and marriage
A person’s qualification for leadership in the church is connected to the
health of their marriage.
If you are a truly healthy, mature believer, and your marriage is in
trouble, then you make your marriage your priority above all else.
Too many people get involved in ministry and put the church as a priority
over their family and their home.
That’s a recipe for disaster.
The people closest to you – your spouse, your kids – all
ought to be your biggest cheerleaders, testifying that your faith is genuine.
:2 temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior
temperate – nephaleos –
sober; abstaining from wine, either entirely or at least from its immoderate
This idea is repeated in verse 3, “not given to wine” –
sober-minded – sophron –
of a sound mind, sane, in one’s senses; curbing one’s desires and impulses,
good behavior – kosmios –
well arranged, seemly, modest
Maturity in a believer is marked by their level of self-control.
Self-control affects how you use/abstain from things that lead to addiction
Self-control affects how you think, how your mind operates (sober-minded).
Self-control affects your actions (good behavior).
Maturity is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight.
These are all areas that we grow in over time as we are walking with the
hospitable – philoxenos (“love”
+ “strangers”) – hospitable, generous to guests
Christians ought to be known for their love of others, including strangers.
Paul said that we all should be about…
(Romans 12:13 NKJV)
to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
NKJV) —1 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some
have unwittingly entertained angels.
Mature people do this. Leaders ought to be doing this.
:2 able to teach
apt to teach – didaktikos –
apt and skillful in teaching
If the “bishop” is the “pastor”, then he ought to be someone who can teach
Even if you don’t have the “gift of teaching”, or feel like you can get up
in front of an audience and speak, a mature believer (and a leader) will be
about guiding others.
(2 Timothy 2:24–26
NKJV) —24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all,
able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps
will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that
they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil,
having been taken captive by him to do his will.
:3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not
quarrelsome, not covetous;
:3 not given to wine
We already covered this with “temperate” and “sober-minded” in vs. 2.
:3 not violent…but gentle, not quarrelsome
A safe person
The mature believer is one you can feel safe around.
Dirty Harry may make for a great cop, but I’m not sure he’d make a great
leader in the church.
I have made the mistake of appointing men to be elders in the church who
had temper problems.
Early in our church history, Deb and I took a weekend off and went down to
San Diego. When we got back we found out there was a big mess at church because
one of the elders had got into a fight with one of the new believers. He
actually decked the fellow.
I’ve had other elders who were quite angry men – things I didn’t find out
until after I had put them on the board.
Paul will tell Timothy not to appoint men to be elders too
quickly – take time to see what they’re like.
You may know people who claim to be mature believers, but who are quite angry
when they’re not at church.
Their maturity is just make-believe.
:3 not greedy for money…not covetous
There are people who will come to church to further their business goals,
to make new clients, to build up their business.
Going to church is not about advancing your portfolio.
Three boys are in the school yard bragging about their fathers.
The first boy says, “My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he
calls it a poem, they give him $50.”
The second boy says, “That’s nothing. My Dad scribbles a few words on a
piece of paper, he calls it a song, they give him $100.”
The third boy says, “I got you both beat. My Dad scribbles a few words on a
piece of paper, he calls it a sermon... and it takes eight people to collect
all the money!”
Actually, if you’re thinking of going into the ministry and
thinking you’re going to make a lot of money, choose another profession.
The mature person is not focused on dollars.
Susan, who had a reputation of honesty and
frankness, replied, “You want to know what I make? I make kids work harder than
they ever thought they could. I can make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal
of Honor and an A- feel like a slap in the face if the student did not do his
or her very best.
“I can make kids sit through 40 minutes of
study hall in absolute silence. I can make parents tremble in fear when I call
home. You want to know what else I make?”
“I make kids wonder. I make them question.
I make them criticize. I make them apologize and mean it. I make them write. I
make them read, read, read. I make them spell ‘definitely’ and ‘beautiful’ over
and over again, until they will never misspell either one of those words again.
I make them show all their work in math and hide it all on their final drafts
in English. I elevate them to experience music and art and joy in the
performance, so their lives are rich, full of kindness and culture, and they
take pride in themselves and their accomplishments. I make them understand that
if you have the brains, then follow your heart...and if someone ever tries to
judge you by what you make, you pay them no attention.”
“You want to know what I make? I make a
difference. And what do you make?”
:4 one who rules his own house well, having
his children in submission with all reverence
:5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take
care of the church of God?);
:4 one who rules his own house well
well – kalos –
beautifully, finely, excellently, well; rightly, so that there shall be no room
for blame, truly; nobly, commendably
:4 having his children in submission with all reverence
reverence – semnotes – the
characteristic of a thing or person which entitles to respect, dignity
It starts at home
For the most part, godly leaders ought to have families that are doing
Some will take the “children in submission” to mean that they must rule
over their household like Adolph Hitler.
But that doesn’t fit our word for “well” (kalos) which speaks of beauty and excellence.
Your home is the place where you do your church leadership training.
The church ought to be like a big family, not a heartless corporation. Learn
your church leadership skills at home first.
How you lead at home is how you would lead in the church.
Do you spend time with your family? Do you listen to your family? Do you
sacrifice for your family?
Respect from your family isn’t something you can order
them to do, it’s something you earn.
Some folks want to skip the steps of training that God requires.
They want to take classes and read books, but never take the time to put it
Learning to lead at home is your training ground for learning to lead at
We can fool ourselves into thinking we can handle the responsibilities of that
big job we want, when we’re neglecting the little job we already have.
(Luke 16:10 NLT) “If you are
faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are
dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.
Note: I have a hard time seeing
these are absolute inflexible principles. Some pastors have felt they needed to
step down from ministry because they had a child who rebelled and became a
Keep in mind that even God had kids who disobeyed (Adam and Eve).
:6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same
condemnation as the devil.
:6 not a novice
novice – neophutos (“new”
+ “growth”) – newly planted; a new convert, neophyte (one who has recently
become a Christian)
Time to grow
Maturity takes time. It doesn’t come in two weeks time.
A mature Christian has withstood the test of time.
The test isn’t whether or not you’ve withstood temptation for ten days, but
whether you’ve withstood it for ten years.
A leader in the church ought to be someone who has been a believer for a
period of time.
Some churches make the mistake of taking a newly converted celebrity and
putting them up in front of the church.
I have heard that Justin Bieber is a Christian. I hope
those around him will give him a chance to actually mature in the Lord.
Give the person time to grow up.
:6 lest being puffed up with pride
Maturity and humility
Satan’s downfall came because of his pride. Satan used to be known as
“Lucifer”, one of the cherubim who led the worship of God.
NKJV) —12 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut
down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt
my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the
farthest sides of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be
like the Most High.’ 15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the
lowest depths of the Pit.
The older you get in the Lord, the more you should be getting a handle on
what is called “humility”.
When you’re still young in the faith, you can fall into the trap of thinking
that all the good things happening around you are because of you…instead of
I’ve seen pastors who seem to be quite enamored with themselves.
Gideon’s victory over the Midianites was carefully orchestrated by God so
that Gideon and people would not be claiming that it was all their own doing.
(Judges 7:2 NKJV) And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are
with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands,
lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved
Have you not asked Me to make you humble? Then see that I have placed you
in the perfect school where this lesson is taught. Your circumstances and the
people around you are only being used to accomplish My will.
Humility isn’t something that happens overnight.
It takes time and maturity to cultivate and grow.
:7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest
he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
:7 he must have a good testimony
Some people have the ability to maintain one reputation in the church, but
another out in the world.
In the church, they are all clean and sparkly.
To their customers in the world they are a ruthless cheat.
God cares that His leaders have a reputation for honesty and integrity out
in the world.
God cares that those who claim to be mature in the faith have that same
FACING THE MUSIC
The term “face the music” apparently originated in Japan.
A man of great influence and wealth demanded that he be given a place in
the imperial orchestra because he wanted to “perform” before the Emperor. The
conductor agreed to let him sit in the second row of the orchestra, even though
he could not read music. He was given a flute, and when a concert would begin,
the man would raise his instrument, pucker his lips, and move his fingers. He
would go through all the motions of playing, but he never made a sound. This
deception continued for two years.
Then a new conductor took over. He told the orchestra that he wanted to
audition each player personally. One by one they performed in the conductor’s
presence. Then came the flutist’s turn. He was frantic with worry, so he
pretended to be sick. However, the doctor who had been ordered to examine him
declared that he was perfectly well.
The conductor insisted that the man appear and demonstrate his skill.
Shamefacedly, he had to confess that he was a fake. He could not “face the
There may be times when we want to appear better than we really are.
We can put on a show at church once a week, but we work out in the world
the rest of the time. And our family knows more about who we are than anyone.
God wants us to be the real deal.
We ought to be able to play the music of God for real.