In our previous articles about the forming of an ecclesia we spoke about elders and those taking the responsibility to construct a local ecclesia. We mentioned that it is best to look for older believers who have demonstrated godly fruit in all areas of their lives.
Today we have a look at the qualifications of such an Elder or Overseer who has to be the house-steward of the local ecclesia. – The New Testament repeatedly uses two words to describe church leaders: “elder” (presbuteros) and “bishop” or “overseer” (episcopos). –
Such an elder should be the signboard or shield of the community. He must welcome people, be helpful, wise, fair, reverent, have a good grip on himself, and have a good grip on the Message, knowing how to use the truth to either spur people on in knowledge or stop them in their tracks if they oppose it.
Qualifications of a Presiding Brother
The qualifications of an Elder or a bishop in the Apostles’ days, or what is called a Presiding Brother, are definitely and clearly laid down in the New Testament. Here are the principal:
“Blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught ” (Titus i. 6-10).”
“Vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach, not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the house of God? Not a novice. . . . Moreover, he must have a good report of them which are without” (1 Tim. iii. 2-7).
These weighty words of Paul should be read carefully at the meeting of the Ecclesia when the appointments are about to be made.
F. G. J.
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