The word “Bishop” is used which in the Greek (episkopos), and means overseer, elder, or under-shepherd, and it translates into the modern English as pastor. 1st Timothy 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
Some congregations have placed a deacon in as a proxy pastor, but a deacon is not an overseer in this sense, but one who handles the less weightier matters to free the hands of the pastor & preachers. Acts 6:2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. 6:3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. 6:4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. Is it wrong for a deacon to help in that capacity if a preacher isn’t available? No, certainly not. But don’t put the poor guy on the spot and keep him there.
In searching for a pastor, make sure you keep God’s standards in mind. God holds pastors to a ridged standard, and I would think that the Lord actually expects us all to strive to live up to these standards. Now as for those qualifications, allow me to break them down for you:
1. 1st Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
- Blameless means that he should not have any controversy or bad, (provable) reports about him.
- That he is the husband of only one living wife unless he meets the qualifications of Matthew 19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. or 1st Corinthians 7:10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: 7:11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. 7:12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. 7:13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 7:15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. The word fornication applies to both married and unmarried in this case, he’s the one who should be the innocent in that case, and not under bondage means to be released from the bonds of matrimony. If he’s remarried outside of these qualifications then he’s biblically disqualified.
- That he’s vigilant, meaning a shepherd who watches out and protects. 1st Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 5:9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
- That he’s sober. This means that he is to be serious when he needs to be. Ephesians 5:4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
- Of good behavior is self exclamatory. 2nd Thessalonians 3:6: Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. 3:7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;
- Given to hospitality meaning you should feel welcomed without any reservations at his home. 1st Peter 4:9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
- Apt to teach would mean that he would be willing to explain the doctrines of the scriptures without hesitation according to the knowledge God’s given him. 2nd Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2. 1st Timothy 3:3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
- Not given to wine, means a man who avoids drinking. Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
- No striker would mean someone who wouldn’t be likely to hit another out of anger. Titus 3:2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
- Not greedy of filthy lucre would be one who isn’t out to make an easy or fast buck. Not given to deceptions and/or ploys to cheat someone. 1st Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
- But patient means that he’s willing to wait for the right time at all things. Psalms 37:7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
- Not a brawler would mean someone who doesn’t square off to fight at a moments notice. Titus 3:2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
- Not covetous is a man who isn’t desirous of things that belong to others. Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
3. 1st Timothy 3:4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
- Ruleth well and having his children in subjection would mean that he is the unquestioned head of his own household. Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
4. 1st Timothy 3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
- Being a novice is one who lacks the biblical and practical training of an older or more experienced pastor. The finest training a pastor can receive is to have been under a good, Bible believing pastor of his own. This doesn’t mean that you have to be looking for someone who’s pastored before though, because there are no doubt many young men who have been tempered by Gods Word, and preach sound doctrine out there who are ready for their first pastorate. You folks be led by the Holy Spirit on such a matter. 1st Corinthians 4:17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.
5. 1st Timothy 3:7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
- This defiantly means you should check those references. Go out and ask others about your candidate. Acts 22:12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, 22:13 Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him.