When Paul wrote his first letter to Timothy concerning the organization and oversight of the church in Asia Minor, he states, as I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine (1 Timothy. 1:3). Further in the letter he says, These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:14-15). It is obvious from these (and other) verses; there was a need for the churches to have leadership, i.e. authority to lead God’s people in the Lord’s way.
Recorded in Chapter three are the qualifications for elders and deacons. As you read these qualifications (Verses 1-13), please observe the character virtues in the lives of those who are appointed to this important work. Unfortunately some look only in the area of worldly attainments, without character qualities of men who walk daily with God (See Gen. 5:22; Gal. 5:16). Not only are these verses addressing qualifications of these men, Paul further states, Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things (1 Timothy 3:11). These are inner qualities that manifest themselves in physical characteristics. For, if their wives fail in these virtues, it will reflect upon their husband’s ability to control their home, and upon the function of the office wherein they serve (See Verse 10).
Elders are Shepherds of God’s flock (See Acts 20:28; l Peter 5:2). In taking oversight, they watch for souls (Hebrews 13:17), guarding their sheep from wolves who may enter, “not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29). We are to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake (1 Thess. 5:13). Realizing the tremendous task they have, should cause us to do whatever we can to make their job as easy as possible. Above all, pray for our leaders. (2 Thess. 3:1).