Looking unto Jesus — chapter by chapter

Qualifications of Spiritual Leaders

This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.

I Tim. 3:1

The wise pastor of a century past, E.M. Bounds, noted “The church is looking for better methods—God is looking for better men.” Through writing to Timothy and Titus, Paul gives us a powerful profile for testing and challenging the maturity of the believer. The following list depicts spiritual qualifications from both letters. It is easy to assume that if men were drawing up the qualifications the list would like quite different. I suggest man’s list would be more ‘method oriented’—God’s requirements are character oriented. His requirements:

1) Overall spiritual maturity (a well-rounded man)
2) Above reproach (a man of good repute)
3) The husband of one wife (morally pure, a one-woman man)
4) Temperate (balanced in words and actions)
5) Prudent (wise and humble)
6) Respectable (good role model)
7) Hospitable (generous and unselfish)
8) Able to teach (willing to study and share, with sensitivity and clarity)
9) Not addicted to wine (not enamored or addicted to substances)
10) Not self-willed (not self-centered and controlling)
11) Not quick-tempered (absent of anger which becomes hot and sinful)
12) Not a brawler (not abusive)
13) Gentle (sensitive, loving and kind)
14) Peaceable (non-argumentative and non-divisive)
15) Free from the love of money (non-materialistic)
16) Manages his own household well (a good husband and father)
17) Loving what is good (pursues that which delights God)
18) Just (wise, discerning, non-prejudiced and fair)
19) Devout (desires holiness, devoted to God)
20) Self-controlled (disciplined)

We might be quick to conclude Paul was exclusively outlining qualifications for those in pastoral and teaching positions in the church. Not so! While Paul was outlining criteria for leadership, he was in essence telling Timothy what to look for in a man who wants to become a spiritual leader in the church. This list tells us the standards God desires. Whether one desires and/or becomes a named leader in the church these are God endorsed goals for every believer.

These are characteristics which delight God, bless the church and are golden for the individual.