The "One Woman Man" Qualification For An Elder. This Essay Is Based On The Qualifications For An Elder Set Forth In The Book Of Timothy In The Bible.

1304 words - 5 pages

THE "ONE-WOMAN MAN" QUALIFICATION OF AN ELDERIntroductionFirst Timothy is one of the three pastoral Epistles written to church leadership as opposed to the actual churches. In the early church there was a great need for unity as Christianity grew so that issues could be prevented and addressed. When Paul went to Macedonia, he wrote Timothy to ask him to look after the Ephesian church. After Paul realized that it might take him longer to return to Ephesus, he wrote his first letter to Timothy to instruct him so that he "may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience" (1:18-19). The letter deals with two main topics: false teaching and the administration of the church. The elder played and still plays an important role in the church. It is one of the three main offices of the church. In the New Testament church, elder (presbyteros) and overseer (episkopos) referred to the same office. The term elder put special emphasis on the maturity, while overseer emphasized the role of the office-bearer. Paul addresses the role of the elder in 1 Timothy chapter 3:2-7:2Now the overseer [or elder] must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) 6He must not be a recent covert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap.This paper will focus on the implication of the "husband of one wife" or "one-woman man" qualification of an elder.1 Timothy 3:2In verse 2 of chapter 3, Paul deals specifically with elders/overseers when he writes that the elder must be "the husband of but one wife." This qualification has and continues to cause discussion. Do elders have to be married? Is Paul targeting polygamists? Is divorce completely out of the question? What about those who have remarried after the death of a spouse? Is it purely a requirement of faithfulness and commitment in the marriage? Different translations have led to different interpretations. The goal is to understand what Paul is saying and its implications not only at the time the letter was written but also in the church today.MarriageThe phrase is translated as "husband of one wife" in the KJV and NASB. This requirement has led some to argue that the elder must be married. How could Paul require marriage for leadership if he was unmarried? In his first letter to the Corinthians, he told them that "it was good for a man not to marry" (7:1). Later in the same chapter, he also encouraged men to be like him (7:7-8). Is this then a requirement for the elder or just for those already married seeking office? The...

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