In 1 Timothy 3:1-7, we have Paul describing the position of an elder to Timothy. In this passage, he describes not only the qualifications of an elder, and the traits that you would find in a man who would be appointed as such, but you also find what his responsibilities would be, and what works would be required of a man who would become an elder in a congregation in Titus 1:9-16. Elders actually have many different titles, including bishop, pastor, presbyter, overseer, and to me the most descriptive and accurate title, shepherd.
"This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work" (1 Tim 3:1 NKJV) It is obvious that this is a good work, but what exactly is the good work that an elder is required to do? What is all entailed in accepting the position of a shepherd of a congregation of The Lord? In Titus 1:10-16, we are told just what that work is. The passage starts out with "For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those in the circumcision, whose mouth must be stopped.." describing the deceitful people in the world.
Insubordinate, idle talkers, and deceivers, all describe those people that can cause the most harm to a congregation, and a persons faith. In the first century, there were many persecuting the church. In fact, there were many powerful people who were against this new religion. The Jewish faith as a whole was avidly against what they saw as a blasphemous religion. Nero, the Roman Emperor for much of the first century, was avidly and persistently persecuting christianity. Nero had burned down the city of Rome, so that he might rebuild the great city in his image. When some were becoming suspicious of the Emperor, he found a scape goat in christianity.
Christians were burned alive, and used as torches to line the roads of Rome. They were sawn in half, fed to lions in the Colosseum, and many more unspeakably evil things were done to the first century christians. People from the Jewish religion, men such as Saul, were taking Christians out of their homes, and sending them to jail to be killed. He would even go into surrounding cities and do this. Persecutions were heavy in the first century church.
Persecutions can come along and test a persons faith, and can truly reveal the strength of a persons belief in God. Persecutions can push from the outside and show what a person is willing to do to remain faithful. However, those mentioned above come from the inside. These deceivers can come and plant doubt into the mind of a christian. While persecutions push from the outside, doubt and deceit can cause a persons faith to crumble from the inside out. Many of these deceivers were coming into the church, themselves deceived by idle talk, bringing themselves to a misunderstanding of God's will through incorrect ideas about Christianity, and ignorant opinions about God Himself.
It is a shepherds duty to shut the mouths of these men. They are required to stand...