Sunday, September 16, 2012


In the Apostle Paul's first letter to Timothy, he instructs him concerning the qualifications for the office of Bishop.  The Greek word, here translated "bishop," is ἐπισκοπή (episkopē).  In the other five occurrences, the Greek is ἐπίσκοπος (episkopos) (1 Tim. 3:2; 2 Tim. 4:22; Titus 1:7; 3:5; and 1 Pet. 2:25, where it refers to Jesus).  Because the title "Elder" is always plural, the Bishop was the Senior Elder of the local church.  In most churches today, he is called the Pastor, or Senior Pastor where there is more than one Pastor.  Regardless of the size of the church and the composition of leadership, the Bishop was recognized as having the final say in church matters.

Paul cautioned Timothy not to ordain new believers (novices), because the immature Christian was certain to get "puffed up" with pride.  He wrote, "Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil" (1 Tim. 3:6).  Some have suggested that there would be a problem if the person was younger than the elders he was to rule over.  That is probably not the issue here, based upon Paul's statement about leaders who were relatively young (1 Tim. 4:12).  The phrase, "into the condemnation of the devil," refers to Satan's fall (Isa. 14:12-15; Ezek. 28:12-18; Lk. 10:18; Rev. 12:7-9).  Satan's sin was pride.  He ascribed to be equal to God, and his five "I will" statements in Isaiah 14:12-15 revealed the reason God condemned him. 

The Book of Proverbs reveals God's feelings about the pride in His created beings:  God hates pride (8:13); pride eventually leads to shame (11:2); pride always leads to contention (13:10); the tongue is a weapon of pride (14:3); pride always leads to destruction (16:8); and pride always leads to a fall (29:23).

Pride is mentioned three times in the New Testament.  Jesus said it defiled man (Mk. 7:20-23).  Paul wrote that it is the certain result of authority given to a new believer (1 Tim. 3:6).  And, pride is one of the three ways of the world, the other two being lust, and greed (1 Jn. 2:16).
The candidate for Bishop needs maturity, wisdom, and humility. 

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