40 day bible challenge
Day 11 | 1 Timothy 3: 1-7
Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect.(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgement as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
1 timothy 3:1-7
As an opening to a chapter, this is pretty hard hitting, especially if you are in a position of leadership. The NIV version addresses this passage to ‘overseers’ but the NLT uses ‘church leaders’ which we can probably discern as vicars and pastors.
The passage starts off with one of Paul’s classic phrases ‘Here is a trustworthy saying:’. This appears 5 times in Paul’s letters, 4 of them being in the letters to Timothy. If you’re anything like me, often you can end up skimming over bits of the Bible that you deem to be less important. I’m sure Paul knew this would be the case, hence places emphasis on this part in particular as a section that deserves our full attention. Paul shows his admiration for all aspiring leaders by describing it as ‘a noble task’, which shows the magnitude of the tasks that a church leader has to take on. As we will see later, the rest of the passage explains the standard of living that is expected of a church leader and why it is such a noble task to take on.
“Reading the passage as a whole, it really struck me how important our church leaders are, and what role models they should be.”
The first way that a leader should live as Paul describes is to be ‘above reproach’. This is the one that stood out to me as potentially the hardest to live by. If reproach is to show disappointment in a person, then to be above reproach is to live to their expectations fully so as to never disappoint them. This is an extremely hard thing to do, to never disappoint anyone who is under your leadership! The passage goes on to list many other ways of life that a leader should adopt, I’m sure everyone reading this passage whether you are in a position of leadership or not can pick out at least one of the list that they really struggle with, I know I certainly can.
Reading the passage as a whole, it really struck me how important our church leaders are, and what role models they should be. Even if we don’t realise it all the time, we hold our church leaders to such a high standard. We expect them to deliver high quality bible teaching from the front every Sunday, to be there for us to help and council us with our problems, to set a perfect example of how to live our lives outside the church setting. In reality however, they are just as broken as we are, and will often struggle with the same things we do.
This passage really showed me the importance of accountability, and how for everyone to aspire to the standard of living that Paul describes, someone to keep you accountable to your actions and point you back to God is of the utmost importance. It also showed me the value of trying to live in a Godly way, by showing grace and love to our church leaders. For them to know they are as broken as us but to still be held to a higher standard of living must be an immense burden. It is our job to make sure our leaders are held accountable by someone to certain actions, but also shown the love and grace and patience that Jesus also shows them.
We’re doing a 40 Day Bible Challenge as a Student Church to engage more with the Bible and the daily podcasts we do here as a church.
To listen to today’s podcast on the same passage as above click here.