- Who are elders?
- What do they do?
1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 provides a detailed description of the qualifications of an elder. According to these passages, an elder must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, gentle, uncontentious, free from the love of money, not fond of sordid gain, a good manager of his household, one who has his children under control with dignity, not a new convert, one who has a good reputation outside the church, self-controlled, sensible, able to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict, above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, loving what is good, just, and devout. Consistent with the qualifications of an elder is the fact that the term used in the New Testament is always in the plural form. Therefore it is important to remember that healthy churches are led by a group of healthy leaders called elders.
Titus 1:5-9 helps shape our understanding of the responsibilities of an elder. Here we discover that elders serve as a manager and caretaker of the church. Paul states in this passage that elders must be firm in the gospel in order to teach and rebuke. The role of an elder is summarized by Alexander Strauch in his book Biblical Eldership: He states “Elders lead the church [1 Tim 5:17; Titus 1:7; 1 Peter 5:1–2], teach and preach the Word [1 Timothy 3:2; 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:9], protect the church from false teachers [Acts 20:17, 28–31], exhort and admonish the saints in sound doctrine [1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 3:13–17; Titus 1:9], visit the sick and pray [James 5:14; Acts 6:4], and judge doctrinal issues [Acts 15:6]. In biblical terminology, elders shepherd, oversee, lead, and care for the local church”.
Continuing the conversation
I’m in the process of reading a book called Church Elders by Jeramie Rinne. I will provide a book review when I complete the material. I would like to invite you to read along with me over the next few weeks. Each day I plan to make comment on social media concerning a concept or a quote from that day. I would love to have you participate. My plan is to provide a book review on this material on our website on February 17. It would be great to have you join the conversation.