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Posts Tagged ‘elder qualities’

Part 8 (and final!) of what women should look for in a man, according the Bible’s qualities of an elder.

“An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to win or pugnacious, but gently, uncontentious, free from the love of money.  He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?); and not a new convert, lest he become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.  And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he may not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil” (1 Tim. 3:2-7)

“…appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.  For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.  For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.” (Titus 1:5b-11)

Self-controlled – We’ve talked about not being controlled by money or alcohol, but he shouldn’t be controlled by anything other than God.  He should be self-disciplined.  Any man that isn’t self-disciplined has little resistance to the devil.  Again, we’re not expecting perfection, but the general direction of this guy’s life should be that he doesn’t want to be dominated by material things.  He’s actively striving against sin.  If he’s controlled by his immediate wants and needs, there’s a problem.

Holding fast the faithful word…able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict – He should be reading God’s Word so that he can spot false teachers.  So that he can lead a family (when the time comes).  So that he can teach others.  But make sure this man can refute those in a respectful way.  You don’t want a guy that jumps up, shouts “You’re wrong sucker!” and then leaves the room.  He should know the time and the place and tone in which to talk to others.

So, that’s it. Those are the qualities of an elder as laid out in 1 Timothy and Titus.  If you’re a man, how well do you match up?  If you’re a woman, how well does the man you’re evaluating match up?  If you’re married to a man, encourage him on the things that he does right.  Thank him for being self-controlled, for managing his money and time well, for teaching others, for being patient, for not being an empty talker.

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Part 7 of what women should look for in a man, according the Bible’s qualities of an elder.

“An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to win or pugnacious, but gently, uncontentious, free from the love of money.  He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?); and not a new convert, lest he become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.  And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he may not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil” (1 Tim. 3:2-7)

“…appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.  For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.  For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.” (Titus 1:5b-11)

Loving what is good – Someone who loves what is good wants to be helpful, do kind things, be loving, generous and won’t try to repay evil to others.  Why wouldn’t you want to date and marry a man like that?  He doesn’t get excited about the evil things in life.  He doesn’t get jazzed up when he hears of violence being done to others.  He’s not excited when someone gets “what’s coming to them” or when someone suffers a misfortune.  He does get excited when someone achieves a milestone.  He’s happy for them.

Just - He should be righteous and upright.  No one is perfect or sinless, but that should be his general reputation.

Devout – We often think of “devout” people as monks or nuns, but devout really means that they are firmly committed to God and His Word.  You can’t be your boyfriend’s Holy Spirit.  You want a man who is reading God’s Word, listening to Him and obedient to God.  As he continues to study God’s Word, God will convict him of sin and teach him how to treat you and relate to you.  If a man only goes to church because you make him or only reads the Bible because you expect him to, run away.  This doesn’t mean that he has to have the book of Genesis memorized.  It doesn’t mean that he has to know the 5 points of Calvinism.  It does mean that he needs to value the Bible and value his relationship with God, regardless of who he is dating.

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Part 6 of what women should look for in a man, according the Bible’s qualities of an elder.

“An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to win or pugnacious, but gently, uncontentious, free from the love of money.  He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?); and not a new convert, lest he become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.  And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he may not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil” (1 Tim. 3:2-7)

“…appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.  For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.  For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.” (Titus 1:5b-11)

A man with a good reputation among nonbelievers – Do even non-believers respect him?  Maybe they don’t quite know why they respect him, but they should see examples of his kindness and his integrity and his honesty.  His co-workers should respect his work ethic.  He should be kind to all people, not just other believers or people that share his same viewpoints.  Do his neighbors like him?  Or is he the guy who annoys them with his loud music?  Is he the guy who is rude to the waitress?  Is he the man who says one thing (Jesus is important to me), but does another (insults others)?

Having children who believe – Chances are the man you’re interested in doesn’t have children, so you can’t really judge this one.  But you can try to evaluate how he would be as a father.  Each person must make a decision for Christ on his or her own, but Christian fathers should build an environment that communicates the gospel to his children. Is your boyfriend the type of man that will build that environment?  It doesn’t mean that he has to have a plan NOW for how to train the 10 year old that he might have someday.  But he should know that this is his job.  This isn’t something that you delegate to others.  Like the other qualities stated, is he able to teach basic spiritual truths to people?  Is he patient? 

Self-willed – To be self-willed or arrogant is the opposite of being gentle.  He shouldn’t seek his way all the time, but rather a solution that serves both of your needs.  He should be a servant.  He looks at the whole situation, not just his piece of it.  Again, it’s not “his way or the highway.”

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Part 5 of what women should look for in a man, according the Bible’s qualities of an elder.

“An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to win or pugnacious, but gently, uncontentious, free from the love of money.  He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?); and not a new convert, lest he become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.  And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he may not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil” (1 Tim. 3:2-7)

“…appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.  For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.  For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.” (Titus 1:5b-11)

Free from the love of money – Just like he can’t be addicted to wine, he can’t be addicted to money.  People do really stupid stuff when they’re motivated by money.  You don’t want a greedy man.  You don’t want him controlled by his money.  Look out for the guy who forgoes every thing in order to have one more dollar.  Look out for the guy who isn’t giving financially.  A man should have a healthy respect for money.

A man who manages his household well – As best as you can tell, he should be a responsible man.  He doesn’t yet have a family, but you should see indications that he would manage his home (his wife and children) well.  He should have a reputation, even now, for providing for himself and those he’s responsible for financially, emotionally, and spiritually.  He protects his time and money by giving priority to the most important things.   He takes care of the possessions he has.  He doesn’t trash his car.  He doesn’t let his house get into disarray.  He doesn’t spend money foolishly.  He has a structure and organization to his life.

 

Not a new convert – You don’t want a new believer, probably for a variety of reasons.  You don’t want to be a distraction in his setting good roots in his new relationship with Christ.  New believers don’t yet know Scripture well enough to lead.  You want time to see what type of believer he’ll mature into.  You have to give him time.  If you’re in this situation, hook him up with some godly men – don’t become his mentor or discipler.  Men should handle the men.  Stay in his life – this doesn’t mean you have to completely back away.  This isn’t a “Call me in 5 years when you’re the pastor of a church” type situation.  This is a “I’m so happy for you and I’m glad we’re friends” type situation.

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Part 4 of what women should look for in a man, based upon the qualities of an elder.

“An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to win or pugnacious, but gently, uncontentious, free from the love of money.  He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?); and not a new convert, lest he become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.  And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he may not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil” (1 Tim. 3:2-7)

“…appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.  For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.  For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.” (Titus 1:5b-11)

Not pugnacious/Quick-tempered – Pugnacious men are fighters.  They have bad tempers.  They’re irritable.  They get out of control.  In marriage, you will experience tense situations. The last thing you want is a man with a bad temper to deal with.  That won’t solve any problems.  In fact, it will only cause more.  If a guy jumps to conclusions quickly or get frustrated really quickly and acts out of frustration, look out.  It doesn’t mean that he can’t ever be mad – just just can’t let his anger control his behavior.

Gentle – We all want a man as gentle as a little lamb, right?  Kind of.  We know that men are supposed to be strong, but he should also be gentle.  Strong and gentle aren’t mutually exclusive.  Particularly as he deals with you.  He should be kind.  Gracious.  Patient.  Understanding.  He shouldn’t condemn you.  Or verbally or emotionally berate you.  If he says harsh words or cuts you (or anyone else) regularly, it’ll only get worse.  You’d much rather hear “Honey, I’m guessing you don’t realize how you come across when you roll your eyes, but can we talk about it?” rather than “Listen here, doofus head of a wife, you roll your eyes at me one more time and it’ll be on the street corner for you!”

Uncontentious – He needs to be peaceable.  Does he always want his way or his solution?  Or does he seek a solution that benefits you and your relationship?  Does he fight with others often?  Does he go looking for a fight?  Does he know how to share?  If you marry, you’ll have to share so many things and you’ll have to make so many decisions.  If you never get to the pick the restaurant or the movie or spend time with your family, that’s a red flag.  If he acts all huffy whenever you choose the activity and it creates an awkwardness to the whole day, that’s a red flag.  Do you want to go through life with a guy whose life motto is “My way or the highway!”?

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Part 3 of what women should look for in a mate.

“An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to win or pugnacious, but gently, uncontentious, free from the love of money.  He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?); and not a new convert, lest he become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.  And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he may not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil” (1 Tim. 3:2-7)

“…appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.  For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.  For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.” (Titus 1:5b-11)

Hospitable – He needs to be a good cook and have a beautiful home, even as a single man.  Just kidding!  Hospitable means that he’s welcoming to others.  He loves others.  It’s great if he uses his home to do that, but please also recognize that most men don’t show hospitality the same way women do.  Don’t hold him to the same hospitality standards that you’d hold your girlfriends to.  He should be caring and serving of others.  Don’t expect him to serve a roast beef dinner for 12 complete with homemade rolls, a salad made with veggies from his own garden in a dining room with curtains, candlesticks and a table runner.

Able to teach – This is the man who (if you marry) will teach your children (if you have children).  He doesn’t have to have the most extensive knowledge of the Bible or the most eloquent words.  In order to teach, he has to have a knowledge of Scripture, the willingness to teach and the ability to communicate in a basic way.  We aren’t looking for Billy Graham, but we’re also not looking for a Scripturally-ignorant Sam.  When asked what he thinks about creation, his answer should be a little more detailed than “God did some stuff.”

Not addicted to wine – An addiction to beer is okay, but wine is not!  Obviously, that’s not the point of this character quality.  Your boyfriend should be above reproach in his use of alcohol.  Paul doesn’t say that an elder can’t drink – just that he can’t be drunk or addicted.  Alcohol changes a man’s personality, so be very discerning with any man that needs alcohol to have a good time, to relax or to be themselves. If a major focus of his life is when he’ll get his next drink, walk away.

A man who probably could host a mighty fine dinner – not the standard we should hold all men to!

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Continuing on with the series on what women should look for in a man, here’s more qualities of an elder and what that means in today’s world.

“An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to win or pugnacious, but gently, uncontentious, free from the love of money.  He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?); and not a new convert, lest he become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.  And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he may not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil” (1 Tim. 3:2-7)

“…appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.  For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.  For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.” (Titus 1:5b-11)

Temperate – Kind of a fancy word, but it means mental sobriety.  It implies self-control, good judgment, stable, clear-headed.  It doesn’t mean that he’s perfect at making decisions, but he is able to think through decisions logically.  He isn’t prone to making decisions based upon short term goals only or on emotions.  He doesn’t often make a decision, then reverse his decision minutes later.

Prudent/sensible – Prudent and sensible also stress self-control.  He exercises good judgment.  He shows discretion.  He has common sense.  A man you’re interested in should generally be wise and not given to flights of fancy or doing big and serious things on a whim.  It doesn’t mean he’s not spontaneous, but he’s sensible.  Example: He knows that he needs to pay his bills, so he doesn’t quit his job because he was a little tired one day or because his boss doesn’t like him.  He doesn’t spend all his money on a vacation instead of spending it on rent or groceries.  He doesn’t spend all his time playing football when he needs to study for finals.

Respectable – In general, people should respect him.  His conduct should be that people think the best of him at all times.  He should be respectful of others.  He pays his bills.  He doesn’t kick old people.  He doesn’t mock others. He doesn’t tear others down.

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What women should look for

As a woman, what should you look for in a potential mate?  Many women have made a list of their “must have” qualities.  That’s good – I think you should.  (As long as you aren’t so particular to say “He must be between 5’6″ and 5’8″, play Canasta, have brown hair no longer than his ears, and never listen to secular music.”)  As women, we’re very familiar with the Proverbs 31 woman.  Maybe we haven’t studied her extensively, but we’ve certainly heard about her – about how she’s a godly ideal for us to aspire to.  Men are counseled to study her to know what to look for in a wife. 

Yet, women don’t have a “Proverbs 32” man. It’s like God has left us wanting something – a list of qualities for us to look for in a man.  And yet!  That’s not true at all.  God has indeed left us with a list of qualities to look for in a husband.  I propose the list of qualities we should look for in a husband is the same list of qualities that God has told us to look for when selecting elders of the church.  Nothing in Scripture itself tells me to use these passages in this way; I just think it’s wise.  It doesn’t mean that your husband needs to actually be an elder.  On the contrary, not every godly man is called to the position of elder in a church in a formal way.  But I do think every man should strive for the qualities of an elder.

There are two primary passages dealing with elders (called overseers) – 1 Timothy 3:2-7 and Titus 1:5b-11.

“An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to win or pugnacious, but gently, uncontentious, free from the love of money.  He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?); and not a new convert, lest he become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.  And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he may not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil” (1 Tim. 3:2-7)

“…appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.  For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.  For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.” (Titus 1:5b-11)

 

The first two qualities:

Above reproach – A general, overall quality.  It should be difficult to accuse him of something and have it be automatically assumed to be true.  Example: If your boyfriend was accused of stealing, it should be really hard to believe.  People would want some undisputable proof before they’d believe it.  Their first reaction shouldn’t be “Oh, that’s probably true.  Charles probably does steal.” or “I believe that Patrick would yell at people.”.

The husband of one wife – Obviously, he can’t already be married.  If he’s married and you’re considering dating him, well, then my advice probably doesn’t mean much to you!  We’re obviously coming from different viewpoints.  But you want a “one woman” kind of man.  A man that isn’t a womanizer.  He must be above reproach in his relationships with women.  He pursues one woman at a time.  He doesn’t jump from woman to woman just to see what’s out there or because he’s “bored” with the one he has.  It doesn’t mean that he hasn’t had previous relationships, but it does mean that he takes relationships seriously and prayerfully.  He isn’t prone to approaching woman after woman.

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