In his message Dr. Voddie Baucham taught from Titus 1:5-16
The first qualification of an elder includes; modeling a godly family life. (Titus 1:6) Paul says that this man must be “the husband of one wife” meaning he must be a one-woman kind of man. He also says that “his children are believers and are not open to debauchery and insubordination”. In his sermon Dr. Baucham believes that, “his children are faithful” is the best translation for this particular section of this verse. No father can guarantee the conversion of his children, but he can ordinarily ensure that they act in a “faithful” way. Therefore this qualification is not focusing on his children’s disobedience, but rather how he reacts to the child’s disobedience. Overall this man must have one wife and faithful children in order to qualify as a potential elder.
The next qualification is; modeling Christian character. (Titus 1:7-8) To be above reproach does not mean that he must be perfect, which is not obtainable in this life, but he must be, “blameless in his outward conduct. He is to be upright and just in his dealings with others. The elder is to be the kind of man that no one suspects of wrongdoing and immorality, the kind of man that people would be surprised or shocked to hear charged with such acts. It’s certainly not that he is sinless, but that his demeanor and behavior over time has garnered well-deserved respect and admiration from others.” (Anyabwile) “He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain…” (Titus 1:7) If a man is above reproach then, the aforementioned deeds would less likely be seen in his character. What you would notice about him is that he strives to be “… hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.” (Titus 1:8) The attributes for sons and potential spouses for daughters shouldn’t be far off from these.
The last but certainly not least qualification of an elder is; to hold to, teach, and defend sound doctrine. (Titus 1:9) “A pastor or elder must have the ability to teach. This includes both teaching what is right and correcting error. The reason for this emphasis is clear from what follows in verses 10-16.” (ESV Footnotes Titus:9) As Dr. Baucham put it, many may think that this particular characteristic doesn’t apply to parents raising sons but it does. Oh yes it does. 😉 I myself believe it’s the most important, and that could possibly be why Paul stated it last. If a young man is holding firm to the word of God, defending it, teaching it, and all the while applying it to his life, the other qualifications (such as verses 7-8) will fall in place. Dr. Baucham says in his sermon, that a Christian man’s job is to wash his wife in the water of the word (Eph. 5:26) and bring his children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).
Ultimately these qualifications, characteristics, character traits or whatever you want to call them are important for every Christian man not just elders. Paul wanted Titus to go to the home, find an ordinary family man who is walking out the Christian life as a husband and father and then appoint him as an elder in the church, but not everyone is called to be an elder. So what does this mean for the rest of the men who are not called to be elders? They continue to walk out the roles of a Christ-like husband and father as they are commanded by God in His word. Well what if I am not called to be married? Well you have nothing to lose because a Godly man would want to have the characteristics of a good husband (elder) anyhow.) Right? Such commands are found in passages such as Ephesians 5:22-6:4 and 1 Peter 3:7. Also, by reading the Old Testament you can learn a thing or two from the Patriarchs and many other men who did their duty as a husband and a father.
Thanks for reading part 2 or this series! Part 3 will be available soon! ~Mekenna 🙂