Wednesday nights, I host a Bible study at my church. The study follows an open discussion format in which we read a chapter of the Bible every week. The insight, conversation, and fellowship with other Christians is what keeps me coming back week after week. I love how God uses something so simple to minister to both myself and others.
This week we were studying 1 Timothy 3 & 4. In 1 Timothy 3, Paul is giving Timothy instructions for how church leadership (overseers/pastors) and believers (deacons/servants) are to conduct themselves.
Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife,temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 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[a] respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
8 In the same way, deacons[b] are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
11 In the same way, the women[c] are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.
Reasons for Paul’s Instructions
14 Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, 15 if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.
1 Timothy 3:1-15 (NIV)
Reading this made me ask myself some questions:
- How am I conducting myself on a daily basis?
- Am I causing someone else to stumble due to my actions?
I am sure that like me, you have encountered pastors/deacons/Christians who act one way in church and in a completely different manner outside of church. Sunday they are smiling away, gracious and kind; Monday they are screaming at their fellow man without any sort of control. Have you ever found yourself acting this way? I have. I am quite guilty of wearing the Christian mask at times. I hate it. I want to be open, honest, and real.
Moving Towards Christ
Paul concludes 1 Timothy 3 with verse 16:
16 Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great:
He appeared in the flesh,
was vindicated by the Spirit,[d]
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory.
1 Timothy 3:16 (NIV)
As we move towards Christ, we become more like him. Not to somehow exalt ourselves but to exalt Christ. People are watching us as Christians. I want to encourage you to be an example as you go.