The Teaching Task of the Church

1 Timothy 3

 

I.                     The character of Christian ministry – overseer, or bishop, the same office as elder or pastor –cf. Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Peter 5:1-3 [Only men, but not all men]

A.     Its intrinsic goodness [“A good [fine] work”] as an office Christ has ordained for the church  1 – See Ephesians 4:7-13 – the pastor teacher as a gift Christ ordains for the perfection of his people in true knowledge

B.      Qualifications consistent with the holistic nature of his witness

1.  The Functional qualification is aptness to teach: only one word in Greek [didaktikon] but a pervasive concern through the pastorals. This qualification includes at least the following three ideas.

Ø       Coherent and systematic knowledge of revealed truth – cf. 1:7; 3:15, 16; 4:6, 11, 15-16; 5:17; 6:3, 4, 17, 20-21; 2 Tim 4:2, 3

Ø       Ability to communicate confidently and clearly 1:18, 19; 4:6; 6:3, 4; 2 Tim 1:8; 2:14, 15; 23-26; 3:14, 15.

Ø       Trustworthiness and appropriateness in interpersonal relationships: 1:3; 3:5; 4:6; 5:1, 2; 6:1, 2,17

2.  Personal morality

Ø       “Above reproach” covers the entire scope of character

Ø       Sobriety in conduct and relationships – not a drunkard or fighter

Ø       Not covetous – cf 6:10; 1 Peter 5:2

3.  Reputable for all the right reasons 7 [Though non-believers might not like the world view of Christians, they should have no reason to accuse one, especially an elder, of dishonesty, deceit, impurity, impoliteness, or lack of compassion. Cf. Titus 3:1-3 and for the same truth from a different perspective 1 Peter 2:12/

4.  Hospitable – to his own flock but also to Christian teachers away from home, cf. Philemon 22; Hebrews 13:2, 3; 3 John 5-8 but, 2 John:10, 11; also contrast Diotrephes, 3 John 10

5.  Experienced and not susceptible to flattery and pride 6 cf. 5:22 – “avoid the condemnation placed upon the devil”

6.  Proven as a manager of his household 4, 5 [his family serves as a microcosm of the church family’ the consistency and wisdom shown in the one will be evident in the other.  See the concern in verse 15]

Ø       One Wife (2) – not a polygamist either in the past or  the present {Calvin}  “What is here forbidden is digamy under any circumstances,” [Expositor’s Greek Testament] prohibiting not only polygamy, or bigamy, but divorce; not prohibiting, however, remarriage after death of spouse

Ø       The children are disciplined and show proper deference to authority, Parental, legal, and societal.  “The argument is from the lesser to the greater, and it is quite clear that a man who is not fit to rule his own family will be quite incapable of governing a whole people.  Besides the fact that he obviously lacks the necessary qualities, what authority could a man have among a people when his own family life brings him into contempt.”  Calvin

II.                   Necessary Facilitators of The Teaching ministry

A.     Deacons – Notice that the arisal of need for deacons in the first instance was the necessity of the apostles to keep teaching Acts 6:2-5

1.  Same qualifications of dignity and morals

2.  Knowledge of Christian truth in depth: 9 “holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience” [They might not be “apt to teach” but from their clear experimental acquaintance with the truth, they will sympathize with the importance of the task of the pastor and thus serve with greater faithfulness and zeal]

3.  they must be tested for qualification

4.  The whole process of selection and service functions as a means of grace  13

 

B.      Women – This probably is not deacons’ wives, though a deacon’s wife certainly could qualify, but a simple recognition of the need for similar service in situations appropriate for women as opposed to men.  See Titus 2:3, 4 for the kind of activity women were encouraged to do.

III.                 The importance of this order 3:14-16

A.     Urgency (14-15a; cf. 4:13)  Even though he hopes to come soon, he wants the instruction to arrive even sooner, especially in case he is delayed

B.      the church is the creation of a new family relationship – This is why verses 5 and 12 are so important

C.      Its relation to God (15)– this is not merely a human institution, founded by humans, for human well-being, but a place established by God’s revelation and call, the redemption purchased by The Son of God, and the quickening and gifting work of the Spirit of God [“household of God . . . church of the Living God” See this in light of Mt. 16:13-21; Rev. 1:4-6; 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22]

D.      The truth of God’s word has been placed in the church and constitutes its most basic calling.  It is constructed by God’s truth and it is called on to protect and proclaim God’s truth. Its content comes from revelation and its substance concerns a reality proceeding only from the infinite wisdom of God, a substance impossible for any philosophical, intellectual, or political power of this age to conceive or produce 15:b, 16a  “By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness.” Cf. 1 Corinthians 2:6-10

E.       A confession summarizes the importance of these instructions as well as outlines a summary of the message

1.  He summarizes truths concerning the Lord Jesus Christ in whose person and through whose work the church came into existence.  The church is his body [Eph. 1:22, 23; 5:18; Col 1:18] his bride [Eph. 5:25 cf. Rev. 19:7] purchased with his blood [Acts 20:28]

2.  It is a hymnic presentation with internal rhyme created by six verbs all in the same tense [revealed, vindicated, seen, proclaimed, believed on, taken up]

3.  Apparently two stanzas of three lines each, the key ideas standing as a parenthesis [revealed in the flesh . . . Taken up in glory]

Ø       The first stanza begins with the incarnation, affirms the presence and necessary work of the Spirit [see Lk. 2:52; 4:1, 2; Rom 1:4;Heb. 9:14] and the observation of angels of these amazing events of the Son of God, their Master, dwelling among men [in a nature inferior to the angels but soon to be exalted above them] for man’s redemption [1 Peter 1:12; Hebrews 1:4, 14 notice the presence of angels from the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist all the way through the ascension [Lk 1:11-20; Acts 1:10, 11 and many appearances at pivotal events in between]

Ø       The second stanza begins with the effect of Christ’s appearance in his proclamation to the Gentiles and the belief unto life that accompanied the proclamation; it ends with the affirmation of his ascension, marking the certainty that his work of redemption was accepted in heaven and the giving of gifts to men for the establishing of the church in the truth. [Ephesians 4:8-13]

IV.                 Pressing the Points

A.     Churches must see the sober nature of calling a minister or of setting aside others to gospel ministry.  Their character must support the content of their teaching ministry

B.      Deacons must facilitate this teaching task by being in full sympathy with it since they understand the greatness of its content.

C.      The adoption of a confession of faith that clearly reflects the attributes and purpose of God, the person and work of Christ, the nature of salvation, and the form of the church would be a good thing, consistent with a biblical view of the duties of a church.

 

 

The Teaching Task of the Church

1 Timothy 3

[class outline]

V.                   The character of Christian ministry – overseer, or bishop, the same office as elder or pastor –cf. Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Peter 5:1-3 [Only men, but not all men]

A.     Its intrinsic goodness [“A good [fine] work”] as an office Christ has ordained

B.      Qualifications consistent with the holistic nature of his witness

1.  The Functional qualification is aptness to teach:

Ø       Coherent and systematic knowledge of revealed truth – cf. 1:7 etc.

Ø       Ability to communicate confidently and clearly 1:18, 19; 4:6; 6:3, 4; etc

Ø       Trustworthiness and appropriateness in interpersonal relationships:

2.  Personal morality

3.  Reputable for all the right reasons 7

4.  Hospitable – to his own flock but also to Christian teachers away from home,

5.  Experienced and not susceptible to flattery and pride 6 cf. 5:22 –

6.  Proven as a manager of his household 4, 5

Ø       One Wife (2) – neither nor digamy

Ø       The children are disciplined and show proper deference to authority,

VI.                 Necessary Facilitators of The Teaching ministry

A.     Deacons – Notice that the arisal of need for deacons in the first instance was the necessity of the apostles to keep teaching Acts 6:2-5

1.  Same qualifications of dignity and morals

2.  Knowledge of Christian truth in depth: 9

3.  they must be tested for qualification

4.  The whole process of selection and service functions as a means of grace  13

B.      Women –need for similar service in situations appropriate for women

VII.               The importance of this order 3:14-16

A.     Urgency (14-15a; cf. 4:13)

B.      The church is the creation of a new family relationship

C.      Its relation to God (15)– this is not merely a human institution

D.      The truth of God’s word has been placed in the church - its most basic calling. 15:b, 16a  “By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness.” Cf. 1 Corinthians 2:6-10

E.       A confession summarizes the importance of these instructions as well as outlines a summary of the message

1.  He summarizes truths concerning the Lord Jesus Christ

2.  It is a hymnic presentation with internal rhyme created by six verbs all in the same tense [revealed, vindicated, seen, proclaimed, believed on, taken up]

3.  Apparently two stanzas of three lines each, the key ideas standing as a parenthesis [revealed in the flesh . . . Taken up in glory]

Ø       The first stanza begins with the incarnation, affirms the presence and necessary work of the Spirit, and the observation of angels

Ø       The second stanza begins with the effect of Christ’s appearance in his proclamation to the Gentiles and the belief unto life that accompanied the proclamation; it ends with the affirmation of his ascension, cf. [Ephesians 4:8-13]

VIII.             Pressing the Points

A.     Churches must see the sober nature of calling a minister or of setting aside others to gospel ministry.  Their character must support the content of their teaching ministry

B.      Deacons must facilitate this teaching task by being in full sympathy with it since they understand the greatness of its content.

C.      The adoption of a confession of faith that clearly reflects the attributes and purpose of God, the person and work of Christ, the nature of salvation, and the form of the church would be a good thing, consistent with a biblical view of the duties of a church.