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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Leading part two

On my last report we briefly looked at 1 Peter 5 and noted that there are some "called" to a position of shepherding. After rambling about my sheep as a kid and discussing the challenges of shepherding I think it only proper that we see what it takes to become a shepherd. As was also mentioned previously scripture has much to say about these topics and this is not meant to be an exhaustive study but rather a quick overview and challenge. Two main portions of scripture thought to be the most extensive in regards to leadership are found in 1 Timothy chapter 3 and Titus chapter one. We'll look at 1st Timothy chapter three first. Two initial observations that as we proceed I would like to point out.
First, there are two positions referred to here, (we'll discuss pastors later). There are those who aspire to become overseers or in the Greek, Ep-is-kop-ay, and the second office is that of deacon, or in the Greek, Dee-ak-on-os. We will see that the functions are very different in the life of the church and the qualifications very similar. The bottom line is God has set expectations in place of who is "qualified".
Secondly, I will suggest that we allow scripture to do the talking. We all come with an opinion, preferences, and history and I encourage us to leave it at the door as we come into this text. We will begin to look sequentially at the "qualifications. As we jump into the text it is always good to look at the surrounding "context" in order to get a full picture. Paul has been addressing the women in verses 9-15 in the second chapter and ten goes into the third chapter with the phrase, ---"if any man aspires to the office of overseer".
This is important to note as the word for man here is "tis" in the Greek and not "Anthropos". This is significant because the former is specific to gender where as the latter is human kind. We see the same idea in the 8th verse of chapter 3. "Deacons likewise must be men of -----". Once again an alternate word for anthropos is used. This certainly is not to discredit women but is only referencing a two groups whose specific role is to lead and serve. I will also mention that in Romans 16 verse 1 Phoebe is mentioned as a "deaconess" in some versions and is from the same word as "deacon". When translating Greek, many of the words have multiple meanings and in this case although the same word is used in Greek, the context indicates a more accurate translation to English would be servant,(as in the NASB), whereas in 1Tim v 8 Deacon is accurate. With that we are set to move into even muddier waters as we look at the next qualifier, "above reproach" when we continue looking at overseers next time. until then keep it in the Word.