Its been a while since our last update as I was traveling and am excited to continue our trek on church leadership and the Bible. Our "qualification" that we will look at today is probably the most misunderstood, and misused, not to mention misfocused of all the qualifications. The NASB puts it this way, "the husband of one wife". In today's society this has come to be challenged on every front and tends to lead the way in many churches to disqualify men from serving that have been divorced. As we look at this, understand this is not an exhaustive study that will address in detail all the rabbit trails this can take, but we will uncover the true meaning of this text.
First thing to remember that this is a listing of qualifications for a Christian man who is called to the office of Elder. Each of these characteristics bear equal importance. To put undue importance on any "one" character at the expense of another one is inappropriate. For instance one of the qualifications we have not looked at yet is "temperate". Most men have a temper of some sort and yet you rarely hear an elder candidate being questioned about his temper. He will however be asked if hes divorced in many instances. So lets look directly at the phrase. First thing I will point out is that according to 2nd Corinthians 5:17, those who are in Christ are "new creatures", the old things have passed away. Now either scripture is fully true and God inspired or none of it is. A man who sinned, whatever sin it may be, is now a new creature. That is the term born again. All that to say that if a man is divorced, his spiritual condition at the time is of the utmost importance. Next the Greek itself and the wording used offer no support that Paul is here discussing divorce. Paul plainly discusses divorce in 1st Cor. 7 so if that was his intention he would most likely have plainly stated that. It was not uncommon in this era to have multiple wives and especially a man with power. The Greek is; "an ayr hice goo nay". to study this out fully we would see that the terminology refers to multiple and would be accurately rendered a one woman kind of man. By this it would be safe to conclude that multiple wives, pornography, or anything such as this would disqualify the man from leadership. I also want to point out that because one of the qualifications is husband of one wife or as another qualification states that his children are under control, doesn't indicate that a man must be married or that they must have children. Paul states that it is better to be married than burn with passion and indicates a celibate life is the best way but most are not called to a life of celibacy. I hope this has been helpful and we'll look at a different qualification next time. Remember the Word is the Way.