18 October 2017 Bible Reading
Today’s text in First Timothy 3 addresses the qualifications for elders and deacons (servants).
There are some key differences between elders and deacons, that help us better understand their roles. In regards to the family, an elder must have “faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination” (Titus 1:6) and be “one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence” (I Timothy 3:4) while a deacon must be “ruling their children and their own houses well” (I Timothy 3:12). We first notice that an elder’s children must be faithful. “Faithful” is one of several words used to describe a Christian. However, this qualification is not placed on a deacon’s children. The implication is that while an elder needs to be an older man, a deacon does not need to be as old. Also, where an elder is given oversight of a congregation and needs to demonstrate the ability to lead people into faithful service to the Lord, a deacon is serving the church and needs to demonstrate the ability to manage people. A more subtle difference between the qualifications is in the wording of “children.” The Greek phrasing for an elder indicates two or more children while a deacon indicates one or more.
A deacon must be a man who is reverent, which translates the Greek word semnous, meaning “worthy of respect, dignified, honorable, and holy.” This word is not used to describe an elder, but an elder must be sober-minded (the Greek word sophron) and holy (the Greek word hosios), which covers similar territory.
Where an elder cannot be a new Christian (I Timothy 3:6), such a restriction is not placed on a deacon.
There are several qualifications that must be present in an elder because of the nature of his duty. While a deacon might have these same characteristics, his duty is different and so demonstration of the ability is not as crucial. An elder must be:
- Hospitable (philoxenos) – a lover of guests
- Able to teach (didaktikos) – able to give instruction
- Patient (epieikes) – gentle, able to endure ill-treatment, forbearing, long suffering
- Not violent (amachos and me plektes) – in control of his temper, does not settle problems with his fists.
- Not quarrelsome (me orgilos) – not easily angered
- Just (dikaios) – equitable, even-handed, a fair-minded man
- Not self-willed (me authades) – not self-pleasing, not arrogant.
- Lover of good men (philagathos) – a promoter of virtue in others
- Temperate (egkrates) – strongly in control of himself
27 Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of animal. 28 It shall happen that, like as I have watched over them to pluck up and to break down and to overthrow and to destroy and to afflict, so will I watch over them to build and to plant, says Yahweh. 29 In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. 30 But everyone shall die for his own iniquity: every man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge. 31 Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was a husband to them, says Yahweh. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Yahweh: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people: 34 and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Yahweh; for they shall all know me, from their least to their greatest, says Yahweh: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more. 35 Yahweh, who gives the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, who stirs up the sea, so that its waves roar; Yahweh of Armies is his name, says: 36 If these ordinances depart from before me, says Yahweh, then the offspring of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me forever. 37 Yahweh says: If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done, says Yahweh. 38 Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that the city shall be built to Yahweh from the tower of Hananel to the gate of the corner. 39 The measuring line shall go out further straight onward to the hill Gareb, and shall turn about to Goah. 40 The whole valley of the dead bodies and of the ashes, and all the fields to the brook Kidron, to the corner of the horse gate toward the east, shall be holy to Yahweh; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more forever. 32 1 The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar. 2 Now at that time the king of Babylon’s army was besieging Jerusalem; and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the guard, which was in the king of Judah’s house. 3 For Zedekiah king of Judah had shut him up, saying, Why do you prophesy, and say, Yahweh says, Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it; 4 and Zedekiah king of Judah shall not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, but shall surely be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon, and shall speak with him mouth to mouth, and his eyes shall see his eyes; 5 and he shall bring Zedekiah to Babylon, and he shall be there until I visit him, says Yahweh: though you fight with the Chaldeans, you shall not prosper? 6 Jeremiah said, Yahweh’s word came to me, saying, 7 Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle shall come to you, saying, Buy my field that is in Anathoth; for the right of redemption is yours to buy it. 8 So Hanamel my uncle’s son came to me in the court of the guard according to Yahweh’s word, and said to me, Please buy my field that is in Anathoth, which is in the land of Benjamin; for the right of inheritance is yours, and the redemption is yours; buy it for yourself. Then I knew that this was Yahweh’s word. 9 I bought the field that was in Anathoth of Hanamel my uncle’s son, and weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels[c] of silver. 10 I subscribed the deed, and sealed it, and called witnesses, and weighed him the money in the balances. 11 So I took the deed of the purchase, both that which was sealed, containing the terms and conditions, and that which was open; 12 and I delivered the deed of the purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, in the presence of Hanamel my uncle’s son, and in the presence of the witnesses who subscribed the deed of the purchase, before all the Jews who sat in the court of the guard. 13 I commanded Baruch before them, saying, 14 Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel says: Take these deeds, this deed of the purchase which is sealed, and this deed which is open, and put them in an earthen vessel; that they may continue many days. 15 For Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel says: Houses and fields and vineyards shall yet again be bought in this land. 16 Now after I had delivered the deed of the purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah, I prayed to Yahweh, saying, 17 Ah Lord Yahweh! Behold, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm; there is nothing too hard for you, 18 who show loving kindness to thousands, and recompense the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them; the great, the mighty God, Yahweh of Armies is his name; 19 great in counsel, and mighty in work; whose eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, to give everyone according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings: 20 who performed signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, even to this day, both in Israel and among other men; and made yourself a name, as it is today; 21 and brought your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs, and with wonders, and with a strong hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terror; 22 and gave them this land, which you swore to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey; 23 and they came in, and possessed it, but they didn’t obey your voice, neither walked in your law; they have done nothing of all that you commanded them to do: therefore you have caused all this evil to come upon them. 24 Behold, the mounds, they have come to the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans who fight against it, because of the sword, and of the famine, and of the pestilence; and what you have spoken has happened; and behold, you see it. 25 You have said to me, Lord Yahweh, Buy the field for money, and call witnesses; whereas the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans. 26 Then Yahweh’s word came to Jeremiah, saying, 27 Behold, I am Yahweh, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me? 28 Therefore Yahweh says: Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the Chaldeans, and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall take it: 29 and the Chaldeans, who fight against this city, shall come and set this city on fire, and burn it, with the houses, on whose roofs they have offered incense to Baal, and poured out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger. 30 For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have done only that which was evil in my sight from their youth; for the children of Israel have only provoked me to anger with the work of their hands, says Yahweh. 31 For this city has been to me a provocation of my anger and of my wrath from the day that they built it even to this day; that I should remove it from before my face, 32 because of all the evil of the children of Israel and of the children of Judah, which they have done to provoke me to anger, they, their kings, their princes, their priests, and their prophets, and the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 33 They have turned to me the back, and not the face: and though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not listened to receive instruction. 34 But they set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to defile it. 35 They built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through fire to Molech; which I didn’t command them, neither did it come into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin. 36 Now therefore Yahweh, the God of Israel, says concerning this city, about which you say, It is given into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence: 37 Behold, I will gather them out of all the countries, where I have driven them in my anger, and in my wrath, and in great indignation; and I will bring them again to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: 38 and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: 39 and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their good, and of their children after them: 40 and I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from following them, to do them good; and I will put my fear in their hearts, that they may not depart from me. 41 Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul. 42 For Yahweh says: Like as I have brought all this great evil on this people, so will I bring on them all the good that I have promised them. 43 Fields shall be bought in this land, about which you say, It is desolate, without man or animal; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans. 44 Men shall buy fields for money, and subscribe the deeds, and seal them, and call witnesses, in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the hill country, and in the cities of the lowland, and in the cities of the South: for I will cause their captivity to return, says Yahweh.
1 Timothy 3
3 This is a faithful saying: if a man seeks the office of an overseer, he desires a good work. 2 The overseer therefore must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, modest, hospitable, good at teaching; 3 not a drinker, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having children in subjection with all reverence; 5 (but if a man doesn’t know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the assembly of God?) 6 not a new convert, lest being puffed up he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. 7 Moreover he must have good testimony from those who are outside, to avoid falling into reproach and the snare of the devil.
8 Servants, in the same way, must be reverent, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for money; 9 holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. 10 Let them also first be tested; then let them serve if they are blameless. 11 Their wives in the same way must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Let servants be husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For those who have served well gain for themselves a good standing, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
14 These things I write to you, hoping to come to you shortly; 15 but if I wait long, that you may know how men ought to behave themselves in God’s house, which is the assembly of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16 Without controversy, the mystery of godliness is great:
God was revealed in the flesh,
justified in the spirit,
seen by angels,
preached among the nations,
believed on in the world,
and received up in glory.
A Song. A Psalm by the sons of Korah. For the Chief Musician. To the tune of “The Suffering of Affliction.” A contemplation by Heman, the Ezrahite.
88 Yahweh, the God of my salvation,
I have cried day and night before you.
2 Let my prayer enter into your presence.
Turn your ear to my cry.
3 For my soul is full of troubles.
My life draws near to Sheol.
4 I am counted among those who go down into the pit.
I am like a man who has no help,
5 set apart among the dead,
like the slain who lie in the grave,
whom you remember no more.
They are cut off from your hand.
6 You have laid me in the lowest pit,
in the darkest depths.
7 Your wrath lies heavily on me.
You have afflicted me with all your waves.
8 You have taken my friends from me.
You have made me an abomination to them.
I am confined, and I can’t escape.
9 My eyes are dim from grief.
I have called on you daily, Yahweh.
I have spread out my hands to you.
10 Do you show wonders to the dead?
Do the departed spirits rise up and praise you?
11 Is your loving kindness declared in the grave?
Or your faithfulness in Destruction?
12 Are your wonders made known in the dark?
Or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?
13 But to you, Yahweh, I have cried.
In the morning, my prayer comes before you.
14 Yahweh, why do you reject my soul?
Why do you hide your face from me?
15 I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up.
While I suffer your terrors, I am distracted.
16 Your fierce wrath has gone over me.
Your terrors have cut me off.
17 They came around me like water all day long.
They completely engulfed me.
18 You have put lover and friend far from me,
and my friends into darkness.
20 As one who takes away a garment in cold weather,
or vinegar on soda,
so is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.
21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat.
If he is thirsty, give him water to drink:
22 for you will heap coals of fire on his head,
and Yahweh will reward you.