The Bible says in Titus 1:6, If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. Of course, this verse is talking about the requirements for someone to become a pastor. This is the first of several verses that give these requirements. It is important to notice that a mans family relationships are to be looked at closely. He must be a one-woman man. That is, he must be faithful to his wife. Of course, this implies that he has a wife. The idea that the leader of a congregation cannot be married comes from human tradition. Such an idea does not come from the scriptures.
A pastor must be a one-woman man. He must be faithful to his wife. He must love his wife. His life demonstrates that he has forsaken all others and clings only to his wife. A pastor must also be rightly-related to his children. How does a pastor live in regards to his own family? If his own family is not in order, how will the church be in order? The church is the family of God, and the family of God deserves someone who knows how to talk to people and how to deal with people. A man will show where he is in this regard by his own family. Of course, this is talking about the children of a man while the children are still young enough to be under his control. Every human being eventually makes his or her own decisions, and then becomes responsible for his or her own decisions. No parent, and that includes a pastor, is responsible for an offspring who now makes its own choices. (In case you did not know it, that begins to happen in the early teen years. Often by the time a teen is 14 or 15 he begins making his own choices with or without the approval of the parents.) No parent should be judged by their teen or their adult children, but they should be evaluated by their younger children. If they are not faithful children; that is, faithful to the will of the parent, then the parent cannot be chosen as pastor, because up to a certain age the parent has the possibility to control the child. A six year old does not make his own decisions. The parents are deciding almost everything, and therefore the parents are responsible.
The Bible says in Titus 1:7, For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre. For a second time, we are told that a pastor must be blameless. Verse 6 told us that he must be blameless in regards to his romantic relationship with his wife and in regards to his ability to keep his young children under proper control. Verse 7 gives some other personal characteristics about pastors. We are told that a pastor is a steward of God. The word that is translated steward means literally householder. The householder does not own the house. The householder is in charge, but he represents the interests of someone else. Of course, in this case he represents the interests of God. That is why it is essential that the right person be selected for this job.
The pastor must not be self-willed. No one who is self-willed can do the will of God. It takes resolve, it takes wisdom and it takes surrender; for someone to honestly and consistently say as Jesus did, Not my will but thine be done. Many people who call themselves Christians in these last days are very self-willed people. Such a person will make a terrible pastor, because such a person will be going about accomplishing his own will instead of Gods will. Self-will is sinfulness. A human being making human decisions for human, selfish reasons is a person who will lead others away from true service to Christ.
A pastor must not be a person characterized by anger. It says that he should not be soon angry. Anger can easily become a problem for any human being. Even the people of the world provide training on anger management because they recognize how destructive anger can be both for the person who is angry and for the person affected by the anger. Many great sins have been done only because a person was angry. If you are angry, you will probably do or say something that you should not have done or said. There is a relationship between self-will and anger. You want something or you want something to be a certain way, and it does not happen, and so you get angry. Anger is tied to lack of faith. If you believe that God can do anything, and if you have placed everything in His hands, and if you believe that he is involved in everything in your life; then you will not get angry. An angry person or a person who has not learned to keep his anger under control is not qualified to be a pastor.
Also, a pastor cannot be a person who is given to wine. The reason for that should be obvious. A pastor must be someone whose life is under control. The abuse of alcohol or any other chemical has a negative effect on a persons behavior. It all has to do with behavior and life-style. A pastor must be a person with the best behavior in a community. A drinker of wine or other alcoholic beverages is not that person.
A pastor must not be a striker. A striker is someone who uses their fists to settle arguments or to express emotions. Someone who does such a thing has not learned to be a man on this earth, and certainly has not learned to follow the teachings of Christ. Any animal can resort to animalistic instincts of violence and force, but a spiritual person has learned to trust in God in such situations. Notice that this verse indicates that a pastor should not strike anyone. He should not strike his wife, he should not strike his children, and he should not strike his neighbor. If a pastor should not be a striker, then other Christians should not be either.
The last thing that Titus 1:7 says about a pastor is that a pastor should not be given to filthy lucre. This phrase refers to someone who has money as a high priority and who is willing to shrink to unethical and deceitful means to obtain money. It should be obvious why such a person would make a terrible pastor. Jesus said, You cannot serve God and mammon. Members of a congregation will be giving money for the furtherance of the gospel. Anyone who uses these monies improperly or selfishly will be cheating the people of God and will be establishing a reputation in the community that will greatly harm the testimony that the church would otherwise have had.
Instead of the negative things mentioned in verse 7, the Bible states certain positive qualities that should be possessed by a pastor. Titus 1:8 says, But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate. If you are a hospitable person, then that means that you know how to treat others. You know how to receive strangers and make them feel comfortable and welcome. Remember that a pastor is going to be inviting people who are outside of the family of God to come and believe in Jesus and join the family of God. A pastor who is not hospitable will not be able to effectively do that important task. These things that are listed for a pastor should be the goals of every believer in Jesus. It is just that the pastor has to have already accomplished these goals and gone on to other ones. This same word that is translated a lover of hospitality is used in I Peter 4:9, is written to all believers, and says, Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
An attribute that is a close companion of lover of hospitality is a lover of good men. It will be much easier to be a lover of hospitality if you are also a lover of good men. You will be glad to be hospitable to someone that you love. The phrase that is translated, a lover of good men, means literally a lover of good. A pastor is a lover of all good things, and that includes good men. You will know almost everything that you need to know about someone if you know whom and what they love. The worst people in the world hate good men. In II Timothy 3:1-3 the Bible says, This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come, For men shall be lovers of their own selves despisers of those that are good. The good people of the world are the ones who come to Jesus and believe in Him. Those who hate believers for any reason are proving themselves to be joined with the worst people of the world. Those who love good men have proved themselves to have the Spirit of God within them as well as true belief in Christ.
A pastor must be sober. This word means to be of a sound mind. It refers to the mental state of the person: how they use their mind to make decisions. When issues arise, a person with a sound mind tends to make just the right decision to make the situation better. A pastor will be making a lot of decisions. Only a person of a sound mind will make the right decisions.
A pastor must be just. This word means righteous. A person who is characterized by righteousness is a person who wants to do the right thing. Nothing else matters to such a person. It is not a question of what is profitable. Its not a question of what is pleasing to others. It is not a question of what will bring success as the world defines success. It is only a question of what is right. Anyone who does not have this as his number one motivation will not make a good pastor.
A pastor must be holy. The word holy has to do with separation from sin. There are two types of holiness. The first type is positional holiness that is given to us freely from Christ when we believe in Him. If you are a believer in Jesus, God looks at you and regards you as a holy person. Every believer in Jesus has this holy standing. Without such a gift from God we could not be saved. But practical holiness is something different. Practical holiness refers to your personal walk with Christ in this sinful world. How well has a man learned to love the sinner but hate the sin? How correctly and properly has man kept himself unspotted from the world? The Bible says to all believers, Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. A man who is a pastor must already show by his personal life that he maintains this proper kind of separation from the world.
A pastor must be temperate. This word refers to the ability of a person to control himself. Almost all sin has to do with some good thing that has been abused or performed outside of the boundary that God has set for it. Good examples of that are the sins of adultery and fornication. God created sex. He designed it. He thought of it before anyone else. Sex is a good thing. But it is only good in the marriage bond. Sex outside of marriage is sin. The bed in marriage is undefiled, but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. The same thing is true concerning food. Eating good food is a good thing to do. But it also can be taken to an excess, and that excess is sin. A pastor must be a person who is under control. He is going to be telling people over and over again that Jesus can change their lives and make a difference: that they can be free from the things that enslave them. If the pastor himself is not under control (temperate), then he will be both a hypocrite and a poor example.
Paul spent three verses writing about the character and manner of life of a pastor, and now in Titus 1:9 Paul tells us about the activity of a pastor. The Bible says, Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. The primary activity of the pastor is the teaching of the Word of God. Remember that a pastor must feed the flock. The only spiritual food that will do spiritual good for the flock is the Word of God. Stories, illustration, personal opinions, and jokes do not feed the flock. Such things, if not abused, may help in some sermons but it is only the Word of God that is capable of feeding the flock. If you love Jesus, feed his sheep.
This feeding of the flock requires at least two things. It requires a divine gift. If God has not gifted you to teach His Word, then let someone else do it. God gifted you for what he wants you to do. Your gift is just as important. The fact that Jesus gifted pastors to teach the flock is shown clearly in Ephesians 4:11 among other places. It says concerning Jesus, And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers. A pastor must be a teacher or he is not a pastor. A pastor is the only one who has the gift to teach. If you know someone who is a pastor of a church but who does not have the gift to teach, then he is not a biblical pastor. Maybe he is an evangelist, or maybe he a deacon, or maybe he is an administrator, or maybe he is a false prophet, but he is not a biblical pastor.
The primary activity of a biblical pastor is to teach the Word. It takes a divine gift to be able to feed the Word of God to the flock of God. It also takes preparation. Look at Titus 1:9 again. It says, Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. Notice the phrases as he hath been taught and by sound doctrine. No one learns sound doctrine through casual reading of the Bible. It takes study, it takes prayer, and it takes time to learn sound doctrine. That is why a pastor is called an elder in this passage. In most cases a younger man has not lived long enough to learn sound doctrine. The pastor is the one who must teach sound doctrine to the flock. How is he going to teach it if he has not learned it himself? How is the pastor going to keep the flock from falling into false doctrine if the pastor is not well-schooled and well-grounded in all of the true doctrines? It will not happen. That is one of the reasons that there is so much confusion in these last days. Too many people are standing up to speak and they have not learned enough yet themselves. They are teachers, but they are the ones who need to be taught. If they would take another twenty years and walk with Christ, and learn something, then they just might have something worthwhile to say, and then they might be a true elder. Notice that the requirement is not what degrees someone has from a seminary, university or college. The requirement is that someone has learned something. The two do not always go together.
Copyright; 2005 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved