Words Mean Things – I Timothy 3:1-13

by Pastor John Fredericksen

Print This Article

Someone we know often uses the phrase: “Words mean things.” As a Bible teacher, he goes through a passage emphasizing key words, and aids the understanding of those he teaches, by defining words. Particularly when coming to instruction that some of us may resist because it challenges previously held positions, or that simply speaks to the heart about a needed change, he uses his phrase. With a wry smile, he’ll say: “Words mean things.” Then he’ll let the truth of that Scripture sink into the soul. His point is that God says what He means, and we have the obligation to conform to His written Word.

When Paul wrote to Timothy about elders and deacons, in I Timothy 3:1-13, he uses key words to describe the qualifications for any who might serve in these offices. Before we even begin to look at God’s instructions, let’s remind ourselves that the local church is God’s work. He, and only He, has the right and authority to mandate who is to lead and serve in His local work. Regardless of what any church constitution may say or require, the requirements in God’s Word trump any man-made document. Now, lets look with an open heart into the words that describe these offices. God says a man must “desire” the office of an elder. One should not be coerced into serving. Instead, he must have a desire, not for power or prestige, but only to serve the Lord by providing wise scriptural leadership. He must be “blameless.” This does not mean he must be totally without sin. It means he must have a good testimony of godliness with no major areas in which he could be accused of wrongdoing. Paul says he “must.” That means what follows is not an optional suggestion. It is an unwavering standard, regardless of public opinion, even within the church. An elder must “be apt [given to, able, or ready] to teach.” Leaders in God’s work must “have their senses exercised to discerned both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14). The only way for a man to have the depth of knowledge needed to properly function as a leader in the local church is to be in the Word as a teacher. This is God’s requirement for God’s work.

These, and other requirements for leaders in the local church, are often ignored because they are not popular today. But words mean things. Can God count on you to stand for these standards in your local church?

Free Mail Subscription

Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."