In our passage today we are told what qualifications someone must meet to become an elder or overseer of the church. Paul is instructing Titus to be selective when it comes to who might lead the churches in Crete. The list of qualifications is fairly detailed and specific regarding the required lifestyle of the elder. From family to economic honesty, we see from this list how important it is for a leader to be able to lead from example.
As we look at this list, even those who do not plan on becoming elders or overseers can glean a picture of what it looks like to have the lifestyle of a true disciple. As we pursue godliness, we see that these are the traits that our lives should also reflect.
However, it is not just the lifestyle of an elder that qualifies him to become an elder. Paul also pays strict attention to the candidate’s ability to teach sound doctrine. This was particularly true in Paul and Titus’s day as nearly everyone was a new believer or at least a first or second generation believer. Teaching played a key role in the church just as it does today. While doctrine and Biblical soundness often give way to more “interesting” teachings, they still remain the foundation of the elder’s responsibility according to Paul.
Again, we see that we as disciples must also embrace the responsibility of knowing and teaching the gospel. We must be competent in our doctrine so that we might train our children up in this knowledge. We must be competent in our doctrine so that we can have discernment when it comes to things that challenge our faith or our beliefs. As Paul notes later in our selection, there are many people who would twist and distort the gospel of grace by adding to it or taking away. If we are to be able to recognize distortions to our beliefs, we must have an understanding of them to begin with.
Many passages in the Bible can serve as measuring sticks for how we are doing in terms of our discipleship. As you read the qualifications for an elder, consider how your faith is developing along these lines. Could these things be said about your faith. You may not have achieved these things, but are you allowing God to make these things true for you? Ask yourself if you have the lifestyle that Paul describes. Take stock of your knowledge of the gospel and of the Bible. Ask God to continue to do a work in your life that makes these things true of your walk with Him.