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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

I Timothy 3:15

But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

For further study - I Timothy 3:1-16

As I sat reading through I Timothy 3 before I took time to rehearse some of my thoughts on our devotional reading for today, I realized what I was reading was a manual for how every man should live his Christian life.

I understand that I Timothy is one of the Pastoral Epistles written by Paul to help guide the young leadership of the first century church in the world at that time. Young Timothy was being trained by Paul and then dispatched across the then-known world to help build up the new churches. Remember, many of the churches Timothy would visit had been founded by the Apostle Paul.

Paul lays out the qualifications for both the "spiritual leaders" of the church and those who are to be spiritual, as well, the "servants" (deacons) at the churches. The leaders are the "bishops", the "overseers", which lead every church to become what the Lord requires them to be in the final analysis, as dictated by His Word.

Paul starts with a "true saying." "If any man desires the office of 'overseer', he desires a good thing." When I read that, I realized that all men "must desire" the office of "overseer" because it is a "good thing."

Please read the list of qualifications, as I did. Now, let me point out several things from these qualifications. Verse 3 says one in leadership should be "someone not given to filthy lucre." This is some one that does not have as his main focus the acquisition of large amounts of money.

Verse 7 says this man, "overseer", as every man, should have a good report from "them" which are from without the church. We cannot be leaders of the Church and have a bad testimony among those who are not in the Church, those not saved.

Starting in verse 8 we see the qualifications of the "deacons" those who God sets aside for "service in the church," the local gathering of born-again believers. Verse 13 indicates that an "overseer" of the church as well as the "servants", they both must have great "boldness" in the faith.

Paul was addressing the leadership of the Church, in these new local groups of born again people who were coming together to learn the ways of the Lord and then going out to win lost people to the Lord. Paul referred to these "bodies of believers" as the "church of the living God".

Notice that Paul, in verse 15, doesn't say that the "church" is the source of all truth, but the "safeguard", the pillar and ground of the truth. The "source of truth" is not the church but the Bible, God's Holy Word, which is "absolute truth". Paul wrote that the leadership of the church is the "caretaker" of all of God's truth.

Paul refers to Jesus as He who was "received up into glory", verse 16, and is coming again, soon. But until then the "church safeguards" the truth and spreads it to a needy people around the world.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me Lord, to study the qualifications of a man who desires leadership as I endeavor to lead our ministry under Your direction and, at the same time, live my life out as a Christian.