Thursday, September 25, 2014

05 - 1 Timothy 3:1-13 - Lessons for leaders

Lesson 05                                  “Qualifications for Leaders”                       1 Timothy 3:1-13
ID: Inductive Questions (Asking the text questions like who, what, where, when, why, & how?”)
CR: Cross References (Comparing Scripture to Scripture, understanding the vague by the clear.)
WS: Word Study (Understanding definition, theological meaning, and usages in other passages.)
The WORD: What does the Bible say?
Context:  Read 1 Timothy 2:8-3:16 to understand the context of this passage.  Then read 1 Timothy3:1-13 in a more literal or more dynamic version than you usually use.
The elders and deacon descriptions have lists of words that make great word studies, but don’t get so caught up with the “trees” of the individual characteristics that you miss the “forest” of the general character described.  The fact that the list in Titus is not exactly the same indicates the list is more of a general description.  (Eight parallel translations are provided for you to compare below.)
1.     ID/WS:  (3:1) How does verse one describe the work of a bishop (episkopē)?
2.     ID: (3:5-6, 12) What kind of leadership experience is expected?  Why is it so important?  What does this indicate about what an elder does?
3.     ID: (3:6-7) What are two ways that Satan can attack an elder?
4.     ID:  (3:8-10) Which of these characteristics are in both lists?  Are the ones listed only for elders more difficult to achieve or especially unique to the elder’s functions?
5.     ID/CR:  (3:9) What is meant by “holding the mystery of the faith with a pure (katharos) conscience”? (1 Timothy 1:5; 3:9, 13; Hebrews 3:14)
6.     ID: (3:13) What is the promise to deacons (diakonos) who serve well? (Deacons should memorize this verse.)
7.     ID: (3:1-13) What general observations can you make about these characteristics?  What stands out as most noteworthy from these lists?  (Titus 1:5-9)
The WALK: What should I do?
1.     Which qualifications are you particularly challenged by?  Do you remember the Lord working in your life to advance your sanctification in any of these areas?
2.     What prevents you from serving or leading in your church?  What areas of serving or leadership in the church do you aspire to?  Why?
3.     What qualifications for elders and deacons do you think are often overlooked or minimized?
4.     What applications can you make to your life from these two ways Satan attacks elders?
5.     CSBI: How does a belief that the Bible is the revelation of God affect the way we think and use it?
Going Beyond:  What areas of theology are touched on in this passage?
The Bible (Bibliology)   
God (Theology Proper)   
The Father (Paterology)   
The Lord Jesus Christ (Christology)  
The Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)   
Man (Anthropology)    
Salvation (Soteriology) 
The Church (Ecclesiology)  
Angels & Satan (Angelology)
Future Things (eschatology)
The next three articles deal with revelation. Article III defines what we mean when we say that the Bible is revelation and not merely a witness to revelation, as is affirmed by the neo-orthodox theologians. Article IV considers the use of human language as a vehicle for divine revelation.  Article V notes the way in which the revelation of God unfolds progressively throughout Scripture so that later texts more fully expound the earlier ones. In these articles the framers of the Statement guard against any view which would lessen the unique nature of the Bible as God’s written revelation or negate the teaching of some parts of it by appeal to other parts

We affirm that the written Word in its entirety is revelation given by God.
We deny that the Bible is merely a witness to revelation, or only becomes revelation in encounter, or depends on the responses of men for its validity.
Both the affirmation and denial of Article III have in view the controversial question of the objective character of divine revelation in Scripture.  There has been considerable debate in the twentieth century on this issue, particularly with the rise of so-called dialectical or “Neo-Orthodox” theology.  This approach sought to promote a “dynamic” view of Scripture which sees the authority of Scripture functioning in a dynamic relationship of Word and hearing of the Word.  Several theologians have denied that the Bible in and of itself, objectively, is revelation.  They maintain that revelation does not occur until or unless there is an inward, subjective human response to that Word. Scholars like Emil Brunner, for example, have insisted that the Bible is not itself revelation, but is merely a witness to that revelation which is found in Christ. It has been fashionable in certain quarters to maintain that special revelation is embodied in Christ and in Christ alone, and that to consider the Bible as objective revelation would be to detract from the uniqueness of the person of Jesus Christ who is the Word made flesh.
The spirit of these articles is to oppose a disjunction between the revelation that is given to us in the person of Christ objectively and the revelation that comes to us in equally objective terms in the Word of God inscripturated.*  Here the Bible is seen not merely as a catalyst for revelation, but as revelation itself.  If the Bible is God’s Word and its content proceeds from Him, then its content is to be seen as revelation.  Here revelation is viewed as “propositional.”  It is propositional not because the Bible is written in the style of logical equations or analytical formulas.  It is propositional because it communicates a content which may be understood as propositions.  
In the affirmation of Article III the words “in its entirety” are also significant.  There are those who have claimed that the Bible contains here and there, in specified places, revelation from God, but that it is the task of the believer individually or the church corporately to separate the parts of Scripture which are revelatory from those which are not. This article by implication repudiates such an approach to Scripture inasmuch as the whole of Scripture, its entire contents, is to be seen as being divine revelation.
The denial stated in Article III reinforces the objectivity of revelation in Scripture and maintains that the validity of that revelation does not depend upon human responses. The Bible’s truth does not depend in any way on whether or not a person believes the truth.
The central thrust of Article III is to declare with confidence that the content of Scripture is not the result of human imagination or cleverly devised philosophical opinions, but that it reflects God’s sovereign disclosure about himself and all matters which are touched upon by Scripture. The Bible, then, embodies truth that comes to us from beyond the scope of our own abilities. It comes from God himself.
 *Inscripturation: when what is communicated in revelation is committed to writing.

Leader Notes:

1. The passage describes the role of an elder as a “good work.”  This contradicts the negative feelings some have about being an elder.
2. I am fascinated that it is “home leadership” and not “business experience” that is more important.  I have mixed feelings about discussing a man’s business experience when considering him for the position of elder.
3. I think that elders are not the only ones susceptible to these kinds of attacks.  You might focus more on how “pride” and “falling into reproach ” give an opportunity to Satan.
6. I hope this will encourage our deacons and men who would consider serving as a deacon.
7. This is a “catch all” question that you can used to talk about any and all parts of these verses.
1.  Don’t you think it would be encouraging to hear men sharing about how the Lord has developed them in some of these areas?
2. Encourage your men to serve and lead in the church.
3. This are good questions if you don’t let them become gripe sessions.
4. 1 Corinthians 10:12.  If we believe what the Bible says about Satan, we will take this seriously.
5. Please read the affirmation and denial for this lesson and briefly discuss this application.

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