Elder Perry Byers Sr.
The Qualifications And Work Of Elders
1 Timothy 3:1-7 11 list carefully the qualifications that must be met in order for one to serve as an elder (bishop/ overseer/ pastor) in the Lord's church. This office is never to be held by only one man but a plurality of men (two or more). This is the only pattern authorized by God in scripture.
"This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. (2) A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; (3) Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; (4) One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (5) (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) (6) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. (7) Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil."
1 Timothy 3:11 "Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things."
Titus 1:4-11 also gives us insight into the specific qualifications of an elder. He uses different words and adds some information as to the duties of the elders.
"To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior. (5) For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: (6) If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. (7) For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; (8) But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; (9) 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. (10) For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: (11) Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake."
The work of elders includes and is not limited to overseeing and feeding the flock (local congregation) (Acts 20:28). The elders are to stop the mouths of gainsayers (false teachers) (Titus 1:9, 11). They are given authority to rule over, watch for, and give account in judgment of the local congregation (Hebrews 13:17). Finally they are to warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men (1 Thessalonians 5:14).