Leaders Should Be Like This
1. Recognize the context: Literary Context-
In verse 7, Paul characterized an elder as one who is responsible for supervising God’s household. Therefore, he repeated the need for this person to be blameless (verse 6). He then identified five negative traits contrary to the blameless life.
1. not overbearing-This person should not be arrogant and self-willed.
2. not quick-tempered-This person should not be prone to anger.
3. not given to drunkenness: This person should not be an excess drinker who is prone to becoming drunk.
4. not violent-This person should not be quarrelsome or a bully.
5. not pursuing dishonest gain-This person should not be shamelessly greedy.
Verse 8 will provide the positive alternatives to these negative characteristics.
2. Read the Scripture: Titus 1:5-9
5 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. 6 An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7 Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8 Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
3. Reflect on the Scripture:
In verse 8, Paul presented six positive characteristics of a church leader, depicting the blameless life (verses 6-7).
1. hospitable-All Christians should extend hospitality, the gracious reception of a guest or stranger. However, church elders should especially exemplify this trait (1 Tim 3, Rom. 12:13, 1 Pet. 4:9), even to strangers (Heb. 13:2, 3 John 8).
2. loving good-Elders must be people who love good and love doing good.
3. self-controlled-They should also be sensible and balanced in their behavior.
4. upright or righteous-Leaders must portray ethically acceptable behavior and fairness.
5. holy-Elders should be wholly dedicated to God.
6. disciplined-They must be able to control their impulses and desires.
Additionally, in verse 9, Paul stated elders must be devoted to the faithful message of the gospel, which they have received. The reason is twofold. First, they must be able to present sound doctrine and, in doing so, encourage others. Second, they must be able to respond to false teaching.
As the reformer, John Calvin, said, “A pastor needs two voices, one for gathering the sheep and the other for driving away wolves and thieves.”
4. Relate to life:
Remember, it is important to be a doer of God’s Word, not merely a hearer or reader (James 1:22-25). Here are some practical ways to actively respond to God’s Word. Consider these or create other ways you can apply the message.
Today, prayerfully review these positive characteristics of leadership. If you are in leadership (or considering leadership), do a personal inventory with the Holy Spirit's help.
Today, pray for the leaders in your church. Specifically, pray the Holy Spirit would help them to be characterized by these positive traits.
To do: (Actions with the Holy Spirit's help)
Given the prayer suggestions above, how do you need to respond today? Think about your attitudes, actions, and words. Think about your family, friends, church community, and co-workers.
What specific actions can you take this week to encourage your church leaders?
If you are a leader (or aspiring leader) struggling in any of these areas, find another person in leadership you can approach for a discussion and accountability.
To study: (Always make sure to read the immediate context of the given passage.)
Read and study the passages mentioned above.