Must elders be skilled in teaching?
- Thursday, September 14, 2017
- By Brian Thompson
In this article David Mathis explores the question about elders who are supposed to be able to teach. This is his argument:
Does the qualification that pastors and elders be “able to teach” (1 Timothy 3:2) mean skilled in teaching or something more akin to willing and able when necessary?
In the New Testament, “pastor,” “elder,” and “overseer” are three names for the same teaching office (Acts 20:28; Titus 1:5–7; 1 Peter 5:1–2). Pastors are elders are overseers. And the pastors are the chief teachers (Ephesians 4:11). Pastoral authority, in the New Testament, is always tied to teaching. Faithful leaders exercise oversight centrally through teaching, and teaching is their main instrument of exercising authority. Ongoing teaching is centrally important in the Christian church, and is the central work of her lead officers.
But how central? The qualification is “able to teach,” but able is an ambiguous word in our English. Is “able to teach” a high bar or a low one? Is this a minimal standard or maximal? Does able point to elders being skilled teachersor simply willing to teach if needed?
More to the point, are elders the kind of men who can teach if a gun is put to their head, or are they the kind who won’t stop teaching even at gunpoint?
The rest of this entry can be found HERE.