“Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable,hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” (1 Timothy 3:2-4).
Paul’s purpose in writing these words about church leaders is to explain how the church ought to function, how Christians ought to behave in the household of the Lord. The church is not a building but a family, a fellowship which is the repository and guardian of the truth concerning Jesus the Savior. The truth is a mystery revealed yet which remains a mystery still for though we know the facts surrounding His incarnation, death and resurrection as well as the reasons why these things had to be, we do not fully grasp the mechanics of how these things took place. In fact there is much that we do not know or understand about God. We are not meant to dwell upon such mysteries for the Lord desires we teach the truth and spread the good news to the lost.
As the church is the guardian of the truth and the one who proclaims it, those who lead or represent it must live that truth. They must demonstrate the righteousness, mercy, love, and compassion of Christ in their lives and in all their associations. They must be disciplined in their emotions, speech and actions. They must be so resistant to temptation and sin that they can be considered above reproach. Yet as we read these qualifications we must realize that Paul is setting down the ideal while at the same time realizing that no one is so faultless that he or she will fit them to perfection. The best we can hope for in this life is that those who represent the church should be people who are aware of their imperfections and sinful tendencies. They should be people not ashamed to admit their struggles with sin, who rely on the Holy Spirit to overcome them.