The many qualities named in Scripture of a church elder/shepherd can be grouped and outlined around a set of key concerns or questions. And as we continue to consider the qualities of those who would serve as elders/shepherds in a church, we’d do well to examine not only two of the best known texts concerning such (1 Timothy 3.1-7 & Titus 1.5-9) – as we did in yesterday’s post – but other texts as well. Two additional, important texts that call for our attention are 1 Timothy 5.17-22 and 1 Peter 5.1-5.
Following is my attempt to include the contents of those two texts within the framework of our existing outline (cf. the relevant post of Feb. 6). As with yesterday’s post, today I’ll make use of five well-known English versions for comparative purposes: (A) King James Version (KJV), (B) Good News Translation (GNT; aka: Today’s English version), (C) New International Version, 3rd ed. (NIV 1984; the pew Bible currently used at MoSt Church), (D) New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), and (E) Common English Bible (CEB). Incidentally, all of these version (with the exception of the NRSV) can be accessed online by means of BibleGateway. The NRSV can be viewed via Oremus.
Note: The numbering and lettering of the outline that follows corresponds to the more complete outline posted on Feb. 6, hence the “skips” in numbers and letters in this outline.
1. Is their character and behavior highly respectable?
f. against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses (KJV); do not listen to an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or more witnesses (GNT); do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses (NIV 1984); never accept any accusation against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses (NRSV); don’t accept an accusation made against an elder unless it is confirmed by two or three witnesses (CEB) – 1 Tim. 5.19
4. Are they giving and generous?
b. not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind (KJV); not for mere pay, but from a real desire to serve (GNT); not greedy for money, but eager to serve (NIV 1984); not for sordid gain but eagerly (NRSV); don’t shepherd greedily, but do it eagerly (CEB) – 1 Pet. 5.2
6. Are they teachable and given to teaching?
b. especially they who labour in the word and doctrine (KJV); especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching (GNT); especially those whose work is preaching and teaching (NIV 1984); especially those who labor in preaching and teaching (NRSV); especially those who work with public speaking and teaching (CEB) – 1 Tim. 5.17-18
c. them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear (KJV); rebuke publicly all those who commit sins, so that the rest may be afraid (GNT); those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning (NIV 1984); as for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest also may stand in fear (NRSV); discipline those who are sinning in front of everyone so that all the others will be afraid (CEB) – 1 Tim. 5.20
7. Does anything, or anyone, own them?
c. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality (KJV); in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the holy angels I solemnly call upon you to obey these instructions without showing any prejudice or favor to anyone in anything you do (GNT); I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism (NIV 1984); In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels, I warn you to keep these instructions without prejudice, doing nothing on the basis of partiality (NRSV); I charge you before God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels to follow these practices without bias, and without playing favorites (CEB) – 1 Tim. 5.21
8. Do they lead people rightly?
a. let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour (KJV); the elders who do good work as leaders (GNT); the elders who direct the affairs of the church well (NIV 1984); the elders who rule well (NRSV); elders who lead well (CEB) – 1 Tim. 5.17
b. being examples to the flock (KJV); be examples to the flock (GNT); being examples to the flock (NIV 1984); be examples to the flock (NRSV); become examples to the flock (CEB) – 1 Pet. 5:3
c. submit yourselves unto the elder (KJV); submit yourselves to your elders (GNT); be submissive to those who are older (NIV 1984); accept the authority of the elders (NRSV); accept the authority of the elders (CEB) – 1 Pet. 5.5
d. neither as being lords over God’s heritage (KJV); do not try to rule over those who have been put in your care (GNT); not lording it over those entrusted to you (NIV 1984); do not lord it over those in your charge (NRSV); don’t shepherd by ruling over those entrusted to your care (CEB) – 1 Pet. 5.3
e. feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof (KJV); be shepherds of the flock that God gave you and to take care of it (GNT); be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers (NIV 1984); tend the flock of God that is in your charge, exercising the oversight (NRSV); like shepherds, tend the flock of God among you; watch over it (CEB) – 1 Pet. 5:2
9. Would they shepherd because they’ve ‘got to’ or because they ‘get to’?
b. not by constraint, but willingly (KJV); willingly, as God wants you to, and not unwillingly (GNT); not because you must, but because you are willing (NIV 1984); not under compulsion but willingly, as God would have you do it (NRSV); don’t shepherd because you must, but do it voluntarily for God (CEB) – 1 Pet. 5.2
10. Is the timing right for their appointment?
b. lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins (KJV); be in no hurry to lay hands on people to dedicate them to the Lord’s service; take no part in the sins of others (GNT); do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others (NIV 1984); do not ordain anyone hastily, and do not participate in the sins of others (NRSV); don’t rush to commission anyone to leadership, and don’t participate in the sins of others (CEB) – 1 Tim. 5.22