NOTE: Following is a copy of the discussion guide that will be used in MoSt Church’s LIFE groups tomorrow (Sun., Mar. 18). This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon that morning. The primary texts for this sermon are 1 Timothy 3.1-7 and Titus 1.5-9; however, there will also be brief notice of Acts 20.35; 1 Timothy 5.17, James 5.14-15a, and 1 Peter 5.3. This is the third sermon in a five-part series on elders/shepherds (A Primer for Pastors) and is entitled What’s the Meaning of This? You’ll find these LIFE group discussion guides categorized each week here on my site under the category title, originally enough, “LIFE group guides.”
* BTW – You’ll notice we’re going old-school with the primary texts’s translation for this sermon; I’m workin’ out of the ol’ KJV for ya’ here.
To lay down a basic understanding of the work of a bishop/elder/overseer/shepherd/steward.
This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 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 3.1-7 KJV)
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: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; 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. (Titus 1.5-9 KJV)
Icebreaker questions are meant to help us all start talking. Choose one of the following to discuss as a group.
1. Tell us about a funny time when you misunderstood what you thought were clear directions.
2. My friends, spouse, etc. would say I’m quite capable of missing the point when _____ is the subject.
These questions are intended to help us grapple with Scripture related to this morning’s sermon. Choose some.
1. Count the number of qualities listed in 1 Timothy 3.1-7? Do the same for Titus 1.5-9?
2. List some Bible characters who weren’t trying to get “into ministry,” but God set them up anyway.
3. What specifically is in view here as to the behavior of elders’ children (1 Timothy 3.4-5; Titus 1.6)?
4. Scripture doesn’t condemn drinking wine, but it is consistently hard on its abuse (drunkenness). What texts other than 1 Timothy 3.3 and Titus 1.7 do you recall that speak against drunkenness?
5. According to Titus 1.9, what is the end in view regarding an elder’s ability to teach?
6. Name the four qualities noted in the latter part of the sermon from Acts 20.35; 1 Tim. 5.17; James 5.14 & 1 Pet. 5.3. Are any of those stated or clearly implied here in 1 Timothy 3.1-7 or Titus 1.5-9?
These questions facilitate our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us through his word. Choose some.
1. What traits are you surprised do not appear here in 1 Timothy 3.1-7 and Titus 1.5-9? Why?
2. Why do you suppose these Scriptures are totally silent as to the qualities of an elder’s spouse?
3. Complete this sentence: the difference(s) between the qualities listed here to be an elder and the goals for maturity for me as a Christian is/are _____?
4. Reflect on this statement and comment: “The ‘qualifications’ of an elder are directly linked to, and find their meaning in, what an elder does (i.e. – their ‘job description,’ if you please)?”
5. What sort of temptations can you imagine the devil placing before an elder(s) with these traits?
6. An individual with these qualities and who serves as a church elder is in need of my _____?