Early Church Bishops
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Early Church Bishops 86

Leadership Characteristics Required

Arthur BrownThose who are successful in the management of their own households are considered suitable and qualified to be Early Church bishops. We note that the same word for "bishops" may also be translated as "elders" or "overseers." Similarly, a deacon in the Early Church may be appointed over a household or group of households. Saint Paul says that overseers have the care of all the churches. He writes in 1 Timothy 3.2-5, "Now the overseer (bishop) must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled. He must manage his own family (or "household") well, and see that his children obey him with proper respect. If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?" In some Bible versions, the word "family" is sometimes suitably substituted by the word "household."

Husband of One Wife

Victoria MatthewsThe qualifications for early bishops as for a bishop today are that they are to be, "the husband of one wife." This phrase may be a warning against immorality and bigamy for a bishop or elder but never the less stands on its own merits. It is also a clear prohibition against female persons from the Scriptures themselves. In our present society, is another case of what is "Biblically correct" versus what is "politically correct." Saint Paul lists the moral and leadership characteristics required of a leader. He writes in 1 Timothy 3.1-13 of deacons, "A deacon must be the husband of but one wife, and must manage his children and his households well." One should also examine the qualities expected of a bishop's wife for further clarification of the female role in ministry, which is an important one.✞

"Early Church Bishops"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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