Materials: Bible, scrap paper or spiral notebook, colored pencils (optional)
1) Please read 1 Timothy 3:1-13. If you would like to mark the key words and phrases in your Bible here is a list: teach, faith, doctrine, godliness, money/riches, all references to the devil, all references to prayer.
2) Godliness is a goal and desire for every person after God’s own heart to pursue.
3) What are the moral qualities required of an “overseer” or “bishop?” Every Christian should desire these qualities, but a deacon, or church leader MUST have these qualities!
4) Compare the qualifications for “overseer” with those of a “deacon.” Why is it important for lay people to know these qualifications? Each year, my church votes on a new set of deacons to replace those rotating off the deacon board. It is important for me to know these qualifications for a few reasons. 1) I don’t want to cast an ignorant vote; and 2) What if my own husband was voted in to be a deacon? Being a leader in the church is not something to take lightly. It isn’t a status symbol. It isn’t something a man should desire to “check off his list.” Being a church leader means these men lead the church! They are the examples and teachers that others follow. And if the leadership is corrupt, then the membership will follow.
5) What rewards does Paul mention for deacons?
Excellent community standing because of excellent service and a great boldness of the faith. “When a leader faithfully discharges his duties and constantly strives to meet the qualifications of a deacon, he will have the personal integrity to speak boldly – and brilliantly! – as a representative of Jesus Christ to those who are lost in a dark world.”
6) Read 1 Timothy 3:11 again. What group does Paul address?
There seem to be different ways to interpret this verse. Some say this refers to women leading in the church, others say it refers specifically to the wives of deacons. Some go so far as to call this group “deaconesses.” While I am not going to give that title to this group, I will say I agree that this might refer to women in church leadership positions. I’d have a hard time thinking the wives of deacons would NOT be in leadership positions. These positions would include anything from preschool Sunday School teacher, to nursery worker, to cooking in the kitchen on Wednesday nights.
7) Read Titus 2:3. How does this verse compare with 1 Timothy 3:11?
Conclusion: Readers, “does your behavior reflect a certain godly dignity that invites the respect of other people?” We have a call to self-control in all areas of our lives. And we need to continue to minister faithfully, daily, remembering that our rewards come from the God we reflect.
Homework for next week: Read 1 Timothy 3:14-4:16 and mark any key words that you see.