Character then competence…

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Titus 1:I left you behind in Crete for this reason, so that you should put in order what remained to be done, and should appoint elders in every town, as I directed you: someone who is blameless, married only once, whose children are believers, not accused of debauchery and not rebellious. For a bishop, as God’s steward, must be blameless; he must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or addicted to wine or violent or greedy for gain; but he must be hospitable, a lover of goodness, prudent, upright, devout, and self-controlled. He must have a firm grasp of the word that is trustworthy in accordance with the teaching, so that he may be able both to preach with sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it.

Paul left Titus in charge of the church in Crete with some instructions. He is to “appoint elders” (v.5) for the good order of the church. Titus does not have to lead the community by himself. V.7 then refers to these persons as “bishop”, which appears to be another word for “elder”. In any case I’m interested in the list of qualifications Paul offers for such people.

In v.6 there is an expectation that an elder has his own house in order. Verses 7-8 are all about character – who someone is – followed by v.9 which explains what someone does. “Being” then “doing”. I think that’s the right order. It’s what I’m thinking about when I’m looking for leaders of ministry or staff members for the church. It’s what I’m thinking about when I take stock of my own life and ministry.

Character first, then competence second.

Lord give me grace to exhibit both character and competence. Some days it seems like I have neither. Amen.

 

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