1 Timothy

Lesson 41 Timothy 3:1-13

In this lesson, we will be examining what Paul wrote to Timothy regarding church leadership. Paul’s instructions to Timothy are clear about what is expected of church leaders so that Timothy will not be influenced by the false teachers at Ephesus. Additionally, we will look at Paul’s instructions dealing with two specific leadership positions with the church at Ephesus: Overseers and Deacons.

Timothy the Apostle

Nothing is more critical within the local church than the selection of God-honoring faithful leaders. This is true at all levels within the church, and it is as important today as it was then. Church leadership always plays a critical role in sharing in the shepherding of God’s people, the work of the Gospel, and protecting the faith. Paul wanted to be clear to Timothy, his "son" in the faith, what those expectations were, as the church at Ephesus faced the challenges of the day.

Read 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and consider the following:

  1. Paul makes a statement in 1 Timothy 3:1-2, "if anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task." Regarding this position, he says that the most important criteria is what?
  2. What else is Paul pointing out in 1 Timothy 3:1 regarding the motives of anyone desiring to be a church leader?
  3. Paul then cites a list of 12 qualifications for becoming an overseer. List each of them, and note why each specific one is important in a leadership position (see 1 Tim. 3:2-7):
  4. Paul then lists 11 qualifications for a Deacon, i.e., one who serves the needs of the local church body. List them below; you will note that they mirror very closely the qualifications desired for Overseers pertinent to Question 3 above.

Paul was very specific about the qualifications of these two leadership positions within the church, and even today many churches continue to follow his instructions. These same qualities should be something that we seek in anyone who will fill, or is filling, a leadership position.

Further, we should recognize that within the lost communities surrounding us, many of these qualifications are what they believe indicate a person is a follower of Christ. How do you stack up against these qualifications? Are there areas that jump out at you that require you to change your behavior? Let’s take time to examine ourselves and our walk with Christ, and explore how we can improve it, so that our witness in the community becomes even more effective.

In Christ,



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