The Qualifications Of A Bishop

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What Are The Qualifications Of A Bishop?

Hi M____,
Concerning imparting a gift upon others, no, unless your will is the will of Christ, whose will is only the will of His Father.

Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
1Jn 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

When our will is in complete accord with our Lord and His Father, then He will send to us men who are qualified to be given the position of service that is needed in the body of Christ. It is God who places these men in those positions. It is not done “at your will” or mine.

1Co 7:17 But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.
1Co 7:18 Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised.
1Co 7:19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.
1Co 7:20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.
1Co 7:21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.
1Co 7:22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.
1Co 7:23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.
1Co 7:24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

God makes it very clear who is and who is not qualified for various functions within the body of Christ. Where we are called is where we should abide, until the Lord makes clear that He wants us to ‘go to Antioch and be ordained by the elders of the church to do a greater work’. That is never at the will of one man. It is a work of God Himself that true men of God are placed in a position of ministry.

1Co 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
1Co 12:29 [ Are] all apostles? [ are] all prophets? [ are] all teachers? [ are] all workers of miracles?
1Co 12:30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
1Co 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

This “more excellent way” is the way of love, which is the subject of the following chapter, and as I pointed out in our earlier exchange, we are never to ordain anyone who does not meet the qualifications of an overseer according to what God’s own inspired words instruct us. It is through obedience to God that we express both our love of our brothers and our love of God. That is as true for ordaining bishops (Greek – overseers) as it is of any other commandment of God.

1Jn 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
1Jn 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

Any so- called ‘love’ which is not based upon this definition of ‘love’ is a false love of this world. It is this false love which has enabled the birth of over 30,000 separate and conflicting denominations of men who think they are given to ordain men according to their own will.
All true ministers of God are “set in the church by God… after the counsel of His own will”, according to the qualifications He has commanded to be in that man, and not ‘at our will’.
I hope that answers your question. Christ really is the head of His church, and He really is quite capable of preserving those who tremble at His word:

Isa 66:2 For all those [ things] hath mine hand made, and all those [ things] have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

Part of what this brother was saying on facebook is true:

It is also true that the church in Antioch was preparing men who had been well prepared and they “laid their hands on those who were ready to be released into their calling”. We certainly do not want to “lay hands suddenly” on those who are “novices” and who are not prepared to be an example to those to whom they minister. If we do that then we are “partakers of other men’s sins”, and we do harm to the flock of God.

1Ti 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
1Ti 3:3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
1Ti 3:4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
1Ti 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
1Ti 3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
1Ti 3:7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
1Ti 5:22 Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.

Those are very high standards which are completely ignored by most churches today, who are more interested in scholastic degrees than these qualifications. Then other churches actually believe that we are all given the calling to be bishops. It is true that we all minister to the body of Christ as part of that body, but it is not true that we all minister as bishops. The body of Christ needs each and every part of itself. It is a “many membered body” with each member ministering to the body in its own way.

Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [ of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Rom 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
Rom 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
Rom 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
Rom 12:7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
Rom 12:8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, [ let him do it] with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
Rom 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation [ Greek – hypocrisy]. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
Eph 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [ even] Christ:
Eph 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted [ Greek, nurtured] by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

So selfless love is what it necessary to impart Christ to others. Giving Christ to others is the only “spiritual gift” we can give others which gives life. That is an act of selfless love, and that love is coming from “that which every joint supplies”. It is not just coming from the bishop. True selfless love and concern for those who the Lord brings to Himself comes from the entire body of Christ. It is a corporate love for those to whom the Lord has sent us and for those who He has dragged to us. There is no room for the flesh of any man to glory because it is all of God, and it is a work of Christ’s entire body.
I hope this is of some edification, and I hope it demonstrates for you that the “spiritual act” of laying on of hands was done with very close attention to the qualifications given above being firmly in place in the lives of those men who were sent out from the church in Antioch.
These were all “men who were blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; men who ruled well their own house, having their 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 had to have a good report of them which were without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil”.
That is the kind of man who will be gifted to impart the true gospel of “the mystery of Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27). The act of laying on of hands is a ritual, and a ritual is not what qualifies a man to minister. What does qualify a man to minister is the work of God’s spirit in the life of that man, which provides in that man the qualifications which are stipulated above to be required before that ritual of laying on of hands took place in the church in Antioch and in the church today. It was the work of the spirit in the lives of Paul and Barnabas which prepared them to be sent out from Antioch. It was not the laying on of hands. That ritual was simply a recognition of what God had already done.
There is nothing we can do of ourselves to draw anyone to Christ or bestow a ‘gift’ upon them. God may use our witness to influence a person to come to Him, but we will never of our own power do it.

Joh 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Your brother in Christ,
Mike

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