Dignity–1 Timothy 3   Leave a comment

When Paul writes his letter to Timothy, he tells him of the qualifications of an elder in the church. The foremost qualification, under which all the other qualifications are subsumed, is that an elder “must be above reproach.” The literal Greek means that he “cannot be held.” In a criminal jurisprudence sense (for all of you legal minds out there), there can be no charges against him that would continue beyond a motion for summary judgment. Or, as John MacArthur said, “There is no valid accusation of wrongdoing that can be made against him.”

But similar requirements are made of men seeking to be deacons and women, in general. Deacons “likewise must be men of dignity” and women “must likewise be dignified.” It seems that the “likewise” is linking both deacons (which, combined with eldership, captures the entire male gender, according to 1 Timothy 3:1) and women to the qualification of an elder, which, as was stated before, is subsumed under the one qualification: irreproachable.

But the term “dignity” is a little different. Different by definition, but ultimately pointing to the same thing as eldership–irreproachability. To be dignified is to be honorable. There is a sense of seriousness and maturity about the person. And honor is due to those who keep from sin and are, thereby, irreproachable, so…

I’m not saying that they’re the same qualifications, but I think the “dignified” qualification points to the “above reproach” qualification. In either sense, we are to live dignified lives–lives of soberness that merit honor according to God’s standard, not the world’s. Be dignified.

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Posted February 10, 2010 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

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