A study on the qualifications for Bishops and Elders in the Body of Christ. This part covers hospitality and Apt to Teach.
by Mitch Kuhn and Mike Vinson
Audio Player:Bishops, Elders, Deacons, and Disciples Part 4
1Ti 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach;
1Pe 4:9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
From G5384 and G3581; fond of guests, that is, hospitable: – given to (lover of, use) hospitality.
Tit 1:8 But a lover of hospitality (G5382), a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
1Pe 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity (love) among yourselves: for charity (love) shall cover the multitude of sins.
1Pe 4:9 Use hospitality(G5382) one to another without grudging.
1Pe 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
This first root word means to be fond of, as you are with a friend.
Properly dear, that is, a friend; actively fond, that is, friendly (still as a noun, an associate, neighbor, etc.): – friend.
Luk 11:5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;
Jas 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
This next root word literally means a foreigner or alien.
Apparently a primary word; foreign (literally alien, or figuratively novel); by implication a guest or (vice-versa) entertainer: – host, strange (-r).
Eph 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
Mat 25:35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
This is much more than just being kind to those that are in fellowship with us and of a like mind. This is about loving our enemies and being hospitable and friendly towards them.
Mat 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’
Mat 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
Mat 5:45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Mat 5:46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
Mat 5:47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?
An elder or bishop has to understand that all people are our brothers and sisters. We must love both our brothers and sisters that have the mind of Christ, and those that do not. While we do good unto all men, we should still spend the best and majority of what we have on the Body of Christ.
Gal 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Mat 26:6 And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper,
Mat 26:7 a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table.
Mat 26:8 But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste?
Mat 26:9 For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.”
Mat 26:10 But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me.
Mat 26:11 For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always.
Mat 26:12 For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial.
Mat 26:13 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”
This hospitality is so important because it is the way that others know we are Christ’s disciples. Part of loving one another is being a good host.
Joh 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
To be considered an elder in the Spirit, we must love the Body of Christ and be willing to host them in our spiritual or physical home. We cannot remain isolated and disconnected from the body of Christ.
If you are hospitable, you will enjoy assembling with the brethren.
Heb 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
You will also enjoy speaking often with the brothers and sister.
Mal 3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
Only the Lord can make us love the body of Christ, that is not natural. So if you find yourself not loving the fellowship, and lacking hospitality, then ask the Lord to change your heart.
Apt to Teach
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;
This is one of the qualities that distinguishes an elder from a deacon.
From G1318; instructive (“didactic”): – apt to teach.
This word basically means to be instructive. So an elder is a person who teaches others when opportunities arise. This does not mean that every elder is given the gift of teaching in the fellowship.
Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
Each person in the body has a role to play, and some are gifted teachers. Not many have this gift. Being “apt to teach”, means that you teach in whatever way the Lord gives you. A teacher can be someone of few words, but great wisdom.
See the following study for more on spiritual gifts: Gifts, Ministries and Operations
Let’s look at some verses.
2Ti 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
2Ti 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
2Ti 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
Elders understand that their role in this life, as a servant of God, is to teach others about the truth of God. They also understand that we need to be gentle and patient when teaching. If we do not display love in this way, no one will be able to hear us.
1Co 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
1Co 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
1Co 13:4 NKJV Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
1Co 13:5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
Elders also understand that we need to be meek (humble) when teaching others.
They have been crushed and humiliated themselves, so they should not be surprised when others are going through the same process. They also know that only God can grant repentance.
There is no room for frustration in teaching, only longsuffering patience. The knowledge that only the Spirit of God can give understanding helps greatly in this regard.
1Co 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
1Co 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
An elder teaches other the above verses, and relies on the power of the Spirit to instruct others, not their own wisdom. It certainly takes time and experience to learn this lesson, thus a qualification of an elder.