Exactly What It Means When People Speak About How Above Reproach Church Leaders Are
The italicized passage originates from 1 Timothy 3:2, in the middle of Paul’s guidelines for qualifying for a leadership position: “Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach.”
But what does it mean to be above reproach?
Please understand that while Paul intended for church leaders to be this way, it doesn’t mean we—who may not play an active leadership role in a church or ministry—are exempted from the requirement. If we are routinely rude to others and use profanities when we’re upset or snub those we disagree with, why would the world want to emulate us? One minister I often listen to said it this way, “many don’t want to become Christians because they know someone who is.”
So, let’s unpack what it means to be above reproach.
What It Is Not Meant To
Her observation made it simple for me to tell my left from my right ever since.
Because learning about a topic can be facilitated by first understanding what it is not, let’s begin by discussing what above reproach does not mean.
- Societal Standards
Living beyond reproach does not mean abiding by rules that were created by humans. Keep with me even though it might seem obvious. God created us to be essentially sociable. It is impossible to thrive on your own.
This is why group norms can influence us. Sure, collectivistic countries may have a better hold on it, but collective ideals play a vital impact even in individualistic ones. Would you want a mini test? Imagine attending a Bible study where everyone is dressed in black pantsuits and you show up in a yellow sundress. Chances are, you’d be completely aware of how different you look. Even though it is obvious, this difference might make you uneasy.
Imagine deliberately breaking a taboo in your community if wearing anything distinctive can make you uncomfortable.
That’s why it’s crucial to underline how being above reproach doesn’t equate to toeing the line.
- Lack of Criticism
Jesus forewarned us of people’s hatred because of Him and His name (Matthew 10:22, Mark 13:13, Luke 21:17). (Matthew 10:22, Mark 13:13, Luke 21:17). (Matthew 10:22, Mark 13:13, Luke 21:17). Paul repeatedly demonstrated the effectiveness of this warning. He was stoned (Acts 14:19-28), taken into prison (for instance, Acts 16:16-34), and eventually martyred.
This master at being persecuted went on to add his own version to Jesus’ original warning: ”everyone who desires to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). (2 Timothy 3:12). (2 Timothy 3:12).
Persecution, however, can occasionally take the form of verbal abuse from those who fiercely disagree with your position, depending on where you reside.
Or a casual unfollow by friends on all of your social media sites.
or scowling at church.
But just because someone criticizes you doesn’t necessarily mean that your life has fallen short of the ideal. It might imply the contrary, namely that your sincere desire to authentically represent God has sparked a hornet’s nest.
- Word of the Law
On the one hand, the Bible is the final authority on everything. Being obedient to the Bible should elevate our character. On the other hand, there are more than 31,000 verses in the Bible. Which one or ones need to govern our actions at any particular time? What about the ones that appear to be at odds with one another? For illustration:
“Don’t respond to an idiot according to his foolishness, or you too will become like him” Prophecy 26:4
“Reply to a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes,” the proverb says (Proverbs 26:5).
Let’s say you want to evangelize an atheist. Someone who claims there is no God is referred to in the Bible as being a fool (Psalm 14:1). Therefore, it would seem that you can treat the atheist in any way and yet use the Bible to support your choice based on these two Proverbs.
If you want to try to be beyond reproach, how do you handle a foolish person—or any issue in life, for that matter?
Florida megachurch pastor, holding a Bible, severing ties with Hillsong
What the Overhang Means
- Give the Word’s spirit top priority.
Knowing what to adhere to—not the letter, but the spirit of the Word—is the key to finding the solution. “He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the word but of the Spirit; because the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life,” Paul said (2 Corinthians 3:6).
You won’t believe how the same verse is translated in the Aramaic Bible in Plain English: “He who made us worthy to be Ministers of the New Covenant, not in the Scripture, but in the Spirit, for the Scripture kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
The Holy Bible? Kills?
Awfully, sure. A misuse of the Bible has been known to prevent some people from pursuing their calling, to stop lost people from finding Jesus, and to cause traumatized Christians to leave the church.
Therefore, in order to live above reproach, seek the advice of the Word’s Creator, the Holy Spirit, who also resides inside us (John 14:17) and is tasked with guiding us to all truth (John 16:13). He is aware of the verse that applies to your specific circumstance.
For instance, ask the Holy Spirit to show you which of the two Proverbs about fools we previously looked at applies to the specific atheist you are dealing with.
- Cooperation with God
Even once you have a clear understanding of what your position should be, delivery is still an issue. What words should you use to communicate with the atheist? What language should you employ? Should you even quote the Bible? When and where should this talk occur?
To live above reproach is to walk side by side with God. Ask God when is the best moment to express yourself (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11). Ask God for the ability to speak with wisdom (James 1:5). Ask God for smart answers that even an atheist can’t refuse (Luke 21:15). Make a prayer for your message to be absorbed by the person’s heart (Matthew 13:8-9).
If you attentively pursue God at every opportunity, even if the atheist curses you for bringing up spiritual topics, you will remain above reproach.
especially if you put the next point into practice.
- A Heart of Peace
In light of every choice you’re considering, examine your heart. The presence of serenity in your heart is a good litmus test for determining whether a choice or action is above reproach. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts because you were called to peace as members of one body, according to Colossians 3:15. And be appreciative (Colossians 3:15).
When the heart is at ease, everything is good.
We are all susceptible to what occurred to pastor Matt Chandler. To properly represent Christ in this day and age, we must remain vigilant.
How about adding another checkpoint? In every situation, check with the Holy Spirit to see if there is anything else you need to do to maintain your integrity.
This is the key. If we ask something in accordance with God’s will, He will certainly grant it, according to 1 John 5:14–15.
Prepare yourself for a download from heaven by doing so.
Because why would God disregard our request to be blameless?