The readings this week center primarily around the Apostle Paul’s instruction and encouragement to Timothy. Timothy was mentored in the faith by Paul and was tasked with pastoral leadership in some of the churches founded by Paul. As you read, give thought to the broad picture that God is painting through Paul with regard to the qualifications and characteristics of a leader in God’s church. I have been a part of more than one nominating committee that became so focused on a specific characteristic within a person that they failed to consider the overall quality and faith of the person being considered. What are the qualities God desires in a leader as you read these passages?
Another challenge that some face as they read these passages is the question of whether God’s Word allows for women to lead the church. If you read these passages in isolation it does seem to indicate that only men should be considered for leadership in the church. However, remember that the Epistles are “occasional documents” meaning they were written to a specific group of people on a specific occasion. Therefore, it is imperative for the believer to derive the principles that apply to the church universally from these documents that speak to specific circumstances. Regarding women in the cities and churches to which Paul wrote: women in that culture were rarely considered for leadership in any capacity (ie. government, education, business, etc.) They did not receive training, respect or education to lead. Therefore, it is not surprising that directs his comments about leadership only to men. When you consider, however, that Jesus and the entire New Testament elevated the role and value of women and when you consider the leadership of women in other parts of Scripture (see: the prophetess Hulda, Deborah, Priscilla, Lydia, Mary, etc.) it is right to consider women for leadership in the church today. After all, American women have the same or even greater education and training in leadership than many men. Does this make sense? Any questions?