Service Times

Worship Service
Sun. 9:30am - 10:30am

Sunday School
Sun. 10:45am - 11:20am

Prayer Meeting & Bible Study
Wed. 6:30pm - 7:30pm

Crusaders Club (Seasonal)
Thurs. 3:00pm - 5:30pm

Crusaders Teens (Seasonal)
Thurs. 6:00pm - 8:00pm

The Overseer and His Family

1 Tim. 3:4, 5

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. We have studied how an overseer must now be in his observable behavior. Now we turn to how he must be observed in leading his family! V. 4 is how the man must now be observed in managing his own household. The word “manage” means to govern, lead, give direction – to the family.” Whenever God calls anyone to any position of leadership where that leadership affects or influences other lives, especially the lives of God’s adopted children, the one doing the managing understands the position is one of leadership by example. Nowhere in Scripture does God ever say to any of His chosen leaders – just tell them; God always tells His leaders, “show them!”

Scripture sets forth 3 criteria describing how an overseer must manage his own household. This is another place all 3 characteristics must be observable. 1st a pastor,

  1. Must manage his house well. In the OT “well” means beautiful in outward appearance.” It is used in Gen. 12:14 in reference to Abe’s wife, Sarah; it is also used in Gen. 29:17 of Jacob’s wife Rachel. In the NT it takes on a different meaning. Good, or well, then means “as God would act.” It always means “that which is as God has said.” The point is here; a pastor, overseer must be observed as governing, leading or giving direction to his family through verbal instruction and through his own daily life that are in harmony with God’s word. One writer sums “manage” up like this: The term “manage” demands an effective exercise of authority bolstered by a character of integrity and sensitive compassion. An overseer must not only manage his family well:

  2. HE MUST MANAGE WITH DIGNITY. He must manage his family with all dignity so he and his family are above reproach! In common Greek speech *dignity means “orderliness perceived in a man’s attitude and behavior that is felt to be dignified. In the OT nobility and what is right in the sight of God as in Prov. 8:6. When Paul uses it in the Pastorals, 1, 2 Tim, Titus, he always uses it as a requirement for church leaders. Here it means “honorable conduct that reveals a serious and worthy lifestyle.” Finally an overseer must manage his household well, with dignity:  

  3. KEEPING HIS CHILDREN SUBMISSIVE! The word submissive broadly means “to place under.” You will remember from past lessons, God “places under” for protection! In the family structure, the husband is “under” God; a wife and children are “under” both God and the husband. When a man decides he doesn’t need or want to live his entire life in harmony with all God says in His Bible, the man takes himself out from under God’s protection; and that is dangerous, because now the man is exposed to unguarded attack from Satan. Arrogance, or self-rule is a downward spiral to destruction! Notice though an overseer must “keep” his children in submission. Keeping/having broadly means “in one’s possession.” The man who possesses the submission of his children is a man whose children live “under” him because they know in their hearts his allegiance is to the Lord, and Dad sees his children as gifts from God. As a result of Dad’s allegiance to God, they desire to submit to him because they know he has their best interest at heart! Dad comes to “possess” or have his children’s submission earning it through continual submission to God in his everyday life. The NIV uses the phrase “obey him with proper respect” meaning, “when Dad speaks we better listen.” One writer summarizes vs. 4, 5 this way “The overseer’s duty is to “conduct himself so that the members of the church may be obedient to him, not as servants to a master, but as children to a father, that they may show him obedience in love. The skillful pastor will give to the church the type of leadership that will encourage his people to follow him.

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.

Lest We Forget

Josh. 4:1-9, 19-24

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. Tomorrow is often considered the beginning of summer. It is a day when families get together for cook outs and picnics; it is a day off work for most people. I came across this outline and liked the way it presents the concept of Memorial Day. Our passage today demonstrates how God told Joshua to set up a memorial of stones as a visual reminder to all who passed by. It was, if you will, a visual sermon. Jesus used visual aids when He taught about farming, the sparrow, the olive branch, vineyard, fig tree, treasure, pearl of great price, and so on. Look back across the page to Josh. 3:7-13. It is interesting to note that even though God told the people the waters of the Jordan would stop flowing when the men carrying the Arc stepped into the river, the men had to step into the river. God often waits until we act on His Word before He acts on His Word! Have you ever noticed the truth that God often uses the worst possible circumstances to show Himself strong on our behalf! As you review those times God has proven Himself to be mightiest in delivering you, did you think at the time, “If God doesn’t get me out of this, I’m here for the rest of my life, and that may not be much longer!” So the situation with Josh/company! God does not always let us see the full extent of His power in our deliverance! But He always lets us see all we need to follow Him through the danger! Read 4:1-7. When all had safely passed into Canaan, before the water returned, God instructed Josh to have one man from each of the 12 tribes take a large stone out of the river bed and build a memorial to God. There are at least 4 reasons God instructed them to build a memorial.

  1. TO SHAKE THEIR PAST. Do you know anyone who never forgets anything? We all forget something sometime! We are surrounded with all kinds of visual aids to help us remember. Israel was no different than we are. Like America, Israel had a problem remembering what God had done for them. Just after God had delivered them from Egypt, He instructed Moses to warn them about forgetting; “then beware lest you forget the Lord, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” Deut. 6:12 Every time any Israelite passed by that heap of stones would be a visible reminder of what God did at Gilgal. We need memorials because we tend to forget, for several reasons. We forget when we are in a hurry. When we run ahead of God, we run out of His will! We forget when we feel helpless. God had them put the stones there to remind them the power of God was available to them because they were helpless! As you consider your own life, what are some stones you can pile up to keep you from getting “spiritual amnesia?” Here are some suggestions: 1st Write it down – God does:

    • A “book of remembrance”, where He has written down those who faithfully worship Him (Mal. 3:16).
    • A book where He records our tears (Psalm 56:8).
    • God wrote the 10 Commandments on 2 stone tablets.
    • Jesus wrote in the ground, and the accusers of the woman taken in adultery left her alone.

    2nd We can remember by telling others how God has blessed us. The fact is what God does for others, He will do for YOU! God is a God of all; not just a few! 3rd , Use it as a Guide. A pastor writes, “God uses our past to guide us into our future. God wants us to use our past failures as learning experiences. God not only wanted them to put up the stones to shake their memory, He also wanted them

  2. TO SHARE THEIR FAITH. Read Joshua 4:6-7, 19-23. One of a child’s favorite questions is “WHY?” The favorite parental response to that question is “Because!” Children may have asked their parents in Josh’s day – why are these stones here? Why did they carry them out of the river? Do you know God likes for His children to ask “Why?” Do you know why?  It gives God the opportunity to reveal more of Himself to us. I believe one reason God put Scripture in writing the way He did was to get us to ask “why?” Of course, God intends for us to keep reading andstudying to find the answer. As parents and grandparents we have a responsibility to share our faith with our children and grandchildren. We all know Christianity is just 1 generation away from extinction. Read Judges 2:6-15. True Christians know America lives in that passage. Will your children and g-children hold fast to your faith in Christ and His Word? LISTEN! The answer to that question is “yes!” They will do as they have seen you do – whether that is good or bad! The greatest memorial stone that any person can have is the day of your salvation! Do you remember it? Have you shared it with your children? Is your life changed because of it? If not, if there is no change – you’re not saved!!! So the question is: what memorial are you building to cause your children, grandchildren to follow hard after God? God also wanted the memorial so it would:
  3. SHAPE THEIR WORSHIP. Read Joshua 4:23, 24. The fear of God reminds us we are the children of an Almighty God Who is to be worshipped. Truth be told our entire life should be lived in an attitude of worship before the God who saved us. God also wanted the memorial:
  4. TO SHATTER THEIR PAST. Read Joshua 4:9. Notice Josh went back into the river bed and set up 12 stones! Now watch! It is significant God had Israel cross the Jordan at Gilgal. In Hebrew it means “the reproach has been rolled away!” The point: God was telling Israel, 40 years of wandering, defeat, failure were all behind them, buried just like the stones in the river. Their past was just that – “past!” Now God wanted them to turn and face their future in Canaan, the land of promise and blessing. That’s the same thing He wants for you today! Don’t dwell on the past. Paul tells us – forget the past and read for the things that are before! Press toward the markAll these reasons and more are why we need holidays like Memorial Day, we need to remember because we tend to forget! We need to write things down, buy souvenirs, observe the Lords’ Supper, set up stone memorials in our minds to remind us how great and mighty God is – lest we forget!!! Peter tells us we are “living stones being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Let us work hard remembering–lest we forget.

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.

Graduation Preparation

Eph. 5:15-21

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. How many of you heard “these are the best years of your life, enjoy them” while you were in school? How many of you believed that when you heard it? How many of you believe that now? Whether it is the 1st 18 years or the last few years of life, as David says, “as for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.” Ps. 103:15, 16. Let’s look for a few moments at some Biblical guidelines that will help, not just graduates, but those who will be graduates, and those of us who are already graduated. FYI everyone has one final graduation that opens eternity for them. For all people everywhere life begins by:

  1. LAYING THE FOUNDATION. It is common knowledge everything built to last is built on a solid foundation. No foundation, no security or stability! It doesn’t take much to destroy a building without a strong foundation. Jesus teaches us how a strong foundation is necessary to build a life that is worthy of the name Christian! To build a solid foundation requires persistence. Notice the man took time to dig deep. He kept digging until he came to rock, then he laid his foundation on the rock. 1. To build a solid foundation also requires precision. Not only did the man dig deep, he had to follow the blueprint for the foundation to be square, and for the house to sit on it. 2. To build a solid foundation also requires patience. The man dug the foundation one shovel full of soil at a time. Each shovel by itself wasn’t much, but over time all the shovels of soil together prepared the foundation! 3. To build a solid foundation one must have patience. The point Jesus is making is: The Word of God is the only foundation upon which a successful life can be built. That is the same point Paul is making in 1 Cor. 3:11, with one difference. The difference Paul makes is that Jesus Christ must be the foundation. Jesus point us to the Word of God as the foundation for life. At whatever point, and for whatever reason you leave home, you begin to build the rest of your life. Now, the question you have to answer is: are you going to build your life on the foundation your parents have prepared for you according to the blueprint Scripture drew for them, or are you going to build your life without a solid foundation? For the rest of your life God will continue to lay new foundation as He grows you in Christ. It is to your benefit and blessedness to live:
  2. A LIFE OF APPLICATION. Read 1 Tim. 4:11-16. Notice especially v. 15. “These things” are all the principles and truths Paul has shared in this letter. In v. 12-14 Paul summarizes them. Paul is exhorting Timothy to see each new day as another opportunity to “practice” or demonstrate how a true Christian lives each day. We often get caught in the trap of complacency thinking that whatever level of achievement we may have reached in our Christian life is good enough! That philosophy is not Biblical. Nowhere does Scripture ever teach some sin is acceptable! Read Eph. 4: 25-31. Paul tells the Col. the same thing in 3:5-11; and Peter repeats that same thing in 2:1 of his 1st letter.
  3. STRIVE TOWARD GODLINESS. One truth I trust you have learned is that as a true Christian, your entire outlook must be toward eternity in the visible, physical presence of The Lord Jesus Christ! All NT theology is future oriented. One of the major themes of the NT is found in Phil. 3:12 – 21.

Paul is giving 4 truths for us to follow as we look toward our own graduation into eternity:

  1. We “press” hard to for perfection. The 2nd truth we need to practice to prepare for graduation is

  2. Forget what is past and strain forward. Notice Paul says to strain, press, put all your strength into, moving forward to what lies ahead!

  3. Aim high! V. 14 notice the call of God is upward! Jesus tells us to set our affections, love, thoughts, plans, our whole life on things in heaven, not on earth! The old saying applies here, “get your mind out of the gutter!” Live in Phil. 4:4-9. Finally,

  4. Hold on to what you have already received.” V. 16. One of satan’s favorite tools of destruction is to cause Christians to become less and less devoted to Christ over the course of their life, while at the same time making them think they are standing fast! Any time any Christian embraces anything that violates Scripture, even in the smallest part, that person has become unequally yoked! That principle in 2 Cor. 6:14-18 is not just about dating relationships. It is a life principle that means no Christian is ever to join hearts, hands, minds, business associations, anything with unbelievers.

No matter what your station in life, as a Christian, you are being prepared for the next stage of your life, whether that is the next phase of school, you career, your family, or your graduation into heaven.

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.

God’s Mother’s Day Card

Isaiah 40:28-31

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. I think of all the messages to prepare, messages for Mother’s Day and for Father’s Day are among the most difficult!

As carefully as one can search the Scriptures there are no examples of perfect mothers or fathers. One pastor wrote, “Nobody’s perfect … Nobody HAD a perfect mother … Nobody IS the perfect mother. She’s never been born … never invented … never existed. As close as you’re going to get to the perfect mother, is Mrs. Cleaver (Beaver’s Mom), or Mrs. Anderson (“Father Knows Best”). Do you have cards you have received over the years that have become “go to” cards! It is probably true that all of us have received cards from loved ones or from special friends that are instantly “go to” cards when we need a “pick-me-up;” or just a reminder that we are loved. God doesn’t really send Mother’s Day, or any other kind of card! He gave wives and mother an entire Book that covers every possible situation a mother could encounter. And Mom, God’s message to you is always exactly what you need to hear at the time! I’m using an outline from a pastor that has some significant insight to motherhood. So mom you pick out the message/s from God that best suit your situation:

  1. WHEN YOU ARE DISCOURAGED. Read Isa. 40:28-31. There isn’t a mother who has not been discouraged. The old saying, “A mother’s work is never finished” is enough to discourage any mother! God tells moms, and all of us, He understands. It doesn’t make any difference where you are on the “worn out” scale, God knows and has the power and might to increase your strength and stamina to get through! One of the hardest things God asks us to do is “wait” on Him. However, those who have learned to do just that find the Lord really does renew their strength. Mom, when you feel like giving up – DON’T! Rather, right in the midst of all your busy-ness, take just a couple seconds for yourself and read God’s mother’s day message to you in v. 31. God also gives comfort to you Mother:

  2. WHEN YOU ARE ANGRY. Any mother who hasn’t been angry with her kids at some time or another, has never had kids! Everyone gets angry! Does anyone believe it is a sin to get angry? It is not! In Ps. 4:4 David writes, be angry and do not sin. He must have done a good job and living that, because his son Solomon tells us in Eccl. 7:9, “be not quick in your spirit to become angry. Go to Eph. 4:26. Nowhere does God tell us we can’t get angry! He does however, tell us we must not stay angry, and when we do get angry, we are to control our anger. It is perfectly acceptable to be angry at disrespect, insolence, disobedience, and all other sinful attitudes. It is often difficult to separate the sin from the sinner in a moment of anger! It is important for all of us as Gods adopted children to remember our primary mission is to draw others to Christ. Most mothers have a special way of being angry, yet, making it clear to their family, they are loved even when Mom is mad! The truth is, just reading His Word has a soothing effect! God also is there

  3. WHEN YOU NEED HELP. I wonder how many mothers feel like they are in the motherhood business all alone! There are times when every mother feels she needs more help, right? A very familiar passage of Scripture is found in Prov. 3:5, 6. I have said many times I believe God breathed His Bible giving us very clear instructions, and the exact way we are to carry them out so we benefit in the best possible way. Here is no exception. In the context Solomon is telling his son, all of life is to be lived in the fear of God. Each paragraph is another principle, or step, or process to be followed in learning to fear God. Notice in v. 5 one must learn to trust God with all their heart. That means that deep in your hear where only you and God go, there is never a time you think you can’t trust God from the beginning to the end, to see you through anything that could confront you in your life! Mom, sometimes it’s not others with whom you need help, sometimes it’s you! Now listen, lest you think I’ve gone to scolding you. Often God grows us by allowing adversity to touch our lives. God should always be the One saying, “I got this,” and we should always be the one saying, “I know you got this!” Remember God’s promise that He will never leave you nor forsake you, He is with you always even to the end of the world. David says “God is a very present help in the time of trouble.” We could go on and on with different messages God has sent to Mothers. The fact is He has sent you messages that fill your entire life with Him- read them!

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.

What an Overseer Must Be (Part 3)

The Overseer and His Family

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. We are continuing our study through the 1st of 4 general statements that define and overseer, elder, bishop, or pastor. All of these qualifications must now be present in the man’s life. The visible presence of all of these qualifications state publicly the man is obedient in observable behavior.

Our focus today is in 1st Tim. 3:3. An overseer must not be a drunkard. You will notice this is the 1st qualification stated in a negative way. Everywhere Scripture condemns drunkenness. The only things an overseer should be addicted to are Scripture and obeying it by living it in his daily life! Ps. 119 might be considered an overseer’s daily desire and thought pattern. An overseer should be addicted to all these qualifications!

The 2nd negative qualification that must be true now in an overseer’s life is that he is:

  1. Not violent but gentle. See back in verse 2 and overseer is to be sober minded and self-controlled. The word “violent” describes a person who is neither sober minded nor self-controlled – but is, as one writer said, a quick tempered bully! The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to immediately contrast the right behavior of an overseer using the word “gentle.” A gentle leader does not retaliate in anger or bitterness, but responds quietly in a kind, patient, and considerate manner that encourages a troublemaker to come to Christ, and learn that a gentle spirit is more profitable than bullying.

    God’s overseers are also men who:

  2. Are not quarrelsome. The word group from which quarrelsome comes, was generally used in Paul’s day to mean physical combat in the military sense. It holds that same meaning in the NT. We read in John 6:52, “the Jews then disputed among themselves…” Read James 4:1, 2. Here it takes on a broader meaning that enters into the spiritual realm, where Christians fight and quarrel among themselves. It is interesting to note that none of the words in this group are ever used positively in speaking of the warfare of the Christian against “spiritual forces of evil.” The advantage that Christians have is given to us in 1st John 4:4. When Paul says in overseer must not be quarrelsome his point is that an overseer must be a man who displays to others the peace of God. It is that peace of God that fills a man’s heart with the assurance of salvation and all such a relationship with God brings into his life. Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is setting forth the whole idea that a church leader must be a man of peace whose, attitude, his heart rejects any form of threatening and/or fighting with others. The constant thought in an overseer’s heart must be, it is not about me, it is about GOD! I like the way one author sums up this idea of “not quarrelsome, when he says, “Christian leaders who possessed these outward traits agave evidence that they had inner control and commitment to Christ.

    Finally, an overseer must be obedient in observable behavior by:

  3. Not being a lover of money. In those days it was the overseer who handled the money given through tithes and offerings. Read 1 Tim. 6:3-10. One sure way to tell if a man is called by God to be an overseer is his attitude toward money! One of the surest ways for a pastor or any other church leader to get into trouble is in the area of finances. All of us have heard of pastors, and other church leaders who are guilty of embezzling, misappropriating, and just plain stealing money from local church funds. “Debt” is a 4-letter word that many pastors use way to frequently! An overseer that is in debt cannot focus on ministry, because he is always focused on money! If a pastor can’t control how he spends his own money, he won’t control how he spends yours either! I am not telling you, a pastor must be independently wealthy! He may very well have some debt. The point is, that debt must be manageable, and he must be paying it down, not letting it ride. He should not need to spend every penny to stay even! There are 11 qualifications in this 1st part of the list. An overseer must meet all of them! All of them are indicators to those to whom overseers minister, that his heart belongs to the Lord, not him! This is the starting point for a man who “desires” the noble task of being one of God’s overseers. I trust that you now see that whether a man is an overseer who is a pastor, or one who is an elder that is not called to pastoral ministry, he must be called by God. As we have become accustomed to hearing so often today, “but wait, there’s more!” We will look further into the office of overseer next time, as we begin to examine an overseer and his leadership of his family!

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.

What an Overseer Must Be (Part 2)

1 Tim. 3:1-7

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. We continue to study the qualifications for an overseer, bishop, elder, and/or pastor. You remember Scripture is defining what a man should be in his observed behavior, or how he lives his life in front of other people. You also remember all of these character qualities are to be now present and observable in the life of an overseer.

In addition to all we have studied a leader is to be:

TEMPERATE OR SOBER MINDED. We might say a church leader must be “even tempered, not easily angered, not volatile or explosive in temper, and temperament.” The root meaning of the word describes one who is in control of themselves with regard to intoxicants. Paul deals with that in v. 3 when he says a church leader cannot be a drunkard. Here the Apostle’s concern is that church leaders “must be” in control of themselves mentally which rules out all forms of excess. An elder, deacon must not be one who is given to uncontrollable temper and angry outbursts when put in a situation where they are being attacked or their leadership is being criticized! When a man is called by God to the office of overseer, he is secure, not in himself, but in the truth in his heart God has called him and placed him in the right place at the right time to minister as God intends.

  1. SELF-CONTROLLED. Self-controlled means “sound mind, rational in the sense of what is intellectually sound; or rational without illusion.” Self-control is required of an overseer because he must be trusted, and give others the feeling they can come to him under any circumstance and know that his response will be calm, rational, and balanced without fear that he will ridicule or demean them in his response to their situation.

  2. RESPECTABLE. In secular Greek the word translated “respectable” describes one who disciplines himself and who may thus be regarded as genuinely moral and respectable. As Paul uses it here it also means well-behaved, honorable, and dignified. One author says that “respectable” is “not merely a demand for good breeding and flawless manners, but it describes a person whose orderly outward life is a reflection of inner stability.” Up to now Paul has been addressing characteristics that, when observed by others, reveal how the man handles his own heart toward the Lord. These next requirements define how a man must now be in his relationship and actions toward others. Like so many other truths of being a true Christian, any of God’s overseers must give all others the impression they are invited into the Kingdom, as they are at that moment; rather than driven away because they have been given the impression they are not good enough. Paul tells us an overseer must now be:

  3. HOSPITABLE. In some instances it means “foreign, alien, appearing strange, or creating distaste.” In contrast to that it also has the concept of “guest.” Most often it is used in the NT to mean “strange.” When Paul includes “hospitable” in the requirements for an overseer, he has in mind the entire process of leading an enemy of God to the point the person desires to become be one of His adopted children. The “hospitable” part of them desires to reach out to them to establish the kind of relationship that will allow the overseer to share the gospel in a way that causes the stranger to want to become a member of the Christian community. The “hospitable” part of the man compels him to reach out to the foreigner, or stranger and invest in all it takes to move the outsider into the realm of family! The last qualification Paul lists in the observable behavior of an overseer is that he must be

  4. ABLE TO TEACH. This does not mean an overseer must be able to teach biblical doctrine at a college or seminary level. The point being made here is that an overseer must know the Scriptures well enough to be able to differentiate between doctrinal truth and doctrinal error. How does an overseer learn sound biblical doctrine so he can explain truth, and recognize error? By spending quality, quiet time each day, not just reading, but thinking about, meditating on, and diligently studying Scripture. Lord willing we will continue the list next time. Beloved, you see don’t you, why God must put the desire in a man’s heart to be an overseer. It is no small title!

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.

A Man of One Woman

1 Tim. 3:2

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. This is one of the most controversial verses in Scripture, and we are going to look at it in the light of all Scripture. It has been used by legalists and heretics to destroy ministry and people throughout church history. For centuries opponents of the gospel have ignored and desecrated the grace, mercy, and forgiveness of God by forcing their own heresy to become church doctrine! If you want to research long enough you can find support for almost anything you might like for Scripture to say. However, the best commentary on The Bible is The Bible! So when one has read all the commentaries, and done all the research, the only doctrine that stands against all criticism, is pure, and sound Biblical doctrine. When Jesus and the Apostles were here on earth, in everyday language that had nothing to do with Scripture, the word “husband” was always the broad designation or description of a man. The context in which it was used with adjectives, and other descriptive language defined the exact meaning of the word. i.e. A man of God, a man of wealth, a man of royalty, a man of poverty, and etc. It was used to designate man in his various positions and occupations, as well as distinguishing a man from a boy. It was also used specifically to designate the legal relationship of a man to a woman. In our passage the word “husband” is the title given to a man, who is legally married. The word “wife” has the same general meaning. It was used in common Greek language to literally to mean “female.” As with the word “man” the context and words used in conjunction with “woman” define her activity; position, relationship, and so on.

The literal translation of the phrase here in v. 2 is “the man of one woman.” Hence the phrase that appears in some Bibles “a one woman kind of man.” Many versions and translations use the phrase “the husband of one wife.” There is the thought that Paul was telling Christian men of the day that polygamy was forbidden by God. Even then, true Christian men and women were so adamantly opposed to that idea that arose out of sexual immorality and debauchery of pagan religions that the need to tell, even new Christians, it was wrong was unnecessary!  Another of the more popular interpretations is that Paul was teaching an overseer had to be married. If that were true Paul himself would be going against Scripture because he was not married. A third interpretation suggests Paul is ruling out remarriage if a man’s wife dies. The problem with that is that in Rom 7:2–3; 1 Cor 7:39; 1 Tim 5:14, The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to teach a husband or wife who lose their spouse to death, may in fact be married again. Then there is an interpretation that suggests Paul is prohibiting any man who has suffered the tragedy of divorce from serving as a church leader.

There are at least 4 reasons that interpretation is also inconsistent with Scripture. The 1stMatthew records in chapter 19 that Jesus Himself said divorce is permissible in the case of adultery or other sexual immorality. 2nd Paul adds to that teaching in 1 Cor. 7:15, when he says, “if the unbeliever leaves, let him leave.” 3rd If we impose on one qualification, not only what a man must now be, but also what happened in his past, we must impose those same restrictions on all the rest. In that case, no man anywhere, anytime, will ever be qualified to be an overseer.  More important than all these is the 4th reason it is wrong to impose divorce in this situation. That reason is – we violate NT theology of grace, forgiveness, and looking to the future. Remember, the NT never looks backward to the past; but always looks to the present and more importantly to the future. When we impose such restriction on ministry, we not only ignore the theology of salvation, we refuse to extend grace and the love of God to those who most often need it the most! One writer sums the proper Biblical approach to a man of one woman when he says, “we must not hold a man’s pre-conversion sins against him. Had Paul clearly meant to prohibit divorce, he could have said it unmistakably by using the Greek word for divorce (apolyō, as he does in other places. It is important to note Jesus and others use apolyo throughout the NT to mean divorce. May God grant that we are always those Christians who observe the “now” in any Christian brother or sister, without condemning them for their past. The best reason to do that is because God expects us to treat all others the same attitude we want to receive from Him ourselves; and, we ought to remember God will judge us the way we judge others.

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.