Application: Let’s remember that as we look at these qualifications for Elders, we do not want to escape the opportunity to examine our own lives in light of these qualities that all believers should emulate! “Pugnacious” is not a common word used today.
The Greek word - πλήκτης plḗktēs; to strike. A striker, a violent person, figuratively a reviler, one who by reproachful and upbraiding language wounds the conscience of his brethren, a contentious person
The New Oxford American Dictionary: • eager or quick to argue, quarrel, fight: the increasingly pugnacious demeanor of politicians.
• having the appearance of a willing fighter: the set of her pugnacious jaw.
As a child of God we should not be “looking for a fight”, not violent or quick tempered. It may appear manly in this world, but in God’s world it is immature! “Gentle” - avoids contentions - this is the answer to “pugnacious”, yet this does not mean avoids confrontation. The key here is that even in confrontations the person is not looking for a fight, but is looking for a resolve and is therefore “peaceable” - ἄμαχος ámachos; from - without, and máchē - battle, controversy. Not disposed to fight, not contentious or quarrelsome This person is not quarrelsome and does not always have to fight. This is an interesting character after the previous four. It seems to sum the others up, giving us a tidy understanding of a good leader, worthy to be lifted up for us to emulate.
Paul continues to describe an Elder as “free from the love of money”. We can reason the clarity of this from other parts of God’s Word wherein we are told we cannot serve two masters. The reason given is, we will have divided attention. For the Elder, his “call” will become a job. Nothing is more tragic than men that use a church as a stepping-stone to elevate themselves. “He must be one who manages his own household well”. Many elders do not like this section because the ministry competes with family time, and some consider family an essential but taxing burden. This is sad but true, I have counseled many that have not dealt with how their flesh has deceived them in what is most important to God. Paul reasons with us saying, if you cannot disciple your own kids, who start out loving you just because you are Dad, then how can you love, shepherd and disciple strangers that have all kinds of issues in their life that you know nothing about? This is a fair and good accountability for all of us parents. We have the next generation of disciples living with us. We need to spend the time that it takes to love them to Jesus!
Meditation Questions: What do you do in your life to gauge your own character growth? If nothing, what does that show you? In this day of “political Christianity” is there a balance needed in our stewardship as citizens and our slavery to Christ? What is yours? Is it possible to stand for something and yet not quarrel? Describe what that looks like? Why is the love of money so dangerous? If we know we don’t love money, yet we like it too much, what problems can occur? List some reasons why it is silly to love and depend on money.