Who or what are the elders? Consider how the qualifications and work of an elder would be one of the best influences a child could enjoy. Elders were associated with James in Jerusalem in the local church’s government (Acts 11:29-30; Acts 16:4-5; Acts 20:28-32; Acts 21:18) and, with the apostles, in the decisions of the early church (Acts 15:1-35). Elders were also appointed in the churches established during the Apostle Paul’s first missionary journey (Acts 14:23). Paul addressed the elders at Ephesus (Acts 20:17-35). Elders played an important role in church life through their ministry to the sick, both physical and spiritual (James 5:14-15). They also were teachers in a local congregation (1 Peter 5:1-5). In addition to ministering to the sick, their duties consisted of explaining the Scriptures and teaching doctrine (1 Timothy 5:17-20). The elder’s child would have the benefit, not only of his own father’s influence in the home but also the influence of the entire eldership to train him.
We know that John was an elder (2 John 1:1; 3 John 1:1) and as such had faithful children. Timothy was told to count those elders who ruled well worthy of double honor and not to receive an accusation against an elder except at the mouth of two or three witnesses (1 Timothy 5:17-19). Titus was also told to ordain elders in every city (Titus 1:5). The qualifications specified for becoming an elder follow in the next three verses (Titus 1:6-9). An elder should be “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity” (1 Timothy 3:4-5).
A very important qualification of an elder or bishop is that he rules his own house well. With a view to being qualified as an elder, a man would make a special effort to be sure his children were well trained in all the ways of God. Therefore, the elder would learn how to preside over and govern his own family. He must be a man who has the command of his own house, not by tyranny, but with all gravity; governing his household by principle with everyone knowing his own place, and each doing his own work. “For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?” (1 Timothy 3:5).
Method is a matter of great importance in all the affairs of life. Look at a man’s domestic affairs, and if it is discovered that they are not good, he cannot be trusted with any form of government in the church.
“If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.” (Titus 1:6). It is an either-or situation: either his children enjoy the proper training in the way they should go, or he is not acceptable to rule God’s children.