Who Can Be An Elder?

 by Daniel Rieke


In this second post of a 3-part series on elders and deacons, we’ll briefly look at 2 questions about elders from Scripture:

  1. Who can be an elder?
  2. What do good elders do?

Who can be an elder?

This question is best answered by looking at the qualifications God’s Word gives for those aspiring to the office of elder. Paul outlines the qualifications of an elder in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. If we were to harmonize those two passages, any man aspiring to be an elder should possess the following characteristics: he should be…

  • Above reproach
  • A one-woman man
  • Sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable
  • Hospitable
  • Able to teach
  • Sober, gentle, peacemaking
  • Not a lover of money
  • Godly leader of his home
  • Mature and humble
  • Respected by outsiders
  • Able to teach
  • Able to refute false doctrine

What does a good elder do?

Now that we’ve seen the qualifications of an elder, here are a few things that all good elders should do:

  • Pray diligently for the church and its members (Acts 6:4)
  • Prayerfully seek God’s will for the church community and steward her resources to the best of their ability based on study of the Scriptures and leading of the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-4)
  • Care for the church and seek her growth in grace, truth and love (Matthew 28:16-20; Ephesians 4:15-16; Colossians 1:28; James 5:14; 1 Peter 5:1-4)
  • Provide teaching and counsel from the whole of Scripture (Acts 20:27-28; 1 Timothy 4:16; 2 Timothy 4:1-5; Titus 2:1)
  • Equip the members of the church for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-16)
  • Be on guard against false teachers and teachings (Matthew 7:15; Acts 20:28-31; 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 1 John 4:1)
  • Lovingly oversee church discipline when necessary, for the glory of God, the good of the one disciplined and the health of the church as a whole (Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5; Galatians 6:1; James 5:19-20)
  • Set an example and join members in fulfilling the responsibilities of church membership (Philippians 3:17; 1 Timothy 4:12; Titus 2:7-8; 1 Peter 5:3)



In our final post in this series, we will examine the role of deacons.



Some helpful resources on the topic of elders:

Finding Faithful Elders and Deacons by Thabiti Anyabwile

A Display of God’s Glory by Mark Dever

Biblical Eldership by Alexander Strauch