Characteristics of an Elder with Greek Word Studies

Posted: September 10, 2012 in Jesus Christ
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The Characteristics of an Elder

Titus 1:6-9

6 if anyone is above reproach,

Blameless” is anegklētos, from egkaleō, “to call to account, to bring a charge against,” and Alpha prefixed, which negates the word and makes it mean, “not to call to account, etc.” Thus, a bishop must live such an exemplary life that there is no occasion to call him to account or bring a charge against him[1]

Colossians 1:22 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,

the husband of one wife,

The Greek is mias (one) gunaikos (woman) andra (man). The word “man” is not anthrōpos, the generic term for man, but anēr, the term used of a male individual of the human race. The other two words are in the genitive case, while anēr is in the accusative. The literal translation is, “a man of one woman.” The words, when used of the marriage relation come to mean, “a husband of one wife.” The two nouns are without the definite article, which construction emphasizes character or nature. The entire context is one in which the character of the bishop is being discussed. Thus, one can translate, “a one-wife sort of a husband,” or “a one-woman sort of a man.” We speak of the Airedale as a one-man dog. We mean by that, that it is his nature to become attached to only one man, his master. Since character is emphasized by the Greek construction, the bishop should be a man who loves only one woman as his wife. It should be his nature to thus isolate and centralize his love.[2]

and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery[3] or insubordination[4]. – with children brought up as Christians and not likely to be accused of loose living (as a prodigal) or law-breaking (not controllable).

7 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach.

Steward is oikonomos, made up of oikos, “house,” and nomos, “law,” hence, the law whereby a household is administered or governed. The word refers to a manager of a household, a superintendent. Into such a person’s hands is entrusted the responsibility to properly administer the affairs of the household. The bishop is given the responsibility of properly administering the affairs of the local church[5]

He must not be arrogant (self-pleasing)[6] or quick-tempered[7] (inclined to anger) or a drunkard[8] or violent[9] or greedy for gain[10],

8 but hospitable[11], a lover of good[12], selfcontrolled[13], upright[14], holy[15], and disciplined[16].

9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

 JB Phillips:

Titus 1:5-9 I left you in Crete to set right matters which needed attention, and gave you instructions to appoint elders in every city. They were to be men of unquestioned integrity with only one wife, and. To exercise spiritual oversight a man must be of unimpeachable virtue, for he is God’s agent in the affairs of his household. He must not be aggressive or hot-tempered or over-fond of wine; nor must he be violent or greedy for financial gain. On the contrary, he must be hospitable, a genuine lover of what is good, a man who is discreet, fair-minded, holy and self-controlled: a man who takes his stand on the orthodox faith, so that he can by sound teaching both stimulate faith and confute opposition.


[1] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 184.

[2] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 53.

[3]“asōtía; gen. asōtías, fem. noun from ásōtos (n.f.), a prodigal, which is from the priv. a <G1>, and sózō <G4982>, to save. Having no hope of safety; extravagant squandering, dissoluteness, prodigality (Eph. 5:18; Titus 1:6; 1 Pet. 4:4; Sept.: Prov. 28:7). An ásōtos, a prodigal, is one who spends too much, who slides easily under the fatal influence of flatterers and the temptations with which he has surrounded himself into spending freely on his own lusts and appetites. Asōtía is a dissolute, debauched, profligate manner of living.” Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “asotia”.

[4] “that cannot be subjected to control, disobedient, unruly, refractory” J. H. Thayer, trans., Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1889), s.v. “,” WORDsearch CROSS e-book.

[5]Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 184.

[6]One who is pleased with himself and despises others, insolent, surly, the contrast of courteous or affable. A person who obstinately maintains his own opinion or asserts his own rights but is reckless of the rights, feelings, and interests of others. He regulates his life with no respect to others (Titus 1:7; 2 Pet. 2:10;Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 287.

[7]The orgilon person is one who does not have his passion of anger under control (Expositors).Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 184.

[8] The word does not include the responsible and temperate usage of alcohol, rather, it has in view the abuse or incessant use of it. The word-picture is that of an individual who always has a bottle (or wineskin) on the table and so signifies addiction (1 Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:7).Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “pároinos”.

[9] pléktēs; 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, a quarreler (1 Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:7). Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “plḗktēs”.

[10]aischrokerdés; from aischrós <G150>, indecent, dishonorable, and kérdos <G2771>, gain. A person who is eager to gain even if such gain degrades his moral character. Occurs only in 1 Tim. 3:3 (TR), 8; Titus 1:7. A bishop, elder, or deacon must not go after gain that would dishonor his character. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “aischrokerdḗs”.

[11] The words, “given to hospitality,” are philoxenon. The word xenos meant first of all, “a stranger, a foreigner.” It was also used of a guest-friend, also of a host, one who receives and entertains hospitably. The word philos refers to one who has a liking for, is fond of something. Thus, the compound word means, “one who is fond of offering hospitality.” But the hospitality referred to here is not of the kind which says, “Come over for dinner and let us have a good time. Some day you will return the favor and I will enjoy your hospitality.” The hospitality spoken of here found its occasion in the fact that in the days of the great Roman persecutions, Christians were banished and persecuted, and rendered homeless. Or, in the case of travelling preachers and teachers, ministering from church to church, these servants of God were to be received and cared for by the bishop. Or, because in the early centuries, the local churches had no church edifice in which to worship, the church met in the home of an individual. The bishop should be glad to thus open his home for this purpose. “Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 55.

[12] A lover of good men” is philagathon, “a lover of goodness.” Loving and practicing what is good (Titus 1:8). It combines not only the liking to be kind but also the actual doing of good. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: ” philágathos”.

[13]sóphrōn; gen. sóphronos, masc.–fem., neut. sóphron, adj. from sóos (n.f.), sound, and phrén <G5424>, understanding. Discreet, sober, temperate, of a sound mind (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:8; 2:2, 5); self-disciplined in one’s freedom, self-restrained in all passions and desires. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “sṓphrōn”.

[14] díkaios; from díkē <G1349>, right, just. Righteous, just. When used in the masc. or fem. adjectivally of persons(as in Titus 1:8) it refers to the one who acts conformably to justice and right without any deficiency or failure. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 457.

[15] hósios; Holy, righteous, unpolluted with wickedness, right as conformed to God and His laws, thus distinguished from díkaios <G1342>, righteous, which refers to human laws and duties. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 1063.

[16]egkratés; from en <G1722>, in, and krátos <G2904>, power, dominion, strength, government. Having power over, being master of. Used metaphorically, meaning self-control, continence (Titus 1:8). Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “egkratḗs”.

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