Biblcal Leadership Traits - Good Reputation

Masters Men: Leadership

Biblical Leadership Traits

Good Reputation

1 Tim 3:7



NAU 1 Timothy 3:7 And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. δεῖ δὲ καὶ μαρτυρίαν καλὴν ἔχειν ἀπὸ τῶν ἔξωθεν, ἵνα μὴ εἰς ὀνειδισμὸν ἐμπέσῃ καὶ παγίδα τοῦ διαβόλου.

This is a straight forward requirement – leaders are to be men who possess a good testimony in the community. Again, the emphasis is on obligation. There is no choice here. In addition to the qualities that are most easily observed by the congregation, the potential leader must be well thought of outside the church. The point seems to be hypocrisy – living one way in the congregation and another way at work, at home, or in the neighborhood.

The reputation is the same concept as a witness for Christ; even to the point of death if necessary. Sounds like the English “martyr.”(μαρτυρίαν). Note that the testimony is expected to be “good” – the same word used to describe the work of the bishop in v 1. Thus the reputation must match the office!

And clearly the idea is the reputation among non-believers – literally = “from the outside.” As a general rule, if the consensus of the world is unfavorable, there is probably something amiss. No matter how much the church likes the man, a timeout should be called. The fact is that often outsiders know more about the prospective officer that the church does; he works alongside them all day! The simple truth is that if the church want to influence them with the gospel, then what they think is important! Paul suggests that believers should, “… behave properly toward outsiders…(1Th 4:12 NAU). Example: visitors who would not come back because (Name) was a prominent member of the church.

If a man is selected as an elder and he has a bad reputation among the world, then there are two possible consequences (same construction as v 6 = result and the same verb = fall). Two things he is in danger of falling into:

A reproach (ὀνειδισμός, οῦ,  reproach, reviling, disgrace, insult Ro 15:3; 1 Ti 3:7; Hb 10:33; 11:26; 13:13.* [pg 139 Gingrich] .The idea is disgrace. Two types – justified or unjustified. Here it is justified – causing shame to the name of Christ.

An entrapment ( παγίς, ίδος,  trap, snare lit. Lk 21:35. Fig. Ro 11:9; 1 Ti 3:7; 6:9; 2 Ti 2:26.* [Gingrich pg 145]. In verse 6 it was sharing in what happens to the devil – condemnation. Here it is what the devil does to the leader who is living a hypocritical life. He thinks he is has pulled the wool over the church’s eyes but really he has be ensnared by he devil and tragically so has the church. For a vivid description of this see NAU 2 Timothy 2:25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.



Ask a person at work who will be honest with you and who is a non-believer, to critique your reputation. Select someone who knows you well if you do not work. Urge them to give you both the good and the bad. Tell them why you are asking.

What areas of reputation do you most struggle with?

© Copyright. Joseph Flatt. 2018. All rights reserved.May be used for educational purposes without written permission but with a citation to this source.