Biblcal Leadership Traits - Holding the Faith

Masters Men: Leadership

Biblical Leadership Traits

Holding the Faith

1 Timothy 3:9 



NAU 1 Timothy 3:9 but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.

BGT 1 Timothy 3:9 ἔχοντας τὸ μυστήριον τῆς πίστεως ἐν καθαρᾷ συνειδήσει.

Grammatically, the phrase is parallel with the previous four traits in v 8 (Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain,). This is a present participle that further expands the requirements for a deacon. It is something the deacon must “have”.

What is the mystery of faith? The term mystery commonly means something that is hidden. This can also refer to the past – it was hidden but it is now revealed. So the leader is to grip something that is relatively new.

The use of the two articles indicated a specific mystery and a specific faith. The mystery is the object (accusative); the faith is appositive (genitive). Therefore it can be rendered, “the mystery which is the faith.”

Normally “the faith” refers to the body of Christian truth. So it is used here. Thus the simple teaching is that the deacon must “be in possession” of the basic truths of Christianity. He need not be able to teach them, but he must know them.

What is “with a clear conscience” all about? Our conscience is that part of us which enables us to see the whole picture; to connect the dots. This action or decision will result in or is related to whatever. The term (συνείδησις = sun + eidou) literally means to see together. Illust: seats at the Speedway or overhead TV view). Thus, to put it all together in order to inform our decisions. We can easily see the value of a clean conscience. And Christ’s work for us gets us going on the right track. NAS Hebrews 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Putting the two phrases together, the conclusion is that the leader must live his life in light of Christian truth. His life must match his faith. 


  1. List the major categories of Christian doctrine and write a brief summary of each. (Bibliology, Theology Proper, Christology, Pneumatology, Anthropology, Harmartiology, Soteriology, Ecclesiology, Eschatology)
  1. List the major divisions of the Old and New Testaments and write a brief synopsis of each. (Pentateuch; History; Wisdom; Prophets; Gospels; Acts; Epistles; Revelation)
  1. Expand question 1 with a column labeled “So what?” Fill it in with how these truths impact your life.

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