Biblical Leadership Traits - Above Reproach

Masters Men: Leadership

Biblical Leadership Traits

Above Reproach 

1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6,7; 1 Timothy 3:10




The term in 1 Timothy 3:2 is avnepi,lhmptoj > avn epi ,lhmptoj > av + epi,lambanw = to lay hold of or receive; therefore “not to be taken hold of” is the literal idea.

Other uses:

NAU 1 Timothy 5:7 Prescribe these things as well, so that they may be above reproach

NAU 1 Timothy 6:14 that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,

A couple of uses of the basic root = epi,lambanw…

NAU Matthew 14:31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"

NAU Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

In other words, his conduct must not give people a handle for successful accusation. People may “grab hold” of some aspect of a leader’s life, but when fairly investigated the accusation will be proven false.

The term in Titus 1:6,7 and 1 Timothy 3:10 is avne,gklhtoj > avn e,n klhtoj meaning “not called in”; therefore the sense is that no one is calling the leader into account or leveling a charge against him. This may be based on the legal sense of “call” as a summons to appear in court. The idea might be the same as “above reproach”; that is not successfully accused. However, it might also be slightly different nuance. Namely that if someone is being accused his leadership should be placed on hold in some manner until the matter is settled.

Two other uses:

NAU 1 Corinthians 1:8 who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

NAU Colossians 1:22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless (avmw,mouj) and beyond reproach--

Uses of basic root egklhtoj:

NAU Acts 23:29 and I found him to be accused over questions about their Law, but under no accusation deserving death or imprisonment

NAU Acts 25:16 "I answered them that it is not the custom of the Romans to hand over any man before the accused meets his accusers face to face and has an opportunity to make his defense against the charges.

Neither term implies sinlessness but they do assume consistent Christian living. This is the general qualification – all additional qualifications explain or expand it. In other words, the remaining qualifications address areas about which Paul had concerns.

Even though this refers to the present and not the past per se, there are circumstances wherein the past may be significant. A past indiscretion could cause a man to fail the above reproach test today.

Masters Men: Leadership

Biblical Leadership Traits

Above Reproach 

1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6,7; 1 Timothy 3:10




What practical suggestions can you give for preventing accusations?

  • Never attempt anything of significance!; Keep good records; speak the truth in love
  • Guard your reputation; beware of going it alone


How can we properly distinguish between false accusations and legitimate ones?

Consider the source; ask about motives

Enforce Matthew 18:15-17 and 1 Timothy 5:19-20.

It is safe to assume that, no matter how careful you may be, you will be accused of improprieties at some point. When accused what is the best response?

  • Seek clarifications; Avoid defensiveness; Avoid an argumentative posture
  • Ask what lessons God wants to teach you; Pray; Don’t panic
  • Ask for time before responding

For you personally, what is the area of life you are most likely to be accused of impropriety? Why do you think this is? Draw up a plan to mitigate such possible accusations.

Ask someone close to you to evaluate whether or not you are “above reproach”. Do this by categories (work, husband, family, media use, recreation, etc).

It is possible that “above reproach” refers to the view of the congregation and “good reputation” refers to the view of the community. Which is most important? What happens if the two opinions are in conflict?

Ask someone close to you to describe your reputation.

Is there an area wherein you struggle to make your private life match your personal life? If so, what is it what do you propose to do to change this?

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