Qualifying For The Position Of Bishop
A man must begin qualifying early in his Christian life. It takes time -- one reason an elder is not to be a novice (I Tim. 3:6). Years of Bible study are needed to make him "able to teach" (I Tim. 3:2) and "able by sound doctrine, both to exhort and to convict those who contradict" (Titus 1:9).
Years of temperate, sober-minded, good behavior are necessary to establish his reputation as blameless, holy and self-controlled, and to give him a "good testimony among those who are outside" (I Tim. 3:2, 7; Titus 1:8), as well as the respect of the flock so he can lead them by his example (I Pet. 5:3).
To be a bishop one must have learned not to be violent, quarrelsome or quick-tempered, but gentle and just in his dealings with others, for he will have to interact with other elders, as well as with those entrusted to him as God’s steward (I Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:7; I Pet. 5:3).
To qualify for the position of a bishop, one must be very careful about whom he marries. When he chooses a wife, he is not only choosing a wife for himself and a mother for his children, he is choosing one who will affect his acceptability as an elder. Her character may determine whether he can be permanently "the husband of one wife."
She will have a major role in determining whether he will have "faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination" (Titus 1:6) and whether or not he is allowed to "rule his own house well" (I Tim. 3:4). His ability to be hospitable (Titus 1:8) also depends on her cooperation.
When children come, one who "desires the position of a bishop" is severely tested. He must teach them, protect them from evil influences, correct bad habits and guide them without compromise in the way that they should go. All of this must be accomplished by achieving such respect that they will be "in subjection to him with all reverence" (I Tim. 3:4).
(Excerpted from Sewell Hall’s "Hallmarks -- Lights in the World," pages 194-195.)