I ended yesterday’s post with a couple of observation questions about the verb Paul uses to describe the pastoral care for the church.
Paul is obviously asking the question, “if a man cannot, properly, head his own house, how can he possibly care for the church of God.”
The question I raised was related to the future tense and passive voice of the verb ἐπιμελέομαι (“to care for”) at the end of verse 5.
This question is resolved when one discovers that ἐπιμελέομαι is a passive, deponent, future. Deponent means that the verb is future passive in form, but present in meaning.
The verb only occurs two other times in the New Testament, Luke 10:34, 35. In both verses it is in the aorist tense and is being used to simple recount the story of the Samaritan who cared for the injured Jew.
So what we have is a present tense idea throughout the passage.
In other words the grammar clearly says that the activities of this man in demonstrating his character in leading his home and his caring for the church of God are (or at least can be) simultaneous in time – both occurring presently.
There is nothing in the grammar or exegesis of the passage that would require a man to have reached a certain stage in life where one can see the results of his headship in the home and then (and only then) is he qualified to care for the church.
However, that is a conviction of some. I have been presented with that conviction by two people on two continents within the past two weeks – so it is not rare.
I believe this simple study has shown that this understanding is not supported by the grammar or exegesis of this passage (which is the passage both people used to support their position with me).
However, even though this passage does not require such chronology in the events and activities of the man. It also does not require that an elder be a young man who has very young children still at home.
Are there other reasons where prudence or wisdom would say that a young man with young children at home should not be a pastor/elder?
Something to think about…more on Monday.