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Qualification Duration

Earlier Life

The qualifications are not meant to eliminate anyone who has failed to meet a standard in his earlier life though he meets all of them at the time he is a candidate for the oversight. For example, a potential elder should be known for his hospitality at the time he is a candidate although earlier in his life he may not have been know as hospitable.

Present Life

The verb, dei, is present tense. One usage of this tense is the Customary Present. "The present tense may be used to denote that which habitually occurs, or may be reasonably expected to occur (H.E. Dana & Julius R. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, Toronto: The MacMillan Company, 1957, page 183)." This seems to be the best interpretation because an Elder candidate, his wife, and his children, no matter how high their achievement, are never perfect (1 John 1:8).

He should be habitually hospitable at the time he is considered for eldership. But he need not be disqualified because five times in a hundred opportunities in the year preceding the consideration of his fitness to be an elder, he was inhospitable.
1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6-7 are exceedingly strong statements demanding that an elder meet the qualifications that follow. However, no one is perfect. But it must be required that, in the preponderance of opportunities, the candidate will display positive qualities. A candidate who habitually meets the qualifications may be made an elder. Even if a candidate on rare occasions does not display a positive quality, he may be recognized as an elder if he habitually displays the qualifications.
Copyright 2010 - Ken Bowles