Angry Bishops

Titus 1:7 – For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre…

One of the qualifications for a bishop is the trait of being “not soon angry” (Tit. 1:7). This trait is given the same weight and importance as being “blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly…not selfwilled…not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre” (Tit. 1:6-7). Just as any of these would disqualify a man from holding the office, so the absence of quick anger is held up as a trait by which a man must be tried before qualifying for this “good work” (1Tim. 3:1). A man that is otherwise is prohibited from holding this lot as far as God is concerned, and an opinion to the contrary will never align with the will of God, no matter what anyone else says.

This is because anger that is quickly kindled is the trait of a man who “dealeth foolishly” (Prov. 14:17). Though he “rageth and is confident” the word of God deems him to be a “fool” (Prov. 14:16), and in his fury he will inevitably “abound in transgression” (Prov. 29:22). Wisdom would exhort us to “make no friendship” with such a man, and “with [him]” we should “not go” (Prov. 22:24). Such application of wisdom would preclude us from submitting ourselves to the oversight of such an one on the grounds that he cannot be reliably followed. Rather than being “able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers” with patience and gentleness, he will “strive” in wrath and pride and seek to subdue through force rather than godly persuasion (Tit. 1:9; 2Tim. 2:24; Prov. 15:8; 29:222Cor. 5:11). In so doing, he will “give place to the devil” (Eph. 4:27) and Satan will get an “advantage” of the saints (2Cor. 2:11).

Instead, “the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient” and instruct in “meekness” those that “oppose themselves” (2Tim. 2:24-25). He must “give place unto wrath” by putting it off from his walk and leaving it in “the Lord’s Day” where it belongs (Rom. 12:19; Col. 3:8; Rev. 1:10). He must have “learned Christ” in this way and be “temperate in all things” if he is to be “a good minister of Jesus Christ” (Eph. 4:20; 1Cor. 9:25; 1Tim. 4:6). Otherwise anger in the heart will inevitably come out through the mouth, and it will expose the inward corruption that defiles and disqualifies the bishop’s chiefest instrument for edification (Eph. 4:25-32; Col. 3:8-9). His “speech” that is to be “alway with grace, seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:6) and “good for the use of edifying” (Eph. 4:29) will be tainted as a defiled stream and will hurt his own credibility along with those that follow him. Moreover he will portray an image of Christ that is out of sync with the grace that he is to be ministering to every man and his work will be hindered. While all saints are exhorted to “put away” anger, it is a ministry requirement for the man the “desireth the office of a bishop” (1Tim. 3:1), and it should not be taken lightly when assuming or evaluating the qualifications of the overseer.

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