Only two church offices are indicated in the New Testament: Elders and Deacons.  The church is ruled by elders, of which one is the “teaching-Pastor.”  “Elder” comes from the Greek word “Presbuteros”.  In the Christian church they are those who, by being raised up and qualified by the word of the Holy Spirit, were appointed to have the spiritual care of, and to exercise oversight over the local church.  To these, the term “bishops” (episkopi) or oversees, is applied, the latter term indicating the nature of their work.  Dr. C.I. Scofield in the Scofield Reference Bible points out that, “The eldership in the apostolic local churches was always plural.  There is no instance of one elder in a local church.”

     The functions of the elders are: to rule (Timothy 3:4-5; 5:17); to guard the body of revealed truth from perversion and error (Titus 1:9); and to “oversee” the church as a shepherd his flock (Acts 20:28; John 21:16; Hebrews 13:17; I Peter 5:2).  Elders are made or “set” in the churches by the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:28), but great stress is laid upon their due appointment (Acts 14:27; Titus 1:5).  It takes time to develop a man of God for leadership.  Forty years were required to develop Moses as God's man.  Joshua, Abraham, and David likewise took years to mature.

     In the Biblical example, Elders were appointed according as they have given evidence of fulfilling the divine qualifications.  At first they were ordained (Gr.cheirotoneo, “to elect”, “to designate with the hand”), by an apostle (See Acts 14:23), but in Titus and I Timothy the qualifications of an elder become a part of the Scriptures for the guidance of the churches in such appointment (I Timothy 3:1-7).  Elders are NOT to be selected on the basis of the executive abilities, financial success, public relation skills, or any other secular qualifications.  Unfortunately, too many churches do select their elders on the basis of secular qualifications and not the Biblical Spiritual qualifications.

     Since theirs is a very high calling, and since God holds them more responsible than others, God has laid down explicit qualifications for elders (I Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-14).  God's word gives a list of twenty Spiritual qualifications that should be developed in an elder.

The qualifications are as follows:
1. Blameless-Above reproach in his conduct and example.
2. Husband of one wife-A loyal husband living in a pure marriage relationship.
3. Vigilant-Not given to excess in any area of his life-Temperate.
4. Sober-Sober-minded, prudent, and of a sensible and sound mind.
5. Of good behavior-Lives what he teaches, and maintains a well-ordered life-Respectable.
6. Given to hospitality-Friendly, polite, and gracious; He loves strangers, and reaches out to new people with the gospel and spiritual help.
7. Apt to teach-Knowledgeable of sound doctrine with an ability to use it to instruct, to exhort, and to “refute those who contradict.”
8. Not given to wine-Should be in control of himself-Drunkenness prohibited.
9. No striker-Not violent or quarrelsome.  Must not have a quick temper.  Doesn't strike back in word or deed at those who displease him.
10. Not greedy of filthy lucre-His life is not concerned with the amassing of material things.  Not free from money, but free from the love of money.
11. Patient-Forbearing, mild, gentle, uncontentious attitude.
12. Not a brawler-Must not stir up strife and cause division in the church either by word or action.
13. Not covetous-Not self-seeking.
14. One that rules his own house well-The household must be ruled well or else the man will not know how to take care of the church of God.  Not by hardness, but by love and firmness.
15. Having his children in subjection with all gravity-Children must be disciplined and under control.
16. Not a novice-Not a recent believer, but spiritually mature to meet the demands for service as an elder.
17. Must have a good report of them which are without-A good reputation among outsiders is necessary for the credibility of the message of the gospel.
18. Just-Fair.
19. Devout-Holy in his personal life.
20. Holding fast the faithful word-Taking “sound doctrine” to exhort and convince the gainsayers (Titus 1:9).

     “Obey them that have the rule over you (Elders), and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”  PLEASE PRAY FOR YOUR ELDERS DAILY!!!!!!!