Elders Must Be Successful Fathers First

By H.E. Phillips

Just the ability to beget children does not make one a good father. The Scriptures require a man to be a good and successful father before he can serve as an elder. That is one of the qualifications (1 Tim. 3:4,5; Tit. 1:6).

A successful father must first be a successful husband. That means he must be married according to the Scriptures and maintaining a good and successful relationship with his wife. The word of God sets forth the high and holy standard for husband and wife relationship and he must be a successful husband. A man is thus qualified in his family relationship to be what Christ requires of one to be a bishop in the Lord’s church.

What Is Meant By A

Successful Father?

Obviously, he must be of good moral character. He is motivated by what is good and right. That is what he must teach his children. He is honest and fair in all his dealings with others. He is a holy man with self-respect. He shows compassion and benevolence to his family and to others.

He is a man of mental and emotional stability. One who loves and respects his own father and mother. He willingly accepts his responsibility in all areas of life. He loves his wife and his children. He provides for their needs. He has control of his temper and tongue.

He is a man of spiritual devotion. He loves and venerates God and his word. He is one who prays to God often. He reads and studies the Bible daily and teaches his children to do so. He worships God and the Lord Jesus Christ daily. He is a devout man of faith. His home is a place where godliness reigns.

He makes his home the haven of peace in all areas. Fathers must provide for their wives and children (1 Tim. 5:8). The teaching and discipline of children rest upon the shoulders of fathers with the help of their wives. In doing so they must not “provoke to anger,” but bring them up in the chastening of the Lord (Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21; Heb. 12:9). Chastening is important to being a successful father (Prov. 13:24; 23:13). Eli was a failure as a father because he “re-strained not” his unruly sons (1 Sam. 3:11-14; 2:23). A successful father teaches his children to love and respect one another, and sets the example before them.

What A Successful Father

Must Teach His Children

First and foremost he must teach his children to be faithful Christians all their lives. That is what the word of God requires (Eph. 6:1-4; Col. 3:20). This must start at a very early age and continue throughout his responsibility to them. This includes a consistent study of the word of God daily, regular praying to God and faithful godly living every day of their lives.

Second, he must teach them to obey and honor their parents, be-cause God requires it. What God requires of children is what fathers must teach them. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right” (Eph. 6:1). “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord” (Col. 3:20). The failure of children to obey their parents brings terrible consequences; The terrible sins and the consequences are listed in Romans 1, which includes “disobedient to parents” which brings death. Children must be taught to “shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God” (1 Tim. 5:4).

To “honor” parents includes providing for their needs when they are old (Eph. 6:2). The scribes and Pharisees challenged the disciples of Christ for not washing their hands before eating bread. Jesus replied to them in this fashion: “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honor thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father and mother, let him die the death” (Matt. 15:3-6). For this Jesus called them hypocrites because of their claim to honor God while disobeying his commandment.

Third, he must teach his children to be good husbands and wives. In time they will likely want to marry. They must know how to select a wife or husband. They must know the permanence of marriage; their marriage is for life (Rom. 7:2, 3). They must know the nature of marriage and their obligations to each other (Eph. 5:22-33). They must know how to be good parents.

Fourth, he must teach his children the honor of honest labor for their needs in life. Honesty and truthfulness are vital for the success in rearing his children to be what God wants them to be. He must educate them in body and mind. He must provide for their needs (1 Tim. 5:8). He must teach them to have a good conscience by always doing what they believe is right, and to use good language that honors and glorifies God (Eph. 4:29).

Fifth, he must teach his children to prepare for death and the judgment of Christ. The judgment of all men is inevitable. After death comes the judgment to all men (Heb. 9:27). He must teach them that their words, deeds and the attitudes of their minds and lives will be the basis upon which they will be judged for eternity.

Sixth, he must teach them to live and think upon these things:

 To love all men and that which is good and right (1 Cor. 13).

 To love, live, and always do good to the best of his ability (1 Pet. 3:10-12).

 To honor and obey the laws of God and man (Jas. 1:22-25; Gal. 6:2).

 To hold to the one hope (Rom. 8:24; Tit. 1:2).

 To always seek truth and right in everything.

 To know that they must reap what they sow (Gal. 6: 7, 8).  To always love, honor, and obey the Lord Jesus Christ first in our lives.

These are some of the things that will make a father successful with his children, which is essential for him to qualify to be an elder in a local church.

Guardian of Truth XLI: 12 p. 8-9
June 19, 1997