By Shawn Lazar
Are you an elder? Do you hope to become one? Are you trying to raise them up in your church? If so, Donald Norbie has some practical advice.
In his booklet, Shepherd the Flock, Norbie summarizes the qualifications and functions of the elder. One qualification is being “able to teach” (1 Tim 3:2). Teach what?
The Bible. The truths of God’s Word.
Hence, Norbie says the elder “is to be a man of the Book” (p. 22).
No one is born that way. You have to become a man of the Book. But where can you start? Norbie says it takes discipline:
This means he will discipline himself to spend hours studying God’s Word. He will build a helpful library with aids to help him in this life-long study of the Bible. A good exhaustive concordance, Bible dictionary and an [sic] one volume commentary will start him on the path of building a library. He must be “holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict” (Titus 1:9). Like the priest of old he is to be a custodian of the Word of God (Mal 2:7). He must spend hours studying so he can feed God’s people (Shepherd the Flock, p. 23).
Are you studying to become a man of the Word?
It takes time. And anything that takes time takes discipline.
I find the best way to maintain that discipline is to teach a class, going verse-by-verse through a Bible book. Whether it’s a Sunday school class, a Wednesday night Bible Study, a Sunday evening sermon series, or even a lesson around the dinner table, you will learn the most through preparation.
If you feel called to be an elder, you need to discern whether you can teach. Why not start by teaching a Free Grace Bible study in your home?
One of the biggest needs around the world is for more Free Grace churches. But whereas starting a church may be too daunting, starting a Bible study is easier and can fill a need for grace teaching in your area. Plus, you can list it on our Free Grace Church and Bible Study tracker for others to find.
Shawn Lazar lives in Denton, TX, with his wife Abby and their three children.