Question:

We have a minster whose wife no longer attends church services. We have no elders. What should we do, or what should he do? (I Timothy 3:5).


Answer:

A preacher is not the same duty as an elder, nor does a preacher have the same requirements on him as an elder does. I Timothy 3:5 deals with elders, not preachers. See: Pastors and Preachers.

Those who serve as evangelists have the right to marry, but unlike elders it is an option and not a requirement. "Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?" (I Corinthians 9:5). Notice that Paul didn't say they had a right to a wife. He said they had a right to a believing wife. A preacher's wife must be a Christian. Why? A preacher represents the church and the Lord. It is his duty to teach others the gospel. If his own wife will not believe the gospel, what impact will that make on his teaching? A preacher whose wife is unfaithful doesn't qualify for the duty. He can still teach the gospel, just like every other Christian, but he cannot serve as a preacher while his wife remains unfaithful.

Thank you so much. I understand, but shouldn't preachers have some of the quaifcations mentioned in I Timothy 3 if he has the job to train and teach elders?

All Christians should have some of the qualities of elders since an elder is an example of how every Christian should be. However, that doesn't mean all the qualifications of an elder have to be met fully to be a Christian. Christians are works in progress striving to reach goals like these. The qualifications in I Timothy 3 are for elders and deacons, not preachers.