“The overseer then must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher” (1 Timothy 3:2).
The next non-negotiable quality for an overseer involves teaching ability. In other words, a prospective overseer must possess the ability to effectively communicate the Word of God along with its meaning and application. The New Testament book of Ephesians identifies this quality as a God-given spiritual gift…
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-12, emphasis added).
A good pastoral leader should demonstrate the capacity to communicate the Scriptures in a way that others can understand, remember, and apply. A man who does not possess this quality (or is solely gifted in the ability to preach), should consider other avenues of ministry that take better advantage of his gifts. One source identifies the high cost of disregarding this critical ability…
“It is one of the disasters of modern times that the teaching ministry of the Church is not being exercised as it should. There is any amount of topical preaching and any amount of exhortation; but there is little use in exhorting a man to be a Christian when he does not know what being a Christian means. Instruction is a primary duty of the Christian preacher and leader.” (1)
As mentioned earlier, this quality is not only important for church leaders; it is important for everyone. You see, a person who knows what God’s Word says and means has the ability to teach even if he or she is not called to a teaching ministry. Another commentary discusses this idea in the context of those who are not called to leadership positions in the church…
“… some people are effectively ‘able to teach’ who never teach or lead formally at church. Their lessons are passed on to one or two others. They become mentors of spiritual truth. Paul described this intimate kind of teaching in 2Ti_2:2, ‘You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who are able to pass them on to others.’
More is learned through living than through lectures. If you have been able to communicate your faith clearly to another person, you have demonstrated teaching at its best. In measuring your ability to teach, don’t consider how many students you have had; instead, ask how much truth you have passed on to even one student whom God has brought your way.” (2)
(1) Barclay, William. “Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:2-17”. “William Barclay’s Daily Study Bible”. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dsb/1-timothy-3.html. 1956-1959.
(2) Life Application Study Bible NKJV [1 Timothy 3:1-13] Copyright © 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 2004 by Tyndale House Publishers Inc., all rights reserved.