Biblical Presbyterian Eldership

For the requirements and duties of the Ruling Elder's office even today, are still to be derived from Holy Scripture alone.45    Together with the rest of the Session, each Elder thereof must look after the flock in general.   Yet each Elder should also give individual attention to his own ward within that flock.   That is then the group of up to ten Church Families which the Session (usually on the basis of their geographical proximity to one another) assigns especially to the care of one Elder in particular.   He is then to visit them often, "from house to house."46

The requirements and duties of each Elder, are at least twenty in number.    They include the following.    1st, blamelessness and honesty — so that he may boldly admonish all of the members of his ward, who should willingly trust and confide in him.47     2nd, sexual purity — so that he may confidently visit even the single ladies among his flock, in their homes and at their sickbeds, as his church job requires him to do.48    3rd, vigilance — so as to be able, as their Co-Pastor, to watch over the souls of the sheep.49    4th, sobriety and wisdom.49    5th, good behaviour and hospitality.   This makes it easy for the sheep to approach him; and easy for them to welcome him, when he visits them.49

While the Ruling Elder is not required to preach, he is indeed — 6th — to exhort.  Thus he needs to be a capable instructor and thus to have an aptness to teach — alias a capacity for instructing others.50     Far more importantly yet, he is (7th) to be teachable -having the desire to be corrected, especially by those who preach.51    He is also to be: (8th) peaceable, having no desire to brawl;52 (9th) diligent, loving hard work both in his profession and in his church eldership;53 and (10th) content, being quite  devoid of covetousness and enslavement to filthy lucre.54

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11th, a Ppresbyter is one who rules his own home well, keeping his children in subjection with all gravity. For if a man does not know how to rule his own home — how shall he take care of the church of God?55   12th, he is not to be a newly converted Christian — lest he become arrogant after his appointment as an overseer.56   13th, he is to be irreproachable even in the eyes of unbelievers — whom, by both his actions and his words, he also tries to win for the Lord.57   14th, he is a steward or a true servant of the Lord.56   15th, he is not self-willed — and does not get angry quickly.58

16th, an Elder is to be a just or a good and a holy man, and a lover of other good men — a Commandment-keeper, and an admirer of all others who try to keep God s Decalogue.59 17th, he is to adhere to the true doctrine he has been taught — for he himself must sharply be able to rebuke all false teachers together with their false teachings.60   18th, he needs to be a true spiritual Pastor of the flock — and hence one who watches over and who feeds the sheep.61   19th, he is to function as a willing and a ready shepherd — who never needs to be constrained to go and take care of his church ward.62    Above all (20th), he is to be a humble man who never tries to throw his weight around — an example to the flock, and worthy of their love and respect.62

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