Ask Your Preacher
We went to a church that believed if you were married more than once you couldn't be a deacon or preacher. This is because the Bible says you can only be the husband of one wife. Is this a correct interpretation?
Dear Counting Criteria,
The qualification you are referring to can be found in 1 Tim 3:12. The phrase ‘husband of one wife’ literally means a ‘one-woman man’ in the Greek. He must be devoted exclusively and faithfully to his one wife. A man who is widowed and then remarried could still be properly described as a ‘one-woman man’ because he was completely devoted to his first wife until her death, and now is fully devoted to his current wife.
The question a congregation has to wrestle with is if a divorced brother has shown the character trait of monogamous fidelity. Why did he get divorced? Was it for infidelity? Was he always faithful to her? Did she leave him, or did he leave her? How does he behave with his current wife? How long has he been married to his current wife? The answers to these questions will help assess whether he is a faithful ‘one-woman man’.
Divorce is a red flag that should make us pause before appointing a man as a qualified deacon, but depending on the circumstances surrounding the divorce, the man may still be qualified.
I was in a low place, and I made a promise to God that if He would help me with the situation, I would give up something. I have stayed in the right for a few months now, but I am not sure that I can keep the promise for a lifetime.
I know it is best not to promise if we cannot keep it, but I did make the promise, and I’m conflicted.
Any advice? Will the Lord forgive me?
Dear Promise Keeper,
Jesus tells us that our word is binding and that our ‘yes’ should mean ‘yes’ and our ‘no’ should mean ‘no’ (Matt 5:37). We are warned that we should perform our vows to the Lord (Ps 76:11). Eccl 5:4-5 makes it clear that if we make a promise before God – we need to stick with it. Can you be forgiven if you made a promise and then failed? Yes (1 Jn 1:9), but if you made a promise to God and now simply want out of it because it is more difficult than you thought it would be… that’s a different story. God takes our promises seriously, and we need to as well.
What is the first commandment of God?
Beginning At The Beginning
Dear Beginning At The Beginning,
Jesus said that the first and greatest commandment was to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind (Matt 22:37-38). In the Ten Commandments, the first commandment is “you shall have no other gods before Me” (Ex 20:2). The first commandment a child is given by God is “honor your father and mother” (Eph 6:2). Each of these are first commands from God.
Where can I find Scripture about being even-tempered? I find myself too passionate or emotional over politics and the effects of social media on our children. I tend to want to get on my soapbox and preach. Not good!!! I need Scripture specifically concerning being even-tempered, please.
Dear Uneven Temper,
The Bible says a lot about being even-tempered. We are told to “be still and know that God is” (Ps 46:10). We are also told that one of the keys to remaining even-tempered is to remember that we aren’t in control of everything, and we shouldn’t think so highly of ourselves as to put the weight of the world on our own shoulders (Rom 12:3). Temperate behavior is so important that it is a qualification for elders (1 Tim 3:2), and it makes sense because if we want to make a difference, no matter how strongly we feel about something, keeping an even keel is going to make us more productive leaders than losing our cool. God says that we should always be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger (Jas 1:19). Remember that no matter how bad things may seem, God is in control of the world, and we need to be sober-minded and set our hope on God’s grace (I Pet 1:13). Remember, no matter how concerned you are about politics and the future generation, God tells us to be anxious for nothing but instead to pray about our concerns and leave them in God’s hands (Php 4:6).
God bless you brethren. Is it the will of God for some Christians to remain single all their lives and not marry?
Sometimes it is God’s will that people remain single. When Jesus was asked about whether or not it was expedient to marry, He said that there were three reasons people don’t get married. Mat 19:12 says:
- They are born to not marry
- They are made eunuchs by men
- They choose not to marry for the sake of the Lord’s work.
These three reasons explain all the circumstances in the world where people abstain from marriage. Some people don’t have the natural inclinations or tendencies toward marriage and finding a mate. Others have either been physically or emotionally impacted so that marriage is no longer part of the equation for them. And lastly, some people voluntarily abstain from marriage in order to be more effective servants for the Lord (1 Cor 7:32-33). In each of these circumstances, there is a reason for the person abstaining from marriage, but only the first reason shows God’s hand.