“holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.”
In my opinion (and no one has asked it, lol), this is the key qualification of an Elder. He must be able to handle the Word of God. I love how Paul describes this. He says they must “hold fast” the faithful word. “Holding fast” implies the value of the object grasped. What’s more important than the Word? Nothing.
He must be able to teach the Word to “exhort in sound doctrine” and “to refute those who contradict.” What does that mean? “Exhort” actually means to encourage or come alongside with the Word. It’s a gentle word. However, “refute” is a little stronger. It means to convict, to show guilty. It’s the Word doing this. The Elder is only the vessel.
We do these two things with our kids all the time. We exhort or encourage, and we refute or convict them when they are in the wrong. The next time you have the opportunity to exhort your child, do it with the Word. Let it be the tool you use to show how proud you are of them. Heap praises on them. Our children need that.
And more importantly, the next time you have to discipline your child, make sure you are using the Word to show them the errors of their ways. It’s not about your rules. It’s God’s Word that guides us. The beauty of this is His Word is timeless. You are not.
Are you handling the Word in this way? Allow it to transform your thinking. Let the Word pour into you so it can pour out of you. Sometimes just sharing a verse you just read can be all the encouragement someone needs that day. And don’t play judge over someone else. That’s not your job. But through the Word you can point out a brother’s need to repent. Remember, the Word convicts. We are just the vessel God uses.
Lord, help me handle Your Word honorably. Help me exhort and refute when appropriate. I trust Your Word to always guide me on the right path.