Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 23, 1959

Elders And Their "Children"

Robert H. Parish, San Bernardino, California

There are some who believe that 1 Tim. 3:4 and Titus 1:6 require that a man have more than one believing child to qualify as an elder. Their argument is based upon the fact that the plural form is used, hence, one child cannot fill the requirement.

One of the simplest and safest ways of determining the meaning of a term used in the Bible is to examine the use made of the same term in other places in the Bible.

This term "children" is used in another place in 1 Tim. In 1 Tim. 5:4 Paul wrote, "But if any widow hath children or grandchildren (King James has nephews) let them learn first to show piety toward their own family". Does a widow have to have more than one child before she is disqualified as a "widow indeed"? Does anyone believe that one child or one grandchild is relieved of his duty to care for his needy parent or grandparent simply because there is only one and the apostle plainly said children? If one child can disqualify one for the classification of "widow indeed" when "children" are required, why can't one believing child qualify one a scriptural elder when "children" are required?