An Elder Must Be Just And Holy
Again in Titus 1:8 we read that the man who aspires to the work of overseer must be “just” and “holy.” These words are found in the King James Version, while the words “just” and “devout” are found in the New American Standard Bible.
The word “just,” from the Greek “dikaios” (dik'-ah-yos); can be defined as “equitable (in character or act); by implication, innocent, holy (absolutely or relatively).” (Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.). The Vine's Expository Of New Testament Words says of this word “just,” “dikaios” . . was first used of persons observant of (dike), "custom, rule, right," especially in the fulfillment of duties towards gods and men, and of things that were in accordance with right. The Eng. word "righteous" was formerly spelt "rightwise," i. e., (in a) straight way. In the NT it denotes "righteous," a state of being right, or right conduct, judged whether by the divine standard, or according to human standards, of what is right. Said of God, it designates the perfect agreement between His nature and His acts (in which He is the standard for all men) (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright (c)1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers).
Basically, one who is just is one that “obeys the rules.” He can be said to be a man that “observes what is right.” Of course this would be true in the context of “right conduct,” as it relates to obedience to God. An elder who is just will certainly do everything in his power to see that righteousness is observed and the flock obeys their Lord. This is just in the context that we deal with in Titus 1:8. As we read earlier, the Strong's Concordance uses the word “equitable,” meaning “fair” and without partiality. This character of being “just” points to God and man.
The word translated “holy” (“devout” in the NAS) can be defined as “purity from defilement.”[Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc. reads, “NT:3741 hosios (hos'-ee-os); of uncertain affinity; properly, right (by intrinsic or divine character; thus distinguished from NT:1342, which refers rather to human statutes and relations; from NT:2413, which denotes formal consecration; and from NT:40, which relates to purity from defilement), i.e. hallowed (pious, sacred, sure)”]. Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words says, “hosios (NT:3741 akin to A, No. 4), signifies "religiously right, holy," as opposed to what is unrighteous or polluted. It is commonly associated with righteousness.” (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright (c)1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers). The word translated “holy” here is the same word translated “holy” in 1 Timothy 2:8 which says, “Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension” (NAS). I might point out that the phraseology in 2 Timothy 2:8 points to the character of the man as well, not to his hands.
In discussing the word “just” we pointed out that this characteristic referred to the man's “equitable” dealings with men as well as his “righteous” character before God. The word “holy” refers specifically to his “righteousness and purity” before God. But even though this characteristic is one that is based on this man's relationship with God, it will be evident to those around him by his “pious” and “reverent” behavior.
So we again see that the man who desires to serve as elder must be “blameless” in his behavior before God and men!