A man can be a Christian, and not be a husband, a father, or even a good teacher. However, he can’t a be an elder, who must be a good father, a good husband and a good teacher to his children. The Scriptures require a man to be a good and successful father before he can serve as an elder. That is one of the qualifications (1 Tim. 3:4,5 f; Tit. 1:6).
A successful father must first be a successful husband. That means he must be married according to the Scriptures and maintaining a good and successful relationship with his wife. The word of God sets forth the high and holy standard for husband and wife relationship and he must be a successful husband. His relationship with his wife must be so endearing that she is willing to submit herself to him. His relationship with his children must be so loving and caring that his children are willing to obey him. A man is thus qualified in his family relationship to be what Christ requires of one to be a bishop in the Lord’s church.
He willingly accepts his responsibility in all areas of life. He loves his wife and his children. He loves and reveres God and his word. He is one who prays to God often. He reads and studies the Bible daily and teaches his children to do so. His home is a haven of peace in all areas.
Fathers must provide for their wives and children (1 Tim. 5:8). The teaching and discipline of children rest upon the shoulders of fathers with the help of their godly wives. In doing so they must not “provoke to anger,” but bring them up in the chastening of the Lord (Eph. 6:4 ff; Col. 3:21; Heb. 12:9). Chastening is important to being a successful father (Prov. 13:24; 23:13). A successful father teaches his children to love and respect one another, and sets the example before them.
Even as Christ is a good husband to his wife, the church, even so an elder must be a good husband to his wife. He must be willing, even as Jesus, to die for his wife (Eph 5:25). A good and qualified elder first begins in his own house long before he rules the house of God. Obey qualified elders who have rule over you, for they truly care for your soul (Heb 13:7,17).