TESTED AND PROVED
1. Is it in the Bible?
Yes......most notably with regard to ministry.......
1Ti 3:10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
2. What do we believe it means?
Anyone who desires to ever into ministry must first go through a period of testing. Another senior minister must approve them for the position.
3. What does it really mean?
This is a classic case of people reading their experience into the Bible--but it just does not fit!
In the operational system which tradition has handed us, someone who wants to be "in ministry" is almost always tested by others in some way. Some churches have "elected officials". Some rely on "senior ministers" to use their discernment to approve of ministerial candidates. since we function as if "ministry" is authority/rulership over others within he church, it certainly makes common sense that ministers (given the power they have) should be either elected or carefully screened and chosen by others within the church.
And many people sincerely believe that this is in the Bible, simply because of 1 or 2 words taken out of the context of 1Timothy 3.
How could this possibly be in the Bible?!
It would be like hoping to find a mention of airplanes in the Bible, and finding the words "air" and "plane". Airplanes did not exist in the time of the Bible, and neither did pastoral authority!
the tricky part is that the Bible does say a person should be "proved" before they can minister--BUT--read the context! Is it correct for us to take one word out of the Bible and believe it means that church leaders have the right to have this kind of "testing authority" over others in the church?
Read the context! The "test" uis given right in these verse...
1 ¶ This is a true saying, If a man desire the
office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
8 ¶ Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
14 ¶ These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (1Timothy 3:1-15)
Look carefully at these verses and understand the new covenant church principles of operation. Ministry in all, and not authority over others. Meeting in homes. (Also note please--the word "office" is NOT in the Greek!)
The "proof" or "test" of ministry are simple, requirements about the Christian home, and they make perfect sense......!
Someone should not have a home meeting if their children are unruly--or if they drink too much--or have more than one wife--etc.
Common sense requirements for having a home meeting in the "small group" apostleship the church operated in in Bible times.
A deeper understanding of the new testament church comes when we note that only "bishop" and "deacon" re mentioned in these verses. Where is the "congregation"? (Answer--in the old covenant!!)
"Bishop" and "deacon" are also misunderstood words (see there respective studies for more details). To explain quickly, the church consisted of "deacons" (the "5-fold ministry" of apostle--prophet--evangelist--pastor--teacher) which was organized by leaders (bishops). People did not "own" these titles--they were functions the church did together in unity, to further the Gospel.
Sounds like a good idea! So why don't we try it, instead of
"testing and proving" one another!