A couple weeks ago, I introduced a new devotional series for our scout meetings. We are examining what the Bible would describe as a Godly man, and we’re comparing that to what our scouting ideals suggest an ideal scout should act like. [Note: you don’t have to be Christian to be a scout, but in our troop, our families do share a common faith so we often try to compare how scout ideals and our shared Christian ideals parallel each other]
In the Bible, the apostle Paul wrote letters to Timothy and Titus describing the ideal attributes of a man. While he was specifically writing to offer advice and direction on finding men who’d be good candidates to hold pastoral or teaching jobs within the church, Gene Getz, the author of the book “The Measure of a Man”, felt that it was a good list for all men. The list includes twenty specific attributes:
- Overall spiritual maturity – a well-rounded man (a summary of, and balance among, the points below)
- Above reproach – a man of good repute
- The husband of one wife – morally pure
- Temperate – balanced in words and actions
- Prudent – wise and humble
- Respectable – good role model
- Hospitable – unselfish and generous
- Able to teach – communicates sensitively in a nonthreatening and nondefensive manner
- Not addicted to wine – not addicted to substances
- Not self-willed – not self-centered and controlling
- Not quick-tempered – empty of anger that becomes sinful
- Not pugnacious – not abusive
- Gentle – sensitive, loving and kind
- Peaceable – nonargumentative and non-divisive
- Free from the love of money – nonmaterialistic
- Manages his own household well – a good husband and father
- Loving what is good – pursues godly activities
- Just – wise, discerning, nonprejudiced and fair
- Devout – holy, devoted to God
- Self-controlled – disciplined
Do you think this list applies to someone who wants to be a godly plumber or a godly astronaut? Why or why not?
In 2 Tim 3:16-17, Paul writes; “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
A man of God isn’t just a pastor in a church; he is someone who may be doing every kind of good work. As a counterpoint, Paul also wrote to Titus (Titus 1:10-11) to watch out for rebellious men who are full of empty or meaningless talk. These men would say all sorts of lies to make money. They were not above reproach, but instead deceived people and traded on their victim’s trust to make their living. The lesson for the plumber or the astronaut is to live for the right motives – to please God not to have the most material living by taking advantage of others.
With this mindset, it’s easy to see why in each of his letters to Timothy and Titus he begins by saying that a Godly man should be “above reproach”.
Above reproach is an old-fashioned expression. What do you think it means?
In looking at dictionaries and thesauruses, I found a number of more modern ways to express the same thought. Most of these phrases boiled down to; “So good as to preclude any possibility of criticism.”
Perhaps we could say that someone who is above reproach is someone who would utterly surprise us if we discovered that they had done something wrong.
What’s the opposite of this? Being the very first person to be considered as in trouble the moment we hear mom shout: the prime suspect, the black sheep, or the person that trouble follows like a long shadow.
Being known by your consistent actions – good or bad – builds a reputation. While we’re mainly interested in “being” above reproach, there’s also an element of building a good reputation, too. What do people say about you when you’re not around to hear their unguarded comments? Would you be concerned for what they might say, or do you have a clear conscience? Do people seek you out to handle delicate matters? Are you someone people easily trust? Do you handle responsibility with seriousness? Are you the first person leaders would think of when confronted with a “big task” that they need to delegate?
How do you think “a Godly man is above reproach” compares to the various parts of the Scout Oath and Law? – are these about the same or is there a distinction? Can “above reproach” be exchanged for “Trustworthy”? Would we be missing some of the meaning?
Just like we know that a scout sometimes slips up and fails to fulfill the oath and/or the law, can a Godly man slip up? Is “Above Reproach” a constant thing, a finish line, or a daily commitment and pursuit?
In Philippians 2:14-15, it says; “Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world” How does the use of the phrase “above reproach” in this set of verses have an impact on what we’ve been talking about? Is being “above reproach” something all Christians should be striving to achieve in their daily lives?
Do you think that being “above reproach” would help you in many areas of life? Being a good scout? Being an employee or employer? Being the best plumber or astronaut you could be?