“Hospitality” (v. 8) is the receiving and entertaining of strangers. They had inns (Ex. 4:24) but sometimes “there was no room… in the inn” (Luke 2:7), so hospitality was important in those days. But pastors had safety concerns about taking in strangers just as you would, plus guests eat your food and cost money. That’s why Paul says pastors must be “not given to filthy lucre” (v. 7), but “given to hospitality” (I Tim. 3:2 cf. Titus 1:8).
Pastors must also be “lovers of good men” (v. 8) because you can tell a lot about a man by the kind of men he loves (cf. Rom. 1:32). If a pastor loves good men, he must be a good man himself. And he needs to value the qualities that make men good.
“Sober” can’t mean not a drunk, for Paul already covered that when he said a pastor must be “not given to wine” (v. 7). Sober can also mean not thinking higher of yourself than you ought (Rom. 12:3). Men like Sun Myung Moon and David Koresh thought they were Jesus Christ, and that’s certainly not thinking soberly. But “sober” can also mean not crazy (Acts 26:24,25; II Cor. 5:13). Pat Robertson used to claim he could leg press 2,000 pounds and Marshal Applewhite told followers that a UFO hiding behind the Hale-Bopp Comet would take them to heaven in 1997 — if they killed themselves, which 39 of them did. It is crucial that pastors be sober and not crazy.
A pastor must also be “just” (v. 8), able to handle problems justly when people come to him with issues. Marriage counseling issues are a frequent matter pastors are called upon to settle justly.
Pastors must also be “holy” (v. 8), which means sinless (Heb. 7:26). Pastors can’t be sinless, of course, but they can behave themselves “holily” (II Thes. 2:10). All Christians should, for when they don’t it hurts the cause of Christ. And when leaders don’t, it hurts it even more so (II Sam. 12:14), as Jim Bakker, Robert Tilton, Jimmy Swaggert, Bill Gothard and others learned the hard way.
“Temperate” (v. 8) means moderation or balanced. Athletes must be temperate in all things,” and so should Christians (I Cor. 9:24,25). Pastors must be moderate, and here at Faith Bible Church we present a balanced ministry that alternates between teaching Paul’s epistles and the rest of the Bible.
Pastors must also hold fast “the faithful word” (v. 9), something the verse itself defines. It doesn’t say to hold fast the faithful word to use the faithful word to convince gainsayers. When instead it says to hold the faithful word to convince gainsayers by sound doctrine, that defines “the faithful word” as sound doctrine, the sound doctrine given to Paul. The entire Bible is the Word of God, and God is faithful to all the promises in it.
But He didn’t make all those promises to you, so He’s not faithful to Matthew 21:22, for instance. Nor will He be faithful to the promise He made to Israel to spare them tribulation if they were good. Instead He’ll let you go through tribulation, then be faithful to His promise to use it to work patience in you (Rom. 5:3,4). He’ll also be faithful to His promises in Romans 8:13,18,28, and I Corinthians 3:14, Philippians 1:6; 4:6,7,19, Colossians 3:4 and I Thessalonians 5:9.
How “fast” should a pastor hold the faithful word that contains these promises? Job held his integrity fast after he lost everything (Job 2:3; 27:5,6). Tribulation saints will have to hold fast to their truth and endure to the end or they won’t be saved. Pastors don’t have to hold the truth fast to be saved, but we should hold it that fast as if we did. And you should too.
Because if you don’t, you’ll never be able to exhort and convince the gainsayers. “Exhort” can mean to encourage someone, but it can also mean to warn someone (Luke 3:16-18; Acts 2:38-40). Pastors must warn gainsayers and convince them they are wrong.
A gainsayer is someone who says things that contradict what you say, usually to gain something. Sometimes money, but men also gainsay to gain a following, like Core (Jude 1:11 cf. Num. 16:1-35). That’s what was happening in Crete.