When Paul wrote to his friend and disciple Timothy, he said that overseers must be “above reproach.” When he wrote to Titus, Paul also said that elders should be “above reproach” (although he uses a different adjective than the one he used when writing to Timothy).
Lately, I’ve been thinking about this little adjective “above reproach.” What does it mean? How is someone “above reproach” or not? How do we know if someone is “above reproach”?
(It might also be interesting to notice that widows are to be “above reproach” (1 Timothy 5:7) and Timothy was to be “above reproach” (1 Timothy 6:14).)
I had always thought of “above reproach” like this: a person who has such a good reputation with people that if anyone were to accuse him or her of something (and he or she didn’t do it) the people who truly know him or her would know it is a lie.
But, the problem is, this really doesn’t fit with Paul (or perhaps to Jesus either). Paul was accused to several things. Some people who knew Paul believed the accusations; some people who knew Paul did not believe the accusations. So, was Paul “above reproach”?
What do you think? What does it mean to be “above reproach” and how do we rec0gnize when someone is “above reproach”?