Tag Archives: 1 Timothy 3

Character versus personality

Christian leaders need character.

That’s a central lesson from 1 Timothy 3. So, when this passage came up at church, I said so. Even more scary (for those in any church leadership), I said that leaders’ character is important because God wants his leaders to be models. Leaders are to be worth copying.

I had no time to say this: we copy character, not personality. They are not the same – and should not be confused!

It’s character to be hospitable – to generously welcome outsiders.
It’s personality to prefer quiet intimate gatherings, or large loud celebrations.

It’s character to not be a drunkard.
It’s personality to decide if that means abstinence or enjoying the occasional quiet one.

It’s character to not love money.
It’s personality to be a high-flyer who deals in multi-millions while avoiding greed, or to be the one who chooses a path that will never receive financial reward.

It’s character to manage your own household well.
It’s personality to have a quiet house or raucous house, to pray with family members at meals or at bedtime, to show concern by hugs or by listening.

Character is the manner. Personality is the mannerism.

If I’m right, three implications follow

  1. When following a leader: thank God you each are unique individuals, but seek to imitate Christian character
  2. When choosing a leader: don’t be deceived by showy personality, seek out the deeper truth of a potential leader’s life
  3. When being a leader: don’t rely on external tricks that make people like you, but strive for what honours God