Having been reliably informed that the requirements for the office of bishop set forth in I Timothy 3 “are the requirements for a perfect preacher,” I embarked on an in-depth Bible study to find out to which qualifications the churches could refer for the less-than-perfect preachers who are currently available. I thought I might have found it in Titus 1, but then realized it sets forth the same requirements as I Timothy 3, obviously for the perfect preachers. So, I dug deeper. After a diligent search, I finally found the requirements in Judas’s seldom-read epistle to the Laodiceans. For your benefit, I share it here.
1. Having failed in my efforts to collect the funds to come to you (the bag being empty): these things I write unto you, that you mayest know how you oughtest to behave yourselves in the church of Laodicea.
2. This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a well-paying position with the bestowal of great honour.
3. A bishop then must be shameless, the man of one wife, more than one, or none; possessing a good education and appropriate credentials; willing to move quickly when hostility rises; apt to leech;
4. Not given to dry and lengthy speech, but eloquent, concise, and funny; deserving of a valuable salary package; well-dressed, not threatened by deacons;
5. One that driveth a fine chariot, is schooled in kissing babies, and apt to fool old women;
6. Even so must their wives be mothers of several children, while looking as if they never had any; apt to flatter, play the piano, organize the women’s auxiliary; full of zeal and zest;
7. Moreover let the bishop be photogenic, having an impressive resume, not a novice (for there are small insignificant churches for others), recommended by seminary leaders. Moreover he must have a good report of wealthy businessmen; all these qualifications, lest he be an embarrassment to the rich and prospering church in the thriving metropolis of Laodicea.
8. Finally, my brethern and sistern, though I write in the tongue of men and angels who use gendered pronouns, let nothing be construed as meaning any persons cannot serve in the office of bishop in the church. Progress be with you. Fare ye well.
No more shall there be a problem finding someone to meet the necessary requirements. We need not look for Paul’s perfect preacher. Judas’s recommendations will work just fine!