Can a man be an elder if his adopted son is unruly?



I have a question about the children in the qualifications for elders. If a man has a natural-born child and adopts a child, would this be plural children? What if the adopted child is unruly and irreverent and eventually moves away from home? To me, this does not fit the bill for believing children. Yet some claim that children, as in offspring, only mean those born through their marriage. Some go even further to say that "children" is not plural and only means offspring.

I hope you can shed some light on this.

Thank you.


The Greek word behind "children" in Titus 1:6 is in the plural. For details, see Must elders have more than one child?

An adopted child is still a man's child. For example, Jesus was the son of Mary by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20). However, Jesus was known as Joseph's son because Joseph raised him (Luke 4:22; John 1:45). Because Jesus was Joseph's first son (even though adopted), he was in line to inherit the throne of David through Joseph. This was how the curse on Jeconiah was bypassed (Jeremiah 22:24-30). Therefore, a man who raises adopted children is still qualified to be an elder.

If a man adopts an older child, the child wasn't under his roof long. If that child turns out to be rebellious and unfaithful, the situation would need to be considered carefully, but I would not automatically rule out his qualification to an elder -- especially if all his other children are faithful. But if the child was his to raise from a young age, then I would treat the situation just like any other where a man's children were not all faithful.


Thank you very much. Your reply was very helpful!

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