a. They must hold on. The first phrase that we find in verse 9 is “he must hold firm.” This word is found in just a couple of other places in the New Testament. For example in Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:13, Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters for either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” The word devoted here is the same word that is in our verse. So we get the connotation that holding firm means that you are solemnly set apart or dedicated to something. You have concentrated on this thing that you are holding on to. You are addicted to it. You don’t want anything else. The other place where we find this word is in 1st Thessalonians 5:14 which says, “and we urge you brothers admonish the idle encourage the faint-hearted help the weak be patient with them all.” Now the phrase “help the weak” is where we find the word that we’re looking at. In this context the word is to support, to hold up, to help those that are weak. You kind of get the imagery of someone who is falling and you are holding on to them so that they don’t fall all the way. If we look at the original Greek word it is actually from two different words anti and Echo which means to hold against. And so it’s been used as holding against, to withstand, to hold out against, to hold firmly onto, to cleave to. It has the idea of proportionately holding on to something, it meets the need, matches the thing that’s being held on to. As a character trait, this means that this person holds on to something against something else. There is something else that this person can go after but instead, they are holding on to this one thing. This would necessitate courage and strength and boldness. This person would have to fight against their own personal desires or temptations to hold firm. b. They must hold firm the Bible. So we got the idea that an overseer must hold firm. But what must he hold firmly to? What is so important that a leader of The church must hold onto against all other things? It is the faithful or trustworthy word. “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4. That’s what we mean when we say word. It is all of God’s words that were written down for us in this book. It is the truth and nothing but the truth. It contains doctrines and promises. It records the faithfulness of God and his perfection. It testifies of his holiness and justice. It’s a record of his law and his covenants and oaths. It speaks of the faithfulness of Jesus Christ and how he faithfully completed each office that he was appointed to by God the Father. This trustworthy word is from Genesis to revelation. There’s nothing in this book that we need to be ashamed. There is nothing that will be proven to be false. Jesus said that heaven and earth will pass away but his words will not pass away. This is why the word is trustworthy. So this is what an overseer must hold firm to the word of God. There would be other teachings out there that might pull the overseer away. But with all of his mental and maybe even physical strength he must hold on to God’s trustworthy word. Jesus gave a very stern warning when he said, “For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Programs and events may come and go. Church members may come and go. But if the church is to stand and the elders are faithful, then the word of God must be at the center of all things. An overseer must be willing to suffer loss of all kinds whether that be friends or family or his reputation or even his life for this trustworthy word. c. They have been taught. The next phrase that we see here is “as taught” which could also be rendered “according to the teaching or doctrine”. John Gill explains it this way, “the elder himself has been taught, not by men, in a theoretical way, as logic, rhetoric, and other arts and sciences are taught; for such who are only taught the faithful word in this way, are not likely to hold it fast, in a time of temptation; but as he has been taught it experimentally by the Spirit of God; and such an one, who has not only the knowledge of it in his head, but the experience of it in his heart, will hold it, and hold it fast against all opposition.”