I know that this subject has been discussed before. But I want to focus on one particular verse in 1Tim.3 that has caught my attention. 1 Timothy 3:7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. To ascertain the meaning of this verse I simply picked three commentaries (usually fairly reliable) from my software program, and quoted what they had to say. (This is the easy and quickest way to do it). Vs.7. a good report--Greek, "testimony." So Paul was influenced by the good report given of Timothy to choose him as his companion (Ac 16:2). of them which are without--from the as yet unconverted Gentiles around (1Co 5:12; Col 4:5; 1Th 4:12), that they may be the more readily won to the Gospel (1Pe 2:12), and that the name of Christ may be glorified. Not even the former life of a bishop should be open to reproach [BENGEL]. (Jamieson, Faucett, and Brown) It is impossible, therefore, for a minister to over-estimate the importance of having a fair character in the view of the world, and no man should be introduced into the ministry, or sustained in it, who has not a fair reputation. Cmt. on Col 4:5; Cmt. on 1Th 4:12. (Barnes) He must be of good reputation among his neighbours, and under no reproach from former conversation; for the devil will make use of that to ensnare others, and work in them an aversion to the doctrine of Christ preached by those who have not had a good report. (Matthew Henry) These older commentaries would disqualify from the pastorate those that do not have a "good report" even before their salvation. Thus if a person was involved in a prolific life: a life of drugs and alcohol, a life of reckless immorality, or definitely anyone with a criminal record, they would be disqualified because they would not have a good report from them that are without--the unsaved; especially if he were to go back to the place where he grew up and those of those community knew he had been involved in a life that demeaned the name of Christ. What qualifies you to be a pastor now? How would the unsaved react to a former life lived in the depths of sin? I think this is the meaning of the verse. What do you think?