In 1 Timothy 3, at the end of the list of qualifications for an “overseer,” there is listed the qualification that “he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:7). By my reading, “outsiders” would be people outside the church, that is non-Christians. Now, it would seem to me a bit strange that a qualification for a leader in a church is that they are well-respected by non-Christians, in light of the fact that Jesus promises that Christians will be hated because of their love for Him (Matt 10:22, 24:9), that James cautions against friendship with the world (James 4:4), and that the Gospel is said to be foolishness to those who are perishing (1 Cor 1:18).
My question is, as you read 1 Timothy 3:7, do you see a difficulty in understanding why Paul would commend that as a qualification for an overseer? If so, why do you think Paul included in the list of qualifications? If you don’t see a difficulty, what do you perceive to be the Biblical perspective on being respected by the world?