Choosing a Pastor
Church Leadership in the New Testament, Part 2
Bishops and Deacons, I Tim. 3:1-
When Jesus prophesied that He would “build His church” (Matt. 16:18), He left us with instructions for how this task was to be accomplished. The Bible gives us guidelines for the growth and leadership of His growing church.
There are two offices in the New Testament church, elders or bishops and deacons
(I Tim. 3:1-
“Elder” (presbuteros, ) means an “older man.” “Bishop” (episkopos, ) means “overseer” and is translated as such in Acts 20:28. They designate the same office. “Elder refers to the man (assumed to be older, not a novice or neophyte, I Tim. 3:6) and “bishop” or “overseer” refers to one of his functions.
The title of bishop has fallen into disuse in fundamental circles of today, probably
because of the misuse of the position in Church history. The word seems to do little
for us in the way of definition. “Overseer” is self-
There are other elders mentioned in the Bible. In the Old Testament these were usually the elders of Israel or sometimes elders of various cities. The Synoptic Gospels and Acts contain references to elders that usually refer to the elders of the Jews such as Matthew 11:27, “the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders.” Revelation mentions the 24 elders. None of these are relevant to the requirements for the church elder of today and will not be discussed in this study.
The other office is that of a deacon (diakonos, , one who renders service).
The qualifications are stated in I Tim. 3:8-
The Biblical norm was to have a plurality of elders. The following verses clearly present this fact.
Acts 11:30 -
Acts 14:23 -
Acts 15:2,22,23 -
Acts 16:4 -
Acts 20:17 -
Acts 21:18 -
Phil. 1:21 -
Titus 1:5 -
Some churches of today make a distinction between the pastor and the elders. There is usually no contention about multiple elders until it is realized that the elder of Titus 1:5, is the pastor/teacher of Eph. 4:11 and that we should have more than one in each local assembly. What evidence is there for this assertion?
The word “pastor” used in Eph. 4:11, literally means “shepherd” and is the same word commonly translated such (poimen, ). Acts 20:28 records Paul’s parting exhortation to the elders (presbuteros) of the church at Ephesus (v17). He instructs them to take heed to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost had made them overseers (episkopos), to feed (verb form, poimen, shepherd, pastor) the church of God. This passage ties in the overseer function and the pastor or shepherd function to the elders. The context also includes the teaching and rebuking functions mentioned in the first chapter of Titus.
A similar passage is I Pet. 5. Here we see Peter exhorting the elders of a number of churches that resulted from the dispersion (1:1; 5:1). In verse 2 he tells them to “feed” the flock of God. “Feed” here is “poimen” the verb form of “shepherd,” taking the “oversight” (participle form of episkopos) thereof. Again we see the words and functions assumed to be that of the elder. Verse 4 speaks of Jesus, the chief Shepherd (poimen with a prefix) and I Pet. 2:25 speaks of Jesus as the Shepherd (poimen) and Bishop (episkopos) of our souls.
Back Index Home Forward
|Spanish-Am I Going to Heaven?|
|French-Am I Going to Heaven?|
|Russian-Am I Going to Heaven?|
|Chinese-Am I Going to Heaven?|
|Divorce and Remarriage|
|David and Bathsheba|
|Sin - Index|
|Repentance Word Study|
|Confession of Sin|
|Lukewarm Rev 3|
|4 Soils End Notes|
|Revelation Church Chart|
|Telling the Gift of God|
|1 Corinthians 12|
|1 Corinthians 13:8|
|Handbook of Personal Evangelism|
|Chinese PE Book|
|Spanish PE Book|
|Church Marquee Signs|
|Dead To Sin|
|Bible Knowledge Quiz|
|Lessons from Noah's Ark|
|Noah and the Government|
|Parody of Footprints|