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Published byAriel Tootle Modified over 8 years ago
In this lesson, we shall study what the Bible says regarding elders/presbyters, bishops/overseers, and pastors/shepherds. When considering this office, we should understand that three Greek words (which are translated into six English words) describe this office.
Presbuteros, translated “a presbyter” or “an elder,” identifies one who is “an older person, one advanced in life.” Episkopos, translated “a bishop” or “an overseer,” identifies “a superintendent, one who sees that things are done properly.” Poimen, translated “a pastor” or “a shepherd,” identifies one who does in the church what a shepherd does for a flock of sheep.
From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders [Greek: presbuteros] of the church. “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers [Greek: episkopos], to shepherd [Greek: verb form of poimen] the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders [Greek: presbuteros] in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer [Greek: episkopos] must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self- willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain,
Therefore, I exhort the elders [Greek: presbuteros] among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd [Greek: verb form of poimen] the flock of God among you, exercising oversight [Greek: variation of episkopos] not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;
It must also be noted that, according to the New Testament pattern, a plurality of elders should be found in every church (Acts 14:23; 20:17; Phil. 1:1). Any attempt to ignore this pattern is a mark of digression. A plurality affords strength and security (Eccles. 4:9-12).
A Popularity Contest A “Figurehead” Position A “Lordship” Station A Universal Office
A Place of Rule A Place of Work A Place of Watching A Place of Example
In this lesson, we have considered what the eldership is and is not. The work of elders reflects the care, compassion and commission of Christ – who is the Shepherd [Greek: poimen] and Guardian [Greek: episkopos] of our souls (1 Peter 2:21- 25). Let us both appreciate and appropriate God’s pattern of congregational oversight.
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