Note: You may wish to do a preliminary study of the church before continuing this study.
The Leadership of the Church--Elders/Bishops/Pastors
Prepared by Bob Young
Page may be copied and used for teaching purposes with appropriate credit noted
In the New Testament, a fully organized church had elders as overseers, Acts 14:23; Tit. 1:5; Phil. 1:1 (note plurality).
- A. Presbuteros (Greek) -- presbyter, elder
- B. Episkopos (Greek) -- bishop, overseer, Acts 20:28; 1 Tim. 3:8. An overseer, a person charged with the duty of seeing the things done by others are done rightly. A superintendent.
- C. Poimen (Greek) -- pastor, Eph. 4:11. An herdsman, especially a shepherd; an overseer of Christian assemblies. This word is translated pastor and shepherd. In the New Testament, the word "pastor" never refers to a preacher.
- A. Oversee or superintend, Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:1-3
- B. To feed the flock, Acts 20:28
- C. To be examples, 1 Pet. 5:1-3
- D. To rule, 1 Tim. 5:17
- E. To watch for the souls of the flock, Heb. 13:17
- F. To watch for a protect against wolves, Acts. 20:17, 28-31
3. Duties of members toward elders
- A. To honor, 1 Tim. 5:17
- B. Receive not an accusation, except...., 1 Tim. 5:19; Matt 18
- C. Follow their faith (imitate), Heb. 13:7
- D. Obey them and submit to them, Heb. 13:17
- E. Pray for them
4. Qualifications, Characteristics, Qualities
The areas of concern for the church in the first century included at least the following eight areas: the leader's marriage and family, self-mastery or self-control, hospitality, teaching ability, temper and temperament (character), attitudes (especially toward money), spiritual maturity, and reputation with outsiders.
Another helpful and memorable outline includes four areas.
- A. Attitudes: willing, but not overeager, 1 Tim. 3:1; 1 Pet. 5:2
- B. Experience: 1 Tim. 3:6; experienced domestically and spiritually
- C. Reputation: Tit. 1:6, 1 Tim. 3:2; Tit. 1:7; 1 Tim. 3:7
- D. Character qualifications (1 Tim. 3 and Titus 1)
Lover of good
Not self-willed or stubborn
Not soon angry
No lover of money
Given to hospitality
- Apt to teach, 1 Tim. 3:2
- Holding fast the faithful word, Tit. 1:9
- Able to convince the gainsayer
- Good knowledge of the scripture to feed, exhort, teach, and be an example
- Having sound doctrine