Friday, March 27, 2009

ELDERS, OVERSEERS, AND SHEPHERDS

The Elders, Bishops, Presbyters, Overseers, Shepherds and Pastors are all the same people who meet the same qualifications as outlined in Titus 1:5ff and 1 Timothy 3:1ff. The different terms used for the same office relate to the different aspects of the work. They are "elderly" and are the ones charged with "overseeing" and "shepherding" the flock. Bibletrack.org, a really good Bible study source says the following: "Paul used the terms elders (verse 5), bishops (verse 7), pastors and shepherds to describe the exact same office. Paul included a list of qualifications for this office in I Timothy 3:1-7 (see notes) as well."1 That being the case, why do some denominations have Pastors that don't meet the qualifications? And why do other denominations have Bishops who don't meet the qualifications? Why do most denominations pay no attention to the guidelines for who can be the leaders of the local church? So many questions (See also 1 Peter 5:1,2). The admonition to respect God's word and to not add to it comes to mind.
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1. Elders

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