Officers of the Church

The Bible allows for only two offices in the local church, Pastor and Deacon. To understand the responsibilities of each office, one would be wise to begin at the "Pastoral Epistles", 1st & 2nd Timothy, and Titus. These books speak most directly to the subject. Before looking at 1st Timothy, let's focus on a common question: "What is the difference between a Pastor, an Elder and a Bishop (the only three biblical terms for leaders of God's church)? In Acts 20:17 and 28 we see the answer. (17)And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church....(28)Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. In speaking to one group of men, the Bible refers to them as Elders (signifying the seniority of the office), Overseers (Greek: Episkopos, the same as Bishop), and feeders of the flock of God (Pastor: notice the resemblance to "pasturer", signifying the responsibility of shepherding the flock). Pastor, Elder and Bishop are all the same office. Notice Paul did not mention the office of deacon. The deacons office is not an office of leadership. It is a wonderful office ordained for service to the church. See Acts 6.

Qualicfications of a Pastor (Elder, Bishop): 1 Timothy 3:1-7

  1. A man--Women are not eligible.
  2. Blameless--No reputation for moral failure.
  3. Husband of one wife--Rules out women, polygamy, and divorced/remarried men.
  4. Vigilant--Watchful; on guard against sin in any form.
  5. Sober--Of sound mind; with desires and passions well regulated.
  6. Of good behaviour--Mannerly; not slovenly or crude; a gentleman.
  7. Given to hospitality--Fond of guests; having desire to care for needs of others.
  8. Apt to teach--Having desire, knowledge and ability to teach.
  9. Not given to wine--Not an associate of wine or of those people who are.
  10. No striker--Not anxious to assault in fighting.
  11. Not greedy of filthy lucre--Not covetous of worldly wealth.
  12. Patient--Appropriate; mild.
  13. Not a brawler--A peaceful man.
  14. Not covetous--Desirous of other men's advantages.
  15. One that ruleth well his own house--His household operates smoothly by his rule.
  16. Having his children in subjection--His children are beneath his rule.
  17. Not a novice--Not a young convert.
  18. Good report of them that are without.--Well respected in the community.

It has been said (and it seems true) that "everything rises and falls on leadership". God give us Pastors who are Biblically qualified for the exalted position they hold.

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