bishop

1 Timothy 3:1

3:1 bishop. The office of “bishop” (Greek episkope) apparently refers to the same office as that of elder or pastor or overseer. The same word is translated “overseers” in Acts 20:28, in Paul’s address to the Ephesian “elders” (Acts 20:17). Similarly Peter, addressing the “elders” (Greek presbuteros), signifying older men, or at least older in the faith in the churches to whom he was writing, urged them to “feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly;…being ensamples to the flock” (I Peter 5:1-3). The elders thus are shepherds (which is the same word as pastors) to the flock, consisting of the constituents of their local church. By whatever name they were called, each church evidently had one or more “bishops” or “pastors” to teach God’s Word to the people and to oversee the ministry and testimony of the church as a whole. Pastors (Greek poimen—same word as for shepherds) seem to have been those elders who were particularly responsible for teaching the Word to the congregation, feeding the flock with food from the Scriptures. Note “pastors and teachers” in Ephesians 4:11. Also note I Timothy 5:17, speaking both of “elders that rule well” and “especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

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