<< Previous | Index | Next >>
                         "ARE YOU THE PASTOR?"


1. "Are you the pastor?" is a question that I am frequently asked...
   a. When people visit our services
   b. When someone calls the church building
   -- A similar question when people learn that I preach:  "What church
      do you pastor?"

2. The questions are well intentioned, but misinformed...
   a. Most people are not aware of the Biblical use of the word "pastor"
   b. Indeed, most "pastors" today are not even qualified to be a pastor
      in the Biblical sense

[If we desire to use Bible words in Bible ways, then we do well to
consider the proper meaning and use of the word "pastor"...]


      1. The English word "pastor" is found only one time in the NT!
         a. Listed along with apostles, prophets, evangelists and
            teachers - Ep 4:11
         b. Interesting how a word found only once has become almost the
            universal term for addressing ministers of any sort!
      2. The Greek word is poimen, and means "a shepherd (literally or
         figuratively): - shepherd, pastor" - Strong
         a. The English word "shepherd" is found seventeen (17) times in
            the NT
         b. Literally, in such passages as Lk 2:8,15,18,20
         c. Figuratively, in such passages as Jn 10:11,14; He 13:20;
            1Pe 2:25
      -- So in Ep 4:11, it means "shepherds" metaphorically; but who
         were they?

      1. The pastors or shepherds in the NT church were the "elders" of
         the congregation
         a. "Compare Ac 20:28, which, with Ac 20:17, indicates that this
            was the service committed to elders (overseers or bishops);
            so also in 1Pe 5:1-2" - Vine
         b. I.e., it was the elders who had the duty to be overseers
            (bishops) and to shepherd (pastor) and feed the flock of God
      2. What the NT reveals is not three distinct offices, but
         different ways to describe the spiritual leaders of a
         congregation and their work:
         a. Elders (Grk., presbuteros, presbyter) for they were older
            men - Ac 14:23; 20:17
         b. Bishops (Grk. episkopos, overseer) for their task was to
            oversee the congregation - cf. Ac 20:28; 1Pe 5:1-2
         c. Pastors (Grk. poimen, shepherd) for their task was to
            shepherd and feed the flock of God - cf. Ac 20:28; 1Pe 5:
      3. The NT also reveals that there was always a plurality of elders
         (pastors) in a congregation
         a. Never just one, but at least two
         b. Which served to prevent one-man rule over a congregation
      -- So the pastors were elders (presbyters), also known as a
         bishops (overseers); but what were their qualifications?

      1. The qualifications for elder-bishop-pastor are found in two
         a. In Paul's instructions to Timothy - 1Ti 3:1-7
         b. In Paul's charge to Titus - Tit 1:5-9
      2. Note that these passages describe what an elder-bishop-pastor
         "must be", including:
         a. The husband of one wife (i.e., a married man)
         b. With believing children (i.e., children who are faithful)
      3. Such qualifications rule out:
         a. Single "pastors"
         b. Childless "pastors"
         c. Female "pastors"
      -- In light of what pastors "must be", many who claim to be
         pastors really aren't pastors in the Biblical sense

[At this point, one may wonder:  "Well, if you are not a pastor, then
what are you and what role do you serve in the church?"  It may
therefore help to consider...]


      1. This word is found three times in the NT
         a. The same place where the word "pastor" is found once - Ep
         b. Philip, one of the original seven appointed to help needy
            widows, was later described as "the evangelist" - Ac 21:8;
            cf. 8:4-5,40
         c. Timothy was charged to do "the work of an evangelist" - 2 Ti
      2. "The term euaggelistes describes a proclaimer of good news
         (gospel, euangelion)." - Ferrell Jenkins, The Early Church
         a. "It is popular in modern times to think of an evangelist as
            one who travels from place to place." - ibid.
         b. "The idea of travel is not inherent in the word evangelist"
            - ibid.
         c. Philip evidently spent twenty years in Caesarea (Ac 8:40;
            21:8); Timothy was charged to remain in Ephesus (1Ti 1:3)
      3. The work of an evangelist in relation to a congregation - ibid.
         a. Preach the word - 2Ti 4:1-5
         b. Put the brethren in mind of truth - 1Ti 4:6
         c. Reprove sinners, including elders if necessary - 1Ti 5:
         d. Set in order, lead in appointing elders, teach
            qualifications - Tit 1:5
         e. Teaching and training of teachers - 2Ti 2:2
         f. Teach against false doctrine and silence false teachers
            - 1Ti 1:3-4; Tit 1:11,13
         g. Set an example for the brethren - 1Ti 4:12; Tit 2:7
         h. Give attention to reading, exhortation, teaching - 1 Ti
            4:13; 2Ti 2:15
      4. The work between that of pastors and evangelists contrasted:
         a. An elder (pastor) is to take heed to self and to the flock
            - Ac 20:28
         b. An evangelist is to take heed to self and to his teaching
            - 1Ti 4:16
      -- An evangelist is not a pastor (unless qualified and appointed
         to serve in a dual role, along with other pastors in the
         congregation), but a minister of the Word of God

      1. This word, or related words (preach, preaching) is found many
         times in the Scriptures
         a. It describes the ministry of John the Baptist - Mt 3:1
         b. It describes the ministry of Jesus - Mt 4:17,23; 9:35
         c. It describes what Philip and Paul did with the gospel - Ac
            8:5; 9:20
         d. It's role in saving souls is emphasized - Ro 10:14-15
         e. Timothy was charge to preach the word - 2Ti 4:2
      2. "The term kerux is used of a herald, messenger, or proclaimer"
         - Jenkins
      -- A preacher, then, would likely be an evangelist, proclaiming
         the gospel of Christ to lost souls; once saved, pastors
         (elders) were to watch over those souls

      1. "This term (Greek, diakonos) describes a servant (1Ti 4:6)."
         - Jenkins
         a. "The term is not limited to the preacher; it is used of
            deacons and other servants (1Ti 3:8,12)." - ibid.
         b. "The preacher is not to be the (only) minister of a church."
            - ibid.
      2. Indeed, all those who serve in some capacity can rightly be
         called ministers
         a. Deacons, of course, because that is what their very name
            means - 1Ti 3:8
         b. Evangelists or preachers, for they are ministers:
            1) Used by God to reach out to the lost - 1Co 3:5
            2) Of the new covenant - 2Co 3:6
            3) Of God - 2Co 6:4; 1Th 3:2
            4) Of Christ - 2Co 11:23; 1Ti 4:6
         c. Those who serve a congregation in some way - Ro 16:1; Col 1:7
      -- Even pastors can rightly be called "ministers", in the sense
         that they serve God and His flock by watching over the flock;
         but a minister is not necessarily a pastor!


1. Who can rightly be called a "pastor" according to the Bible...?
   a. Those elders-bishops, who are charged to shepherd (pastor) the
      flock of God
   b. Those who meet all the qualifications as listed by Paul in 1Ti 3:
      1-7; Tit 1:5-9
   c. Who watch over a congregation not alone, but with a least another
      pastor duly qualified

2. Those often referred to as "pastor" might more properly be thought of
   a. Preachers, evangelists
   b. Teachers, ministers

Such is certainly true in my case, as I serve the Lord as a minister of
the Word and of the gospel of Christ.  Speaking of which, have you heard
the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ...? - Ro 10:14-15
<< Previous | Index | Next >>

Home Page
Have A Bible Question? | Want A Free Bible Study Course? | Looking For A Church Near You?
Want To Talk With Someone By Phone? | Want To Discuss The Bible By Email?
Search The Outlines

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

eXTReMe Tracker