Tags

, , , , , , ,

The church today should be patterned after the church one reads about in the New Testament. This is not to say those who identify as Christians and are a part of a church should pattern themselves after the behavior, for instance, of the Corinthians. But it is to say, the church we read about in the New Testament was set up by the Lord, taught to others by His apostles (cf. 2 Tim. 2:2), and established in communities where they taught.

Are you aware the word “bishop”, “overseer”, “pastor”, “presbyter” and “elder” are different words that speak to the same thing? A bishop is an overseer, one who oversees the work of the congregation and the spiritual health of the saints. A pastor is a shepherd, one who feeds the flock (or the congregation) their spiritual nourishment. In Acts 20:17-35, Paul called for the elders (presbuteros; presbyters) of the church (20:17) to Miletus to visit with him for some exhortations. The elders are also identified as overseers (KJV, NASB; “bishops”: ASV), called upon to shepherd (pastor) the congregation in their care (20:28).

Each church patterned after the New Testament are to have holy men lead as bishops, elders, pastors, presbyters, or overseers (note the plural) of the local congregation (Acts 14:23). Each congregation is autonomous, that is, self-governing. They are not ruled or overseen by another congregation or religious board in some other location. In addition to elders, the local congregation is to have deacons (Phil. 1:1); these are holy men with families serving the congregation in works associated with the congregation’s spiritual health.

In 1 Tim. 3:11, the Holy Spirit identifies women, without giving them a “title” or work assignment. Some translations, taking note of that, will render the Greek word with the English “wives”, and of course this fits contextually. On the other hand, it may be the sister saints have a work that is, otherwise, not identified in a corresponding way as “elder” or “deacon.” If that is so, their work falls under the leadership of the bishops of the congregation or, perhaps, they may work alongside the deacons, giving attention to the sisters of the church for practicality and propriety reasons.