Scripture Revealed

A Revelation of Jesus Christ – Revelation 1:1

Category: Leadership

The Elders

The Elders

The Ordination of Elders – Painting by John Henry Lorimer (1856–1936)

According to the Bible, the focal point all church leadership is the elder.  But who, according to the Bible, is an elder?  Well, an elder is one of a number of biblically qualified men who jointly shepherd and oversee a local body of believers.  The word that is translated “elder” is used almost twenty times in the book of Acts and the epistles.

The Office of Elder

There are numerous passages in the New Testament that indicate that the words “elder” (presbyter), “overseer” (episkopos), and “pastor” (poimen) all refer to the same group of men or office.  Some think that overseers and pastors are distinct from elders, but this is not the case.  All of these terms are simply different ways of identifying the same group of men.  There is a parallel between the qualifications for a bishop (episkopos) in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and those for an elder (presbuteros) in Titus 1:6-9.  Paul uses both terms to refer to the same man (presbuteros in 1 Tim.

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Teachers hold a critical place within the New Testament Church. The scriptures mention “teachers” often, sometimes reminding them of their grave responsibilities. Paul, the Apostle, the writer of over half of the New Testament was certainly one of the fore most teachers. Paul had this to say to the Corinthian Church:

 

 

 

1 Corinthians 12:27-29 (KJV) – “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?

Here in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 Paul is teaching what comprises “the body of Christ”. “Teachers” are the third group of church members mentioned. Then Paul asks a rhetorical question: “Are all teachers?”.

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touch-not-my-anointedThis is the fifth in a series of articles on “Leadership, Authority, and Submission”. The first article was entitled Jesus – The Chief Shepherd. It discussed the often misapplication of 1 Samuel 15:22-23. The second article was entitled The Hebrews 13:17 Dilemma. The third article was entitled Romans Chapter 13 – Which Power? Next in this series, we explored what 1 Peter 5:5 teaches who submission to authority – Who Is Subject To Whom This article explores just who’s got the anointing.

What do the scriptures have to say about the subjects of authority and submission? Well, Jesus had a lot to say about spiritual leadership. He said that leaders in the church should be servants. Christian leaders should not act as gentiles who “lord it over” people. A good example of this principle is found in Matthew chapter 20.

Matthew 20:25-28 (KJV) – “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

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This is the fourth in a series of articles on “Leadership, Authority and Submission”. The first article was entitled Jesus – The Chief Shepherd. It discussed the often misapplication of 1 Samuel 15:22-23. The second article was entitled The Hebrews 13:17 Dilemma. The third article was entitled Romans Chapter 13 – Which Power?

What do the scriptures have to say about the subjects of authority and submission? Well, Jesus had a lot to say about spiritual leadership. He said that leaders in the church should be servants. Christian leaders should not act as gentiles who “lord it over” people. A good example of this principle is found in Matthew chapter 20.

Matthew 20:25-28 (KJV) – “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.



Continue Reading...

 

This is the third in a series of articles on the subject of “Leadership, Authority and Submission”. The first article was entitled Jesus – The Chief Shepherd. It discussed the often misapplication of 1 Samuel 15:22-23. The second article was entitled The Hebrews 13:17 Dilemma.

What do the scriptures have to say about the subjects of authority and submission? Well, Jesus had a lot to say about spiritual leadership. He said that leaders in the church should be servants. Christian leaders should not act as gentiles who “lord it over” people. A good example of this principle is found in Matthew chapter 20.

Matthew 20:25-28 (KJV) – “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.



Continue Reading...

 

This is the second in a series on the subject of “Leadership, Authority and Submission”. The first article was entitled Jesus – The Chief Shepherd.  It discussed the often misapplication of 1 Samuel 15:22-23.

What do the scriptures have to say about the subjects of authority and submission? Well, Jesus had a lot to say about spiritual leadership. He said that leaders in the church should be servants. Christian leaders should not act as gentiles who “lord it over” people. A good example of this principle is found in Matthew chapter 20.

 

 

Matthew 20:25-28 (KJV) – “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

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This is the first in a series on the subject of “Leadership, Authority and Submission” in the “Church” that Jesus Christ established.

Two Different Systems of Governance

As a college student, I attended one of our nation’s federal military academies. After graduating I served on active duty in the U.S. Coast Guard for twenty-two years. The military system of governance is a top-down command and control structure. Today’s military is still structured very much like that of the Roman Army that occupied Palestine during the time of Jesus. Having been part of a military governance system, I am familiar with the subject of leadership, authority and submission from a worldly perspective. Also having been a Christian for over thirty-three years I am familiar with the concept of Biblical leadership, authority and submission within the Church. What I have concluded is that the two systems are very different, or at least should be.

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Before preparing this article I had never heard of “shepherding.” What exactly is “shepherding”? What does “shepherding” have to do with the subject of authority and submission? The teachings of this movement focus upon accountability, obedience, and submission to spiritual authority. However “shepherding” equates the authority of and submission to a leader to the authority of God. The religious leader’s voice is equated with the voice of God. Those who disagree with the religious leader are seen as in rebellion to God. This movement teaches that religious leaders provide a “covering” for their congregation. Step out from under the “covering” and you expose yourself to the full attack of the devil. At least that is what is taught. The question then becomes: is this teaching supported by scripture?

This type of teaching is common in some religious circles. There is a love of invoking Old Testament (O.T.) imagery.

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