The Elder in the Church

by Matt Slick

  1. The Term "Elder"
    1. PRESBUTEROS--elder, an old man, a leader in the church.  The term is used
      1. of the elder of two persons (Luke 15:25, or more, John 8:9).
      2. of a person advanced in age (Acts 2:17; in Heb. 11:2).
      3. of the forefathers in Israel (Matt. 15:2; Mark 7:3, 5).
      4. of members of the Sanhedrin (Matt. 16:21; 26:47).
      5. of those who managed public affairs in the various cities (Luke 7:3).
      6. of those who were the heads or leaders of the tribes and families, as of the seventy who helped Moses (Num. 11:16; Deut. 27:1). This included:
        1. acting as judges in apprehending murderers (Deut. 19:12).
        2. conducting inquests (Deut. 21:2).
        3. settling matrimonial disputes (Deut. 22:15; 25:7).
        4. If theirs was a city of refuge, they also heard pleas for asylum (Joshua 20:4).
      7. of those qualified by the Holy Spirit who exercised spiritual care and oversight of the local congregation.
    2. EPISKOPOI--overseers, bishops
      1. Titus equates bishop and elder in Titus 1:5-9.
  2. Regarding the Office:
    1. The office of Elder is a divinely appointed office as defined in the Pastoral Epistles.
    2. Elders are apparently appointed by the laying on of hands (1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6).
    3. Should receive double honor in the church (1 Tim. 5:17).
    4. The pastor is an elder (1 Peter 5:1-3).
    5. The pastor is an elder who preaches and/or teaches (1 Tim. 5:17).
      1. The pastor (elder) is to equip the body of Christ (Eph. 4:11-13).
    6. Must be a man (1 Tim. 2:9-13).
      1. All uses of "elder" are in the masculine except for 1 Tim. 5:2 where it means older women.
  3. The Responsibilities of Elders in the NT Church:
    1. Must shepherd the flock (1 Peter 5:2).
    2. Must voluntarily exercise oversight upon the flock (1 Peter 5:2).
    3. Must live as examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:3).
    4. Anoint and pray for the sick (James 5:14).
    5. They have the tasks of teaching (1 Tim. 5:17; Titus 1:5, 9).
    6. They have the tasks of acting as judges (Acts 15:2, 6, 22-29; 16:4).
  4. Qualifications for an elder
    1. Must be above reproach (Titus 1:6; 1 Tim. 3:2)
    2. Husband of one wife (Titus 1:6; 1 Tim. 3:2).
    3. Household must be in order with children who believe (Titus 1:6 ;1 Tim. 3:4).
    4. Not a new convert (1 Tim. 3:6).
    5. Self controlled and temperate (Titus 1:7; 1 Tim. 3:2).
    6. Honorable, hospitable, seeking good (Titus 1:7).
    7. Have a good reputation (1 Tim. 3:7).
    8. Not addicted to wine (1 Tim. 3:3).
    9. Not greedy (1 Tim. 3:3).
    10. Able to exhort (teach) sound doctrine (Titus 1:9; 1 Tim. 3:2).
    11. Able to refute false teaching (Titus 1:9).
    12. They must be ready to earn their own living if necessary (Acts 20:17, 33-35).

 

 

 

 
 
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