Dictionary of Terms


  1. Authority--The right to delegate, name, assign, send, correct, establish.
  2. Bishop--See Overseer.
  3. Complementarianism--the position that men and women hold different offices and have different gifts and use them to complement each other in the service of God.
  4. Deacon--someone who serves within the church.  The word is used as an office as well as general service.
  5. Dominion--The right of rule and governing.
  6. Egalitarianism--the position that men and women have no inherent differences that would disqualify either one from holding offices within the church.
  7. Elder--an older man.  A man appointed to oversee the congregation.  Most probably this office is derived from Num. 11:16-17, 24-25.  Elders are to be male per Titus 1:5-7, "For this reason I left you in Crete, that you might set in order what remains, and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man be above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward . . . "
  8. Federal Headship--Loosely, that the male represents his decedents.  It is also the teaching that Adam was the representative of mankind, and that Jesus represented his people on the cross.
  9. Feminism--The movement advocating equality of women with men in all areas:  social, political, familial, ecclesiastically, etc.
  10. Overseer--An overseer, a guardian.  Greek 'episkopos' and is rendered also as Bishop.  The Overseer must be a man per 1 Tim. 3:1-2, "It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. 2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach . . . "
  11. Pastor--a person who shepherds the Christian congregation.  The Greek word "poimen" occurs 18 times in scripture and is translated as shepherd 17 times and pastor one time.  A pastor, which is both a gift from God and an office in the church, is also an elder per 1 Tim. 5:17, "Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching."  Notice that this verse connects eldership with preaching.  Pastors preach; hence, pastors are elders.
  12. Primogeniture--The biblical position that the firstborn son retains a more significant place in the family than would his siblings regarding inheritance and authority.
  13. Submission--to yield to another, to give over power and/or authority.  Submission is voluntary where obedience is required.

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.