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Pastor and Teacher Overview

Overview

Tod Kennedy, November 2014

Scripture References: Ephesians 4.11-14; Acts 20.17,28; 1 Peter 5.1-4; 1 Timothy 5.17;  2 Timothy 2.15; Titus 2.15; 1 Peter 4.10-11; 1 Timothy 3.1-7; Titus 1.5-9

  1. Pastor and teacher or pastor-teacher is the man gifted by God to equip believers for ministry and for the edification of the church (Ephesians 4.11-14). We often shorten the title to pastor, but that includes the teaching  part of the job. This title refers to the position for which he is gifted.
  2. The general profile indicates that he is to study the Word of God and to authoritatively and graciously  teach the Word of God for spiritual growth and application, and to lead, encourage, and protect his own God-given flock.  This will result in believers who are able to minister and participate in the build up of the body of Christ and therefore represent God on earth (Ephesians 4.11-14; Acts 20.17, 28; Romans 12.7; 2 Timothy 2.15; Titus 2.15; 1 Peter 4.10-11; 1 Peter 5.1-4).
  3. There are three terms that refer to the pastor and teacher:
    • "Pastor and teacher" (ποιμην και διδασκαλος) is the working title for the man God gifts to teach, encourage, lead, and protect his flock or congregation. Pastor emphasizes leadership, encouragement, care for, protection, correction.  Teacher emphasizes communication and instruction of the Word of God. Pastor and teacher emphasizes the person and ministries that result from the gifts. The pastor and teacher is also the overseer and elder (Ephesians 4.11; Acts 20.17, 28).
    • The title "overseer" (επισκοπος, guardian, superintendent) is an official title emphasizing the supervisory activity and responsibility (1 Timothy 3.2; Titus 1.7).
    • The  title "elder" (πρεσβυτερος,  elder, older man) is an official title emphasizing the rank, leadership, and responsibility.
    • Both elder and overseer refer to the pastor and teacher as the leader, and both carry authority (1 Timothy 5.17; Titus 1.5; 1 Peter 5.1-4).
  4. The pastor and teacher-elder-overseer seems to be multi-gifted in order to perform God's function. The gifts most apparent are teaching, leadership, encouragement, and administration (Acts 20.28; Ephesians 4.11-12).
    • The office or gift of pastor-teacher has two areas of ministry: teacher (which we all recognize, reasonably understand, and have emphasized) and pastor. The pastor side does several things: Feed, guard, comfort, and lead are the prominent functions. The secondary functions or those that he does when necessary are rescue, heal. The ministry of feeding is the most prominent and most important function of the shepherd. It is listed first and foremost among the other functions in Ezekiel 34, Psalm 23, and John 21 which emphasizes feeding and tending the sheep. John 10 has the same emphasis—the shepherd leads the sheep to pasture. Acts 20 speaks of guarding, and in the context the guarding is done by teaching truth and warning against error.
  5. God gives each pastor and teacher his own specific flock or local church congregation to teach and to shepherd (Acts 20.28; 1 Peter 5.1-4).
  6. Along with this God-given responsibility, God also gives the pastor and teacher the spiritual authority to serve his own congregation. This authority has been delegated from God through the Holy Spirit and the Bible (Ephesians 4.11-16; Acts 20.17-28; 1 Peter 5.1-4; 1 Timothy 5.17; Hebrews 13.17).
  7. The pastor and teacher must be a servant and must not abuse his authority (Matthew 20.25-28; John 13.15-17; 1 Pet 5.3).
  8. The elder, overseer, pastor and teacher must possess unquestioned good character. But he is not more holy than anyone else. All possess sin natures, all have weaknesses, and all fail, yet they are examples (1 Timothy 3.2-7; 4.12; Titus 1.5-9; 2.7; and 1 Peter 5.1-3).
  9. The pastor and teacher must please the Lord, not people; God wants him to equip his congregation (Galatians 1.10; 1 Thessalonians 2.4-6; Ephesians 4.11-12; Titus 2.15).
  10. In day to day life the practice of the pastor and teacher is to study the Bible, from the original languages if possible, and to communicate the content for application; to lead and encourage the church; and  to protect the congregation from bad doctrine and disruptive influences in the church (Acts 20.28-31; Ephesians 4.11-12; Philippians 1.25; 2 Timothy 2.15; 4.2).
  11. 11. Shepherd is used in the Old Testament many times: Isaiah 40.11 depicts the Lord God coming to rescue Israel, and like a shepherd he will tend his flock, protect and care for the lambs, and lead the nursing ewes; Jeremiah 31.10 says that a shepherd keeps or protects his flock—the Lord will do this for Israel; Ezekiel 34 speaks of bad shepherds who fail in their task—they are to feed, strengthen, heal, search for, rescue, protect—of shepherding Israel; Amos 3.12 says that the shepherd snatches a couple of legs or an ear from a lion’s mouth—a picture of attempted rescue; Zechariah 10.2 notes that sheep (Israel) without a shepherd wander and suffer; Isaiah 44.28 calls Cyrus the Lord’s shepherd—a picture of leadership and authority; Psalm 23 has the shepherd feeding, leading, guarding the sheep.
  12. The New Testament further adds that sheep (people) without a shepherd are downcast and distressed (Matthew 9.36); they need to be taught (Mark 6.34); and they scatter (Mark 14.27).
    • John 21.15-17 has the incident when Jesus emphatically told Peter to 1. Keep his mind on his own ministry, not on other people’s ministry, and 2. Feed the sheep. John 21.15 has αγαπαω, φιλεω, βοσκω (βοσκε τα αρνια μου). John 21.16 has αγαπαω, φιλεω, ποιμαινω (ποιμανιετα προβατα μου). John 21.17 has φιλεω, φιλεω, φιλεω, βοσκω (βοσκε τα προβατα μου).
    • Ὅτε οὖν ἠρίστησαν λέγει τῷ Σίμωνι Πέτρῳ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· Σίμων Ἰωάννου, ἀγαπᾷς με πλέον τούτων; λέγει αὐτῷ· ναὶ κύριε, σὺ οἶδας ὅτι φιλῶ σε. * λέγει αὐτῷ· βόσκε τὰ ἀρνία μου. 16 λέγει αὐτῷ πάλιν δεύτερον· Σίμων Ἰωάννου, ἀγαπᾷς με; λέγει αὐτῷ. ναὶ κύριε, σὺ οἶδας ὅτι φιλῶ σε. * λέγει αὐτῷ· ποίμαινε τὰ πρόβατά μου. 17 λέγει αὐτῷ τὸ τρίτον· Σίμων Ἰωάννου, φιλεῖς με; ἐλυπήθη ὁ Πέτρος ὅτι εἶπεν αὐτῷ τὸ τρίτον· φιλεῖς με; καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ· κύριε, πάντα σὺ οἶδας, σὺ γινώσκεις ὅτι φιλῶ σε. * λέγει αὐτῷ [ὁ Ἰησοῦς]· βόσκε τὰ πρόβατά μου. (NA28)
  13. Christ has shepherd titles: Shepherd his people (Israel) in Matthew 2.6; Good shepherd in John 10.10, 14; Great shepherd in Hebrews 13.20; Shepherd and guardian of our souls in 1 Peter 2.25; Great shepherd in 1 Peter 5.4; and in Revelation 7.17 he is the Lamb who is the shepherd over the Tribulation martyrs.
  14. The office or gift of pastor-teacher has two areas of ministry: teacher,  which we recognize, reasonably understand, and have emphasized, and pastor. The pastor side does several things: Feed, guard, comfort, have authority, and lead are the prominent functions. The secondary functions or those that he does when necessary are rescue and heal. The ministry of feeding (teaching people) is the most prominent and most important function of the shepherd. It is listed first and foremost among the other functions in Ezekiel 34. Psalm 23 has the same emphasis—the shepherd leads the sheep to pasture. Acts 20.28-31stresses spiritual protection, and John 21 emphasizes feeding and tending the sheep. John 10 indicates guarding, and in the context the guarding is done by teaching truth and warning against error.
  15. Addendum. The New Testament generally uses elder in plural. Should each local church have a number of elders? This is a topic that is often studied and discussed. We know  from Scripture that the pastor is also an elder. Are there other elders with authority in same local the church? We cannot prove this completely one way or the other. The word overseer is used in the singular and plural. In Philippians 1.1 Paul addresses the overseers and deacons.
    • First, we recognize that the Jewish system of leadership was based on elders for the nation (Acts 4.8, 23; 6.12). The early church in Jerusalem seems to follow this (Acts 11.27-30; 15.4,6,22,23). Paul and Barnabas appointed elders in every church in Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch. This probably refers to the city church at the time (Acts 14.21-23).  James 5.14 says to call the elders. This probably has the background of the Jewish synagogue, culture, and leadership with a number of elders. Moses, Joshua, the Judges, and the Prophets lead and taught with singular authority under the Lord.
    • Second, there were a number of churches in each city and each church had at least one elder pastor overseer.  Paul wrote to Timothy instructing him to correct and strengthen the teachers, the leadership, of the Christians in Ephesus. He specifically mentioned elders and overseers (1 Timothy 3.1-2 (overseer, and 1 Timothy 5.17, elders).  Ephesus was a large city, as was Corinth. In fact, 1 Corinthians 1.2 and 14.34 seem to indicate plural churches in the church at Corinth. The house churches mentioned in Romans 16.5, Colossians 4.15, and 1 Corinthians 16.19 support this.  Ephesus had a population of possibly 500,000 and a coliseum that held 50,000 people. It was the capitol of proconsular Asia. Corinth was the capitol of Achaea. Rome was also a large city. All of this indicates that there were many house churches in these cities. Each would have at least one elder pastor. Titus was to appoint elders in every city on Crete (Titus 1.5).
    • Third, very likely the elders of the city would gather as Luke wrote in Acts 20.17. The church mentioned there would be the geographical church (all the churches in Ephesus). These would be the geographical church elders bishops.
    • Fourth, the Bible generally presents authority resting in an individual and leadership resting in a number of people under that authority, whether one holds to plural elders or singular. We do see the overseer in the singular in 1 Timothy 3.1-2 with deacons in the plural in 1 Timothy 3.8, though this is not determinative.
    • Fifth, in 1 Timothy 5.17 where plural elders are mentioned, this most likely refers to the group of city elders. They all were to rule well and teach, but Paul singles out for double honor those of this group who especially (μάλιστα malista superlative adverb of μάλα mala, meaning most of all, above all, especially, particularly, certainly) work hard at teaching and preaching. A second option is that possibly there were elders in this group who served in the pastoral part of pastor and teacher more than teaching (elders who rule well, προΐστημι proistemi to rule, direct, show concern for, care for, give aid). They also could have double honor, but the hard working teacher is still singled out from this group.  But this still does not prove that there was one elder or multiple elders in one local church.
    • In conclusion, though one cannot be dogmatic, one elder per local church appears to be a better model (the pastor elder bishop). This person would have the spiritual authority and responsibility in one local church—though other men will assist him in the ministry. If there were more than one elder in a local church the Bible does not say how many. Those elders would be under the authority of the  pastor elder bishop. We do know that in the Old Testament there was usually one primary leader authority such as Moses, Joshua, the Judges, and Prophets. Furthermore, experience teaches us that one leader usually rises to preeminence in a group of what many call equals in authority and function.
  16. So what? The pastor elder bishop, whether one or more, should be qualified, called by God, recognized by those he serves, study and teach, and shepherd-lead the flock   designated by God to him—and all done in humility (Ephesians 4.11-16; 1 Peter 5.1-3; 1 Timothy 3.1-7; 5.17; Titus 1.5-9).

 

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Thursday, February 9, 2017