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The New Testament Offices

Office of Overseer

A study of New Testament Offices and the Office of Overseer.

 

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Section One

Introduction

1.1 New Testament Offices. The New Testament Church Offices include Apostle, Overseer and Deacon, and perhaps others.  This study concerns only the Church Office of Overseer.  Because God inspired each word in the original autographs of the Scriptures, we must pay special attention to those Holy Words to understand God’s revelation to us regarding church offices. We must also ignore traditions outside the Scriptures to avoid those traditions blinding us to spiritual truth found in the Scriptures. If the Scriptures confirm common church practices or traditions, then we should continue those practices and traditions. If the Scriptures contradict those practices and traditions, the practices and traditions must be changed to conform to the Scriptures. God revealed the Scriptures, not the traditions and practices in the local church. The Scriptures must always be primary in setting the church in order.

Section Two

Basics of Church Offices

2.1 What Is a Church Office? God established offices in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. At Pentecost following the Ascension of Jesus, God created the Church when Jesus baptized believers with the Holy Spirit and those saints became part of His body, the church. At that same instant, God Created Church Offices. Church Offices referred to a position God created for leadership of the church. Each Church Office held its own spiritual qualifications and each Church Office served particular needs of the church. Saints were set down into each particular Church Office.  

We should be careful to distinguish the Old Testament Office from the Church Office. Consider the following points about offices. In the points below, I am using the the term Old Testament to refer to the 39 Books of the Old Testament and the term New Testament to 27 Books of the New Testament. Please do not confuse the New Testament with the church because the New Testament covers a period of time greater than the time of the church. Please keep in mind that the church did not start until Pentecost, and many things had happened in the New Testament before that date.

God created the office of overseer in the Old Testament.
In the Old Testament many elders were unbelievers.

In the Old Testament the term elder did not describe an office and was never used interchangeably with the term overseers. 

ln the Old Testament elders had well defined duties, including guidance, leadership, and acting as civil magistrates.

ln the Old Testament many unbelievers held the office of overseer, just like Judas Iscariot did in the New Testament.

God continued the office of overseer in the New Testament. 

ln the New Testament Jesus began baptizing believers into the Body of Christ (the Church).

ln the New Testament each Church Office had particular functions.

ln the New Testament each Church Office has a plurality of equal members.

In the New Testament God created the Church Office of Overseer. 

ln the New Testament God recognized all old male saints as church elders, just like all old males in the Old Testament were called elders.

ln the New Testament God never created a Church Office of Elder.

ln the New Testament church elders took on new ministries.

Church Offices should not be confused with spiritual gifts.

Church Overseers perform shepherding duties, but Church Overseers do not necessarily possess The Spiritual Gift of the Shepherds.

Anyone may aspire to be a Church Overseer, but only God distributes The Spiritual Gift of the Shepherds as He sees fit. 

Unbelievers like Judas Iscariot may hold an office, but no unbeliever could meet the spiritual qualifications of Church Overseer.

Unbelievers never receive a spiritual gift, because Jesus never baptized unbelievers with the Holy Spirit, and so they never became a member of the church, the Body of Christ.

Section Three 

The Office of Overseer in the Old Testament

3.1 Office of Overseer. In Acts 1:20 Peter said the Judas Iscariot held the Old Testament Office of Overseer (ἐπισκοπὴν), and he quoted Psalm 109:8 using the Hebrew term (פְּקֻדַּ֕ת) for the Old Testament Office of Overseer. Therefore, God provided clear evidence that the Office of Overseer was well known in the Old Testament. For example, Potiphar made Joseph overseer of his house (Genesis 39:4). In turn, Joseph told Pharaoh to make overseers (פְּקִדִ֖ים) over the land of  Egypt (Genesis 41:34).  Other people also became overseers, and the overseer had set duties as part of his position. A few examples provide insight into the Office of Overseer in the Old Testament.

3.2 Eleazer. Eleazer, the son of Aaron,  held the office of overseer (פְּקֻדַּ֕ת–noun feminine singular) and his duties included overseeing other priests (Numbers 3:32; 1 Chronicles 26:30, 2 Chronicles 24:11).

and Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest was the chief of the leaders of Levi, and overseer of those who perform the duties of the sanctuary.

Numbers 3:32

3.3  Hashabiah. Hashabiah and his relatives, 1,700 capable men, held the office of overseer (פְּקֻדַּ֕ת–noun feminine singular) over Israel west of the Jordan.

As for the Hebronites, Hashabiah and his relatives, 1,700 capable men, overseer over Israel west of the Jordan, for all the work of Yahweh and the service of the king.

1 Chronicles 26:30

3.4 Joash and the Money ChestIn the days of King Joash, the chest containing the daily payments of the people of Israel would be brought to overseer (פְּקֻדַּ֕ת–noun feminine singular) of the king by hand of the Levites.

When they saw much silver, then came scribe of the king and overseer of the high priest and emptied the chest and took it and returned it its place; thus they did day to day and gathered much money.

2 Chronicles 24:11

3.5 Judas Iscariot. In the New Testament, Judas held the Old Testament Office of Overseer and had the oversight of the money box.

Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.

John 12:6

For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast”; or else, that he should give something to the poor.

John 13:29

Therefore, it appears from the Old Testament usage of the term  overseer ( פְּקֻדַּ֕ת) that the New Testament term overseer (ἐπισκοπὴν) refers to a particular an Office of Overseer with particular duties assigned to that office.  The oversight given to Judas Iscariot was watching the money box and following the directions of Jesus about how to spend the money (see 2 Chronicles 24:11). Please keep in mind that Judas Iscariot was never a Church Overseer because Judas Iscariot died before the church began at Pentecost following the Ascension of Jesus. 

Section Four

Basic Facts about the Church Office of Overseer

4.1 Fact One. A great deal of confusion has arisen about elders, overseers and deacons. The New Testament provides more clarity that many people realize. We can bring clarity by following the basic facts of New Testament leadership. Judas Iscariot held the office (τὴν ἐπισκοπὴν) of apostle. When he died, the office of apostle needed to be filled by another person meeting the right qualifications to hold that office (Acts 1:20–quoting Psalm 109:8).

4.2 Fact Two. Judas Iscariot, an unbeliever, was chosen by Jesus to hold the Old Testament Office of Overseer. He never held the Church Office of Overseer. The office Judas held was known in the Psalms (פְּ֝קֻדָּת֗וֹ–his office–Psalm 109:8) and dated back to Moses (Numbers 3:32). The concept of the office was not a new thing in the New Testament, but the Church began at Pentecost, and so began the Church Office of Overseer. At the moment Jesus baptized the new saints with the Holy Spirit, they received at least one spiritual gift. At Pentecost, when Jesus baptized the twelve apostles with the Holy Spirit, they left their Old Testament Office of Overseer and immediately entered the Church Office of Overseer. The duties of the Old Testament Office of Overseer which Judas Iscariot held included looking after the money box and following the orders of Jesus regarding money (John 12:6; 13:29).  I found no verse indicating that the term “elders” in the Old Testament was interchangeable with the term “overseer.” No doubt some elders were overseers in the Old Testament, but some elders were not overseers. Likewise, some overseers were not elders in the Old Testament. The Office of Overseer was well known in the Old Testament and the meaning did not change in the New Testament. Clear proof in the New Testament would be required to show the meaning and function of the term overseer changed radically in the New Testament.

4.3 Fact Three. Priests and others were appointed to the Office of Overseer in the Old Testament (examples include: Eleazar held the Office of Overseer over priests, overseeing other priests–Numbers 3:32; Hashabiah and his 1700 men held the Office of Overseer of Israel  of West of the Jordan–1 Chronicles 26:30). The particular office came with particular duties.

4.4 Fact Four. Elders exercised leadership and authority over civil matters in the Old Testament by applying revelation in the form of law, commandments, ordinances, etc. from God to resolve disputes (see Scripture Words). Moses called all the elders of Israel (Exodus 12:21). 1Moses called the elders of Israel to him (לְכָל־זִקְנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל), indicating a specific group of people. The elders of Israel had administrators over them (Numbers 11;16). 2The elders had administrators  (שׁוֹטֵר–participle singular) over them (יֹּ֨אמֶר יְהוָ֜ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֗ה אֶסְפָה־לִּ֞י שִׁבְעִ֣ים אִישׁ֮ מִזִּקְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵל֒ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יָדַ֔עְתָּ כִּי־הֵ֛ם זִקְנֵ֥י הָעָ֖ם וְשֹׁטְרָ֑יו וְלָקַחְתָּ֤ אֹתָם֙ אֶל־אֹ֣הֶל מֹועֵ֔ד וְהִֽתְיַצְּב֥וּ שָׁ֖ם עִמָּֽךְ׃ (Numbers 11:16). The elders sat in the city gate and rendered legal decisions (for example, Deuteronomy 22:15; Joshua 20:4). 

4.5 Fact Five. The New Testament provides qualifications for overseers (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9) and deacons (1 Timothy 3:8-13), but never mentions qualifications to be an elder.

4.6 Fact Six. God set some elders to become Church Overseers, so that some elders came to hold the Church Office of Overseer (see the discussion of Titus 1 below). Not all New Testament elders held the Church Office of Overseer, but only the elders set to hold the Church Office of Overseer. This plan followed the pattern of Old Testament offices.

4.7 Fact Seven. The Church Office of Overseer required occupants to be apt to teach, distinguishing them from deacons (some deacons, like Philip and Stephen, also taught). Some elders led and taught (see the discussion of 1 Timothy 5:17 below).

4.8 Fact Eight. Anyone could aspire to be an overseer (1 Timothy 3:1).

4.9 Fact Nine. Elders do not rule, but they must lead (προεστῶτες) (1 Timothy 5:17).

4.10 Fact Ten. In the Old Testament, the Office of Overseer meant a sphere of particular responsibility of oversight over a given group of people.

4.11 Fact Eleven. In Titus 1:7, some elders were set into the Church Office of Overseer. Only those particular elders became Overseers. Other elders continued to labor in the church, but did not hold teh Church Office of Overseer.

4.12. Fact Twelve. All people holding the Church Office of Overseer were elders, but not all elders held the Church Office of Overseer, just like not all elders in the Old Testament held the Old Testament Office of Overseer.

4.13. Fact Thirteen. Deacons are not all elders, but they do hold the Church Office of Deacons.

I understand that people will take exception to the facts I described above, but the evidence flows from the text itself, not tradition. Let me know what facts you dispute by email to friend@ChristAssembly.org.

Section Five

The  Placement of Church Overseers

5.1 Elder and Officers. In the New Testament some elders became Church Officers. Many other elders never became Church Officers. The New Testament describes various aspects of how the Holy Spirit placed some elders into the Church Office of Overseer. God revealed New Testament practices related to placing Church Overseers into the Body of Christ.

5.2 Setting Elders. As Paul traveled to Jerusalem, knowing chains awaited him there, Paul called the Ephesian elders to Miletus to meet with him (Acts 20:28). Paul commanded those elders to to take heed to themselves and to all the flock in whom the Holy Spirit has set them as overseers. Please take notice that the Holy Spirit set those elders as overseers of the flock. Those particular elders became Church Overseers, because the Holy Spirit set them into the flock as overseers. They were elders in the flock (ἐν ᾧ) and then the Holy Spirit set them (ἔθετο) into the flock as overseers (ἐπισκόπους)  to shepherd (ποιμαίνειν) the church of God (τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ θεοῦ), which He purchased with His own blood (perfect proof of the deity of Jesus). This verse provides much useful information about the Church Office of Overseer and clears up much confusion.

5.3 The Means of Setting Elders into the Church. In the New Testament, God used three basic terms to describe setting elders into the local assembly as Church Overseers. Three passages provide direct evidence about how elders were placed into the Church Office of Overseers. Those passages help us understand various aspects of the Church Office of Overseer.

5.3.1  Set (ἔθετο). In Acts 20:28, the Holy Spirit set some elders into the Church Office of Overseer. 3The verb set (ἔθετο–aorist middle indicative, 3s) comes from the root τίθημι and means to set in place within a larger arrangement

Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit set you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

Acts 20:28

The Holy Spirit set some elders into the Church Office of Overseer. 4God used the term ἔθετο to describe the movement of specific elders into the Church Office of Overseer. God used the the aorist tense (ἔθετο) here to describe finality of setting in place, with continuing action once set in place. To understand the use of the term ἔθετο in Acts 20:28, we may review other pertinent other uses. In Acts 1:7 the Father set ( ἔθετο) times and seasons. In Acts 12:4 Herod had Peter arrested and then set (ἔθετο) him into prison. In Acts 19:21 Paul set (ἔθετο) in the Holy Spirit to go to Jerusalem. In 1 Corinthians 12:18 God set (ἔθετο) the members in the body, each one of them in the body as He desired. In 1 Corinthians 12:28 God  set (ἔθετο) some in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, and the list continues. In 1 Thessalonians 5:9 God has not set (ἔθετο) us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through the Lord of us, Jesus Christ. God set specific elders into the Church Office of Overseer and they became Church Overseers. The Holy Spirit had a specific purpose for those Church Overseers: to shepherd the church. 5The use of ποιμαίνειν as a present active infinitive emphasized the continuing, active purpose of the Church Overseers to shepherd. The Holy Spirit did not create elders that day. He set some men who were already elders as Church Overseers. God did not set elders to become shepherds, but to do the work of shepherds. While one may argue that all people who shepherd can be called shepherds, the New Testament describes The Spiritual Gift of The Shepherds.  Therefore, the term ἔθετο describes placing something into a particular place, as part of a greater arrangement.  The emphasis is that God puts specific things in place, as part of an arrangement of the greater thing. So, God set some elders into the body of Christ as overseers. Elders were set  into the Church Office of Church Overseers. The church has many elders, but only some elders are set into the body as Church Overseers (placed into the greater arrangements). 6Consider 1 Corinthians 12:28. God was not emphasizing that the creation of apostles, prophets, teachers, pastors, miracles, gifts of healings, helps, navigations, kinds of tongues; God emphasized He set the pre-existing gifts into the body of Christ as He willed. God emphasized movement into a particular place within the body of Christ. In other words, God did not emphasize the creation of the eye, but He set the eye in the right place in the body Therefore, God set elders into the Church Office of Overseer in each church. The place for each Church Overseer depended upon the tasks assigned to them, the particular function they were to fulfill. Yet, all elders holding the Church Office of Overseer hold a common duty to shepherd the church, among other specific duties. The twelve apostles all held the Church Office of Apostle after Pentecost, and they all had a duty to testify about Jesus as eyewitnesses, but they also had more specialized duties, such as overseeing the money box.

5.3.2 Set Down (καταστήσῃς). In Titus 1:5, Paul commanded Titus to set down elders in every city.

For this reason I left you in Crete, that you may set in order what remains and may set down elders in every city as I directed you,

Titus 1:5

Paul used the term “may set down” to describe Titus setting down the elders into the Church Office of Overseer. 7Paul used the term καταστήσῃς (aorist active subjunctive, second person singular from καθίστημι. Paul was concerned about the things lacking in the churches of Crete. Paul explained that he left Titus that he (1) may set in order the things lacking; and (2)  may set down  elders in every city; and (3) may complete the tasks as Paul directed him. 8The text provides: Τούτου χάριν ἀπέλιπόν σε ἐν Κρήτῃ, ἵνα τὰ λείποντα ἐπιδιορθώσῃ καὶ καταστήσῃς κατὰ πόλιν πρεσβυτέρους, ὡς ἐγώ σοι διεταξάμην. Three important words relate to each other, each with great meaning.

5.3.2.1 Set in Order. First, the word “set up in correct order” (“ἐπιδιορθώσῃ”) means that Paul wanted to bring a specific, correct order to the new churches in Crete through proper church leadership. These new leaders would bring order. 9Titus must straighten out (ἐπιδιορθώσῃ–aorist middle subjunctive) the churches–indicating Titus must take the action himself to straighten out and correct the things lacking.

5.3.2.2 Set Down. Second, Titus must set down elders in every city. 10The term καταστήσῃς (aorist active subjunctive, second singular) means may set down.  In Titus 1:5, people assume Titus appointed elders meaning those men suddenly became elders. What if those men were already elders and Titus set down existing elders to the Church Office of Overseer? Actually, Paul wrote that Titus should set in order (ἐπιδιορθώσῃ) the things lacking (τὰ  λείποντα) and may set down (καταστήσῃς), as I directed you (διεταξάμην ). Often when people say that Titus appointed elders, they mistakenly mean that some men became elders. They then mistakenly equate elders with overseers and pastors. Paul did not actually say that Titus “appointed” men to become elders, but that he follow Paul’s direction in setting down elders into the Body of Christ as Church Overseers. A few examples illustrate the use of the term “set down.”

5.3.2.2.1 Moses. Egyptians asked Moses who set down him as ruler and judge over us (Acts 7:35). They used this term to describe being placed into an office of ruler or judge. Notice the object of the set down is the office of ruler or judge. Of course, I can hear people arguing that this verse supports the view that the men were set down into the office of elder. The better view is that term “set down” describes placing a person into a recognized office. You must be placed into the office by someone with the authority to do so, or else people will question why you are acting like you hold the office when you actually do not hold the office. 11See also Matthew 24:47–slave set down over possessions; Luke 12:42–house manager set down over slaves to care for slaves; Acts 7:35; Acts 17:15–put in charge of Paul; Hebrews 5:1–High priest set down on behalf of men; Hebrews 8:3–High priest set down to offer sacrifices; James 3:6–tongue set over members of us; James 4:4–friend of the world set down as enemy of God.

5.3.2.2.2 Tables. Consider the selection of men in Acts 6:3. The Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem became aware of a particular need in the church. They directed the “brethren:” “examine among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may set down over this need” (Acts 6:3). Those men were examined and set into the Church Office of Deacon. Even if you disagree that those men held the Church Office of Deacon, you cannot dispute they were the same men who took on a position of being in charge of ministry to a particular need. Furthermore, notice the brethren selected them and then they were seated down into the position by the Twelve Apostles.

5.3.2.2.3 Sinners. Consider Paul’s theology of sinners. 12Of course, Paul wrote under the inspiration of God and expressed God’s theology of sinners.   Paul wrote that through the disobedience of the one man, the many were set down (κατεστάθησαν–aorist passive indicative, third plural)  as sinners (Romans 5:19). Please take notice that the men were now declared sinners. Likewise, through the obedience of the One, many will be set down (κατασταθήσονται–future passive indicative, third plural) as righteous. Setting down in that context means the person had been given a new description: sinners became righteous. Same person, new standing. 13See also Matthew 24:47 (the slave doing the will of his master will be set down (καταστήσει–future active indicative, third singular) over all the possessions)–same person, new duties; Matthew 25:21 (the faithful slave will be set down (καταστήσω–future active indicative, first singular) over many things)–same person, new duties;  Acts 6:3 (the apostles commanded the multitude of the disciples to examine ( ἐπισκέψασθε–aorist middle imperative, second plural) seven men whom we (the apostles) will set down (καταστήσομεν–future active indicative, first plural) over the need of the widows for daily  food service)–same person, new duties; Hebrews 2:7 (with glory and honor God set down (κατέστησας–aorist active indicative, second singular)  Jesus over the works of God’s hands)–same Person, new position; Luke 12:14 (Jesus asked: Who set down (κατέστησεν–aorist active indicative, third singular) Me (Jesus) as a judge or divider over you?)–same Person, new position; Acts 7:10 (Pharaoh set down (κατέστησεν–aorist active indicative, third singular) Joseph as Esteemed One (ἡγούμενον–present middle/passive participle, accusative masculine singular) of Israel–same person, new position; notice the syntax here of how Joseph became Esteemed One as a title;  Acts 7:27 (Hebrew slave asked Joseph: Who set down (κατέστησεν–aorist active indicative, third singular) you as ruler (ἄρχοντα) and judge (δικαστὴν) over us? A New Testament elder does not become a ruler (ἄρχοντα), but he does become one of the esteemed ones (ἡγούμενοι), like Joseph–same person, new title and new position.)

5.3.2.3 Directions. Third, Titus must follow the directions Paul had already provided to him. 14Paul used the word διεταξάμην (aorist middle indicative, first singular) to describe the fact that he had already directed Titus to set down elders. The issue involves just what directions did he give to Titus. Did Paul already provide the names of the elders to set down as Church Overseers? Did Paul provide the procedure to set down elders as Church Overseers? Did Paul provide both the names and the procedures? I did not find clear answers to those questions in this passage. 15Consider Felix giving directions (διαταξάμενος) to the centurion so that Paul would have some freedoms; Felix provided the scope of freedom for Paul with his directions (Acts 24:23). Consider also Paul saying that when he came to Corinth, then he would give directions about resolving the remaining matters. Notice that in 1 Corinthians 11 Paul gave very specific guidance about the procedure for Breaking Bread  (διατάξομαι–future middle indicative, first person singular (1 Corinthians 11:34). Therefore, we have Scriptural evidence showing that the both the scope and the procedure have been associated with word διατάσσω.

5.3.3 Having Reached Hands (Χειροτονήσαντες). Having reached hands to them for the church elder, the placed them to the Lord in whom they believed (Acts 14.23).  

Having reached hands to them for the church elders, having prayed with fasting, they placed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

Acts 14:23

Paul and Barnabas traveled through Lycaonia and Pisidia (Acts 14:23). During their travels to the churches which they planted in those areas, Paul and Silas were involved with selecting overseers. 16Luke wrote: χειροτονήσαντες δὲ αὐτοῖς κατ’ ἐκκλησίαν πρεσβυτέρους, προσευξάμενοι μετὰ νηστειῶν παρέθεντο αὐτοὺς τῷ κυρίῳ εἰς ὃν πεπιστεύκεισαν. Paul and Silas having reached the hands for elders in each church, having prayed with fasting, they placed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.  Luke used the term “having reached hand” to describe the mans of putting those men into office.  17Luke use the term Χειροτονήσαντες  (aorist active participle, nominative masculine singular.  In this context some people say that the term Χειροτονήσαντες means appointed. That translation misses the mark when not differentiated from the term set (ἔθετο) in the context of selecting elders to hold the Church Office of Overseer. Instead of using the term set (ἔθετο ), 18Interestingly, Paul and Barnabas set before them  (παρέθεντο–aorist middle indicative, third person plural from παρατίθημι), in the Lord, in whom they had believed, again emphasizing the placement of the elders. to  Paul and Barnabas used their hands. Some uses of the term outside the Bible indicate a vote by raising the hand. Elders in Lycaonia and Pisidia were not necessarily chosen by the congregations, but Paul and Barnabas having reached hands to them in the church elders.  The first question concerns who reached the hands. In this context, apparently Paul and Barnabas reached their hands, with Χειροτονήσαντες being co-ordinate with having prayed. The issue concerns whether the whole phrase means that the congregation reached hands to select elders in every church. In the alternative, did Paul and Barnabas reach hands to select elders in every church. The call seems fairly close because πρεσβυτέρους may serve as an adjective modifying ἐκκλησίαν. The prepositional phrase χειροτονήσαντες δὲ αὐτοῖς κατ’ ἐκκλησίαν πρεσβυτέρους used the preposition kata with the accusative, often meaning according to or for each. So, the choice could be according to the will of each church. In Acts 20:20, Paul told the elders he went teaching publicly and house to house  (ὡς οὐδὲν ὑπεστειλάμην τῶν συμφερόντων τοῦ μὴ ἀναγγεῖλαι ὑμῖν καὶ διδάξαι ὑμᾶς δημοσίᾳ καὶ κατ’ οἴκους). Therefore, the phrase κατ’ ἐκκλησίαν may mean going church to church and the term elder modifies the term church (both feminine nouns–church elders–already elders, but now set into Church Office of Overseer). See John 10:3 where Jesus calls them according to name. They could have done a hand count according to the church, just as Jesus called each name in John 10:3. In the alternative, the term πρεσβυτέρους could be used functionally as an noun, describing an office. For the reasons outlined elsewhere in this study, I disfavor that approach. The better view appears to be that some of the existing elders were appointed to the Church Office of Overseer. They were not made elders, but Paul and Barnabas reached hands toward some church elders (already existing as elders) and they were set in the body as Church Overseers. 19Paul and Barnabas did not seem to be laying on hands; see the different language employed in Acts 14:3–then fasting and praying and having laid hands upon then they departed (τότε νηστεύσαντες καὶ προσευξάμενοι καὶ ἐπιθέντες τὰς χεῖρας αὐτοῖς ἀπέλυσαν); Acts 8:18–laying on of hands to receive Holy Spirit (ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ Σίμων ὅτι διὰ τῆς ἐπιθέσεως τῶν χειρῶν τῶν ἀποστόλων δίδοται τὸ πνεῦμα προσήνεγκεν αὐτοῖς χρήματα); Acts 19:6. And when Paul had laid his hands (ἐπιθέντος) upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying (καὶ ἐπιθέντος αὐτοῖς τοῦ Παύλου [τὰς] χεῖρας ἦλθεν τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἐπ’ αὐτούς, ἐλάλουν τε γλώσσαις καὶ ἐπροφήτευον. Interestingly, the verse could also suggest a two-step process of selecting the elder by vote, and then placing them with the Lord as the second step in the service. Another use of the term hand reaching provides more insight into the meaning of hand reaching.

and not only this but also the hand-reached one under the churches to travel with us in this gracious work, which is being administered by us for the glory of the Lord Himself, and to show our readiness,

2 Corinthians 8:19

In 2 Corinthians 8:19, the term hand reaching (χειροτονηθεὶς–aorist passive participle, nominative masculine singular) described Titus as a hand-reached one (χειροτονηθεὶς) by the church to be a fellow traveler. 202 Corinthians 8:19 provides: οὐ μόνον δέ, ἀλλὰ καὶ χειροτονηθεὶς ὑπὸ τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν συνέκδημος ἡμῶν σὺν τῇ χάριτι ταύτῃ τῇ διακονουμένῃ ὑφ’ ἡμῶν πρὸς τὴν [αὐτοῦ] τοῦ κυρίου δόξαν καὶ προθυμίαν ἡμῶν. The passive voice there emphasizes the act, but then the prepositional phrase describes the people who reached hands in support of Titus joining the missionary team. Regarding the use of the prepositional phrase ὑπὸ τῶν + noun, see 1 Corinthians 1:11–people under Chole (ὑπὸ τῶν Χλόης); 1 Corinthians 10:9–under the serpents were being destroyed (ὑπὸ τῶν ὄφεων ἀπώλλυντο); 2 Corinthians 2:6–rebuke under the many (ὑπὸ τῶν πλειόνων; 1 Thessalonians 2:14–suffered under your own countrymen (ὑπὸ τῶν ἰδίων συμφυλετῶ). In Acts 20:20, Paul told the elders he went house to house teaching. 21Acts 20:20 provides: ὡς οὐδὲν ὑπεστειλάμην τῶν συμφερόντων τοῦ μὴ ἀναγγεῖλαι ὑμῖν καὶ διδάξαι ὑμᾶς δημοσίᾳ καὶ κατ’ οἴκους. If Acts 14:23 means Paul and Silas hand reached elders, then it may have been the only place. The church (ekklesia) made the choice about Titus by hand reaching, perhaps by a vote.

5.4 Related WordsGod also provided further information about putting people into places in the Body of Christ. The nuances here are beyond the scope of this study, but tend to show that God used different words to differentiate particular kinds and means of placements in the Body of Christ. He takes great care in placing the right person, and not others, into positions of service and authority over saints.

5.4.1 You Seat (καθίζετε). In 1 Corinthians 6:4, Paul asked the Corinthians why they seat people who are no account in the church as judges over them? 22Paul used the verb seat καθίζετε–present active indicative, second person plural from καθίζω). Paul meant that effectively the Corinthians had seated judges over the saints, contrary to the will of God, because those “judges” were of no account in the church.


5.4.2  I Am Set (κεῖμαι). In Philippians 1:16, Paul said people spread the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ out of love, knowing that I am seated for the defense of the Gospel. 23Paul used the participle κεῖμαι (present middle/passive participle, first person singular) to describe his placement by God for defense of the Gospel. 

5.4.3  He Was Set (ἐτέθην). In 1 Timothy 2:7, Paul recounted that he was set as a preacher and an apostle. 24Paul used the term τίθημι–aorist passive Indicative 1st person singular.

 

Section Six

The Qualifications of the Overseer

6.1 Stretching. Paul concentrated his instructions to Timothy regarding Church Overseers on identifying men suited to be a Church Overseer. Paul started by indicating that some men will identify themselves as seeking to be a Church Overseer. Timothy may identify them because they stretch themselves towards the Church Office of Overseer. 25Paul used the term ὀρέγεται (present middle indicative, third singular) which means here to stretch out himself for something. This nice picture coincides with the hand-reaching of setting men into the Church Office of Overseer. Paul contrasted the ones stretching themselves towards the Church Office of Overseer with the ones stretching themselves (ὀρεγόμενοι–present middle participle, nominative masculine participle) towards money and wanders away from the faith (1 Timothy 6:10). Consider also the patriarchs  stretching themselves (ὀρέγονται–present middle indicative, third plural) towards Fatherland in the heavens (Hebrews 11:16). Notice that all uses occur in the middle voice, indicating action both originating within himself and acting upon himself. The object they seek is outside the self, something to be obtained with effort.

Faithful the word. If any man overseership stretches himself, good work he desires.

1 Timothy 3:1

Paul described some men who stretch themselves towards the Church Office of Overseer. Paul indicated that Church Overseership itself constitutes a good work. Men who stretch themselves toward the Church Office of Overseership desire a good work. Therefore, the Church Office of Overseership may be populated with men who seek the position, by stretching themselves toward it. They must, however, meet certain spiritual qualifications. 26By using the genitive noun ἐπισκοπῆς, the meaning becomes clear: if any man stretches himself towards overseership, he desires a good work.” Paul also used middle voice (ὀρέγεται) to describe the effort within the man to stretch himself toward the overseership. By implication, only the faithful men should be placed into the Body of Christ as Church Overseers. In other words, merely stretching themselves toward the Church Office of Overseer is not enough. Two steps must be kept in mind. First, the man must stretch himself to be a Church Overseer. Second, the man who stretches himself to be Church Overseer must also meet the spiritual qualification of a Church Overseer. One without the other will not produce good results. Therefore, the faithful man stretching himself towards a Church Overseer must also meet certain qualifications which Paul outlined to Timothy (1 Timothy 3:1-7).

6.2 The Qualifications for Church Overseers. Paul wrote Timothy that a Church Overseer must possess certain spiritual qualifications in addition to stretching forward. Because some elders are appointed to the Church Office of Overseer, the qualifications described in Titus 1 apply to Church Overseers in particular, not elders. Notice that Paul related the qualifications to the “overseer” (“ἐπίσκοπον”) and not elders (“πρεσβυτέρους”) who were set down into the Church Office of Overseer (Titus 1:5). 

An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

1 Timothy 3:2

6.2.1 Above Reproach. The first qualification for being a Church Overseer is “above reproach.”  271 Timothy 6:14 provides: τηρῆσαί σε τὴν ἐντολὴν ἄσπιλον ἀνεπίλημπτον μέχρι τῆς ἐπιφανείας τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. Paul used the term “ἀνεπίλημπτον” meaning “above reproach.”  In 1 Timothy 6:14 Paul urged Timothy to keep the commandment “above stain” and “above reproach” until the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ. In 1 Timothy 5:7 Paul urged Timothy to help the widows be part of the group of people above reproach. 281 Timothy 5:7 provides: καὶ ταῦτα παράγγελλε, ἵνα ἀνεπίλημπτοι (noun-nominative masculine plural)  ὦσιν. The Church Overseer must have a reputation giving no cause for reproach (disapproval) until the Lord Jesus appears and the Church Overseer must be a part of the group known as “above reproach ones.”

6.2.2 One Woman Man. The second qualification for being a Church Overseer was one woman man. 29Paul used the phrase “μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἄνδρα.” The term “μιᾶς” means a certain one out of more than one (see One). 30Luke 14:18–beginning from one all excused themselves; Luke 17:34–two (δύο) on one (μιᾶς) bed, the one (ὁ εἷς) taken; Luke 22:59–one hour; Acts 24:21 one voice among many; Hebrews 12:16–sold birthright for one meal). Paul used this expression “one woman man” in 1 Timothy 3:2; 3:12; Titus 1:6. By choosing the term one (“μιᾶς”), Paul emphasized that the Church Overseer must not have more than one wife and no sexual connections to any other woman. Because Paul was single and urged others to be single (1 Corinthians 7:1), he was not excluding single men from being a Church Overseer. By emphasizing that a man must have only one wife, He was also emphasizing that when a man sins sexually with a woman, they become one flesh (1 Corinthians 6:16). 31To describe becoming “one flesh” with a prostitute, Paul wrote ἓν σῶμά (1 Corinthians 6:16), which stands in contrast to σὰρξ μία Matthew used to describe joining in marriage, so that they are no longer δύο (Matthew 19:6). Therefore, Paul emphasized a man must have one one wife and must not be joined sexually to other women. 32Regarding the term  γυναικός, Matthew used the definite article τῆς γυναικός in the context of the disciples saying that it is better to marry than to be stuck for life with a wife who commits immorality without any chance of divorce (Matthew 19:10). Luke used also used the definite article τῆς γυναικός to describe Herod having the wife of his brother Philip (Luke 3:19). Jesus used the definite article τῆς γυναικός to describe the wife of Lot (Luke 19:32). John described a Samaritan woman as γυναικὸς, but she had five husbands, but the one with her then was not her husband (John 4:27). John also used the definite article τῆς γυναικός to describe the Samaritan woman who testified to the City of Sychar (John 4:39). Luke used the definite article τῆς γυναικός to describe the wife of Ananias conspiring with him (Acts 5:2). Luke also described Timothy’s mother as a γυναικὸς Jewish believer (Acts 16:1). Paul said it is good for man not to touch a γυναικὸς (1 Corinthians 7:1). Those examples show the varied uses of the term γυναικὸς with and without the definite article. In 1 Timothy 3:11 Paul used the term Γυναῖκας (noun–accusative feminine plural). Paul used the term γυναῖκας in 1 Corinthians 7:29; Ephesians 5:25; 5:28; Colossians 3:19; 1 Timothy 2:9, 3:11), describing both women and wives. The Julian Laws on Marriage prohibited polygamy and imposed taxes on unmarried people in the Roman Empire. Therefore, because of existing secular law against polygamy, the translation husband of one wife seems disfavored. Some people argue that a divorced man cannot be a Church Overseer. Jesus described all people who file for divorce as sinful, no exceptions (Matthew 19:1-12; see Divorce and Remarriage). When people file for divorce and no sexual immorality has occurred during the marriage, then the person filing for divorced adds the sin of adultery. Paul, however, did not use any of the words related to marriage (γάμος) or adultery (μοιχεία) or immorality (πορνεία) or divorce (ἀποστάσιον). 33See the terms used in Matthew 5:31-32; 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-4, 11-12; Luke 16:18 and 1 Corinthians 7:11-12. Jesus directed His discussion of marriage, divorce and remarriage to isolated acts of sin, not necessarily continuing sinful states, such as a continuing condition of immorality.  Paul focused upon present actions and present character. Certainly, at the moment of salvation every person becomes a new creation in Christ, and all the old things have passed away (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Therefore, actions and character before salvation should have no bearing on the qualifications for being an Church Overseer. 

6.2.3 

Gunaikos treatment for deacons

Children Who Believe. 34In passing, the qualification of “children who believe” deserves discussion in this context. The phrase “children who believe” (τέκνα ἔχων πιστά) raises several issues about interpretation. First, the term children (τέκνα) may refer to minors or adults. Abraham had Ishmael, who w The qualifications Paul described should be the model for all believers.

Section Seven

The Examples of Overseers

7.1 Definition. God appointed, literally set down (“καταστήσῃς”),  “elders” (“πρεσβυτέρους“) within the local church and so created the church. 35Titus 1:5 shows that the practice of appointing elders was well established by the time Paul ordered Timothy to appoint elders in Crete. I deliberately avoided for the sake of time and space the concept of elders among Jewish groups found in the Bible.  God created the office of overseer to fulfill many different functions. This article only presents a brief overview. Some people have confused the work of  “overseeing” (“ἐπισκοποῦντες“) with the office of elder (“episkopos“) and elders (“presbuteros“) who are the spiritually mature people in the congregation. 36Please recall I use the term presbuteroi to make it simpler for English only readers. All people who hold the office of overseer in the local church must come from the group of elders (“πρεσβυτέρους“) in the local church. In other words, all people holding the office of overseer should be elders (presbuteros), but not all elders (presbuteros) are Church Overseers (episkopos) in the sense that they hold the Church Office of Overseer.   To avoid such confusion, we must carefully distinguish several terms used in the New Testament to describe church leadership. 

7.2 The Overseers at Ephesus. As Paul knew he was headed to prison, he visited Asia Minor and called the Ephesian elders of the church (“τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους τῆς ἐκκλησίας“) to gather to him (Acts 20:17).  Referring to those same men, he told them to be on guard for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made them overseers (“ἐπισκόπους“), in order to shepherd (“ποιμαίνειν“) the church of God (Acts 20:28). God called these men “elders” (“πρεσβυτέρους“) and they held the office of overseer.  We should take careful note of Paul’s use of terms there. He called the people elders (presbuterous) of the church. The Holy Spirit appointed elders, literally set down (ἔθετο) as overseers (ἐπισκόπους). God started with elders (presbuterous) and appointed them as overseers (episkopos). Therefore, not every elder may be an overseer. God appoints some elders as overseers, but not all elders are overseers. 

7.3 The Overseers at Philippi. Please take notice that Paul addressed the Philippian “overseers” (episkopos) and deacons (Philippians 1:1). They were two offices present in the church at Philippi.

Overseers: Philippians 

Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:1

Paul addressed the Philippian “overseers” (ἐπισκόποις) and deacons (διακόνοις) (Philippians 1:1). They were two offices present in the church at Philippi. The Deacons were not called overseers. Both overseers and deacons had qualifications for office. Gentiles in faith and truth.

7.4 The Overseers of Crete

1 Timothy 2:7

Acts 24:23 διαταξάμενος gave order to the centurion

1 Corinthians 11;34 Paul will set in order διατάξομαι

Section Eight

The Duties of Overseers

8.1 Overseer: Duties

Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has set you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

Acts 20:28

The Holy Spirit ἔθετο the elders as overseers (noun masculine plural) to shepherd (ποιμαίνειν–present active infinitive)  the church of God.

Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;  nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.

1 Peter 5:1-3

Shepherd (ποιμάνατε)  the one among you flock of God, overseeing (ἐπισκοποῦντες) no under cm and exercise oversight. We learn about how to exercise oversight as not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness. Not lording down κατακυριεύοντες the people over those allotted to your charge τῶν κλήρων  , but proving to be examples to the flock.

♦ Shepherd the Flock–the Work is Shepherding

Overseeing

Not for Sordid Gain

Voluntarily

Eagerly

Not Lording Down The Sheep

Examples Being to the Flock

At the Manifesting of Christ, the Chief Shepherd , and the Elders Will Receive an Unfading Crown of Glory

N

All elders exercise oversight (1 Peter 5:2) and elders have been appointed overseers (Acts 20:28).

Deacons never associated with word overseer.

Section Nine

The Removal of the Overseer

ἐπισκόποις — 1 Occ.    Overseers Philippians 1:1
ἐπίσκοπον — 3 Occ.   Overseer, 1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:7, 1 Peter 2:25
ἐπισκόπους — 1 Occ. Oversers Acts 20:28

ἐπισκοποῦντες — 2 Occ. Hebrews 12:15  1 Peter 5:2
ἐπισκοπὴν — 1 Occ. Acts 1:20
ἐπισκοπῆς — 3 Occ. Luke 19:44 1 Timothy 3:1–Aspires to office of overseer
ἐπίσκοπον — 3 Occ. 1 Timothy 3:2 Titus 1:7 1 Peter 2:25

2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;

Overseer:

Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.

Likewise, the overseer must be (Titus 1:7).

Shemoloth

3.4 The Qualifications of Overseers. Paul described the qualifications for the office of overseer to young Timothy (1 Timothy 3:2). The overseer must be  Likewise, the overseer must be (Titus 1:7).

3.5 Jesus as Shepherd and Overseer. (1 Peter 2:25).

3.6 All Believers Overseeing. (Hebrews 12:15).

3.7 Elders Exercise Oversight. Exhorts elders as fellow elder (1 Peter 5:1). Shepherd the flock, exercising oversight no under compulsion (1 Timothy 5:2).

3.8 Elders rule

3.9

Acts 15:2 γενομένης δὲ στάσεως καὶ ζητήσεως οὐκ ὀλίγης τῷ Παύλῳ καὶ τῷ Βαρναβᾷ πρὸς αὐτούς, ἔταξαν ἀναβαίνειν Παῦλον καὶ Βαρναβᾶν καί τινας ἄλλους ἐξ αὐτῶν πρὸς τοὺς ἀποστόλους καὶ πρεσβυτέρους εἰς Ἰερουσαλὴμ περὶ τοῦ ζητήματος τούτου.

Acts 15:4 παραγενόμενοι δὲ εἰς Ἰερουσαλὴμ παρεδέχθησαν ἀπὸ τῆς ἐκκλησίας καὶ τῶν ἀποστόλων καὶ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων, ἀνήγγειλάν τε ὅσα ὁ θεὸς ἐποίησεν μετ’ αὐτῶν.

Acts 15:6 Συνήχθησάν τε οἱ ἀπόστολοι καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι ἰδεῖν περὶ τοῦ λόγου τούτου.

Acts 15:23 γράψαντες διὰ χειρὸς αὐτῶν· Οἱ ἀπόστολοι καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι ἀδελφοὶ τοῖς κατὰ τὴν Ἀντιόχειαν καὶ Συρίαν καὶ Κιλικίαν ἀδελφοῖς τοῖς ἐξ ἐθνῶν χαίρειν.

Acts 16:4 Ὡς δὲ διεπορεύοντο τὰς πόλεις, παρεδίδοσαν αὐτοῖς φυλάσσειν τὰ δόγματα τὰ κεκριμένα ὑπὸ τῶν ἀποστόλων καὶ πρεσβυτέρων τῶν ἐν Ἱεροσολύμοις.

Acts 21:18 Τῇ δὲ ἐπιούσῃ εἰσῄει ὁ Παῦλος σὺν ἡμῖν πρὸς Ἰάκωβον, πάντες τε παρεγένοντο οἱ πρεσβύτεροι.

1 Timothy 5:17 Οἱ καλῶς προεστῶτες (lead see spiritual gift of leading and tie to home leading) πρεσβύτεροι διπλῆς τιμῆς ἀξιούσθωσαν, μάλιστα οἱ κοπιῶντες ἐν λόγῳ καὶ διδασκαλίᾳ.

1 Timothy 5:19 κατὰ πρεσβυτέρου κατηγορίαν μὴ παραδέχου, ἐκτὸς εἰ μὴ ἐπὶ δύο ἢ τριῶν μαρτύρων.

2 John 1:1 Ὁ πρεσβύτερος ἐκλεκτῇ κυρίᾳ καὶ τοῖς τέκνοις αὐτῆς, οὓς ἐγὼ ἀγαπῶ ἐν ἀληθείᾳ, καὶ οὐκ ἐγὼ μόνος ἀλλὰ καὶ πάντες οἱ ἐγνωκότες τὴν ἀλήθειαν,

3 John 1:1 Ὁ πρεσβύτερος Γαΐῳ τῷ ἀγαπητῷ, ὃν ἐγὼ ἀγαπῶ ἐν ἀληθείᾳ.

Apostles never contrasted with overseers

3.8 Aspiring to the Office of Overseer. (1 Timothy 3:1).

3.9 Visitation. 1 Peter 2:12 (Luke 19:44).

Section Ten

Judas Iscariot and the Office of Apostle

10.1 Judas Iscariot and the Office of Apostle. In Acts 1, we see that Judas Iscariot held an office () e of Apostle (ἀποστολῆς). In Acts 1:20, we read that Judas Iscariot held the office of overseer (episkopos). 37I will use certain English words to describe certain Greek words appearing in the New Testament. When I use my own Greek words, I will not reflect the exact form of the original Greek word, but use a general word to help English only readers. Therefore, I will use the word episkopos to describe all uses of the Greek term ἐπισκοπὴν in Acts 1:20.  Because Judas Iscariot died, the apostles came together to choose the successor to Judas Iscariot who would hold the office (episkopos) he vacated. From Acts 1 we see how God defined an office of overseer (episkopos) in the New Testament. First, Jesus chose the person to occupy the episkopos, knowing from the beginning that Judas Iscariot would betray Him (John 6:64). The apostles prayed that the Lord would show them which one the Lrod had chosedn to occupy this ministry () and apostleship () from Judas turned aside. Therefore, we know threee detail about Judaas.

10.2 Selecting  the Replacemnt for Judas. One method for selecting the replacement.

10.3 Overseer: Judas Iscariot 

“For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘LET HIS HOMESTEAD BE MADE DESOLATEAND LET NO ONE DWELL IN IT’;  and, ‘LET ANOTHER MAN TAKE HIS OFFICE.’ 

Acts 1:20

In Acts 1:20, the term for office there was τὴν ἐπισκοπὴν  (פְּ֝קֻדָּת֗וֹ–Psalm 109:8). In Acts 1:25, we see that Judas Iscariot held a deacony (διακονίας) and an apostleship (ἀποστολῆς).  Therefore, we must understand the relationship between the office (episkopos), the deacony (διακονίας) and the apostleship (ἀποστολῆς)  which Judas held. All three of those words must be understood and distinguished.

and the name of the office was apostle.  Therefore, Judas held the office of overseer, which in this case amounted to overseeing the money box and using the money at the direction of Jesus. The Holy Spirit translated Psalm 109:8 regarding the “His פְּ֝קֻדָּת֗וֹ” as “τὴν ἐπισκοπὴν αὐτοῦ  and it was something that could be taken λαβέτω by another manBecause Jesus had already ascended, keeping the money box does not seem to be the only concern of the “overseer,” but rather the oversight function. Apparently, each apostle may have had a particular oversight function. Jesus chose the twelve apostles to be eyewitnesses, and present with the eleven apostles,  of Jesus from the Baptism of John to the Ascension of Jesus. Acts plainly states the qualifications and Jesus stated that the apostles would be His witnesses with the power of the Holy Spirit. The office therefore does not appear to the tied to the money box, but rather to the calling to be an eyewitness of Jesus and to be filled the Holy Spirit for world-wide testimony.

An unbeliever, like Judas Iscariot, may hold a church office of overseer (episkopos), because an unbeliever may pretend to be a believer. The devil loves to place unsaved people in positions of authority in churches to attack the ministry of Jesus Christ from within that congregation. Please keep in mind that only saints receive spiritual gifts, like The Spiritual Gift of Pastor, and so we should be very careful to distinguish spiritual gifts from offices. Therefore, an unbelieving imposter may hold the office of overseer but he will never possess a spiritual gift as an unsaved person. Second, a saint (believer) must meet special requirements to hold the office of overseer (episokopos). Please keep in mind that Judas Iscariot was known as an apostle, but held the office of overseer (episkopos). During the earthly ministry of Jesus in the flesh, none of His disciples were known or called an elder. John the apostle called himself an elder later in life. The replacement for Judas Iscariot had to meet the qualifications of the office of overseer were: (1) present with the other apostles from the baptism of John to the ascension of Jesus; and (2) ready to serve as a witness of all those events from the Baptism of John to the Ascension of Jesus.

Judas Iscariot was also allotted a share (κλῆρον) in the deacony (διακονίας) Acts 1:17.

Section Eleven

The Elders of the Old Testament

Chart comparing use of Elders and Overseers

Genesis 50:7 Elders  of the house of Pharoah and the elder of Egypt.

Exodus 3:16 God commanded Moses  to bring the elders of Israel (זִקְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל) together to hear what God told Moses about delivering them.

Exodus 24:16

Numbers 11:16 Men from Elders of Israel (אִישׁ֮ מִזִּקְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵל֒)  and also and elders of the people and princes ( זִקְנֵ֥י הָעָ֖ם וְשֹׁטְרָ֑יו)

Proverfs 31:23

Section Twelve

The Elders of the Church

Titus 1:5  Oveseer Titus 1:7  Elders are appointed to the office of overseer. Qualifications describe the overseer, not the elder.

Acts 11:30 αὶ ἐποίησαν ἀποστείλαντες πρὸς τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους διὰ χειρὸς Βαρναβᾶ καὶ Σαύλου.

Acts 14:23  χειροτονήσαντες δὲ αὐτοῖς κατ’ ἐκκλησίαν πρεσβυτέρους, προσευξάμενοι μετὰ νηστειῶν παρέθεντο αὐτοὺς τῷ κυρίῳ εἰς ὃν πεπιστεύκεισαν.

Acts 15:2  γενομένης δὲ στάσεως καὶ ζητήσεως οὐκ ὀλίγης τῷ Παύλῳ καὶ τῷ Βαρναβᾷ πρὸς αὐτούς, ἔταξαν ἀναβαίνειν Παῦλον καὶ Βαρναβᾶν καί τινας ἄλλους ἐξ αὐτῶν πρὸς τοὺς ἀποστόλους καὶ πρεσβυτέρους εἰς Ἰερουσαλὴμ περὶ τοῦ ζητήματος τούτου

Acts 15:22 Τότε ἔδοξεν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις καὶ τοῖς πρεσβυτέροις σὺν ὅλῃ τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ ἐκλεξαμένους ἄνδρας ἐξ αὐτῶν πέμψαι εἰς Ἀντιόχειαν σὺν τῷ Παύλῳ καὶ Βαρναβᾷ, Ἰούδαν τὸν καλούμενον Βαρσαββᾶν καὶ Σιλᾶν, ἄνδρας ἡγουμένους ἐν τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς,

Acts 20:17 Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς Μιλήτου πέμψας εἰς Ἔφεσον μετεκαλέσατο τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους τῆς ἐκκλησίας.

Titus 1:5 Τούτου χάριν ἀπέλιπόν σε ἐν Κρήτῃ, ἵνα τὰ λείποντα ἐπιδιορθώσῃ καὶ καταστήσῃς κατὰ πόλιν πρεσβυτέρους, ὡς ἐγώ σοι διεταξάμην,

James 5:14 ἀσθενεῖ τις ἐν ὑμῖν, προσκαλεσάσθω τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους τῆς ἐκκλησίας καὶ προσευξάσθωσαν ἐπ’ αὐτὸν ἀλείψαντες αὐτὸν ἐλαίῳ ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ κυρίου.

1 Peter 5:1 Πρεσβυτέρους τοὺς ἐν ὑμῖν παρακαλῶ ὁ συμπρεσβύτερος καὶ μάρτυς τῶν τοῦ Χριστοῦ παθημάτων, ὁ καὶ τῆς μελλούσης ἀποκαλύπτεσθαι δόξης κοινωνός·

1 Peter 5:5 ὁμοίως, νεώτεροι, ὑποτάγητε πρεσβυτέροις· πάντες δὲ ἀλλήλοις τὴν ταπεινοφροσύνην ἐγκομβώσασθε, ὅτι ὁ θεὸς ὑπερηφάνοις ἀντιτάσσεται, ταπεινοῖς δὲ δίδωσιν χάριν.

Revelation 4:4 Καὶ κυκλόθεν τοῦ θρόνου θρόνους εἴκοσι τέσσαρες, καὶ ἐπὶ τοὺς θρόνους εἴκοσι τέσσαρας πρεσβυτέρους καθημένους περιβεβλημένους ἐν ἱματίοις λευκοῖς καὶ ἐπὶ τὰς κεφαλὰς αὐτῶν στεφάνους χρυσοῦς.

Older women  1 Timothy 5:2

Older man 1 Timothy 5:1 Acts 2:17

Apostles and elders

*****Acts 7:10 on καὶ ἐξείλατο αὐτὸν ἐκ πασῶν τῶν θλίψεων αὐτοῦ καὶ ἔδωκεν αὐτῷ χάριν καὶ σοφίαν ἐναντίον Φαραὼ βασιλέως Αἰγύπτου καὶ κατέστησεν αὐτὸν ἡγούμενον ἐπ’ Αἴγυπτον καὶ [ἐφ’] ὅλον τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ. See Genesis 41:40 where Pharaoh commanded everyone to do hommage to Joseph. Pharaoh gave Joseph over the land of Egypt (Genesis 41:41).

See table on ἡγέομαι esteem   

VerseTextTranslationDescriptionMeaning
Acts 26:2Περὶ πάντων ὧν ἐγκαλοῦμαι ὑπὸ Ἰουδαίων, βασιλεῦ Ἀγρίππα, ἥγημαι ἐμαυτὸν μακάριον ἐπὶ σοῦ μέλλων σήμερον ἀπολογεῖσθαι “In regard to all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, I esteem myself blessed, King Agrippa, that I am about to make my defense before you today;Perfect Middle/Passive Indicative, First SingularI esteem myself blessed
Philippians 3:7[Ἀλλ’] ἅτινα ἦν μοι κέρδη, ταῦτα ἥγημαι διὰ τὸν Χριστὸν ζημίαν.But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have esteemed as loss for the sake of Christ. Perfect Middle/Passive Indicative, First SingularI have esteemed
2 Corinthians 9:5ἀναγκαῖον οὖν ἡγησάμην παρακαλέσαι τοὺς ἀδελφούς, ἵνα προέλθωσιν εἰς ὑμᾶς καὶ προκαταρτίσωσιν τὴν προεπηγγελμένην εὐλογίαν ὑμῶν, ταύτην ἑτοίμην εἶναι οὕτως ὡς εὐλογίαν καὶ μὴ ὡς πλεονεξίαν.Therefore, I esteemed necessary to urge the brethren that they would go on ahead to you and arrange beforehand your previously promised bountiful gift, so that the same would be ready as a bountiful gift and not affected by covetousness.Aorist Middle Indicative, First SingularI esteemed
Philippians 2:25Ἀναγκαῖον δὲ ἡγησάμην Ἐπαφρόδιτον τὸν ἀδελφὸν καὶ συνεργὸν καὶ συστρατιώτην μου, ὑμῶν δὲ ἀπόστολον καὶ λειτουργὸν τῆς χρείας μου, πέμψαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς,Then I esteemed necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger and minister to my need; Aorist Middle Indicative, First SingularI esteemed necessary
Hebrews 10:29πόσῳ δοκεῖτε χείρονος ἀξιωθήσεται τιμωρίας ὁ τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ θεοῦ καταπατήσας καὶ τὸ αἷμα τῆς διαθήκης κοινὸν ἡγησάμενος, ἐν ᾧ ἡγιάσθη, καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς χάριτος ἐνυβρίσας;How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and having esteemed common the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?Aorist Middle Participle, Nominative Masculine SingularHaving esteemed
Hebrews 11:26μείζονα πλοῦτον ἡγησάμενος τῶν Αἰγύπτου θησαυρῶν τὸν ὀνειδισμὸν τοῦ Χριστοῦ· ἀπέβλεπεν γὰρ εἰς τὴν μισθαποδοσίαν.esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.Aorist Middle Participle, Nominative Masculine SingularEsteeming the reproach
James 1:2Πᾶσαν χαρὰν ἡγήσασθε, ἀδελφοί μου, ὅταν πειρασμοῖς περιπέσητε ποικίλοις,Esteem it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.Aorist Middle Indicative, Second PluralEsteem it all joy
Philippians 2:6

ὃς ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο
τὸ εἶναι ἴσα θεῷ,
who, although He existed in the form of God, did not esteem equality with God a thing to be grasped,Aorist Middle Indicative, Third SingularEsteem equality
1 Timothy 1:12Χάριν ἔχω τῷ ἐνδυναμώσαντί με Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν, ὅτι πιστόν με ἡγήσατο θέμενος εἰς διακονίαν I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He esteemed me faithful, putting me into service,Aorist Middle Indicative, Third SingularEsteemed me faithful
Hebrews 11:11Πίστει καὶ αὐτὴ Σάρρα στεῖρα δύναμιν εἰς καταβολὴν σπέρματος ἔλαβεν καὶ παρὰ καιρὸν ἡλικίας, ἐπεὶ πιστὸν ἡγήσατο τὸν ἐπαγγειλάμενονBy faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she esteemed Him faithful who had promised.Aorist Middle Indicative, Third SingularShe esteemed Him
1 Thessalonians 5:13καὶ ἡγεῖσθαι αὐτοὺς ὑπερεκπερισσοῦ ἐν ἀγάπῃ διὰ τὸ ἔργον αὐτῶν. εἰρηνεύετε ἐν ἑαυτοῖς. and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.Present Middle/Passive InfinitiveEsteem them highly
2 Thessalonians 3:15καὶ μὴ ὡς ἐχθρὸν ἡγεῖσθε, ἀλλὰ νουθετεῖτε ὡς ἀδελφόνYet do not esteem him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.Present Middle/Passive Imperative, Second PluralDo not esteem him
2 Peter 3:15καὶ τὴν τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν μακροθυμίαν σωτηρίαν ἡγεῖσθε, καθὼς καὶ ὁ ἀγαπητὸς ἡμῶν ἀδελφὸς Παῦλος κατὰ τὴν δοθεῖσαν αὐτῷ σοφίαν ἔγραψεν ὑμῖν,and esteem the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you,Present Middle/Passive Imperative, Second PluralEsteem the patience
1 Timothy 6:1
Ὅσοι εἰσὶν ὑπὸ ζυγὸν δοῦλοι, τοὺς ἰδίους δεσπότας πάσης τιμῆς ἀξίους ἡγείσθωσαν, ἵνα μὴ τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἡ διδασκαλία βλασφημῆταιAll who are under the yoke as slaves esteem their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against.Present Middle/Passive Imperative, Third SingularEsteem their own
Philippians 3:8ἀλλὰ μενοῦνγε καὶ ἡγοῦμαι πάντα ζημίαν εἶναι διὰ τὸ ὑπερέχον τῆς γνώσεως Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ κυρίου μου, δι’ ὃν τὰ πάντα ἐζημιώθην, καὶ ἡγοῦμαι σκύβαλα, ἵνα Χριστὸν κερδήσωAnd therefore indeed and I esteem all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and esteem them but rubbish so that I may gain ChristPresent Middle/Passive Indicative, First SingularI esteem all things
Philippians 3:8ἀλλὰ μενοῦνγε καὶ ἡγοῦμαι πάντα ζημίαν εἶναι διὰ τὸ ὑπερέχον τῆς γνώσεως Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ κυρίου μου, δι’ ὃν τὰ πάντα ἐζημιώθην, καὶ ἡγοῦμαι σκύβαλα, ἵνα Χριστὸν κερδήσωAnd therefore indeed and I esteem all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and esteem them but rubbish so that I may gain ChristPresent Middle/Passive Indicative, First SingularEsteem them but rubbish
2 Peter 1:13δίκαιον δὲ ἡγοῦμαι, ἐφ’ ὅσον εἰμὶ ἐν τούτῳ τῷ σκηνώματι, διεγείρειν ὑμᾶς ἐν ὑπομνήσειI esteem it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, Present Middle/Passive Indicative, First SingularI esteem it right
Hebrews 13:7Μνημονεύετε τῶν ἡγουμένων ὑμῶν, οἵτινες ἐλάλησαν ὑμῖν τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ, ὧν ἀναθεωροῦντες τὴν ἔκβασιν τῆς ἀναστροφῆς μιμεῖσθε τὴν πίστιν.Remember the esteemed ones of you, who spoke to you the word of the God, of whom, Present Middle/Passive Participle, Genitive Masculine PluralRemember the esteemed ones
Philippians 2:3μηδὲν κατ’ ἐριθείαν μηδὲ κατὰ κενοδοξίαν ἀλλὰ τῇ ταπεινοφροσύνῃ ἀλλήλους ἡγούμενοι ὑπερέχοντας ἑαυτῶν, Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of esteem one another as more important than yourselves;Present Middle/Passive Participle, Nominative Masculine PluralEsteem one another
2 Peter 2:13

ἀδικούμενοι μισθὸν ἀδικίας ἡδονὴν ἡγούμενοι τὴν ἐν ἡμέρᾳ τρυφήν, σπίλοι καὶ μῶμοι ἐντρυφῶντες ἐν ταῖς ἀπάταις αὐτῶν συνευωχούμενοι ὑμῖν,suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong. They esteem it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you,Present Middle/Passive Participle, Nominative Masculine PluralThey esteem it
Hebrews 13:17Πείθεσθε τοῖς ἡγουμένοις ὑμῶν καὶ ὑπείκετε, αὐτοὶ γὰρ ἀγρυπνοῦσιν ὑπὲρ τῶν ψυχῶν ὑμῶν ὡς λόγον ἀποδώσοντες, ἵνα μετὰ χαρᾶς τοῦτο ποιῶσιν καὶ μὴ στενάζοντες· ἀλυσιτελὲς γὰρ ὑμῖν τοῦτοObey your esteemed ones and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.Present Middle/Passive Participle, Dative Masculine PluralObey your esteemed ones
Acts 7:10καὶ ἐξείλατο αὐτὸν ἐκ πασῶν τῶν θλίψεων αὐτοῦ καὶ ἔδωκεν αὐτῷ χάριν καὶ σοφίαν ἐναντίον Φαραὼ βασιλέως Αἰγύπτου καὶ κατέστησεν αὐτὸν ἡγούμενον ἐπ’ Αἴγυπτον καὶ [ἐφ’] ὅλον τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ.and rescued him from all his afflictions, and granted him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he set down him esteemed one over Egypt and all his household.Present Middle/Passive Participle, Accusative Masculine PluralHe set down him esteemed one
Matthew 2:6καὶ σὺ Βηθλέεμ, γῆ Ἰούδα,

οὐδαμῶς ἐλαχίστη εἶ ἐν τοῖς ἡγεμόσιν Ἰούδα·
ἐκ σοῦ γὰρ ἐξελεύσεται ἡγούμενος,
ὅστις ποιμανεῖ τὸν λαόν μου τὸν Ἰσραήλ.
‘AND YOU, BETHLEHEM, LAND OF JUDAH,
ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE LEADERS OF JUDAH;
FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME FORTH AN ESTEEMED ONE
WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.’”
Present Middle/Passive Participle, Nominative Masculine SingularCome forth Esteemed One
Luke 22:26ὑμεῖς δὲ οὐχ οὕτως, ἀλλ’ ὁ μείζων ἐν ὑμῖν γινέσθω ὡς ὁ νεώτερος καὶ ὁ ἡγούμενος ὡς ὁ διακονῶνBut it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the esteemed one like the servant. Present Middle/Passive Participle, Nominative Masculine SingularEsteemed one like a deacon
Acts 14:12ἐκάλουν τε τὸν Βαρναβᾶν Δία, τὸν δὲ Παῦλον Ἑρμῆν, ἐπειδὴ αὐτὸς ἦν ὁ ἡγούμενος τοῦ λόγουAnd they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the esteemed speaker.Present Middle/Passive Participle, Nominative Masculine SingularEsteemed speaker
Acts 15:22Τότε ἔδοξεν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις καὶ τοῖς πρεσβυτέροις σὺν ὅλῃ τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ ἐκλεξαμένους ἄνδρας ἐξ αὐτῶν πέμψαι εἰς Ἀντιόχειαν σὺν τῷ Παύλῳ καὶ Βαρναβᾷ, Ἰούδαν τὸν καλούμενον Βαρσαββᾶν καὶ Σιλᾶν, ἄνδρας ἡγουμένους ἐν τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς,Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas–Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, esteemed men among the brethren, Present Middle/Passive Participle Accusative Masculine PluralEsteemed men
Hebrews 13:24Ἀσπάσασθε πάντας τοὺς ἡγουμένους ὑμῶν καὶ πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους. Ἀσπάζονται ὑμᾶς οἱ ἀπὸ τῆς ἸταλίαςGreet all of your esteemed ones and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you.Present Middle/Passive Participle Accusative Masculine PluralEsteemed ones
2 Peter 3:9οὐ βραδύνει κύριος τῆς ἐπαγγελίας, ὥς τινες βραδύτητα ἡγοῦνται, ἀλλὰ μακροθυμεῖ εἰς ὑμᾶς μὴ βουλόμενός τινας ἀπολέσθαι ἀλλὰ πάντας εἰς μετάνοιαν χωρῆσαι.The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some esteem slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentancePresent Middle/Passive Indicative, Third PluralSome esteem slowness

Section Thirteen

The Spiritual Gift of the Shepherds

Section Fourteen
Distinguishing Elders, Overseers and Pastors


 served to  to shepherd (“ποιμαίνειν“) the church of God.  The Holy Spirit had appointed them to the office of elder. The Holy Spirit  “overseer,” but even then the overseers were “among” the flock (“ἐν “), denoting that they came from the flock and labored within the flock.  Titus 1:5, 7 also shows how the terms “elder” and “overseer” relate to one another.  In Titus 1:5, Paul directed Timothy to appoint elders (“πρεσβυτέρους”) in every city, as Paul charged him. In Titus 1:7 Paul described the spiritual qualifications of the overseer (“τὸν ἐπίσκοπον”). Some overseers hold the office of elder. Men show themselves as overseers, and the some of those men must be appointed to the office of elder.  Notice that Paul did not charge Timothy to appoint every overseer to the office of elder, but every person appointed to hold the office of elder must first be an overseer. See also 1 Peter 5:1-2 for the same office and function description.  Acts 6:1-6 describes “deacons” (“dιακόνους”) as spiritual men, who oversaw the feeding ministry and also preached the Word of God (see Stephen and Philip in Acts 7 and 8). Later, the office of deacon became a part of the church (1 Timothy 3:8-13). As believers, we must obey (“πείθεσθε“) the leaders (“ἡγουμένοις“) of the church, and they must act as men who will give an account to God of the souls they watch over with joy (Hebrews 13:17).  Therefore, we recognize both elders and deacons as offices within the church.

Luke 1:68, 78; 7:16; Acts 15:14; Heb. 2:6 quoted from Ps. 8:5; see Gen. 50:24, 25; Ps. 106:4
Acts 7:23; 15:36; Sept.: Judg. 15:1 Matt. 25:36, 43; James 1:27
Acts 6:3; Sept.: Lev. 13:36; Ezra 6:1; Ezek. 20:40

The Office of Overseer

1 Timothy 3:1

1 Peter 5:2 Hebrews 12:15 ἐπισκοποῦντες

1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:7 1 Peter 2:25 ἐπίσκοπον 

Philippians 1;1  ἐπισκόποις καὶ διακόνοις

Acts 20:28   ἐπισκόπους

Acts 1:20 ἐπισκοπὴν Take his Oversightship. 

Luke 19:44 1 Timothy 3:1  1 Peter 2:12 ἐπισκοπῆς

The Office of Deacon

Matthew 22:13  John 2:5 Philippians 1:1 διακόνοις

John 2:9 1 Corinthians 13:5 2 Corinthians 3:5  2 Corinthians 6:4 2 Corinthians 11:15 2 Corinthians 11:23 1 Timothy 3:12       διάκονοι 

 διάκονον

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