What the Bible Says about Elders
“And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” Acts 14:23
Our elders are the answer to the New Testament’s commands for organization in the local church. The elders are a plurality of men that lead, watch and feed spiritually our local group of God’s people according to God’s word. These men are selected from among our group that have met certain qualifications that have been laid out by God in Titus 1:5-9 and I Timothy 3:1-9.
The Greek word translated Elders is Presbyters-Which means “older in age.” This shows that those that are selected for this work are men that due to their age and experience have the wisdom and qualifications to lead a local church. Every local church were to have Elders as referenced in the scripture above (Acts 14:23).
These same men are called Bishops in the New Testament.
In Philippians 1:1 we have the entire organization of the local body of Christ when Paul wrote, “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.” The Greek word for Bishop is “Episcopos” which means “one that superintends or oversees another.” This speaks to the work of these men. Paul commanded the Elders of the church at Ephesus in Acts 20:28 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers (Bishops bwa),…” Our Elders oversee the work here at Traders Point and guide us according to the scriptures.
These men are also called Pastors.
Once again note what Paul said in Acts 20:28 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God…” The root word of feed in this verse is Poimen which means “ A Shepherd or one who tends a flock.” This is where we get the English word pastor. Another time this phrase is used is in Eph. 4:11 “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors (Poimen ba) and teachers;”
Once again note there is not a pastor but pastors, plural.
A pastor can be a preacher but a preacher is not necessarily a pastor. A pastor is a Bishop and an Elder. These are three different terms that refer to the same men with the same office. The different designations simply refer to different aspects of their duties. They are older men (elders) that oversee the work of the church (Bishops) that lead, protect and feed (Pastor) the local flock of God’s people.
The Apostle Peter uses all three of these terms to describe these same men in I Peter. 5:1-4 “The elders (Presbyters BA) which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Feed (Poimen) the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight(Episcopos) thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd (Poimen) shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”
Therefore the Elders at the Traders Point Church of Christ are a plurality of men that have met the qualifications to become such leaders of our local body according to scripture that lead, feed, and oversee the work commanded for us to do according to our Head Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:22-23, Col. 1:18)