Pastors

Our dear brother Sello Rasephei raised a very interesting question on his Facebook wall as to what is the qualifications of a “pastor” (Ephesians 4:11) in respect of “pastor-hood”, as we only see the qualifications of “elders” (Titus 1:5-9). This prompted me also to check out what or who are “pastors.” Interestingly, we find in the King James Bible the English word “pastor” once in the Old Testament in Jeremiah 17:16 and the plural word “pastors” eight times (seven in the Old Testament [OT] and once in the New Testament [NT])! The eight times collectively in the OT all appear in the Book of Jeremiah and the one appearance in the NT appears in Ephesians 4:11. The word “pastor” is therefore then not a NT word in origin.

It is always prudent to go back to the original languages of the Bible and see which words were used and what are their meanings. In the OT we see that the word “pastor” and “pastors” which are the same Hebrew word:

H7462 רעה râ‛âh raw-aw’ A primitive root; to tend a flock, that is, pasture it; intransitively to graze (literally or figuratively); generally to rule; by extension to associate with (as a friend): –  X break, companion, keep company with, devour, eat up, evil entreat, feed, use as a friend, make friendship with, herdman, keep [sheep] (-er), pastor, + shearing house, shepherd, wander, waste.

It therefore appears that the word “pastor” is literally a shepherd – one who takes care and looks after the flock.

It is also interesting that in the NT the Greek word is:

G4166 ποιμήν poimēn poy-mane’ Of uncertain affinity; a shepherd (literally or figuratively): – shepherd, pastor.

Noun meaning shepherd, one who generally cares for flocks.

(I)               Particularly (Mt 9:36; 25:32; Mk 6:34; Lk 2:8, 15, 18, 20).

(II)            Figuratively of Jesus as the Great Shepherd who watches over and provides for the welfare of the Church, His flock (Mt 26:31; Mk 14:27; Jn 10:2, 11, 12, 14, 16; Heb 13:20; 1Pe 2:25); spoken also of the spiritual guide of a particular church (Eph 4:11).

Deriv.: archipoimēn (750), chief shepherd; poimainō (4165), to tend, take general care of the flock; poimnē (4167) and poimnion (4168), flock.

Syn.: archēgós (747), leader; didáskalos (1320), teacher; episkopos (1985), overseer, superintendent; hegemon (2232), a leader; presbúteros (4245), elder spiritual leader.

What is also very interesting is that the word “shepherd” in both the OT and the NT are the same Hebrew and Greek words for “pastor” as rendered here-above respectively. A more precise and in-depth study reveals that a pastor would therefore be entrusted to look after the sheep, the ekklesia (Church) of our Lord Jesus Christ, as an overseer, but the true description or qualification would be that of an elder or a presbyter.

How the modern church has been manipulated by men and women who have contrived the position of pastor to suit the egos of them as leaders who are raising up their own empires as what they call “their church”, even violating God’s divine order, where women call themselves pastor. They run the church as organisations. Beware of these false-teachers!

In conclusion, no “pastor-hood” qualifications appear in Scripture. Therefore, we are given the qualification of elders who should lead the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ.

5For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: 6If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. 7For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; 9Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. ~ Titus 1:5-9

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2 Responses

  1. Good Biblical conclusion. Elders and pastors are the same person but different references. Acts 20:28 (when Paul talked talked to the elders of Ephesus – Acts 20:17) shows this to be true…according to this plain verse it is elders/overseers who are to feed (pastor) the church.

    • Thank you brother for your comment – never saw that “feed (pastor)” in that verse. Thank you! Agreed!

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