The Bible often uses different terms to refer to the same thing. In the promised land, elders were also to be appointed to maintain justice locally ( Deut 16:18 ; 21:18-21 ; 22:15-19 ; Ruth 4:1-12 ), but a higher tribunal of priests and a judge existed for difficult cases ( Deut 17:8-9 ). SDA nomenclature has never used the terms, priest, reverend or clergy as honorific titles or as work titles. 1 Peter 5:1-5 - The elders 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: (Read More...) Acts 14:23 - 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. ( Joshua 24:1 ) with ( Joshua 24:2 Joshua 24:19 Joshua 24:21 ) and ( 1 Samuel 8:4 ) with ( 1 Samuel 8:7 1 Samuel 8:10 1 Samuel 8:19 ) Their authority was undefined, and extended to all matters concerning the public weal. Elders - There are 185 verses using Elders in 33 books. We are not informed about the origin of this office, which was also known outside Israel ( Gen 50:7 ; Num 22:7 ). I want to give words of advise to: SDA ordained Ministers of the Gospel are paid employees of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and they are required to also be Elders in the local church. The Southern Baptist Convention does not prescribe an elder-led pattern,[23] although a number of churches in this convention,[13] and other Baptist branches (including Reformed Baptists) are governed by a group of elders. A distinction is made (in 1 Tim 5:17 ) between those elders who rule well, especially those who labor in the preaching and teaching (who are now called ministers), and others (who are now referred to as elders and whose full-time task is directing the affairs of the church). [25][26] They base this on a conviction that congregations (and Christians in general) should attempt to follow the teachings of the New Testament wherever humanly possible. Although practices in the Presbyterian Church vary internationally, typically the church recognises three offices within church polity: the minister (alternately "teaching elder" or "pastor"), a bench of ruling elders, and deacons. American Standard Version And the four and twenty elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped God that sitteth on the throne, saying, Amen; Hallelujah. KJV, YLT, DARBY, ASV, WEB. In New Testament times they also appear taking an active part in public affairs ( Matthew 16:21 ; 21:23 ; 26:59 ). All elders have the task of oversight and discipline of the congregation ( Acts 20:28 ) and all have the responsibility to rule and guide the people of God with the Word in a manner that is pleasing to God ( Acts 20:29-31 ). WHAT IS AN ELDER? This is the situation encountered in the New Testament, where the triad of chief priests, scribes, and elders is often referred to as the Sanhedrin ( Mark 11:27 ; 14:43 ; also cf. Seventy of them attended on … Indeed, the elders' first responsibility was to God. [9] It occurs only five times in the New Testament, once referring to Christ[1Pet 2:25] and the other four times to church leaders. 4:4, 10-11). ( Numbers 22:7 ) The earliest notice of the elders acting in concert as a political body is at the time of the Exodus. Copyright © 2021, Bible Study Tools. 1.1 Almost all early societies or religious communities were guided in some way by elders, that is, by the older, experienced wise men of the group. These heavenly elders wear white garments, have crowns of gold, and worship God ( Revelation 4:4 Revelation 4:10-11 ; 5:7-10 ; 11:16-18 ; 19:4 ). [5][6], The modern English words "priest" or "presbyter" are derived etymologically from presbyteros. 1 There was a man living in Babylon whose name was Joakim. It is used twenty-eight times in the Gospels and Acts of the members of the Jewish Sanhedrin and twelve times in Revelation of the representatives of the redeemed people of God. An elder may also be qualified to serve as a deacon (and, in some cases, may have previously served as a deacon before becoming an elder). [15][16] Writing c.199, Tertullian claimed that Clement was ordained by Peter himself as bishop of Rome,[17] and although tradition identifies him as the fourth pope (after Linus and Anacletus) the order is much disputed. The elders' position of authority was also clear from their asking Jephthah to lead them in the fight against the Ammonites ( Judges 11:4-11 ), from their seeking a king from Samuel ( 1 Sam 8:4-5 ), and from their anointing David king over all Israel ( 2 Sam 5:3 ; 1 Chron 11:3 ; cf. An Elder - sometimes called a "Presbyter" - is someone who has been ordained by a bishop to the ministry of Word, Sacrament, Order, and Service. These do not have any legislative authority and are wholly dependent upon support from within the church. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. New Testament elders (presbyteroi [presbuvtero"]) are also called bishops (episkopoi [ejpivskopo"]) without implying any essential difference in the office referred to. The Authorised Version translates the word as "bishop", emphasizing the function of an elder as exercising authority and supervision "by divine placement, initiative and design. And they held an important place in church organization. and why are ye come unto me now when ye are in distress?” (Judges 11:7 KJV) Jephthah was the son of Gilead and was described as a mighty man of valour. Genesis 10:21 Gen 10:21. Historically, Baptist churches do not recognize elder as a separate office from those of pastor or deacon; it is commonly considered a synonym of deacon or pastor. The presbyterium is most visible during the ordination of new priests and bishops and the Mass of the Chrism (the Mass occurring on Maundy Thursday) where the blessing of the oils used in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick, and Holy Orders takes place. They retained their position under all the political changes which the Jews underwent. p. 43. In reference to churches in Antioch, Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe, Paul appoints elders as a key step in organizing a new church and instructs Titus to appoint others. Church governance is generally organised in one of three main types: An ordained Anglican minister is usually called a priest, holding the prenominal of Reverend if they are Low church or Sister or Father if they are High church. [29][full citation needed], Governance in the Church of Scotland is based on presbyterian polity. Rev 21:12-14 ). Elders are mentioned in a number of New Testament passages. King James Bible And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. He who is called presbyter or elder on account of his age or gravity is also called bishop or overseer with reference to the duty that lay upon him ( Titus 1:5-7 ; Acts 20:17-28 ; Phil 1:1 ). Elders within each congregation work within a "body of elders", several of whom are assigned to oversee specific congregational tasks. B. Eerdmans Publishing. The term "elder" stresses the connection with the age of the office bearer, while the term "bishop" emphasizes the nature of the task that is to be done. 1. [18] According to the Liber Pontificalis, Linus and Anacletus were ordained with responsibility for the church at Rome and Clement for the church as a whole[19]. The office of elder survived the Babylonian exile, but not without change. Congregational churches are generally run by committee rule, and elders are one office which is appointed by the committee. ( Job 32:4 ), The term elder, or old man as the Hebrew literally imports, was one of extensive use, as an official title, among the Hebrews and the surrounding nations, because the heads of tribes and the leading people who had acquired influence were naturally the older people of the nation. The Christian office of "elder" is drawn from the word's various uses in the Bible. [38] Members who sin openly are visited by the elders and encouraged to repent of their transgressions. [28] Male missionaries of the Church, General Authorities and Area Authority Seventies are honorarily titled "Elder" unless they are instead referred to by the title of President. Local Conference/Union Conference/Division/General Conference offices are usually addressed as "Elder." [citation needed]. The Jewish eldership was transferred from the old dispensation to the new. [27] In accordance with the teachings of the bible the Churches of Christ teach and practice that only males may serve as elders (female elders are not recognized), and must meet Biblical qualifications (generally I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 are the Biblical texts used to determine if a male is qualified to serve as elder). Proud member G. Berghoef and L. De Koster, The Elders Handbook: A Practical Guide for Church Leaders; W. Hendriksen, Exposition of the Pastoral Epistles; idem, More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation; G. W. Knight, III, The New Testament Teaching on the Role Relationship of Men and Women; J. Tools. Cross, F. L., ed. Women can be ordained as local elders, but are not ordained as ministers of the Gospel. "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". Hall of initiation. a. All rights reserved. Elders could serve locally as elders of a city ( Judges 8:14 ), regionally as elders of a tribe ( Judges 11:5 ), and nationally as elders of the nation ( Exod 3:16 ). 2 He married the daughter of Hilkiah, named Susanna, a very beautiful woman and one who feared the Lord. The evangelist and the elders have the spiritual oversight of the congregation (e.g., withdrawing fellowship from a member who the elders consider to be wayward in doctrine or refuses to abide by the elders' counsel or decision in a matter) as well as administrative oversight (e.g., overseeing the congregation budget). [Exod 24:9-11][Num 11:16] In the Septuagint, the word for Old Testament elders is πρεσβύτερος (presbuteros), as used in the New Testament for both Christian and Jewish leaders. Although bad counsel could be given ( eg 1:1 4:3 ), generally good advice was expected and that characteristic became associated with the elder. ON … With respect to the duties of an elder, there is a continuity with the basic tasks of the elder in the Old Testament. And the eldersof the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. First, these twenty-four elders are described as human, male elders. In the Moravian Church, an elder is referred to as a Helper. 2. [37] The elders are "ordained lay" people and form the session, which is a ruling council for their congregation. McMinn, J.B. (1958). Among Jehovah's Witnesses, an elder is a man appointed to teach the congregation. Elders in the Bible. Should we select elders by the same method? The Greek word for pastor or shepherd is poimaino. The necessary qualifications for the office suggest that elders must be chosen very carefully. ( Genesis 24:2 ; 50:7 ; 2 Samuel 12:17 ; Ezekiel 27:9 ) As betokening a political office, it applied not only to the Hebrews, but also to the Egyptians, ( Genesis 50:7 ) the Moabites and the Midianites. There are several roles in the ministry including ministers of Word and Sacrament, chaplains, deacons and readers. B. Lightfoot, The Christian Ministry; J. Piper and W. Grudem, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism. In Christianity, an elder is a person who is valued for wisdom and holds a position of responsibility and authority in a Christian group. In Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists. This was still the case later in the century: the writings of the Apostolic Fathers (such as 1 Clement and the Didache) continue to assert the apostolic authority of the bishops/presbyters as rulers of the church making no distinction between the two terms. Salem Media Group. Also the requirements for the office of the elders and bishops are very similar (cf. The functional term 'presbytery' has been utilized among Southern Baptists to denote their ordination council.[24]. Yesterday evening, all six of the elders of Trinity Bible Chapel were charged under Section 10.1 of the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA) for holding church services on Sunday, December 27. The Preacher's Portrait: Some New Testament Word Studies. The "elder" is the keystone of the social and political fabric wherever the patriarchal system exists. Growing older, however, did not necessarily mean growing wiser. "Elder" was the only honorific title used to distinguish church leadership during the formative years of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Collectively, however, their "college" is referred to as the "presbyterium" (meaning "council of elders"), "presbytery", or "presbyterate.". also the presence of the elders in 2 Sam 17:1-4 ). Other pairs of elders and eldresses headed groups of Shaker communities, while others were spiritual leaders of smaller groups within the communities. [22] This is not universal in Baptist circles, however, and there are many Baptist churches which are elder-led. They are Church age believers, those who have accepted Christ after Jesus came and died on the cross. What example do we have, in the Bible, of selecting church leaders (Acts 6:1-6)? However, many within the confessional wing of Lutheranism, see the term "elder" being used in such a way an unfortunate effect of Reformed (and broader Protestant) influence on the Lutheran Church. The title "Elder" is usually given to those Anglicans ministers who are not vicars, but hold a learned role within or beyond a congregation, such as a Reader who assists a priest or a Pioneer Minister who seeks to engage with those who are outside the traditional Anglican Communion structures. The reference to the 24 elders in the book of Revelation can be first found in Revelation 4:1-5. Of prime importance, therefore, is to be the administration of the glad tidings. Elders are another role, which is voluntary and un-salaried elders. Write out a Scriptural method of selecting and appointing elders. Individuals such as James had a significant role in the Jerusalem church and the Council of Jerusalem. Poimen (ποιμήν, Greek word #4166 in Strong's Concordance) means shepherd,[10] also translated as pastor[Eph 4:11]. (2) Referring to the Jewish elders of the synagogue, usually associated with the scribes and Pharisees, and New Testament passages cited in the previous article. Therefore elders had to be chosen carefully. It also denoted a political office ( Numbers 22:7 ). Luke 7:3 ; and the implications of Matt 10:17 ; and John 9:22 ). Episkopos (ἐπίσκοπος, Greek word #1985 in Strong's Concordance) was a common word in the Greek culture for any official who acted as a superintendent, manager, overseer, controller, curator, guardian or ruler. All elders are members of the Kirk session, and may train to chair the session, conduct funerals, preach and lead worship.[30]. Tools. 3 Her parents were righteous, and had trained their daughter according to the law of Moses. Christadelphians do not appoint any form of clergy. The body of the "elders" of Israel were the representatives of the people from the very first, and were recognized as such by Moses. Wisdom could be with the young rather than the old. "Entry for 'ELDER'". In Baptism, the Elder may hold the water or assist the pastor in other ways. In both the Old and New Testaments, the term "elder" indicates one of advanced age (Heb. The elders' task of oversight and discipline can be described in terms of keeping watch and shepherding on behalf of the great shepherd Jesus Christ. The term emphasizes the elder as one who tends, feeds, guides, protects and cares for his flock. 1. Resource Toolbox. Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene: The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend. Moses opened his commission to them ( Exodus 3:16). And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away" ( 1 Peter 5:1-4 ). They were the representatives of the people, so much so that elders and people are occasionally used as equivalent terms; comp. [Acts 11:30][15:2-6][15:22-23][16:4][21:18] In reference to churches in Antioch, Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe, Paul appoints elders[Acts 14:23] as a key step in organizing a new church and instructs Titus to appoint others. [citation needed] Various traditions in Christianity translate the underlying term differently depending on their particular doctrinal or practical view of the role. In this way they would serve the well-being of Israel. 396-397. Titus 1:5-9 ; and 1 Tim 3:1-7 ). Despite the assertions of Doug and Nick, the New Testament is sketchy about which individuals, male or female, were actually called elders, bishops, or pastors. Elder. B. 1:5)? 2005. [1Pet 5:1-2][Acts 20], Presbuteros (πρεσβύτερος, Greek word #4245 in Strong's Concordance) is the most commonly used term for elder in the New Testament, stemming from presbus, elderly. Women are commissioned as Pastors and are considered ministers of the Gospel. The office of elder in the New Testament church cannot be fully understood without the background of the Old Testament local elder, an office still functioning in New Testament Judaism with duties pertaining to discipline and leadership (cf. of Since no truly apostolic authority exists to appoint elders the church has none. An Elder helps brothers at each congregation. PASTORS AND ELDERS CHARGED FOR HOLDING CHURCH SERVICES. The governance of each church is arranged with a system of checks and balances so that undue power is never given to one office or individual. Ron Rhodes, The Complete Guide to Christian Denominations, Harvest House Publishers, 2005, This belief is shared with other religious organizations with roots in the, Baptists § Baptist beliefs and principles, Learn how and when to remove this template message, Churches of Christ § Congregational autonomy and leadership, Ministers and elders in the Church of Scotland, Organizational structure of Jehovah's Witnesses § Elders, "Moravian Moment # 8 - The role of the Helpers", Wallace, Daniel B. If one person is assigned main preaching duties, he is never referred to as "Father" (based on Matthew 23:9, which states that the only Father a Christian has is in Heaven), nor is the individual referred to as "pastor" (due to belief that the one reference to "pastor" in Ephesians 4:11 is translated "shepherd" in all other cases, and in context either refers to Jesus Christ or to an elder; as stated above the person with main preaching duties may or may not be an elder) or "reverend" (due to belief that the one reference to this term in Psalm 111:9 refers to the reverence of God's name). There is a distinction between ordained elders and lay elders. In the New Testament Church the elders or presbyters were the same as the bishops. 3. Indeed, even a Methodist Bishop is still an Elder who has been elected and consecrated by the laying on of hands to the office of Bishop (Bishop being understood as an office within the Presbyterate, not an order or separate level of ordination). Bibliography. 2 Kings 23:1-3 ). The elder must be a blameless and God-fearing man who shows the fruits of the Spirit in his walk of life. "[5] The overseer can sometimes be viewed as a lead elder or as just one of a plurality of elders. Matthew 13:11 Matthew 13:52 ). 'Elder' in the Bible. The elders, along with the chief priests, bribed Judas with thirty pieces of silver in order to betray Jesus. The remaining nineteen times the word is employed in Acts and the Epistles, it identifies the leaders in the local churches of the New Testament. Leaders are chosen according to the qualifications found in 1Tim 3:1-7 and Tit. Generally, an elder is not permitted to consecrate the bread and wine in the Eucharist, or perform Holy Absolution, as these acts are usually reserved for the pastor. [4] It is used with regard to the twelve apostles,[citation needed] the seventy disciples[citation needed] or others acting in a specific role of authority in a local assembly of Christians. At the present day this is the case among the Arabs, where the sheik (i.e., "the old man") is the highest authority in the tribe. [Acts 14:23][1Tim 4:14][Tit 1:5] Above all, the elder is to serve with humility, remembering that their position is a picture of Christ as the chief shepherd. They are also assigned to assist the pastor in the sacraments (the Eucharist and Baptism). Berean Study Bible So the apostles and elders met to look into this matter. [Jas 5] Elders are considered rulers over their flocks[1Tim 5:17][1Thes 5:12] and their judgement to be submitted to,[Heb 13:17] not so that they can be "lords over God's heritage,"[1Pet 5:3] but because they are to give account to God for the spiritual character of their church. Seventy of them attended on him at the giving of the law ( Exodus 24:1 ). Instead, common terms used are "evangelist", "preacher", "minister" (or "pulpit minister"; the latter may be used if the congregation has assistant or associate ministers over certain programs or functions), or "preaching elder" (if the person is also an elder). [36] Most Exclusive Brethren groups believe the church to have been in ruins between the death of the apostles and their own time. The four and twenty elders fall down before him... and worship him that liveth for ever and ever. Congregations referring to themselves as Churches of Christ believe that local congregations should be led by a plurality of biblically qualified elders. [31] Congregation elders do not receive monetary compensation; traveling overseers receive a modest stipend. [1Tim 5:17][Tit 1:9-13] To this end, they are also to train and appoint others. Matt 16:21 ; Mark 15:1 ). Elders is discussed most often in the books of Deuteronomy (20), Acts (18) and Matthew (13). Organisation is based on ecclesially accountable committees for evangelism, youth and Sunday School work, military service issues, care of the elderly and humanitarian work. IN THE BIBLE, THREE KEY WORDS ARE USED TO DESCRIBE AN ELDER. WE ARE FIRST INTRODUCED TO THESE THREE TERMS IN ACTS 20:17-31). Men serving within the Adventist Church's organizational leadership, e.g. [1Pet 5:4]. The elders' leadership was evident in other ways as well. As previously, elders were in positions of leadership both in the homeland ( Ezr 10:14 ) and Babylon ( Jer 29:1 ; Ezek 8:1 ; 14:1 ; Ezekiel 20:1 Ezekiel 20:3 ). By the second century b.c., we read of a council comprised of aristocratic elders (cf. There is only one group that is prophesied in the Bible to have all four descriptions. The World English Bible (WEB) It was an office derived from the Jewish usage of elders or rulers of the synagogues. Consider the evidence from Bible texts. . Their number and influence may be inferred from ( 1 Samuel 30:26 )ff. With respect to the elder's task of ruling and guiding, he has been set over the congregation ( 1 Thess 5:12 ; 1 Tim 5:17 ). In other Christian traditions (e.g., Presbyterianism, Churches of Christ, Plymouth Brethren), an elder may be a lay person serving as an administrator in a local congregation, or be ordained and serving in preaching (teaching during church gatherings) or pastoral roles. Each circuit overseer visits the congregations in his jurisdiction twice each year. In the Old Testament elders were heads of households, prominent men of the tribes, and leaders or rulers in the community. Susanna’s Beauty Attracts Two Elders. It had reference to various offices. Their leadership position was evident from the fact that Moses had to go to the elders, he would have to go to Pharaoh ( Exod 3:16-18 ). They attended Moses on all important occasions. John Meyendorff, The Primacy of Peter: Essays in Ecclesiology and the Early Church(St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1992), p. 135–136. [13] The qualifications given by the Apostle Paul are as follows: Where elders are addressed in the writings of Paul and Peter, there is no inference of a monarchical episcopacy or single leaders in any of the New Testament-era churches,[1Pet 5:1-3][Phil 1:1] and presbuteros and episkopos are used interchangeably. [38], Members of the Catholic Church still use the Greek word Presbyter (πρεσβύτερος, presbuteros: "elder", or "priest" in Christian usage) to refer to priests (priest is etymologically derived from the Greek presbyteros via the Latin presbyter). General Editor. With the disintegration of the tribal unit, influential families came to fill the void of authority left by the breakdown of the clan. As the name implies, they were normally men of experience and maturity. Representatives of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses select elders to be appointed as circuit overseers, (also referred to as traveling overseers). Stott, John R. W. (1961). In the majority of the references, the word for elders is plural and word for church is singular,[11][12] suggesting that the pattern in the early church was for a plurality of elders in each local church. Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born. Although elders were historically the oldest members, in later times they became less important compared to the priests and scribes and the term "elders" came to signify lay members. The pastoral character of this task of oversight is also indicated when Peter writes: "To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers — not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. "Bishop". The Intertestamental Period. In Acts 20:17, 28 and tit 1:5, 7 the two names are used interchangeably. One branch of the Plymouth Brethren, the Exclusive Brethren, are so named for their practice of serving the Lord's Supper exclusively to those who are part of their own particular group, agreeing with them on various doctrinal positions. Yet God calls his shepherds to provide leadership for the flock, and, in general, God expects the church to submit to that leadership (Hebrews 13:17). 7720 elders, in the church. Each body of elders has a Coordinator (previously known as the Presiding Overseer), a Secretary, and a Service Overseer. However, some information is provided that allows us to rule out some possibilities and consider a few options. The duties of the ordained elders in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are defined in the book of Doctrine and Covenants. To do their vital tasks of judging and ruling, elders were to be capable men who feared God and were upright ( Exodus 18:21 Exodus 18:25 ); they were to be wise, understanding, and experienced ( Deut 1:13 ); and they were empowered by the Holy Spirit ( Num 11:16-17 ). Moses opened his commission to them ( Exodus 3:16 ). While no specific age is given, the connotation of seniority and experience in this term emphasizes the nature of the position and the character of the person, implying maturity, dignity, experience and honor. 2 Sam 3:17-18 ; cf. b. Titus, a gospel preacher, was involved in the process. In light of the awesome responsibilities, it is not surprising that the prerequisites of the office are high ( 1 Tim 3:1-7 ; Titus 1:6-9 ). It also denoted a political office ( Numbers 22:7). There are two key passages dealing with the qualifications of elders in the New Testament, 1Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. Hallelujah! Deborah was not an elder/bishop. ELDERS, DON'T KEEP QUIET . Two Elders and Eldresses headed the central Shaker ministry at the Mount Lebanon Shaker Society and dealt with both spiritual and temporal matters. Whereas the elders' authority once derived from their position within the tribe, real authority now became based on the prominence of a particular family and an aristocratic ruling class emerged. One of the key distinctions of Plymouth Brethren churches is the total rejection of the concept of clergy. Please enter your email address associated with your Salem All-Pass account, then click Continue. New York: Oxford University Press. Bible Passage: Judges 11:1-8 “And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father's house? — Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallesians 3:1. So there is nothing unique or unusual about having elders in positions of authority. They too received the law, which had to be read every seven years ( Deut 31:9-13 ). The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. It probably developed from the tribal structure, the elder being the head of a family or tribe. The Radical Pietistic communities, such as the Schwarzenau Brethren, do not believe in the swearing of oaths and also resolve problems at the congregational level under church councils presided by elders, rather than in civil courts. Some have thought that the Bible speaks of a category of church leaders above elders/pastors, called “overseers.” However, the biblical evidence indicates that “overseer” is simply another term for elder as well. In many instances, particularly in the Old Testament, it has reference to the older men in a tribe, usually entrusted with the governmental affairs[Exod 3:16][4:29][12:21][Josh 7:6][Ruth 4:2], whose counsel was frequently sought because of their age and experience. [20] This became the norm by the middle of the century. We are not criminals. C. There is nothing specifically said in the Bible about how elders are to be ordained. Oxford University Press, USA. The New Testament. Elder (or Presbyteros, in the Greek) serving as a synonym for "Pastor" or "Priest", not unlike how Lutheran teaching also recognizes "episkopos" (Greek, meaning overseer), or bishop to be yet another synonym.

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