What is the biblical form of church leadership?
Dr. R. J. Rizzi, Pastor
March 3, 2006
Establishing a plurality of elders as a form of church government is quite popular
among many present-day churches. There are many opinions and articles
addressing this issue.
Until the day of Pentecost, the term elder was strictly used for a leader in the
Jewish faith. From that point on the church adopted the term to refer to a man
who could be called upon for their discernment concerning issues of importance.
While this study is not meant to be exhaustive, I trust that it will be thorough
enough to establish a case either for or against establishing a plurality of elders in
local church polity.
The best place to begin is the Bible. If we are to defend any position we must
base it solely on the Word of God. Although we may gravitate toward our own
opinions the Bible, and the context in which each word is written, is vitally
important. When we as people attempt to circumvent the authority of Scripture,
we do damage to the information God has imparted to us for the benefit of
establishing a sound biblical New Testament Church.
Thesis: All pastors are elders; not all elders are pastors.
A pastor is an overseer and the definition of pastor finds it basis in 1 Timothy
3.1-7, Titus 1.5-9, and Ephesians 4.11,12.
The word “elders” is used 194 times in the New King James Version of the Bible.
It can mean someone who is elderly or someone of mature spirituality in the
Jewish faith and the Christian faith. It is used to describe an older man or
woman. From what I have read those who wish to establish a plurality of elders
in a church use some terms interchangeably. The terms are Pastor, Overseer,
and Elder. Let us look at these terms separately.
Pastor - (see appendix one)
Definition - The term pastor is given to a man who has been called of God to
shepherd or have oversight of a congregation. It is not a title as much as it is a
From this, we can determine that a pastor is one who is a shepherd, a
superintendent. He is responsible for equipping the congregation for their work in
ministry ( Eph. 4.12 ).
It is the pastor of the church who is given the ministry of oversight of the flock or
The pastor’s role is to spiritually feed the congregation from the Word of God.
This spiritual nourishment is to equip the saints for ministry.
Overseer (Bishop) - (see appendix two)
Definition - Overseer refers to a position or office that is to be filled by a man who
strives to live according to the criteria given in 1 Timothy 3.1-7. The position or
office of overseer is, as described in 1 Timothy 3.1-7, given to a man who meets
certain qualifications. The overseer is one who offers oversight to the
He will have the duty of superintendence over the local congregation in a very
personal way. The definition of the related words indicates personal supervision
over individual believers and the corporate body of believers. The words
visitation and inspection are used in the sense that the overseer will be one who
would be entrusted with the examination of each in the congregation. An overseer
will be the one who is entrusted to “look out for” those under his watch-care.
Elders. (see appendix three)
Definition - The term elder refers to a certain status a person attains because of a
combination of age, spiritual knowledge, wisdom and maturity. Elder is never
referred to as an office nor a title, or position as much as it is a designation and
description of where a person is in their walk with the Lord.
An Elder is a man or woman of advanced age. As a man who has a mature
understanding of the Christian faith, he is an ambassador. When a group or
council of elders was convened they would then be called on to offer a direction
to remedy an area of contention or division. They would rule or render judicial
decision over an issue concerning an individual or body of believers.
One example is found in Acts 15.4 where a council of elders was convened to
offer a resolution over the issue of whether or not Gentile believers had to be
An elder is a man of knowledge and experience in the arena in which he serves
and represents. Just as Jewish elder is wise in the context of the Hebrew faith so
is the Christian elder wise in matters pertaining to Christian doctrine and
Further Study ~
The calling of a pastor is one that is ordained by the Lord and not by men.
People do not appoint a person to be a pastor since it is something that the Lord
Himself gives to the man.
The pastor of a church is elected by the congregation of the local church in
recognition that this man has been ordained by the Lord to serve a church as
pastor. Nevertheless, this was not always the case. In the early Church, the
pastor was likely a person who had grown up in that church.
Because of a lack of male leadership in many churches, it has become necessary
to go outside the local body in order to find a man qualified for service as pastor.
The pastor is the shepherd or overseer of the local body of Christ. He is the
superintendent of the local church ministry. He is to feed the flock from the Word
of God to equip them for personal ministry. The pastor offers protective oversight
to the flock to ensure their spiritual well being. He is the guardian of the spiritual
oversight of the local church. The position of pastor/shepherd is quite different
from that of a man seen simply as an elder. A pastor may be an elder and led by
the Lord to serve in the capacity of pastor/bishop in the local church.
What can we say of this specific term?
The word for bishop comes from, as far as I can gather, a mispronunciation from
the Old English of the late 1,500's. They would say the word bicseop and mean
to say episcopus.  In any case, the term bishop in an English Bible refers to
the word episcopus meaning overseer, the proper understanding of the word.
It is different that the term for elder.
The term Overseer (bishop) (1 Tim. 3.1) seems to be a separate title or office
given to those (men) who desire to serve the Lord in a specific capacity. The
bishop or overseer in the church is one who then is entrusted with the oversight
of the church.
This responsibility of oversight would then be interchangeable with the duties of a
man who has been appointed by God in the calling of pastor (poimen) as used in
Ephesians 4:11. Someone with the calling of the Lord to serve as pastor will
desire the position of Overseer (bishop) and this is called a good work (1 Tim.
In this text (Eph. 4) we find that God has listed certain specific offices pertaining
to the oversight of the church and its ministry. Elder and deacon are not listed
here. The position of Overseer (bishop) is that of superintendence, shepherding
if you will, the ministry of the local church. The position of Overseer (bishop) is
the very same as the position of pastor. However, it is not the same as the term
In Titus 1:5 Paul writes to Titus and instructs him to appoint elders (plural) in
every city (plural).
He then continues, in verse 6, to address the qualifications of overseers or
pastors. Nowhere in Scripture do we find that elder is addressed as an office nor
is there a list of criteria that define such an office.
In the context of Titus becoming involved in the appointment of the leadership of
the church at Crete, Paul was giving instruction to Titus concerning many of the
same issues he had instructed Timothy in. Titus, being familiar with Paul’s writing
style and philosophy of ministry, would know what Paul meant in this letter even if
the ideas do not seem to make sense to the modern reader.
As for the issue of elders here in Titus 1 verse 5, I believe it to mean that Titus
was to appoint elders as overseers in each city. That would mean that it was
only necessary to have at least one elder per city.
Nevertheless, we realize that many believers could be considered an elder
because of their age, wisdom, and knowledge.
Paul is telling Titus to ordain/appoint elders for a specific area of service in each
city. Elders in cities means just that.
There is nothing specific that tells us that there is a plurality of elders in each
church. In Acts 14:23 we find the record of elders (plural) being appointed in
every church (again plural). There were elders appointed in churches. Yes, a
plurality of appointed elders in a plurality of churches or cities as is the case here
in the context in which we find the use of the word elders.
The word for appoint in Titus 1.5 is kayisthmi (kath-is'-tay-mee ).(Strong’s 2525)
It means: to place down or to set; constitute; set down in a place, to render or
cause to be. To ordain.
It is used here (Titus 1.5) in the sense that an elder is to be set in place or set
aside for a purpose. (Perschbacher 215)
The man is not being set aside to be an elder but that an elder is being set aside
or ordained to a particular responsibility, that of overseeer (i.e. pastor).
There are several examples of this appointment process in Scripture:
Matthew 24.45 - a servant is made (kayisthmi) a ruler over the master’s
Acts 6.3 - seven men are appointed (kayisthmi) to see about the business of
serving the church.
James 3.6 - the tongue is appointed (kayisthmi), or set among the rest of our
body in such a way that it can bring shame on us.
James 4.4 - those who are friends of the world (those who are unwilling to follow
the Lord) are appointed (kayisthmi) as enemies of the Lord.
Thus, I believe Paul was giving a directive for Titus to appoint (ordain) elders in
cities to the office of Overseer (pastor), of each church. He was to designate or
distinguish certain men who desired the position of overseer (1 Tim. 3.1) and that
is why Paul then goes on to tell Titus how to qualify these men (Titus 1.6-9) for
their service. They were to be set in place to be Overseers.
From our text, in Titus 1 we find that there were qualified elders in each city who
were to be appointed as overseers of that particular body of believers.
In the case of Acts 20.17-29, I believe that Paul is addressing elders who are
overseers among the men who are gathered at this meeting. That is that some of
the elders gathered there were also serving as Overseers or that these elders
gathered are all appointed as Overseers.
In 1 Timothy 5.17 elders who rule are to be counted worthy of double honor.
The term for rule here is proisthmi (pro-is'-tay-mee ).(Strong’s 4291)
This term means to stand before, i.e. (in rank) to preside, or (by implication) to
practice: maintain, be over, rule. It means one who has been appointed with
This indicates a man (elder) who is an Overseer, one who presides before or has
the duty to supervise.
In the case of 1 Peter 5.1-4 we have much the same context as in Titus. Peter,
who is an elder due to his age and maturity, is exhorting other elders who are his
peers. He tells them to “feed the flock”. The word for feed here is poimainw
(poimono) not poimhn (poimen) or shepherd. They are to be involved in the
episkopew (episkopeo) to watch out for the flock and their well being.
The elders here are to act as mature guardians of the congregation.
There is no indication that they have been appointed to the office of Overseer
here in this text although some may have been.
There are people who believe that the terms, overseer, elder, and pastor are
I do not hold this view. While some take this to mean that overseer and elders
are the very same, why then did God inspire two different words? Is it to describe
the same office with two different words or is it two different words to describe two
An elder, in respect to the Christian Church, is a man mature in age who has
been saved for many years. He will be a man who has a very good
understanding of Christian doctrine and Theology (1 Tim. 5.1). He will be a man
who can then be trusted to make delicate decisions concerning the ministry of the
local church. He will be able to make administrative and spiritual decisions
without bias. In Acts 15 the council of elders and apostles were called together to
address the contention about certain teaching that went against what Christ had
established. An elder of this standing will be appointed or set aside for a
As is the case with the council of elders (Acts 15.1-21) who met in Jerusalem to
consider the issue of the Gentile believers and their coming to a saving
knowledge of Christ.
It was the council of elders who made a judicial decision there that dictated the
early church doctrine, but it was under the authority of the apostles who came to
this council as well.
The first mention of elders in the context of the Church is in Acts 11.30 where
Paul and Barnabas came with financial relief to the region of Judea and offered it
to the elders there. Here we find multiple elders represented because it is a
The term elder refers to one who has some experience in the administration of
the local church body. They are mature individuals who called together to
discuss issues of contention between individuals.
We see that the eldership is in place at the time of the founding of the Church
and the question is, “How does this apply to the local church government?”
There is every indication that elders, those men who are mature believers in
Christ, were called upon to address certain issues as a council in conjunction with
In Acts 20.17, Paul wrote from Miletus to the church at Ephesus for the elders of
the church to come and meet with him where Paul exhorted them to continue to
remain faithful and on course.
As addressed earlier, elders were appointed by the apostles (Acts 14.23) and
also by Titus (Titus 1:5) as commanded by Paul. The appointment of elders was
under the direction of the apostolic office.
An elder may be a man who has proven himself in a position of service for a
number of years. An elder may serve the church as a deacon. In 1 Timothy 3:10
to be qualified to serve as a deacon a man must first be tested. That is to be
proven faithful to the Lord. One example of where an elder would serve and be
tested well is to be a delegate to an ordination counsel of a man from another
church. This would fit well the definition of an elder in the Christian church today.
How appropriate for a man who has been tested, once he has matured in the
faith, to then be appointed to the position of deacon or bishop. He may desire to
serve or is currently serving as pastor/bishop of a church since the position of
overseer is one that demands discipline.
Conclusion or Confusion?
After reading the material in this study on the terms pastor, overseer, and elder, I
have concluded that the position of pastor and overseer are one and the same.
The terms are synonymous and complimentary.
I have concluded that there is no office of elder because the Scripture does not
bear this out.
The pastor is to be the overseer or shepherd of the church. A pastor will have
been ordained of God and proven in his faith. He offers superintendence and
spiritual oversight to the local church body. The pastor provides direction to the
ministry and he will be consulted in matters that affect the ministry regardless of
how small or big something may seem to be. Every decision does have an effect
on the direction of the ministry of the local church. Just as Jesus is Shepherd of
the Church, the pastor is the shepherd of the local church. Jesus is never
referred to as the “great elder” but the “Great Shepherd”(Hebrews 13.20).
The pastor is one who has been ordained of the Lord or called into the pastoral
ministry. It is a position of preaching and teaching in the local church. The two
terms, presbuterov (elder) and episkoph (overseer) each have differing definition
while the definition for poimhn (pastor) is very much the same as episkoph
An elder who is mature in age and knowledge concerning doctrine and Theology
of the Christian church may then be called upon to serve as counsel in the local church setting. The tasks of an elder and that of overseer are compatible in that they balance and distribute authority and administrative tasks so that when difficulties arise in a particular church, elders will be convened to adjudicate the issue, offering opinion and counsel. But the general oversight of the church falls to the overseer.
The term elder, though we find it in use in the early church, is not being applied
as it was during that time period. An elder would be one who has a great amount
of experience in matters of the faith. He would be recognized by the apostles and, at the discretion of the apostles, called upon to discuss issues of importance to the church.
He may be a man who is ready to serve in another capacity in the local church or para-church ministry. We no longer have the apostles to direct the appointment of elders to the office of overseer. Even without apostolic appointment, any elder who is considered for any appointment will be a man who has a good working knowledge of the Word of God. He will be able to preach in the absence of the pastor and teach a Sunday School lesson or lead in Bible study during the week.
An elder appointed to the office of overseer would be a man who has been trained and tested for a great number of years before being considered for this appointment.
An elder would be one who understands matters of doctrine and Theology so that
when issues of contention arise in the local church he could be relied on as one
who has been well trained and can offer biblical wisdom.
He will not rely on his own opinion but rather will use the Word of God to find an
An appointed elder is one who is an ambassador of the church. He would also
offer himself as impartial counsel to another church to resolve issues of conflict in
conjunction with their elder or elders and also their bishop/pastor. The caution
here is to associate only with those church of like precious faith. The early
church did not have to take this precaution since there was not a great diversity of
denominations as we have today.
I see no compelling argument from Scripture in favor of the office of elder or a
plurality of elders in a local church. I believe that men who are elders and meet
the qualifications from 1 Timothy 3.1-13 are to be appointed as overseers and
I believe that there are to be, at the very least, a pastor and deacons as officers in
the local church.
I believe that a New Testament church will have a pastor or pastors depending on
the size of the congregation. I believe that a New Testament church will have
deacons who aid the pastor(s) in serving the congregation areas of physical,
financial, and material need.
I believe that a church can designate (appoint) one or more elders who assist the
pastor in the oversight and counsel of the local church. They are to be men who
have been tested in prior service. They will be men who understand the doctrine
and Theology of the Christian faith. They would in fact then be designated as lay
pastors or deacons. They will have many years of prior service such as being
discipled to preach and teach in the absence of the pastor.
It would be wise for these men to be ordained by the local church.
They will not allow human tradition, philosophy, opinion or perception to distort
their conclusions. They will be relied upon in times where matters of conflict arise
and there needs to be a time of counsel and guidance.
Appointed Elders would then serve as an ambassador, with the pastor, to the
wider community of believers. How they are appointed would be determined by
their qualifications and maturity in matters of the Christian faith such as doctrine
Final Note: I began this study to determine what the term elder represented in the
context of the New Testament Church. I thought as many have, that there is
indeed an office of elder in the local church polity.
What I have found is that there are people who hold that the terms, pastor, overseer (bishop) and elder, all refer to the same office. Some would say that they refer to the office of elder and some hold the position that they pertain to the office of Overseer or Pastor. What I have found is there is one office of Overseer/Pastor of the church. If there is a plurality of leadership it would be a plurality of Overseers or Pastors.
I am now of the opinion that there are men in the church, elders, who are to be
appointed to the oversight (pastor) and administration (deacon) of the local church based upon their knowledge of Biblical Doctrine and Theology. Men who are deemed Elders are then examined to see if they meet the qualifications for Overseer or Deacon.
They will meet the qualifications outlined in 1 Timothy 3.1-7 or 1 Timothy 3.8-13.
They are to be relied upon for their wisdom in resolving conflict within the local
church and serving other churches of like precious faith. They would be men who
hold no worldly bias but rather a Christian world-view. They would apply Biblical
principles to their dealings with the world rather than applying worldly principles to
the ministry of the church.
These appointed elders would be considered lay pastors or deacons and ought to
be ordained in their local churches.
As stated above and from what I have studied, my conclusion is that all pastors
are elders but all elders are not pastors.
Pastor - (appendix one)
4166. poimhn poimen, poy-mane'; of uncertain affinity; a shepherd (literally or
figuratively):--shepherd, pastor. Perschbacher: enos; o; nom. sg. m. n. - one
who tends flocks or herds, a shepherd or herdsman; Matt. 9.36; 25.32; met. a
pastor, superintendent, guardian.
(17 times as shepherd, shepherds, pastor* once).
Mt 9:36 - sing.
Mt 25:32 - sing. - shepherd
Mt 26:31 - sing. - shepherd
Mr 6:34 - sing. - shepherd
Mr 14:27 - sing. - shepherd
Lu 2:8 - plural - shepherdLu 2:15 - plural - shepherd
Lu 2:18 - sing. - shepherd
Lu 2:20 - plur. - shepherd1Pe 2:25 - sing. -
Shepherd - of Christ
Joh 10:2 - sing. - shepherd
Joh 10:11 - sing. - shepherd
Joh 10:12 - sing. - shepherd
Joh 10:14 - sing. - shepherd
Joh 10:16 - sing. - shepherd
Eph 4:11* - plur. - pastor
Heb 13:20 - sing. - shepherd
1Pe 2:25 - sing. - Shepherd - of Christ
Related words -
4165 - poimaino: fut. poimano: aor. poimana: to feed, pasture, tend a flock, Luke
17.7; 1 Cor.9.7; trop. to feed with self indulgence, to pamper, Jude 12, met. to
tend, direct, superintend, Matt 2.6; John 21.16; et al.; to rule, Rev. 2.27 (11 times
to rule or feed - used synonymously)
4166 - poimhn poimen, poy-mane' (Strong’s) of uncertain affinity; a shepherd
(literally or figuratively):--shepherd, pastor.
Persch. - One who tends flocks or herds, a shepherd, herdsman, Matt. 9.36;
25.32; a pastor, superintendent, guardian, John 10.11,12,16 . . .
4167 - poimnh poimne, poym'-nay (Strongs) contraction from 4165; a flock
(literally or figuratively):--flock, fold.
Persch. - a flock of sheep, Luke 2.8; 1 Cor. 9.7; a flock of dsciples, Matt. 26.31;
Overseer (Bishop) - (appendix two)
1984. episkoph episkope, ep-is-kop-ay'
from 1980; inspection (for relief); by implication, superintendence; specially, the
Christian "episcopate":--the office of a "bishop", bishoprick, visitation. (4 times
used for visitation, or office of bishop.)
Perschbacher - inspection, oversight, visitation; of God; visitation, interposition,
whether in mercy or judgment, Luke 19.44; 1 Pet.2.12; the office of ecclesiastical
overseer, 1 Tim 3.1, from Hebrew, charge , function, Acts 1.20
1980 - episkeptomai episkeptomai, ep-ee-skep'-tom-ahee; middle voice from 1909 and the base of 4649; to inspect, i.e. (by implication) to select; by extension, to go to see, relieve:--look out for, visit.
1981. episkhnow episkenoo, ep-ee-skay-no'-o: from 1909 and 4637; to tent
upon, i.e. (figuratively) abide with :--rest upon.
1982. episkiazw episkiazo, ep-ee-skee-ad'-zo: from 1909 and a derivative of
4639; to cast a shade upon, i.e. (by analogy) to envelop in a haze of brilliancy;
figuratively, to invest with preternatural influence:--overshadow.
1983. episkopew episkopeo, ep-ee-skop-eh'-o: from 1909 and 4648; to
oversee; by implication, to beware:--look diligently, take the oversight.
1985. episkopov episkopos, ep-is'-kop-os: from 1909 and 4649 (in the sense
of 1983); a superintendent, i.e. Christian officer in genitive case charge of a (or
the) church (literally or figuratively):--bishop, overseer.
1909. epi epi, ep-ee': a primary preposition; properly, meaning superimposition
(of time, place, order, etc.), as a relation of distribution (with the genitive case),
i.e. over, upon, etc.; of rest (with the dative case) at, on, etc.; of direction (with the
accusative case) towards, upon, etc.:--about (the times), above, after, against,
among, as long as (touching), at, beside, X have charge of, (be-, (where-)fore, in
(a place, as much as, the time of, -to), (because) of, (up-)on (behalf of), over, (by,
for) the space of, through(-out), (un-)to(-ward), with. In compounds it retains
essentially the same import, at, upon, etc. (literally or figuratively).
4637. skhnow skenoo, skay-no'-o: to tent upon, i.e. (figuratively) abide with :--
4638. skhnwma skenoma, skay'-no-mah: from 4637; an encampment, i.e.
(figuratively) the Temple (as God's residence), the body (as a tenement for the
4639. skia skia, skee'-ah: apparently a primary word; "shade" or a shadow
(literally or figuratively (darkness of error or an adumbration)):-- shadow.
Uses of episkoph episkope, ep-is-kop-ay:
#1983 - episkopew Heb 12:15 - oversee; look diligently 1Pe 5:2 - giving oversight
#1984 - episkoph Lu 19:44 - of visitation; position of superintendence
Ac 1:20 - of visitation; position of superintendence
1Ti 3:1 - office of overseer
1Pe 2:12 - of visitation; position of superintendence.
#1985 - episkopov
Ac 20:28 - general oversight; generic
Php 1:1 - overseers
1Ti 3:2 - overseer
2Ti 4:22 - of Timothy, first overseer of Ephesus
Tit 1:7 - overseer
Tit 3:15 - of Titus, first overseer of Crete
1Pe 2:25 - of Christ our Overseer
Elders. (appendix three)
For the sake of this study we will only deal with the term elder in the context of the
New Testament. From Strong’s concordance we derive our definition of elders:
4245. presbuterov presbuteros, pres-boo'-ter-os comparative of presbus
(elderly); older; as noun, a senior; specially, an Israelite Sanhedrist (also
figuratively, member of the celestial council) or Christian "presbyter":-- elder(-est),
4242. presbeia presbeia, pres-bi'-ah - from 4243; seniority (eldership), i.e. (by
implication) an embassy (concretely, ambassadors):--ambassage, message;
legation (to bind), a body of ambassadors, legates.
4243. presbeuw presbeuo, pres-byoo'-o - from the base of 4245; to be a
senior, i.e. (by implication) act as a representative (figuratively, preacher):--be an
4244. presbuterion presbuterion, pres-boo-ter'-ee-on - neuter of a presumed
derivative of 4245; the order of elders, i.e. (specially), Israelite Sanhedrin or
Christian "presbytery":--(estate of) elder(-s), presbytery.
4246. presbuthv presbutes, pres-boo'-tace - from the same as 4245; an old
man:--aged (man), old man.
4247. presbutiv presbutis, pres-boo'-tis - feminine of 4246; an old woman:--
Perschbacher - 1 #4245: elder in respect of age; senior; advanced in years; an
elder in respect of age, person advanced in years (1 Tim. 5.1), pl. spc. Ancients,
ancestors, fathers, (Matt. 15.2; Heb. 11.2; as an term of dignity, an elder, local
dignitary (Luke 7.3); member of Jewish Sanhedrin (Matt. 16.21; 21.23; 26.3 . . .);
a presbyter of the Christian Church (Acts 11.30; 14.23.
When we look at the uses of presbuteros in the NT we find a variety of
Listed 62 times in the NT:
Mt 15:2 - of Jewish elders
Mt 16:21 - of Jewish elders
Mt 21:23 - of Jewish elders
Mt 26:3 - of Jewish elders
Mt 26:47 - of Jewish elders
Mt 26:57 - of Jewish elders
Mt 26:59 - of Jewish elders
Mt 27:1 - of Jewish elders
Mt 27:3 - of Jewish elders
Mt 27:12 - of Jewish elders
Mt 27:20 - of Jewish elders
Mt 27:41 - of Jewish elders
Mt 28:12 - of Jewish elders
Mr 7:3 - of Jewish elders
Mr 7:5 - of Jewish elders
Mr 8:31 - of Jewish elders
Mr 11:27 - of Jewish elders
Mr 14:43 - of Jewish elders
Mr 14:53 - of Jewish elders
Mr 15:1 - of Jewish elders
Lu 7:3 - of Jewish elders
Lu 9:22 - of Jewish elders
Lu 15:25 - of an older boy
Lu 20:1 - of Jewish elders
Lu 22:52 - of Jewish elders
Lu 22.66 - of Jewish elders
Joh 8:9 - of the oldest person
Ac 2:17 - of an old man
Ac 4:5 - of Jewish elders
Ac 4:8 - of Jewish elders
Ac 6:12 - of Jewish elders
Ac 11:30 - of Christian elders
Ac 14:23 - of Christian elders
Ac 15:2 - of Christian elders
Ac 15:4 - of Christian elders
Ac 15:6 - of Christian elders
Ac 15:22 - of Christian elders
Ac 15:23 - of Christian elders
Ac 16:4 - of Christian elders
Ac 20:17 - of Christian elders
Ac 21:18 - of Christian elders
1 Ti 5:2 - of an older woman
1 Ti 5:17 - of Christian elders
1 Ti 5:19 - of Christian elders
Tit 1:5 - of Christian elders
Ac 22:5 - of Jewish elders
Ac 23:14 - of Jewish elders
Ac 24:1 - of Jewish elders
Ac 25:15 - of Jewish elders
1 Ti 5:1 - of an older man
Heb 11:2 - of Christian elders
Jas 5:14 - of Christian elders
1 Pe 5:1 - of a Christian elder
1 Pe 5:5 - of Christian elders
2 Jo 1:1 - of Christian elder
3 Jo 1:1 - of Christian elder
Re 4:4; Re 4:10; Re 5:5; Re 5:6 -
Re 5:8; Re 5:11; Re 5:14; Re 7:11; Re 7:13; Re 11:16; Re 14:3; Re 19:4 - of
Christian & Jewish elders
Only 31 times used to describe a Christian elder.
Elder (presbuteros) - singular is also listed:
Lu 15:25 - sing. - of an older son
Ro 9:12 - sing; 3187. meizwn meizon - of someone older serving a younger person.
1 Ti 5:1 - sing. - of an older man.
1 Ti 5:2 - sing; feminine - of an older
1 Ti 5:19 - sing. - of an elder who rules
1 Pe 5:1 - sing; sumpresbuteros of
elders who serve as overseers
1Pe 5:5 - sing. - of an older person
2 Jo 1:1 - sing. - of an elder (John)
3 Jo 1:1 - sing. - of an elder (John)
1 - Perschbacher, Wesley 1 J.; The New Analytical Greek Lexicon; Hendrickson
Publishers, Peabody Massachusetts; 1990.
2 - Strong, James; Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance; 1890. Public domain.
Berry, George; The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament; Zondervan; Grand
Rapids, MI.; 1958.
Liberty Bible Commentary; Old-Time Gospel Hour; 1982
3 - Middle English bisshop, from Old English bisceop, from Late Latin episcopus,
from Greek episkopos, literally, overseer,
revised last - 01.15.19