The Church: Its Organization, Order and Discipline


Elder and Bishop the Same

“Elders. This office is also expressed by the words, bishop, pastor, and overseer. To show that these are interchangeable terms for the same thing we refer, first to Titus 1:5, 7: ‘For 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; for a bishop must be blameless,’ etc. The word elder in verse 5, is from presbuteros, and signifies, primarily, according to Robinson, ‘an elder person, a senior; as an officer of the church it signifies the elders of Christian churches, presbyters, to whom was committed the direction and government of individual churches; properly the same as episcopos-which see.’ The word rendered bishop in verse 7 is from this word episcopos, and is defined by the same author as follows; ‘In the New Testament, spoken of officers of the primitive churches an overseer, superintendent. This was originally simply the common Greek name of office equivalent to presbuteros, which latter was a Jewish term.’ That elders and bishops are identical, is also shown from Acts 20:17, 28. The word elders in verse 17 is from presbuteros, and word overseers in verse 28 is from episcopos (bishop). The term pastor is from poimen, and signifies literally a herdsman, a shepherd, especially a pastor, a teacher, a spiritual guide of a particular church. The definition of this term shows that it signifies the same office as presbuteros (elder), and episcopos (bishop), a local office confined to a particular church. COOD 129.2