INTRODUCTION: ELDERS AND DEACONS
I. WHY ARE WE STUDYING ABOUT ELDERS AND DEACONS?
It Is An Important Topic Because God, In His Word, Tells Us That They Formed An Important And Fundamental
Part Of The New Testament Church. See Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5 And 1 Peter 5:1 Among Others.
II. WHAT IS AN ELDER?
A. The Terms:
1. "Presbuteroi" - Most of the time this Greek term is translated as elder. sometimes it is translated as presbyter. The
word in Greek means someone of an advanced age (generally chronological age) and/or someone of superior
experience or wisdom. See Acts 14:23; 20:17; 1 Tim. 5:17; Titus 1:5; 1 Peter 5:1
2. "Episkopos" - This word is usually translated bishop. In Greek the word means a supervisor or one that directs;
someone that watches out for the well-being of others, or someone in charge of seeing that things are accomplished
in the right way. See Acts 20:28; 1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:7; Phil. 1:1
3. "Poimein" - This word is translated pastor or shepherd. The basic meaning of the term hasn't changed much even
in present times. The word refers to someone that cares for, feeds, and protects the flock. See Ephesians 4:11;
Hebrews 13:17; and 1 Peter 5:2
4. The terms used for "Bishop" and "Shepherd" have a special significance because they were used in earlier times to refer
to Jesus. In fact, they are probably best understood by means of looking at Jesus and His life - John 10:1-16; 1
5. Upon reading the texts mentioned above one notes that there are three terms used for the same leader. In Titus 1:5-7
both "bishop" and "elder" are in reference to the same person. The terms are changed only to specify the work the
leader is undertaking. Also in 1 Peter 5:1-2 one finds an elder "shepherding," that is, doing the work of a pastor or
shepherd. Therefore, just as one man can be a father, a son, and a husband at the same time, an elder is also a bishop
and a pastor.
B. Examples Of Leaders And The Terms Used
1. Acts 20:17, 28-38 - Elders and bishops
2. Titus 1:5, 7 - Elders and bishops
3. 1 Peter 5:1-2 - Elders doing the work of a shepherd
III. WHAT IS A DEACON?
A. The Terms:
1. "Diakonos" - a servant; one that ministers to others; one that follows the orders of another. The word represents the
servant in his work, not in his relation with others, as if he were someone inferior.
2. "Diakonoe" - a verb meaning to serve or minister to another; it is used in Acts 6 for distributing those things necessary
to sustain life.
1. Acts 6:1-6 - although the word "diakonos" is not used, the function is seen.
2. 1 Timothy 3:8-13 - mentions the characteristics of a deacon.
MEMORY VERSE - 1 TIMOTHY 3:13
QUESTIONS - LESSON 1
1. What do the following terms mean: elder, bishop, and shepherd?
2. What is the meaning of the term "deacon"?