Elders: Who they are, and what they do

These are not the Elders we are looking for....

WHAT ELDERS ARE & what they DO:

Acts 20:17-30 From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. …  28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.

Keeping watch over the flock. Savage wolves will come.

1 Peter 5:1-4   To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 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; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

Eager to Serve

Eph 4:11   It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,

From Strongs Concordance:  4166  Greek : poimen (poy-mane’);  a shepherd (literally or figuratively)

1 Tim 4:14   Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

James 5:14   Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.

Acts 11:27-30   During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) 29 The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea. 30 This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.

Acts 21:17-19   When we arrived at Jerusalem, the brothers received us warmly. 18 The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James, and all the elders were present. 19 Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.

1 Tim 5:17-20   The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching *. 18 For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” 19 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20 Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.

* – some must not have had this particular work.  Some obviously were paid wages for their work.

Qualifications of Elders:

1 Timothy 3, (NIV Readers Version)

1 Here is a saying you can trust.  If anyone wants to be a leader (elder) in the church, he wants to do a good work for God and people.

 2 A leader (elder) must be free from blame. He must be faithful to his wife. In anything he does, he must not go too far. He must control himself. He must be worthy of respect. He must welcome people into his home. He must be able to teach.

3He must not get drunk. He must not push people around. He must be gentle. He must not be a person who likes to argue. He must not love money.

 4 He must manage his own family well. He must make sure that his children obey him and show him proper respect.

5Suppose someone doesn’t know how to manage his own family. Then how can he take care of God’s church?

 6The leader (elder) must not be a new believer. If he is, he might become proud. Then he would be judged just like the devil.

 7The leader (elder)  must also be respected by those who are outside the church. Then he will not be put to shame. He will not fall into the devil’s trap.

 8 Deacons also must be worthy of respect. They must be honest and true. They must not drink too much wine. They must not try to get money by cheating people. 9 They must hold on to the deep truths of the faith. Even their own minds tell them to do that. 10First they must be tested. Then let them serve as deacons if there is nothing against them.

 11In the same way, their wives must be worthy of respect. They must not say things that harm others. In anything they do, they must not go too far. They must be worthy of trust in everything.

 12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife. He must manage his children and family well. 13 Those who have served well earn the full respect of others. They also become more sure of their faith in Christ Jesus.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Bruce, as I understand it … elders happen. It’s inevitable. They were identifiable. Acts 20 – Paul sent for the elders from Ephesus. Based on what some OC’ers [organic church folk) believe, that would be the same as saying “Hey, ya’ll… anyone free to go see Paul??”.

    Elders appears to be a role of servant leadership as a parent leads a child. Those elders function differently based on the gifts in them (APEST). [apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd, teacher]

    That’s where I am today.


  2. Hey Steve. That was a great post over at the cafe. Before today, I’d never considered the five fold ministry fitting into the umbrella of the term elder. It always appeared to be a hierarchical position to me. When you can’t trust your own long-held viewpoints, you have this certain feeling that progress is occurring. Thanks for your post. Bruce


  3. Elders are just that – older (more mature in Christian life) than other believers in any particular church. The Greek word translated “elder” in Acts 20:17, 1 Peter 5:1 and elsewhere is the same word translated “older” in Luke 15:25. An apostle should have the spiritual discernment to appoint elders as in Acts 14:23. Even without an apostle, a group of Christians over time should be able to recognize who among them supply more of Christ in their speaking and serving, hence coming to know that these are the elders.


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