BISHOP, ELDER, DEACON
As Paul traveled about on his missionary journeys preaching and teaching and making disciples (people believing the gospel (1 Cor 15:1-4) that Jesus died, was buried and rose again, he would organize them into a body of believers ( a church). It was a very simple structure as we see in Phillippians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: (Note that Bishops would have been better translated Pastors). Then as Paul would leave Timothy and Titus as he traveled he sent them an epistle (1 Timothy and Titus) reminding them what the responsibilities of these offices were and who could hold them. Here are requirements he listed:
1 Timothy 3:1-7 This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
1 Timothy 3:8-13 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; 9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. 10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. 11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. 12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 5:17-19 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. 18 For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. 19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
the elders that rule In the case of Bishop it’s an office(3:1 ) and Deacon it’s an office (3:10) but not so with elder. Could this just be older men who teach the word and doctrine? (5:17)
Now in Paul’s epistle to Titus he says to ORDAIN ELDERS. To ordain simply means to set apart (for the purpose suggested in Timothy). It does not appear that the Elder is a Bishop (pastor) or Deacon (both offices in the church.
Titus 1:5 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:
Elders were to have standards to be ordained
Titus 1:6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
Titus 1:7-9 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; 9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
However, If we put TITUS 1:5-9 all together it would appear that ELDER in verse 5 should have been better translated BISHOP. Leaving the only Offices in a Church (according to Paul) would be BISHOP (Pastor) and DEACONS.
This use of elder probably refers to and older man, not a pastor.
- 1 Timothy 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
As with this instruction, elder refers to older women not an office.
- 1 Timothy 5:2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.