Bible verses about church leaders – pastors, elders, bishops, ministers, evangelists, deacons, etc

Pastor/elder/presbyter/bishop/overseer/shepherd and minister/evangelist/preacher/teacher andshepherd 4 deacon

We can see that sometimes the New Testament uses many of the above terms interchangeably and it is possible to hold multiple titles at the same time in one and the same office due to the various descriptions tied to each Greek word. Some titles are very broad and some are only connected to a church environment. Titles which are often used interchangeably and which Paul connects to a church office are Pastor, Elder, Presbyter, Overseer, Bishop and Shepherd. Such a person only has authority over the members of the local church, and that will only work out well as long as he is obedient to Paul’s instructions and to the word of God in general.

In order to ascertain that the pastor is fit for the office, it is important to make sure he is qualified. It is also clear from history that Paul’s instructions and requirements have not always been obeyed (1 Timothy 3, and Titus 1). For verses about the office of an apostle, check here.)

Terms often connected to a church environment

Poimēn (Strong’s 4166) masculine noun

The KJV translates the word into: shepherd (15x), Shepherd (2x), pastor (1x).

Mat. 9:36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

Jhn 10:12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.

Eph. 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

1 Pet. 2:25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

Presbyterion (Strong’s 4244) neuter noun.

It could mean a christian body of elders. KJV translates the word into: elders (1x), estate of elders (1x), presbytery (1x).

Luk. 22:66 And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying,

Act. 22:5 As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.

1 Tim. 4:14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

Presbyteros (Strong’s 4245) adjective

Could be a description of a person of age, a forefather, a term of rank/office, member of the Sanhedrin or a leader of an assembly of christians. KJV translates the word into: elder (64x), old man (1x), eldest (1x), elder woman (1x).

Examples:

Mat. 15:2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.

1 Ti. 5:17 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.20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

Tit. 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:

Heb. 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.

Jas. 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Rev. 4:4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.—10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

1 Pe. 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 

Rev. 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever. 

Rev. 7:11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?

Rev. 11:16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God (+ Rev. 19:4)

Sympresbyteros (Strong’s 4850) masculine noun. See also above.

1 Pe. 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

church 4Episkopos (Strong’s 1985) masculine noun

KJV translates the word into bishop (6x), overseer (1x):

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

Phil 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:

1 Tim. 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

Tit. 1:7 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;

1 Pet. 2:25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. 

Another function: evangelists/preachers/ministers/teachers +deacons

Euaggelistēs (Strong’s 2099) masculine noun

Occurs 3 times in the KJV Bible. An evangelist. Could be a bringer of the gospel, and/or the name given to fishers of men who are not apostles.

Act. 21:8 And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.

Eph. 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

2 Ti. 4:5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (To Timothy)

Kēryssō (Strong’s 2784) verb

KJV translates the word into: preach (51x), publish (5x), proclaim (2x), preached (with G2258) (2x), preacher (1x).

Mat. 3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,

Mat. 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

Mat. 11:1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.

Mat. 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Rom. 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Didaskalos (Strong’s 1320) masculine noun

It could mean preach, proclaim or publish. KJV translates the word into: Master (Jesus) (40x), teacher (10x), master (7x), doctor (1x).

Examples:

Luk. 6:40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.

Act. 31:1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

1 Co. 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

Eph. 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 

2 Ti. 1:11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

Heb. 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

Jas. 3:1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

Diakonos (Strong’s 1249) masculine/female noundiakonos

KJV has translated the word into: minister (20x), servant (8x), deacon (3x). This could be a person assigned by the church to care for the poor and who is in charge of distribution of money or clothing collected for this purpose. (It could apply to to a servant of a king or a waiter.)

Some individuals who were called deacons in relation to church and the body of Christ: Paul, Timothy, Phebe, Apollos, Tychicus, Epaphras and Jesus himself.

Examples :

Matt. 20:26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister

Mar. 9:35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.

John 12:26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

Rom. 13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Rom. 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:

Rom. 16:1 I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant f the church which is at Cenchrea:

1 Cor. 3:5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? 6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

2 Cor. 6:4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,

2 Cor. 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

2 Cor. 11:22 Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.

Eph. 6:21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: (+ Col. 4:7)

Phil. 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

Col. 1:7 As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ;

1 Th. 3:2 And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:

1 Ti. 3:1 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;7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.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 (1247) well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Diakoneō (Strong’s 1247) verbdeacon

KJV translates the word into: minister unto (15x), serve (10x), minister (7x), misc (5x).

Mat. 4:11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

Mat. 8:15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.

Mat. 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Mat. 25:44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

Mat. 27:55 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:

Mar. 1:13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.

Luk. 8:3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.

Luk. 12:37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.

Jhn. 12:26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

Act. 6:2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.

Act. 19:22 So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season.Rom. 15:25 But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.

2 Cor. 8:19 And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind:

1 Ti. 3:10 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 well13 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.

Heb. 6:10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister

1 Pet. 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

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