Monday, August 13, 2007

Philippians Study (part 5) "bishops and deacons"

"Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:" (Phil. 1:1)

The word 'bishop' (ἐπίσκοπος) means 'superintendent' or 'overseer,' it is refering to the office of leadership within the church known to us today as the pastor. In this case the Philippian church had a multiplicity of pastors, hence 'bishops.' Deacon (διάκονος) means 'attendant' or 'servant.' Deacons are special to the church in that they relieve the pastor(s) from many of the temporal duties that demand attention so that the pastor(s) can focus on 'prayer and to the ministry of the Word' (cf. Acts 6:4). Each office has its respective qualifications (indeed almost similar) except that the pastor has the responsibility of being 'apt to teach' (1 Tim 3:2) and that the pastor(s) is directly responsible to God for the church (Heb. 13:17). Paul recognizes these two offices. A church therefore is constituted with members and Biblically qualified officers.

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