Gifts, Roles & Offices of the Ministry
The FIVE gifts of the ministry are: Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastors, and Teachers.
Although these five gifts list no qualifications in Scripture,
the roles & offices of the Bishops, Elders and Deacons do.
Therefore, it must go without saying that if the least of them
comes with such a stringent list of qualifications,
then how much more should the greatest of them be of good character?
The following is a list of meanings found in the Strong’s Concordance of
the King James Version of the Bible.
Gifts & Roles:
APOSTLES is G652 (apostolos) - delegate, embassador of the gospel officially a
commissioner of Christ with miraculous powers; messenger, he that is sent.
PROPHETS is G4396 (prophetes) - foreteller, inspired speaker, a poet; prophet.
EVANGELIST is G2099 (euaggelion) - from G2097 – a preacher of the Gospel;
to announce good news; declare; bring good tidings.
PASTORS is G4166 (poimen) - a shepherd (fig. or lit.); shepherd, pastor.
TEACHERS is G1320 (didaskalos) - an instructor, doctor, master (lit. teacher); one who teaches.
(Note: The term “Evangelist” is used in Scripture only one time: Ephesians 4:7-16.
The only uses of “preacher” in the NT is Romans 10:14 and Paul’s description of himself found in
1 Timothy 2:7, 2 Timothy 1:11 and 2 Peter 2:5. Uses are G2783 & 2784.)
BISHOPS is G1984 (episkope) - from 1980 & 1985; inspection (for relief);
(implied) superintendence; overseers (of a church)
ELDERS is G4245 (presbuteros) - older; a senior; elder (-est); old
DEACONS is G1247 (diakoneo) from 1249 - to be an attendant; waiter; wait upon;
host; friend; minister; teacher; servant
Regarding Pastors, Teachers & The Sheep:
In John 10, the sheep hear the Shepherds voice and only Him will they follow.
In John 21, Jesus asks Peter three times “Do you love me?” Once as agape (G25), then twice as phileo (G5368).
Phileo means to have a personal attachment, as a matter of sentiment or feeling,
embracing the judgement and deliberate assent of the will as a matter of principle,
duty and propriety (ownership)
…only after this did Jesus say “Feed My sheep.”
Domestic sheep folds number in range from 7-15.
Being a shepherd requires constant vigilance and care for the flock.
Humanly speaking, this role would require that same same kind of care and attention
only found in one-on-one, or small group discipleship.
You must also have been gifted with – or have developed, this phileo love
in order to feed one of Jesus’ sheep.
“And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you,
that he may sift you like wheat:
But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not:
and when thou art converted (return), strengthen thy brethren’.”
Regarding Elders, Bishops & Deacons:
“…that thou shouldest SET IN ORDER the things that are wanting
and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.” – Titus 1:5-9
A BISHOP must be known to be “Holding fast the faithful word he hath been taught,
that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to
convince (convict) the gainsayers (those who contradict the word).”
The idea here is not to lord over or intimidate them,
but to convince them of their sin unto repentance.
“For ye were as sheep going astray, but are now returned
unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”
1 Peter 2:25 is speaking of Jesus, but is a model for the men who hold these offices.
They are to keep the sheep from going astray and damaging their souls.
Acts 1:20 – Judas Iscariot was a type of BISHOP as overseer of the moneybag.
There are more than one in every church: “…to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi,
with the bishops and deacons.” (plural) - Philippians 1:1
1 Timothy 3…
“This is a TRUE saying, ‘If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.”
“A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior,
given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre;
but patient, not a brawler, not covetous, one that ruleth well his own house,
having his children in subjection with all gravity.
(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?).
Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
More over he must be of 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 double tongued, not given to much wine,
not greedy of filthy lucre; holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
And let these also first be approved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
Even so must their wives be grave, not slanders, sober, faithful in all things.
Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their own houses well.
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.
These things I write unto thee…that thou mayest know how thou ought to behave thyself
in the House of God, which is the Church of the Living God,
the pilar and ground of the truth.”
In Acts 15:2, Paul & Barnabas are sent to Jerusalem to seek
the counsel of the Apostles and the Elders.
The credibility of the men who are chosen for these roles
could not be seen more clearly than here:
Starting in Acts 6…
“And in those days, when the number of disciples was multiplied,
there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews,
because their widows were neglected in the daily ministrations.
Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said,
It is not reason (desirable) that we should leave the word of God , and serve tables.
Wherefore brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report,
full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen,
a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Phillip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor,
and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicholas a proselyte of Antioch.
Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.
And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly;
and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.
Then there arose certain of the synagogue…disputing with Stephen.
And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.”
This leads to Stephen being taken captive by these men and charges
brought against him for blaspheme.
He responds to their accusations with boldness,
giving a speech that causes him to be stoned to death at the end of chapter 7.
Stephen was a Deacon - the “lowest” of all of these gifts, roles and offices.
Yet, there are two entire chapters devoted to the telling of his story…
not so that we could know how devout of a follower of Christ that Stephen was,
but I believe to stress the kind of character the men in office should exude and why.
They ought to be unmovable pillars in the faith…even unto death!
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