<442028> Acts 20:28 ? ?Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit hath made you bishops [margin ?overseers?], to feed [lit. ?to shepherd,? ?be pastors of?] the church of the Lord which he purchased with his own blood?; cf. 17 ? ?the elders of the church? are those whom Paul addresses as bishops or overseers and whom he exhorts to be good pastors. <500101>Philippians 1:1 ? ?bishops and deacons?; <540301>1 Timothy 3:1, 8 ? ?If a man seeketh the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work...Deacons in like manner must be grave?; <560105>Titus 1:5, 7 ? ?appoint elders in every city...For the bishop must be blameless?; 1Pet 5:1, 2 ? ?The elders therefore among you I exhort who am a fellow elder...Tend [lit. ?shepherd,? ?be pastors of?] the flock of God which is among you, exercising the oversight [acting as bishops] not of constraint, but willingly, according to the will of God.? In this last passage, Westcott and Hort, with Tischendorf?s 8th edition, follow a and B in omitting ejpiskopou~ntev . Tregelles and our Revised Version follow A and a in retaining it. Rightly, we think, since it is easy to see how, in a growing ecclesiasticism, it should have been omitted from the feeling that too much was here ascribed to a mere presbyter.
Lightfoot, Com., on Philippians, 95-99 ? ?It is a fact now generally recognized by theologians of all shades of opinion that in the language of the N. T. the same officer in the church is called indifferently ?bishop? ejpiskopov and ?elder? or ?presbyter? presbu>terov . To these special officers the priestly functions and privileges of the Christian people are never regarded as transferred or delegated. They are called stewards or messengers of God, servants or ministers of the church and the like, but the sacerdotal is never once conferred upon them. The only priests under the gospel, designated as such in the N. T., are the saints, the members of the Christian brotherhood.? On <560105>Titus 1:5, 7 ? ?appoint elders...For the bishop mast be blameless? ? Gould, Bib. Theol. N. T., 150, remarks: ?Here the word ?for? is quite out of place unless bishops and elders are identical. All these officers, bishops as well as deacons, are confined to the local church in their jurisdiction. The charge of a bishop is not a diocese but a church. The functions are mostly administrative, the teaching office being subordinate and a distinction is made between teaching elders and others implying that the teaching function is not common to them all.?
Dexter, Congregationalism, 114, shows that bishop, elder, pastor, are names for the same office. From the significance of the words, the fact that the same qualifications are demanded from all, the fact that the same duties are assigned to all and the fact that the texts held to prove higher
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