What Does the Bible Say About “Pastors”?

One of the most misused terms in the denominational world is “pastor.” “Pastor” occurs one time in the King James New Testament in Ephesians 4:11, and it is translated elsewhere as “shepherd.” The word means “one who tends herds or flocks.” The word is used metaphorically in the New Testament of one who would “tend” and “feed” a flock of God (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-2).

Those appointed to this task in the New Testament were referred to as elders, bishops, or overseers. God had very specific qualifications for these men (1 Timothy 3:1-11; Titus 1:5-9). There were to be multiple elders or overseers in each church (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5).

Today, churches have a single “pastor” over a congregation who preaches, makes most of the decisions, and lays out a direction for the church. It is possible for an elder, pastor, or overseer to be a preacher, but a preacher is not a “pastor” by virtue of the fact that he preaches.

Having a single “pastor” over a church is not the way of the Bible (1 Peter 4:11). If you want to please God, reject denominational perversions of the church’s organization and accept the pure teaching of scripture.

Kyle Campbell