SPECIAL TOPIC: BISHOPS/OVERSEERS (from Phil. 1:1)

The titles (1) "pastor," (2) "elder," (3) "bishop," or (4) "overseer" all refer to the same office/function in the early local church (cf. Acts 20:17, 28 and Titus 1:5,7). The term "overseers" (episkopoi) had a Greek city-state background, while "elders" (presbuteroi) had an OT Jewish background. It is possible that "overseer" also had a Jewish background from the Dead Sea Scroll's use of mebaqqerim (1QS 6:11,20) . Also notice the plural (cf. Acts 20:17; Eph. 4:21). Philippi had multiple house churches.

Philippians 1:1 declares there are two offices/leadership functions in the early church: pastor and deacon. Bishop and elder are different terms for this same person/office/function.


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