95—“pastor” word study
THIS IS NOT ON FIRST RECORDING
My name is Tom; this is Simple Church Minute.
The modern job, position, and title of the word “pastor” is far different from what Paul meant in Ephesians chapter 4 verse 11. The Greek word “poimen” appears 18 times in the New Testament. The other 17 times it is translated “shepherd” meaning either a) a sheepherder, or b) a reference to Jesus, that what He does for his people is like what a shepherd does for the sheep. Neither of those meanings fit Ephesians 4:11. Paul is speaking about gifts of ministry. Pastor is the Latin word for shepherd; its use is a distinction in context, but not in the word itself. The way the sentence is constructed, Paul was putting shepherd or pastor together with teacher, such as we, in English, would write shepherd hyphen teacher. This was an experienced, faithful, obedient believer who has accepted a gift to care for and teach others in Christian love as a matter of their growing in spiritual maturity. Such maturity is a criterion on the shepherd’s part. Intellectual achievement was not. Certainly no man or organization was or is today capable of giving God’s gifts. It was not an honorific title. It had nothing to do with getting paid.
Another thing that shows that pastor or shepherd does not stand alone from teacher is that, in the New Covenant days scriptures, one can find persons indicated to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, and teachers, but no person is designated to be a pastor. How did we wind up using the term to designate the leader of a group of believers? Before the Reformation, the word “priest” was used, but the Old Testament shows that a priest is a mediator between man and God. Jesus’ death destroyed that need. After the Reformation, over time, the word “pastor” worked itself out over time.