Elder (Christianity)

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In Christianity, an elder is a person who is valued for wisdom and holds a position of responsibility and authority in a Christian group. In some Christian traditions (e.g., Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, Methodism) an elder is an ordained person who usually serves a local church or churches and who has been ordained to a ministry of word, sacrament and order, filling the preaching and pastoral offices. In other Christian traditions (e.g., Presbyterianism, Churches of Christ, Plymouth Brethren), an elder may be a lay person charged with serving as an administrator in a local, or be ordained to such an office, also serving in the preaching (in this case referring to teaching done during church gatherings) or pastoral roles. There is technically a distinction between the idea of ordained elders and lay elders, often the two concepts are conflated in everyday conversation (for example, a lay elder in the Baptist tradition may still be referred to as being "clergy", especially in America). Particularly in reference to age and experience, elders exist throughout world cultures, [1] [2] and the Christian sense of elder is partially related to this.

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with over 2.4 billion followers.

Wisdom deep understanding of or knowledge of a subject

Wisdom, sapience, or sagacity is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight. Wisdom is associated with attributes such as unbiased judgment, compassion, experiential self-knowledge, self-transcendence and non-attachment, and virtues such as ethics and benevolence.

Catholic Church Largest Christian church, led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.


Elders in the Bible

Elders are mentioned in a number of New Testament passages. Individuals such as James had a significant role in the Jerusalem church and the Council of Jerusalem. [Acts 11:30] [15:2-6] [15:22-23] [16:4] [21:18] In reference to churches in Antioch, Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe, Paul appoints elders [Acts 14:23] as a key step in organizing a new church and instructs Titus to appoint others. [Tit 1:5] Paul spoke directly to the elders in Acts [Acts 20:17] and warned them to "be on guard for themselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made them overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood."[ Acts 20:28 ]

Council of Jerusalem synod

The Council of Jerusalem or Apostolic Council was held in Jerusalem around AD 50. It is unique among the ancient pre-ecumenical councils in that it is considered by Catholics and Orthodox to be a prototype and forerunner of the later ecumenical councils and a key part of Christian ethics. The council decided that Gentile converts to Christianity were not obligated to keep most of the Law of Moses, including the rules concerning circumcision of males. The Council did, however, retain the prohibitions on eating blood, meat containing blood, and meat of animals not properly slain, and on fornication and idolatry, sometimes referred to as the Apostolic Decree or Jerusalem Quadrilateral.

Lystra Place in Central Anatolia, Turkey

Lystra was a city in central Anatolia, now part of present-day Turkey. It is mentioned five times in the New Testament. Lystra was visited several times by the Paul the Apostle, along with Barnabas or Silas. There Paul met a young disciple, Timothy.


Derbe was a city in the Roman province of Galatia in Asia Minor, and in the ethnic region of Lycaonia. It is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles at 14:6, 14:20, 16:1 and 20:4.


The Christian office of "elder" is drawn from the word's various uses in the Bible. In many instances, particularly in the Old Testament, it has reference to the older men in a tribe, usually entrusted with the governmental affairs [Exod 3:16] [4:29] [12:21] [Josh 7:6] [Ruth 4:2] , whose counsel was frequently sought because of their age and experience. This was not necessarily a priesthood calling, [Gen 50:7] [Ruth 4:2] [Matt 15:2] [Acts 4:5] although the Aaronic Priesthood is listed as having ordained elders. [Exod 24:9-11] [Num 11:16] In the Septuagint, the word for Old Testament elders is πρεσβύτερος (presbuteros), as used in the New Testament for both Christian and Jewish leaders.[ citation needed ] Various traditions in Christianity translate the underlying term differently depending on their particular doctrinal or practical view of the role. In the Moravian Church, an elder is referred to as a Helper. [3]

Bible Collection of religious texts in Judaism and Christianity

The Bible is a collection of sacred texts or scriptures. Varying parts of the Bible are considered to be a product of divine inspiration and a record of the relationship between God and humans by Christians, Jews, Samaritans, and Rastafarians.

Old Testament First part of Christian Bibles based on the Hebrew Bible

The Old Testament is the first part of Christian Bibles, based primarily upon the Hebrew Bible, a collection of ancient religious writings by the Israelites believed by most Christians and religious Jews to be the sacred Word of God. The second part of the Christian Bible is the New Testament.

Kohen or cohen is the Hebrew word for "priest", used in reference to the Aaronic priesthood. Levitical priests or kohanim are traditionally believed and halakhically required to be of direct patrilineal descent from the biblical Aaron, brother of Moses.

In addition to presbuteros, there are two other words used in the New Testament to describe various aspects of this position of leadership: 'overseer' and 'shepherd': Peter draws the three concepts together in one passage: "Therefore, I exhort the elders among you... shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight." [1Pet 5:1-2] [ Acts 20 ]

New Testament Second division of the Christian biblical canon

The New Testament is the second part of the Christian biblical canon, the first part being the Old Testament, based on the Hebrew Bible. The New Testament discusses the teachings and person of Jesus, as well as events in first-century Christianity. Christians regard both the Old and New Testaments together as sacred scripture. The New Testament has frequently accompanied the spread of Christianity around the world. It reflects and serves as a source for Christian theology and morality. Extended readings and phrases directly from the New Testament are incorporated into the various Christian liturgies. The New Testament has influenced religious, philosophical, and political movements in Christendom and left an indelible mark on literature, art, and music.

Saint Peter apostle and first pope

Saint Peter, also known as Simon Peter, Simeon, Simon, Cephas, or Peter the Apostle, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, and the first leader of the early Church.

Acts 20 is the twentieth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles in the Christian New Testament of the Bible. It records the third missionary journey of Paul the Apostle. The book containing this chapter is anonymous, but early Christian tradition uniformly affirmed that Luke the Evangelist composed this book as well as the Gospel of Luke.


Presbuteros (πρεσβύτερος, Greek word #4245 in Strong's) is the most commonly used term for elder in the New Testament, stemming from presbus, elderly. [4] It is used with regard to the twelve apostles,[ citation needed ] the seventy disciples [ citation needed ] or others acting in a specific role of authority in a local assembly of Christians. It is used twenty-eight times in the Gospels and Acts of the members of the Jewish Sanhedrin and twelve times in Revelation of the representatives of the redeemed people of God. The remaining nineteen times the word is employed in Acts and the Epistles, it identifies the leaders in the local churches of the New Testament. While no specific age is given, the connotation of seniority and experience in this term emphasizes the nature of the position and the character of the person, implying maturity, dignity, experience and honor. [5] [6]

<i>Strongs Concordance</i> Bible concordance, an index of every word in the King James Version (KJV), constructed under the direction of James Strong

The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, generally known as Strong's Concordance, is a Bible concordance, an index of every word in the King James Version (KJV), constructed under the direction of James Strong. Strong first published his Concordance in 1890, while professor of exegetical theology at Drew Theological Seminary.

Apostles The primary disciples of Jesus

In Christian theology and ecclesiology, apostles, particularly the Twelve Apostles, were the primary disciples of Jesus. During the life and ministry of Jesus in the 1st century AD, the apostles were his closest followers and became the primary teachers of the gospel message of Jesus.

The modern English words "priest" or "presbyter" are derived etymologically from presbyteros. [7]

Modern English is the form of the English language spoken since the Great Vowel Shift in England, which began in the late 14th century and was completed in roughly 1550.

Priest person authorized to lead the sacred rituals of a religion (for a minister use Q1423891)

A priest or priestess is a religious leader authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities. Their office or position is the priesthood, a term which also may apply to such persons collectively.

In the New Testament, a presbyter is a leader of a local Christian congregation. The word derives from the Greek presbyteros, which means elder or senior. The Greek word episkopos literally means overseer; it refers exclusively to the office of bishop. Many understand presbyteros to refer to the bishop functioning as overseer. In modern Catholic and Orthodox usage, presbyter is distinct from bishop and synonymous with priest. In predominant Protestant usage, presbyter does not refer to a member of a distinctive priesthood called priests, but rather to a minister, pastor, or elder.

The New Testament meaning is taken by some scholars as the Latin word Legate which describes the ancient classical function as a herald who represents the highest state office and might be a governor of a province. [8]


Episkopos (ἐπίσκοπος, Greek word #1985 in Strong's) was a common word in the Greek culture for any official who acted as a superintendent, manager, overseer, controller, curator, guardian or ruler. [9] It occurs only five times in the New Testament, once referring to Christ [1Pet 2:25] and the other four times to church leaders. The Authorised Version translates the word as "bishop", emphasizing the function of an elder as exercising authority and supervision "by divine placement, initiative and design." [5] The overseer can sometimes be viewed as a lead elder or as just one of a plurality of elders.


Poimen (ποιμήν, Greek word #4166 in Strong's) means shepherd, [10] also translated as pastor [Eph 4:11] . It is applied only once in the noun form and three times in the verb form in the New Testament in the context of church leaders. The term emphasizes the elder as one who tends, feeds, guides, protects and cares for his flock. [5]

Responsibilities of elders

The New Testament offers more instruction regarding elders than on many other important church subjects such as the Lord's Supper, the Lord's Day, baptism or spiritual gifts, [5] and their duties are laid out in several places. In the majority of the references, the word for elders is plural and word for church is singular, [11] [12] suggesting that the pattern in the early church was for a plurality of elders in each local church. [13] [14] These were to be shepherds to their flock, setting an example [1Pet 5:1-3] - just like shepherds, they were to feed their flock [Acts 20:28] , to work hard among them and to reprove where necessary [1Thes 5:12-13] and to care for the spiritual and physical needs of church members. [Jas 5] Elders are considered rulers over their flocks [1Tim 5:17] [1Thes 5:12] and their judgement to be submitted to, [Heb 13:17] not so that they can be "lords over God's heritage," [1Pet 5:3] but because they are to give account to God for the spiritual character of their church. [Heb 13:17]

Elders must to be able to teach and preach sound doctrine and rebuke those who are teaching error, so that false teaching doesn't creep into the church. [1Tim 5:17] [Tit 1:9-13] To this end, they are also to train and appoint others. [Acts 14:23] [1Tim 4:14] [Tit 1:5] Above all, the elder is to serve with humility, remembering that their position is a picture of Christ as the chief shepherd. [1Pet 5:4]


There are two key passages dealing with the qualifications of elders in the New Testament, 1Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9 . [13] The qualifications given by the Apostle Paul are as follows:

Elders in the early church

Where elders are addressed in the writings of Paul and Peter, there is no inference of a monarchical episcopacy or single leaders in any of the New Testament-era churches, [1Pet 5:1-3] [Phil 1:1] and presbuteros and episkopos are used interchangeably. This was still the case later in the century: the writings of the Apostolic Fathers (such as 1 Clement and the Didache) continue to assert the apostolic authority of the bishops/presbyters as rulers of the church making no distinction between the two terms. The epistle does imply a degree of authority residing in the Bishop of Rome. [15] [16] Writing c.199, Tertullian claimed that Clement was ordained by Peter himself as bishop of Rome, [17] and although tradition identifies him as the fourth pope (after Linus and Anacletus) the order is much disputed. [18] According to the Liber Pontificalis, Linus and Anacletus were ordained with responsibility for the church at Rome and Clement for the church as a whole [19]

Another of the Apostolic Fathers, Ignatius of Antioch, records that many churches had single bishops by the beginning of the second century, although the church at Rome was not one of them. [20] This became the norm by the middle of the century. [21] Ignatius distinguished the relationship between bishop, presbyters and diaconate typologically and in doing so referred to the practice of a single bishop in a church, separated from the body of presbyters and deacons:

In like manner let all men respect the deacons as Jesus Christ, even as they should respect the bishop as being a type of the Father and the presbyters as the council of God and as the college of Apostles. Apart from these there is not even the name of a church.Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallesians 3:1.

Distinctions in practice

Church governance is generally organised in one of three main types:


Historically, Baptist churches do not recognize elder as a separate office from those of pastor or deacon; it is commonly considered a synonym of deacon or pastor. [22] This is not universal in Baptist circles, however, and there are many Baptist churches which are elder-led. The Southern Baptist Convention does not prescribe an elder-led pattern [23] , although a number of churches in this convention, [13] and other Baptist branches (including Reformed Baptists) are governed by a group of elders. The functional term 'presbytery' has been utilized among Southern Baptists to denote their ordination council. [24]


Christadelphians do not appoint any form of clergy. Organisation is based on ecclesially accountable committees for evangelism, youth and Sunday School work, military service issues, care of the elderly and humanitarian work. These do not have any legislative authority and are wholly dependent upon support from within the church. Women are typically not eligible to teach in formal gatherings of the ecclesia when male believers are present, and do not sit on the main committees, however they do participate in other ecclesial and inter-ecclesial committees.

Churches of Christ

Congregations referring to themselves as Churches of Christ believe that local congregations should be led by a plurality of biblically qualified elders. [25] [26] They base this on a conviction that congregations (and Christians in general) should attempt to follow the teachings of the New Testament wherever humanly possible. [27] In accordance with the teachings of the bible the Churches of Christ teach and practice that only males may serve as elders (female elders are not recognized), and must meet Biblical qualifications (generally I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 are the Biblical texts used to determine if a male is qualified to serve as elder).

In this regard, elders are accountable to each other and to God. The evangelist and the elders have the spiritual oversight of the congregation (e.g., withdrawing fellowship from a member who the elders consider to be wayward in doctrine or refuses to abide by the elders' counsel or decision in a matter) as well as administrative oversight (e.g., overseeing the congregation budget).

The elders will be assisted by deacons who, depending on the congregation, may have a specific area of non-spiritual service (e.g., finance, building and grounds, benevolence); the deacons are in all matters subservient to the elders. An elder may also be qualified to serve as a deacon (and, in some cases, may have previously served as a deacon before becoming an elder).

Depending on the congregation, the elders may rotate main preaching and teaching duties or appoint one or more male persons (who may or may not be elders) to serve as the ministers for that congregation. If one person is assigned main preaching duties, he is never referred to as "Father" (based on Matthew 23:9, which states that the only Father a Christian has is in Heaven), nor is the individual referred to as "pastor" (due to belief that the one reference to "pastor" in Ephesians 4:11 is translated "shepherd" in all other cases, and in context either refers to Jesus Christ or to an elder; as stated above the person with main preaching duties may or may not be an elder) or "reverend" (due to belief that the one reference to this term in Psalm 111:9 refers to the reverence of God's name). Instead, common terms used are "evangelist", "preacher", "minister" (or "pulpit minister"; the latter may be used if the congregation has assistant or associate ministers over certain programs or functions), or "preaching elder" (if the person is also an elder).

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Elders are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have the Melchizedek Priesthood and have been ordained to the office of elder. Additionally, male missionaries of the Church, General Authorities and Area Authority Seventies are honorarily titled "Elder" unless they are instead referred to by the title of President.

The detailed duties of the ordained elders in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today have been defined in the book of Doctrine and Covenants. Elder is the proper title given to all holders of the Melchizedek Priesthood. Thus an apostle is an elder in this sense, and it is proper to speak of members of the Quorum of the Twelve or the First Quorum of the Seventy by this title. [28] [ full citation needed ]

Church of Scotland

Governance in the Church of Scotland is based on presbyterian polity. There are several roles in the ministry including ministers of Word and Sacrament, chaplains, deacons and readers. Elders are another role, which is voluntary and un-salaried elders. They are ordained for life by the minister and Kirk Session of a parish, and carry out pastoral and local church government duties under the guidance of the minister. All elders are members of the Kirk session, and may train to chair the session, conduct funerals, preach and lead worship. [29]

Congregational churches

Congregational churches are generally run by committee rule, and elders are one office which is appointed by the committee. The governance of each church is arranged with a system of checks and balances so that undue power is never given to one office or individual.

Jehovah's Witnesses

Among Jehovah's Witnesses, an elder is a man appointed to teach the congregation. He is also called an "overseer" or "servant". Elders within each congregation work within a "body of elders", several of whom are assigned to oversee specific congregational tasks. Each body of elders has a Coordinator (previously known as the Presiding Overseer), a Secretary, and a Service Overseer. Witnesses consider the office of elder to be the same as that referred to in the Bible as "older man" ("presbyter"), overseer ("bishop"), and shepherd ("pastor") but do not use any of the terms as titles.

Representatives of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses select elders to be appointed as circuit overseers, (also referred to as traveling overseers). Each circuit overseer visits the congregations in his jurisdiction twice each year. During his visit, local elders recommend members who may qualify for appointment as elders or ministerial servants (equivalent to deacons), and appointments are decided by the circuit overseer. [30] Congregation elders do not receive monetary compensation; traveling overseers receive a modest stipend.


An Elder in the Lutheran Church is a position of lay-service, concerned with the temporal and administrative affair of the congregation. In many congregations, elders are also charged with oversight of the pastor but exercising only that oversight given to every Christian in the congregation. They are also assigned to assist the pastor in the sacraments (the Eucharist and Baptism). In the Eucharist, the Elder may assist in the distribution. In Baptism, the Elder may hold the water or assist the pastor in other ways. Generally, an elder is not permitted to consecrate the bread and wine in the Eucharist, or perform Holy Absolution, as these acts are usually reserved for the pastor. An Elder helps brothers at each congregation.

However, many within the confessional wing of Lutheranism, see the term "elder" being used in such a way an unfortunate effect of Reformed (and broader Protestant) influence on the Lutheran Church. Elder (or Presbyteros, in the Greek) serving as a synonym for "Pastor" or "Priest", not unlike how Lutheran teaching also recognizes "episkopos" (Greek, meaning overseer), or bishop to be yet another synonym. Historic Lutheranism recognized a single office of Word and Sacrament being established directly by Christ (technically two, counting the uniquely Lutheran vocation of laity); all distinctions within nomenclature and structural ranking were purely "jure humano" (of human make). Thus making a distinction between "pastor" and "elder" would seem pointless, and using the term "lay elder" would be oxymoronic.


An Elder - sometimes called a "Presbyter" - is someone who has been ordained by a bishop to the ministry of Word, Sacrament, Order, and Service. Their responsibilities are to preach and teach, preside at the celebration of the sacraments, administer the church through pastoral guidance, and lead the congregations under their care in service ministry to the world. [31] The office of Elder, then, is what most people tend to think of as the pastoral, priestly, clergy office within the church. Indeed, even a Methodist Bishop is still an Elder who has been elected and consecrated by the laying on of hands to the office of Bishop (Bishop being understood as an office within the Presbyterate, not an order or separate level of ordination). In some of the denominations within Methodism, ordination to the office of Elder is open to both women and men, while in others, such as the Primitive Methodist Church and Evangelical Wesleyan Church, it is only opened to men. [32] [33]

Plymouth Brethren

One of the key distinctions of Plymouth Brethren churches is the total rejection of the concept of clergy. [34] In keeping with the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, they view all Christians as being ordained by God to serve and therefore ministers. Leaders are chosen according to the qualifications found in 1Tim 3:1-7 and Tit. 1:6-9 , and appointed by the Holy Spirit. [Acts 20:28] Plymouth Brethren churches tend to have multiple elders based on the plural use of the word in reference to New Testament churches.

One branch of the Plymouth Brethren, the Exclusive Brethren, are so named for their practice of serving the Lord's Supper exclusively to those who are part of their own particular group, agreeing with them on various doctrinal positions. [35] Most Exclusive Brethren groups believe the church to have been in ruins between the death of the apostles and their own time. Since no truly apostolic authority exists to appoint elders the church has none. Instead they recognize "leading brothers" who demonstrate maturity and leadership ability.[ citation needed ]


Although practices in the Presbyterian Church vary internationally, typically the church recognises three offices within church polity: the minister (alternately "teaching elder" or "pastor"), a bench of ruling elders, and deacons. [36] The elders are "ordained lay" people and form the session, which is a ruling council for their congregation.


Members of the Rastafari Movement often refer to their experienced members as elders, such as Joseph Hibbert, Vernon Carrington, Leonard Howell, and Mortimer Planno.

Radical Pietism

The Radical Pietistic communities, such as the Schwarzenau Brethren, do not believe in the swearing of oaths and also resolve problems at the congregational level under church councils presided by elders, rather than in civil courts. [37] Members who sin openly are visited by the elders and encouraged to repent of their transgressions. [37]

Roman Catholic Church

Members of the Catholic Church still use the Greek word Presbyter (πρεσβύτερος, presbuteros: "elder", or "priest" in Christian usage) to refer to priests (priest is etymologically derived from the Greek presbyteros via the Latin presbyter). Collectively, however, their "college" is referred to as the "presbyterium" (meaning "council of elders"), "presbytery", or "presbyterate."

The presbyterium is most visible during the ordination of new priests and bishops and the Mass of the Chrism (the Mass occurring on Maundy Thursday) where the blessing of the oils used in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick, and Holy Orders takes place. They are also visible during other special liturgical functions such as the wake and burial of their bishop.

Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA)

"Elder" was the only honorific title used to distinguish church leadership during the formative years of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. [38] Mrs. White, as in, Elder and Mrs. James White, is how the church's prophet, Ellen G. White, was universally referred to up until the late 20th century. The term "Elder" applies to both local church elders and to ordained ministers of the gospel. SDA nomenclature has never used the terms, priest, reverend or clergy as honorific titles or as work titles. For convenience "Pastor" is now regularly used to distinguish ordained ministers of the gospel from ordained local elders. SDA ordained Ministers of the Gospel are paid employees of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and they are required to also be Elders in the local church. Women can be ordained as local elders, but are not ordained as ministers of the Gospel. Women are commissioned as Pastors and are considered ministers of the Gospel. Men serving within the Adventist Church's organizational leadership, e.g. Local Conference/Union Conference/Division/General Conference offices are usually addressed as "Elder." But as an example; the current President of the General Conference, "Elder Ted Wilson" is sometimes addressed Pastor Ted Wilson.


Among the Shakers, noted for their acceptance of females in leading roles, Elders and Eldresses were leaders in specific areas. Two Elders and Eldresses headed the central Shaker ministry at the Mount Lebanon Shaker Society and dealt with both spiritual and temporal matters. Other pairs of elders and eldresses headed groups of Shaker communities, while others were spiritual leaders of smaller groups within the communities.

See also

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An Elder, in many Methodist Churches, is ordained minister that has the responsibilities to preach and teach, preside at the celebration of the sacraments, administer the Church through pastoral guidance, and lead the congregations under their care in service ministry to the world.

Priesthood in the Catholic Church main ordination status in the Catholic Church

The priesthood is one of the three holy orders of the Catholic Church, comprising the ordained priests or presbyters. The other two orders are the bishops and the deacons. Only men are allowed to receive holy orders, and the church does not allow any transgender people to do so. Church doctrine also sometimes refers to all baptised Catholics as the "common priesthood".

Ordination is the process by which individuals are consecrated, that is, set apart as clergy to perform various religious rites and ceremonies. The process and ceremonies of ordination varies by religion and denomination. One who is in preparation for, or who is undergoing the process of ordination is sometimes called an ordinand. The liturgy used at an ordination is sometimes referred to as an ordinal.

Priesthood (Orthodox Church) priesthood in the Eastern Orthodox Church

Presbyter is, in the Bible, a synonym for bishop (episkopos), referring to a leader in local Church congregations. In modern usage, it is distinct from bishop and synonymous with priest. It`s literal meaning in Greek (presbyteros) is "elder."


  1. The Human Elder in Nature, Culture, and Society by David Gutmann, 1997, Westview Press, ISBN   0-8133-2973-6, Preface
  2. Ahmad, IftikharWorld Cultures: a Global Mosaic (1993) Prentice Hall, page 14: "In cultures with extended families, respect for elders is strong. The elders pass on their wisdom to the young."
  3. Moravian Moments #8
  4. Studylight.org, presbuteros
  5. 1 2 3 4 Strauch, A. (1995). Biblical Eldership. Lewis and Roth Publishers
  6. Huston, D. The New Testament Elders Presented to a symposium on Apostolic beliefs held at the Urshan Graduate School of Theology in Florissant, MO
  7. Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, College Edition, The World Publishing Company, Cleveland OH, s.v. "priest"
  8. Stott, John R. W. (1961). The Preacher's Portrait: Some New Testament Word Studies. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 43. ISBN   0-8028-1191-4.
  9. StudyLight.org episkopos
  10. StudyLight.org poimen
  11. Wallace, Daniel B. 'Who should run the church? A case for the plurality of elders'
  12. Knight, G.W. 1992 (A Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, pp.175-177
  13. 1 2 3 The Biblical Case for Elder Rule
  14. Viola, F. and Barna, G. (2008) Pagan Christianity: exploring the roots of our church practices Carol Stream:Tyndale House
  15. Granfield, P. and Phan, P.C., (2000) The Gift of the Church: A Textbook On Ecclesiology In Honor Of Patrick Granfield, O.S.B, (Collegeville: Liturgical Press), p. 32.
  16. John Meyendorff, The Primacy of Peter: Essays in Ecclesiology and the Early Church(St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1992), p. 135–136
  17. Tertullian, Prescription Against Heretics, 32
  18. Catholic Encyclopedia: Pope St Clement I)
  19. Liber Pontificalis 2
  20. Ehrman, Bart. Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene: The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend. Oxford University Press, USA. 2006. ISBN   0-19-530013-0
  21. "Bishop". Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  22. Fiddes, P. A Leading Question London: Baptist Publications
  23. Article VI of the Baptist Faith & Message lists only pastors and deacons.
  24. McMinn, J.B. (1958). "Elder". In Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists. 1. Nashville, Tenn: Broadman Press. pp. 396-397.
  25. Ron Rhodes, The Complete Guide to Christian Denominations, Harvest House Publishers, 2005, ISBN   0-7369-1289-4
  26. Howard, V.E. (1971) What Is the Church of Christ? 4th Edition (Revised) Central Printers & Publishers, West Monroe, Louisiana
  27. This belief is shared with other religious organizations with roots in the Restoration Movement, such as the Independent Christian Church.
  28. Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) 20: 38; cf. 1 Pet. 5: 1; 2 Jn. 1: 1; 3 Jn. 1: 1
  29. Church of Scotland website
  30. "Questions From Readers", The Watch Tower, pages 28,29
  31. The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church . Nashville: The United Methodist Publishing House, 1984
  32. The Discipline of the Evangelical Wesleyan Church. Evangelical Wesleyan Church. 2015. p. 115.
  33. "Discipline of the Primitive Methodist Church in the United States of America" (PDF). Primitive Methodist Church . Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  34. Holmes, F. (1962) Regarding Elders. Precious Seed, 13(1)
  35. BBC website
  36. Miller, Samuel. 1831. An Essay, on the Warrant, Nature and Duties of the Office of the Ruling Elder, in the Presbyterian Church (New York: Jonathan Leavitt; Boston: Crocker and Brewster, 1831). Chapter 1 retrieved on November 29, 2010
  37. 1 2 Kurian, George Thomas; Lamport, Mark A. (2016). Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN   9781442244320.
  38. White, Ellen. ,filter:%5b{'type':'folder','key':'4'},{'type':'folder','key':'1227'},{'type':'folder','key':'5'},{'type':'folder','key':'8'},{'type':'folder','key':'9'},{'type':'folder','key':'10'},{'type':'folder','key':'253'},{'type':'folder','key':'14'}%5d) "Mrs". Ellen White Writings. Retrieved 10 March 2019.