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Bishop - Was the bishop a position in the churches during the age of New Testament?

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  • Bishop - Was the bishop a position in the churches during the age of New Testament?

    Commentary
    The meanings provided in the Greek lexicons and glossaries are not entirely unpolluted definitions. The historical development of the ecclesiastical church offices has determined the meaning of the Greek texts and the corresponding English translations. The use of the English word “Bishop” to translate Greek words allows for the tradition that developed after the period of time when the New Testament was written to be read back into the Greek text reflecting ecclesiastical church offices.

    This tradition of ecclesiastical church officers can be traced back to writings by Ignatius of Antioch (c. 35 – c. 107). In his Letter to the Magnesians 2, 6:1 he wrote. “Take care to do all things in harmony with God, with the bishop presiding in the place of God, and with the presbyters in the place of the council of the apostles, and with the deacons, who are most dear to me, entrusted with the business of Jesus Christ, who was with the Father from the beginning and is at last made manifest.”
    Ignatius is the earliest known Christian writer to emphasize loyalty to a single bishop in each city who is assisted by both presbyters (elders) and deacons.

    This tradition of ecclesiastical church officers can also be traced back to writings by Irenaeus sometime between A.D. 170-190.

    Background on Irenaeus
    Irenaeus is the first to argue for the principle of apostolic succession for the purpose to claim bishops provided the only accurate guide to interpreting scripture. He cataloged an ancestry of the bishops from which an unbroken line of bishops is traced to the apostles. It is from such a catalogue the succession of bishops in Rome is established. He argued this succession from bishop to bishop was important to establish the custodial succession for orthodoxy originating from the apostles. Irenaeus claimed the apostolic churches had preserved the same traditions and teachings through various independent sources. It was the unanimous agreement between these various independent sources of transmission that established the true orthodox doctrines. He used this argument against heresy, particularly Valentinian Gnostic influences.

    He also considered the succession of presbyters (elders) necessary.
    ============================================
    Hermeneutics

    Discerning the meaning of a word or passage always requires applying all relevant passages to the interpretation, or in some cases, to the correct translation. Often this is described as the larger context of the entire Bible. This is the case for the correct understanding of the Greek text used to justify ecclesiastical church offices. Particularly, the following passages must be used to interpret leadership within the churches when using the New Testament as the source. These passages teach directly to the issue and teach by example.

    What did the Lord Jesus teach about ecclesiastical church positions or offices and if there is to be a hierarchy of authority?

    Mark 9:33-35 ESV - a direct instruction by Christ
    33 And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

    Luke 22:25-27 ESV- a direct instruction by Christ
    25 And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26 But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. 27 For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.

    Matthew 23:11 ESV - a direct instruction by Christ
    11 The greatest among you shall be your servant.

    Luke 9:48 ESV - a direct instruction by Christ
    48 and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”

    John 10:15 ESV - an example of Christ
    15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.

    John 13:13-15 ESV - An Example of Christ
    13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.

    What did the Apostles teach about ecclesiastical church positions or offices and if there is an established hierarchy of authority?

    2 Corinthians 4:5 ESV – an example of the Apostle Paul
    5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.

    2 Corinthians 8:9 ESV – an example of Christ
    9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

    Philippians 2:7 ESV – an example of Christ
    7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

    1 Peter 5:2-3 ESV a direct teaching by the Apostle Peter for the shepherd of the flock to be an example
    2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.

    ================================================== =========
    Conclusion

    The authority of the Apostles is derived directly from the Son of God.
    Furthermore, the authority of the Son of God is derived directly from God the Father.
    Believers affirm there is an authoritative hierarchy in the New Testament. How else would the Bible be considered authoritative if those writing the texts were men without divine authority? The process of canonization depended chiefly upon the writers’ credentials as being an apostle or writing under the supervision of an apostle. The apostles authority is derived from God the Son.

    The above passages quoting the Lord Jesus were addressed to His living disciples. It is through extension of these teachings that believers understand these words apply to Christians in all ages. It is the same for the above passages from the writings of the apostles.

    Therefore, whatever a Bible study determines about leadership within the Church during the A.D. first century, the leadership must not be domineering, done for self gain, selfish, by compulsion, or exercise lordship. But to the contrary,
    leaders must be a servant who serves those who benefit from the service;
    leaders serve for the sake of the benefactors,
    Leaders become poor for the sake of those served;
    the greatest leader is the one who becomes as the youngest or the least;
    and a leader lays down his life for the benefactors.

    Defining or interpreting the meaning of the New Testament Greek words used for leadership in the churches must follow the above teachings.
    ===============================================
    Last edited by glen smith; December 17, 2017, 01:32 AM.

  • #2
    OVERSEER (BISHOP) SCRIPTURES

    Bishop - Was the bishop a position in the churches during the age of the New Testament?

    There are three forms of the word which in some cases are translated into the English “Bishop” by some versions. Each form will be examined separately.

    Episkopē; episkopos; episkopeo
    These Greek words are made up of “"epi"” and “"skope"”
    "“epi”" means over.
    “"skope”" means see. It is the Greek word from which the English word “scope” is derived.
    Therefore oversee is the literal meaning of the various forms of episkopē.

    Overseer = episkopē

    Overseers = episkopos

    Oversight/caring/watching = episkopeo

    These Greek words have other connotations as may be observed in the meanings provided from lexicons and glossaries and in the MOUNCE translations.
    ================================================== ==========
    In the New Testament the Greek word episkopē is translated bishop by some English versions.

    1 Timothy 3:1 AKJV
    This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

    In Timothy 3:1 the New Testament Greek word episkopē is translated bishop by the KJ21, ASV, AMP, AMPC, BRG, DRA, EXB, GNV, GW, JUB, KJV, AKJV, NOG, NABRE, NKJV, NMB, NRSV, NRSVA, NRESVACE, RSV, RSVCE, WYC.

    Other translations use “overseer.”

    The following four New Testament verses have a form of the word episkopē.
    Frequency in New Testament: 4

    Luke 19:44 episkopē/ episkopēs

    Acts 1:20 episkopē/ episkopēn

    1 Timothy 3:1 episkopē/ episkopēs

    1 Peter 2:12 episkopē/ episkopēs

    Using both lexicons and glossaries episkopē means:
    (1) as one who inspects, provides, oversight, or visitation;
    (2) as applied to God, visitation, , the coming of divine power for recompense, interposition, whether in mercy or judgment, Luke 19:44; 1 Peter 2:12;
    (3) as the office of an ecclesiastical overseer, 1 Timothy 3:1;
    (4) an office of responsibility and place of leadership referring to an office of apostle in Acts, and the office of overseer or bishop in the local church
    (5) from the Hebrew, charge, function, Acts 1:20

    MOUNCE translations
    Luke 19:44 And they will tear down both you and the children within you, and they will not leave stone upon stone in you, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” (episkopēs | ἐπισκοπῆς | gen sg fem)
    Acts 1:20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms, ‘Let his house become deserted, and let there be no one living in it’; and ‘Let another take over his responsibilities.’ (episkopēn | ἐπισκοπήν | acc sg fem)
    1 Timothy 3:1 Trustworthy is the saying. If anyone aspires to the office of overseer (episkopēs | ἐπισκοπῆς | gen sg fem), he is desiring a good work.
    1 Peter 2:12 and maintain an honorable lifestyle among the Gentiles so that, with respect to the very things about which they slander you as evildoers, they may, by observing your good works, glorify God on the day of visitation (episkopēs | ἐπισκοπῆς | gen sg fem).
    In 1 Timothy 3:1 the words “the office of” are italicized indicating these were added by the translator.
    ================================================== =============
    In the New Testament the Greek word episkopos is translated bishop bishop by some English versions.

    1 Peter 2:25 AKJV
    25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    In 1 Peter 2:25 the New Testament Greek word episkopē is translated bishop by the following English versions. KJ21, ASV, AMPC, BRG, DRA, GNV, GW, JUB, KJV, AKJV, NOG, NMB, WYC.

    Other translations use “guardian of your souls or “overseer.”

    The following five New Testament verses have a form of the word episkopos.
    Frequency in New Testament: 5

    Acts 20:28 episkopos/ episkopous

    Philippians 1:1 episkopos/ episkopois

    1 Timothy 3:2 episkopos/ episkopon

    Titus 1:7 episkopos/ episkopon

    1 Peter 2:25 episkopos/ episkopon

    Using both lexicons and glossaries episkopos means
    (1 ) an inspector, overseer; a watcher, guardian, an extension of one who guards, supervises, and helps 1 Peter 2:25;
    (2) in the New Testament an ecclesiastical overseer or bishop, a leader in a local church Acts 20:28; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:7

    MOUNCE translations
    Acts 20:28 Watch out for yourselves and for all the flock in which the Holy Spirit has placed you overseers (episkopous | ἐπισκόπους | acc pl masc), to shepherd the church of God, which he purchased with the blood of his own Son.
    Philippians 1:1 From Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, along with the overseers (episkopois | ἐπισκόποις | dat pl masc) and deacons:
    1 Timothy 3:2 Therefore, it is necessary for an overseer (episkopon | ἐπίσκοπον | acc sg masc) to be above reproach: a man of one woman, clear-minded, self-controlled, dignified, hospitable, skilled in teaching,
    Titus 1:7 For it is necessary for an overseer (episkopon | ἐπίσκοπον | acc sg masc) to be above reproach as a steward of God, not arrogant, not quick-tempered, not a drunkard, not violent, not greedy for gain,
    1 Peter 2:25 For you were like sheep, going astray, but now you have turned back to the shepherd and guardian (episkopon | ἐπίσκοπον | acc sg masc) of your souls.
    ============================
    In the New Testament the Greek word episkopeō is never translated bishop by any English versions. Yet, it is has the same root meaning.

    1 Peter 5:2 AKJV
    feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

    In 1 Peter 5:2 the New Testament Greek word episkopeō is translated oversight, watch over, taking care, under your care.

    The following two New Testament verses have a form of the word episkopeō.
    Frequency in New Testament: 2

    Hebrews 12:15 episkopeo/ episkopountes

    1 Peter 5:2 episkopeo/ episkopountes

    Using both lexicons and glossaries episkopeō means:
    (1) to see to, care for; to serve as an overseer, to look at, inspect, to be circumspect, heedful, Hebrews 12:15;
    (2) to oversee, to exercise the office of bishop, 1Peter 5:2.

    MOUNCE translations
    Hebrews 12:15 Take care (episkopountes | ἐπισκοποῦντες | pres act ptcp nom pl masc) that no one forfeits the grace of God; and that no root of bitterness grows up and causes trouble and by it many are defiled.
    1 Peter 5:2 shepherd the flock of God among you, watching (episkopountes | ἐπισκοποῦντες | pres act ptcp nom pl masc) over it — not because you have to, but voluntarily, as God would have it; not for shameful gain but eagerly.
    =========================================
    Back to the question.
    Was the bishop a position in the churches during the age of the New Testament?
    ===========================================
    Notes:
    Bishop is used in two verses in the AKJV and the GNV English versions in the comments or headings but are not part of the Greek texts.

    2 Timothy 4:22

    The word bishop is in the commentary notes or headings of the AKJV and the GNV and not from the New Testament Greek text.

    2 Timothy 4:22 AKJV
    The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen. The second epistle unto Timotheus, ordained the first bishop of the church of the Ephesians, was written from Rome, when Paul was brought before Nero the second time.

    2 Timothy 4:22 GNV
    The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy Spirit. Grace be with you, Amen. ¶ The second Epistle written from Rome unto Timothy, the first Bishop elected of the Church of Ephesus, when Paul was presented the second time before the Emperor Nero.

    Titus 3:15

    The word bishop is in the commentary notes or headings of the AKJV and the GNV and not from the New Testament Greek text.

    Titus 3:15 AKJV
    All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen. It was written to Titus, ordained the first bishop of the church of the Cretians, from Nicopolis of Macedonia.

    Titus 3:15 GNV
    All that are with me, salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen. ¶ To Titus, elect the first Bishop of the Church of the Cretans, written from Nicopolis in Macedonia.
    ============================================
    Last edited by glen smith; December 16, 2017, 01:57 PM. Reason: quotation marks

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