Bible Verses about the Difference between a Bishop and a Pastor

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“Bishop” doesn’t mean “Pastor”. A Pastor is a bishop. A bishop is not a Pastor.

The Greek word for Bishop is ἐπίσκοπος (epískopos), which is “Overseer”. ἐπί (epí) is “over” and σκοπός (skopós) is “watcher”. A bishop could be a superintendent, supervisor, or a presiding Christian leader. Neither bishops, elders, nor deacons appear in the lists of ministers and ministerial gifts. Read Romans 12:6-8, Ephesians 4:11, and 1 Corinthians 12:28-30 for the lists.

Note:

1 Timothy 3:1-13 didn’t mention Pastor

1 Timothy 3:1-13 talks about the qualities required of bishops, elders, and deacons, and some remarks concerning their functions and duties. It didn’t mention Pastor or shepherd.

And only once in the New Testament is pastor [poimen̄́] used of Christian ministers:

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers”

Ephesians 4:11, NKJV

If you think a bishop is a Pastor, then everyone overseeing an area in the Church is a Pastor.

A bishop could be any Christian chosen to make sure there are Pastors available to feed your Church members on Sundays; this bishop is overseeing an area in your Church.

So, the general oversight of a ministry (could be a whole church) and or operation of or in the church is the responsibility of a chosen Christian, who may not be a Pastor.

A Pastor is a bishop

He is because he oversees his unique area by feeding the flock.

Now, let’s dig deeper to discover who a Pastor and what his or her purpose is:

The Greek word for Pastor is the Greek noun ποιμήν (poimēn), pronounced “poy-mane”, which is “shepherd”. It’s one of the five ministry gifts Christ gave to some Christians. And its Greek verb, ποιμαίνω (poimainō) is “feed”.

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

Ephesians 4:11-13, NKJV

Meaning, the gift is given to some Christians to feed (equip and edify) the flock with the Word.

The Word is Jesus as seen in the following two Bible verses:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

John 1:1, NIV

…and:

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 1:14, NIV

The Lord Jesus Christ (the Word) protects and rule His body, the Church. In effect, the Pastor is the means by which Christ protect and rule His body, Christians.

The Lord Jesus is the Pastor and Bishop

The verse below tells us that the two are not the same. And you can be the two. “the Shepherd” is the Pastor. And “Overseer” is “bishop”. The Lord Jesus is the two:

For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

1 Peter 2:25, NIV

Wait. Are Christians made the Shepherd and Overseer?

Yes. For 1 John 4:17 NKJV says, “…as He is, so are we in this world.” And 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 makes us understand that Christians are the ministers of reconciliation.

Truth is, Christians equip and edify each other everyday.

You’ve seen all the important Bible Verses about the difference between a Bishop and a Pastor

  • 1 Timothy 3:1-13 – talks about bishops, elders, and deacons.
  • Romans 12:6-8, Ephesians 4:11, and 1 Corinthians 12:28-30 – the lists of ministers and ministerial gifts that didn’t mention bishops, elders, and deacons.
  • John 1:1-14 – talks about the Word, which Pastors feed the body of Christ with.
  • 1 Peter 2:25 – Our Lord Jesus is a Pastor and Bishop

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