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A Biblical Approach to a Pastor’s Job Description

Pastors have a strong fleshly tendency to get off on tangents and to lose sight of what we have clearly/biblically been called to do, especially to focus on.

Many people have strong opinions on how pastors should fulfill their role in the church and community.

Thankfully the New Testament is quite clear and thorough on what a pastor (and elders to some degree) should give himself to in his ministry. The following is an attempt to synthesize the many N.T. scriptures that speak to this. It is not yet exhaustive. :)

I. According to the “Pastoral” Epistles (I & II Timothy; Titus)

A. A Pastor’s Highest Priority Must Be His Own Growth & Development

34 out of 90 commands speak to this priority He must:

“fight the good fight, keep faith & a good conscience” I Tim. 1:18,19;6:12

“be constantly nourished on the words of the faith & of sound doctrine” 4:6

“have nothing to do with wordly fables…” 4:7

“Let no one look down on your youth..but be an example..” 4:12

“Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you..” 4:14

“Take pains with these things/be absorbed in them..” 4:15

“Pay close attention to yourself” 4:16

“Persevere in these things..” 4:16

“…keep yourself free from sin..” 5:22

“..use a little wine..”.i.e. take care of your health/body 5:23

“flee from these things & pursue righteousness, godliness…6:11

“take hold of the eternal life to which you were called...” 6:12

“..keep the commandment without stain or reproach..” 6:14

“…guard what has been entrusted to you,…” 6:20

B. A Pastor Must Teach & Preach the Word at every opportunity

18 or so out of 90 commands: teach, preach, instruct, remind, exhort

“instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines..” 1:3,4

“point out these things to the brethren…” 4:6

“prescribe and teach these things…” 4:11

“give attention to the public reading of scrip, exhortation & teaching” 4:16

“pay close attention to.. your teaching” 4:16

“teach and preach these principles..” 6:2

“preach the word…” II Tim. 4:2

C. A Pastor Must Reprove, Correct and Rebuke Individuals as Necessary

8 or so out of 90 commands: reprove, rebuke, correct, appeal, urge,

“do not sharply rebuke an older man/appeal to his as a father..” 5:1

“appeal to the younger men as brothers..” 5:2

“appeal to the younger women as sisters in all purity” 5:3

“rebuke those who continue in sin…” 5:20

“with gentleness correct those who are in opposition..” II Tim. 2:25

“….be ready in season and out… reprove, rebuke,…” 4:2

D. A Pastor Must Do the Work of an Evangelist – “But you, …. do the work of an evangelist,…..”II Tim. 4:5

E. A Pastor Must Make Sure that When the Church Gathers Prayer is a Priority

“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority,…I Tim. 2:1,2

“Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.” I Tim. 2:8

F. A Pastor Must Appoint Godly Leadership

I Tim. 3:1-16

I Tim. 5:22

Titus 1:5-9

G. A Pastor Must Discipline Ungodly Church Members/Leaders

I Tim. 5:20

II Tim. 4:15

Titus 3:10,11

II. According to Other N.T. Epistles

A Pastor must be an example to the saints in all things -

I Corinthians 11:1 "Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ."

Phil. 3:17 "Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us."

II Thess. 3:7,9 "For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, that you would follow our example."

A Pastor must equip the saints for their work of ministry - Eph. 4:11-13 – “…for the equipping of the saints…”

A Pastor must shepherd the sheep - - I Peter 5:1-4 – “..shepherd the flock of God among you…”

Hebrews 13:17 “…for they keep watch over your souls as those who will ..”

III. According to the Gospels

A. Jesus’s Example: Matthew 4:23 “Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.” teaching, proclaiming, healing

Luke 5:16 "But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray."

B. Jesus’s Commands:Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples..baptizing and teaching…”

John 21:15-17 “…Tend My Lambs…Shepherd My sheep…”

IV. According to the Book of Acts

Acts 6:2, 4 “..devote ourselves to prayer & the ministry of the word.” (cf. Acts 3:1)

Acts 20:27 “For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.”

Acts 20:28 “Be on guard for yourselves…”

Acts 20:28 “Be on guard…for all the flock, …to shepherd the church of God.”

V. According to God’s Call on Him & the Church He Pastors

A. Example of Paul and God's call on his life: Acts 9:15,16 "....he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel"; 13:46,47 "....behold we are turning to the Gentiles. "For so the Lord has commanded us, 'I HAVE PLACED YOU AS A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES, THAT YOU MAY BRING SALVATION TO THE END OF THE EARTH.'" 18:6 "....From now on I will go to the Gentiles."; 22:21 "And He (God) said to me, 'Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles."; 26:13-18 ".....for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you;"

Romans 1:5 "through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name's sake,"; 11:13,14 "....Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them."; 15:15,16 "...because of the grace that was given me from God, to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit."; Galatians 1:15,16 "But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood,"

B. Paul’s life and ministry could be summed up like this: He had a five fold passion in this order of priority:

1. To know Christ – Phil. 3:7,8

2. To be conformed to Christ – Phil. 3:9-11

3. To proclaim Christ – Col. 1:28

4. To help make every person complete in Christ – Col. 1:28

5. To see Israel and the Unreached saved by Christ – Rom. 9:1-5; 10:1; 11:14; 15:20,21

VI. Pertinent Terms in N.T.

“pastor” - none

“pastors” – Eph. 4:11

“overseer” – I Tim. 3:1,2; Titus 1:7

“overseers” – Acts 20:28; Phil. 1:1

“Elder” – I Tim. 5:19; I Pet. 5:1; II John 1; III John 1

“Elders” – Acts 11:30; 14:23; 15:2,4,6,22,23; 16:4; 20:17; 21:18; I Tim.5:17; Titus 1:5; Jas. 5:14; I Pet. 5:1,5

“Rule” – I Tim. 5:17

“lead” – none

“leaders” - Heb. 13:17, 24

“shepherd” – John 10:2; John 21:16; Acts 20:28; I Peter 5:2

“minister” – Paul’s ex. Acts 26:16, Rom. 15:16, Eph. 3:7, Col. 1:23,25; Tychicus – Eph. 6:21; Epaphroditus – Phil. 2:25

“servants” – I Cor. 4:1

“stewards” – I Cor. 4:1

“bond-servant” – Jude 1:1

VII. Pertinent Terms in Old Testament

“shepherd” – Psalm 78:71,72; Jeremiah 17:16; Ezek. 34:5,8; Zech. 10:2;11:17;

“shepherds” – Jeremiah 3:15; 10:21; 23:1,2,4; Ezekiel 34:2-10

  • · Many of these commands apply to elders, apostles, prophets, teachers and evangelists as well as pastors.

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