JETS Dr. Jack L. Arnold
The Teaching Elder
I. THE POSITION OF TEACHING ELDER
A. A Gift. According to Eph. 4:11-12, Jesus Christ has sovereignly given gifted men to the church to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry. One of these gifts is pastor-teacher. This is a special spiritual gift given only to certain individual.
B. A Responsibility. According to I Tim. 5:17, there are ruling elders and teaching elders. The teaching elder seems to be equivalent to the gift of pastor-teacher. NOTE: Ruling elders teach but may not have a special gift of teaching. Teaching elders rule but have a special gift of teaching.
C. Influence. The teaching elder is equal with the other elders in the church in authority, but because he is a gifted teacher who does most of the preaching, he will have a greater influence on the flock. NOTE: In a rule by elders, it is much more difficult to have a dictatorial pastor.
A. Timothy, a teaching elder,(pastor-teacher) at Ephesus, seemed to have a special gift among the elders.. Paul wrote 1 and 2 Timothy directly to Timothy, not the elders of the church. The contents of these two epistles deal essentially with how to run a local church.
B. By analogy, there is only one shepherd in any flock, but a shepherd can have helpers. NOTE: The teaching-elder is not a separate office in the church. It is one aspect of being an elder. Usually this teaching elder is remunerated for his services.
A. He would have to meet all the qualifications for elder as set down in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.
B. He would also have to have the gift of pastor-teacher.
A. The primary task of the pastor-teacher is to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry (Eph. 4:11-16). He does this by instructing in the Word, training men for ministry and tending to the spiritual needs of the flock.
B. The teaching-elder has other titles such as ambassador (2 Cor. 5:20-21), evangelist (2 Tim. 4:5), preacher (1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11) and steward (1 Pet. 4:10).
C. The teaching-elder is a leader’s leader in that he train men to be leaders in the local church (2 Tim. 2:2).
C. A teaching-elder must be committed to study and teaching the Word of God to people. Also a congregation pays their pastor to pray, study and preach the Word so they can be fed the Word of God.
D. The teaching elder is to “watch your life and doctrine closely” (1 Tim. 4:16).
A. He has been entrusted with the secret things of God, being stewards of the mysteries of God.
B. He is required to be faithful even before being fruitful.
C. He must preach to glorify God and not to please men (Gal. 1:10 cf. 1 Thess. 2:4-6).
D. He can never completely judge his own ministry but God will judge it fairly.
E. He may have a clear conscience but God will be the final judge.
F. He will be judged not only on outward acts but motives.