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Definition

The office of eldership is given in Scripture to provide spiritual nurture and protection for the church. Elders are to shepherd the flock of Jesus Christ through the faithful ministry of the Word and are to lead by godly example.

Summary

The role of eldership finds its roots in Old Testament Israel but is unique to the church. The New Testament uses three key terms that arguably all point to the office and role of the elder (presbuteros, episkopos and poimēn), although some groups and denominations will see more than one office represented by these terms. Elders have a duty to care for the church as shepherds, to edify the body of Christ through faithful teaching, and to protect it from error. Elders must be godly in life and are held to a high standard of accountability. The church must honor the elders by responding willingly to their instruction and leadership, by providing materially for those who labor in teaching, and by praying for them.

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