What about the words pastor, pastors? (To print or download a PDF of this page)

The point that Bro. David has tried to clarify several times is that in the New Testament passage, the word “pastors” is referring to the GIFT of pastors – not an office. Nowhere in the whole Bible does it say the church is supposed to have one man, a pastor, or pastors to lead the church.

Yes -There are a few (8) verses in the whole Bible that say “pastors” in the Old Testament, however the word “pastor” is only used once (Jeremiah 17:16) in the Old Testament. But, we must examine the words’ Hebraic meaning to understand its use and intention in the word of God.


(Jeremiah 2:8) The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.

(Jeremiah 3:15) And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

(Jeremiah 10:21) For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.

(Jeremiah 12:10) Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.

(Jeremiah 22:22) The wind shall eat up all thy pastors, and thy lovers shall go into captivity: surely then shalt thou be ashamed and confounded for all thy wickedness.

(Jeremiah 23:1) Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.

(Jeremiah 23:2) Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.

This Hebrew word “pastors” used 8 times in OT means: H7462  ra^?a^h raw-aw’ – A primitive root; to tend a flock, that is, pasture it; intransitively to graze (literally or figuratively); generally to rule; by extension to associate with (as a friend): – X break, companion, keep company with, devour, eat up, evil entreat, feed, use as a friend, make friendship with, herdman, keep [sheep] (-er), pastor, + shearing house, shepherd, wander, waste.

The word of God (KJV) uses the English word “pastors” 8 times, but the same Hebrew word (Strong’s Number H7462) is used to identify the following other English words according to the E-sword King James Concordance.

* Total KJV Occurrences for (Strong’s Number H7462): 172 times
feed, 55 times, shepherds, 33 times, shepherd, 28 times, fed, 11 times, herdmen, 7 times, pastors, 7 times, feedeth, 5 times, feeding, 3 times, kept, 3 times, companion, 2 times, eat, 2, times, broken, 1 time, company, 1 time, devour, 1 time, eaten, 1 time, evil, 1 time, feedest, 1 time, friend, 1 time, friendship, 1 time, keeper, 1 time, keepeth, 1 time, keeping, 1 times, pastor, 1 time, shearing, 1 time, shepherd’s, 1 time, shepherds’, 1 time, wander, 1 time

The scripture passage below is the only time the word, “pastor” is in the Old Testament.

(Jeremiah 17:16) As for me, I have not hastened from being a pastor to follow thee: neither have I desired the woeful day; thou knowest: that which came out of my lips was right before thee.

The meaning for the English word “pastor” is also enhanced with another Hebrew word (H4482) to help explain “pastor”.

H4480 min minnî?y minnê?y min, min-nee’, min-nay’
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses: – above, after, among, at, because of, by (reason of), from (among), in, X neither, X nor, (out) of, over, since, X then, through, X whether, with.

There are 79 Total KJV Occurrences of H4480 “pastor” the same Hebrew word Strong’s Number H4480 in the OT where several different English words were also used to define this Hebrew word according to the E-sword King James Concordance.

than, 36 times, since, 14 times, reason, 5 times, among, 4 times, at, 3 times, neither, 3 times, whether, 3 times, above, 2 times, because, 2 times, through, 2 times, after, 1 time, commanded, 1 time, no, 1time, over, 1 time, which, 1time

And the other Hebrew word “pastor” in the Jerimiah 17:16 passage is: H7462 I have already explained was used 172 times as other English words that I have listed above. *

In the New Testament the word “pastors” appears in One passage and the word “pastor” does not occur any time.

(Ephesians 4:11) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

The Greek word Strong’s Number G4166 means: p??μ?́? poime̅n poy-mane’ Of uncertain affinity; a shepherd (literally or figuratively): – shepherd, pastor.

The Greek word Strong’s Number G4166 Occurs 18 times in the KJV as other English words according to the E-sword King James Concordance.

shepherd, 13 times, shepherds, 4 times, pastors 1 time.

The early church was set up with those gifts active in them and are still active yet today, but all must be set up on the proper foundations. It was never God’s plan to have individual men to rule over congregations as they are now. The church is supposed to have Elders, not just one man to lead the church. When we read the NT passage below, The plan of God can be clearly seen. God gave his followers Gifts.

Ephesians 4:11-15
(11) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
(12) For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
(13) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
(14) That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
(15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

There was much that happened between the passages that spoke of the elders who were set up by the Jews and the Elders who were ordained according to the instructions of Apostle Paul to lead the New Testament church. Steven was stoned, Apostle who was then known as Saul was consenting of his stoning. Then the Lord revealed himself to Saul and made him Apostle Paul and a follower and great teacher. We see in the verse below instructions about Elders.

1 Timothy 4:10-16
(10) For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those that believe.
(11) These things command and teach.
(12) Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
(13) Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
(14) Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
(15) Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
(16) Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

And continuing in Chapter 5 more about Elders.

1 Timothy 5:1
(1) Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;

And in the following verses:

1 Timothy 5:17-21
(17) Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.
(18) For the Scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his reward.
(19) Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
(20) Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.
(21) I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

Titus 1:5
(5) For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:

The Hebrew word and definition for elder in Strong’s is: G4245 presbuteros pres-boo’-ter-os Comparative of πρέ?βυς presbus (elderly); older; as noun, a senior; specifically an Israelite Sanhedrist (also figuratively, member of the celestial council) or Christian “presbyter”: – elder (-est), old.

The Elders are one of the Offices of the churches and have several jobs.

Hebrews 11:2
(2) For by it the elders obtained a good report.

James 5:14
(14) Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

1 Peter 5:1-12
(1) The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
(2) 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;
(3) Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.
(4) And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
(5) Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
(6) Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
(7) Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
(8) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
(9) Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
(10) But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you.
(11) To him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
(12) By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.

Revelation 4:4
(4) And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.

There are several passages in the book of Revelation that speak of Elders, but for this study, I think I have explained enough about the Elders responsibilities.

To help your understanding how the church is supposed to function, we have several Bible Studies on our Bible Studies Page (Links Below). Our teachings will help you understand the difference between the Offices and the Gifts as there is much confusion about these things and many other things in most churches today.

How the Church Functions – 1

How the Church Functions – 2

How the Church Functions – 3

This Hot Topic was written by Sister Donna Carrico (boldness added for clarification)
August 31, 2022