What does the Bible say about our pastors/"shepherds"?


I Thessalonians 5:12 refers to pastors or leaders when it says they are to "...know those who labor among us...". They are responsible before God to lead and guide you. Hebrews 13:17, "Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you." In the Spirit-Filled Life Bible, of which Pastor Hayford served as General Editor, the footnotes under this passage read:

Christians are not only to remember past church leaders (v. 7), but are to heed present leaders who are responsible in discharging their duties in providing spiritual oversight to the congregation. The obedience commanded denotes assenting to someone else’s directions, and submission means yielding one’s contrary opinions in favor of another’s. The writer does not suggest blind, unquestioning obedience to everything a leader says, even in decisions pertaining to changing jobs, making purchases, taking a trip, and the like. The NT teaches the necessity of discernment (I John 4:1), personal accountability to God (Rom. 14:12; Gal. 6:5), and mutual submission (Rom. 12:10; Gal. 5:13; Eph. 5:21; Phil. 2:3, 4). Furthermore, church leaders are not autocratic chiefs who lord it over the congregation, but are servants who exercise authority with concern and care (see Rom. 12:8; I Thess. 5:12, 13; I Tim. 3:5; 5:17).

The definition of "shepherd" in Hayford’s Bible Handbook is:

"…A herdsman, sheepherder; one who tends, leads, guides, cherishes, feeds, and protects a flock. The New Testament uses the word for a Christian pastor to whose care and leadership others will commit themselves (Ephesians 4:11). The term is applied metaphorically to Christ (John 10:11, 14, 16; Hebrews 13:20; I Peter 2:25)."


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