- Preaching the Living WORD through the Written WORD - 2 Tim 4:2 -
STUDY OF THE CHURCH
SCOPE OF STUDY
A. Foundation Of The Church
B. Government Of The Church
C. Elder Rule And Plurality
D. Qualifications Of The Elders
E. Ordinances Of The Church (Sacraments)
F. Worship Of The Church
G. Other Ministries Of The Church
H. Distinctiveness Of The Church and
I. FOUNDATION OF THE CHURCH
A. The Meaning Of The
1. The Greek Word
a) The Greek word for church is “ekklesia” and it comes from two words ek = out of & kaleō = to call. So it could be said the church is made up of those who were “called out by God”.
2. Original Meaning
a) Originally, ekklesia meant an assembly of some sort, primarily a political one. It referred to the actual meeting rather than the people themselves. This expression coincided with the Hebrew word gahal.
3. Christian Expression
a) When the word became a coined expression for Christians, it uniquely referred to people whether they were gathered or not. So a better translation of the word would be those who were “called together ones” by God ones”.
4. English Meaning
a) The English word “church” comes from the Old English word “cirice” or “chirche”. Even this word comes from a Greek word kyriakos and means “belonging to the Lord”.
B. New Testament Usages
1. Pagan groups “assembled” together. (Acts 19:39-41)
2. Israelites were viewed as being “assembled” together (Acts 7:38)
3. Christians “assembled” in houses, i.e. “local church” (Ro 16:5; 1 Co 16:19)
4. The body of believers is the church, i.e. “universal church”(Eph 1:22-23)
C. Establishment And Foundation Of The Church (Mt16:18)
1. The Proposition (“and on this rock”)
a) View #1 is that Peter is the rock or strong leader upon which the church will be built.
(1) The Roman Catholics take this position and view Peter as the first Pope.
(2) A problem however arises with the two different words, “Peter” and “rock”.
(3) “Peter” (petros - masc.) means a rock or small stone.
(4) Whereas “rock” (
(5) Therefore, there appears to be a definite contrast between the two.
(6) The word “and” (kai) can also be translated “but”, emphasizing the contrast.
b) View #2 refers to Christ Himself as the rock that the church will be built upon Him.
(1) Grammatically, it would be difficult to say Christ is directly speaking of Himself.
(2) One would have to imagine Him literally pointing to Himself while making this statement.
(3) The word “this” rock (tauta) would have to refer to something previously written. (In other words what clue in the context identifies the “this” rock)
(4) It would have to refer then back to Peter’s statement in v16.
c) View #3 refers to Peter’s statement (v16) of the Person and work of Christ, and that teaching is the rock that the church will be built upon.
(1) Peter was answering Jesus’ question, “Who do you say I am?”
(2) His answer reflected the Person (“the Son of the Living God”) and work (“the Christ”) of Jesus.
(3) Jesus not only confirmed Peter’s statement but He claimed that it was made through Divine revelation
(4) Therefore, the church would be built upon the Divine truth about a Divine Person who accomplished a Divine work for mankind.
(5) Peter’s statement incorporates the Person of Christ, so by implication, Jesus was referring to Himself in v18, but that reference is specifically embodied in Peter’s statement.
(6) This would appear to be the strongest
interpretation and is consistent with Scripture (1Co 2:2; Jn 20:31;
2. The Promise (“I will build my church”)
- Jesus Himself is the builder of the
Church. He is its originator, example, and head. (
b) “Will” - It would happen in the future, but with certainty, only after He ascends to the Father and sends the Holy Spirit (Act 2:1-4)
c) “Build” - The word “build” (oikodomeo) means to build a house or foundation. It was used with builders and architects. Christ, Himself being the foundation will be the architect and builder of His church (Eph 2:19-22)
d) “My” - The church is Christ’s possession, since He purchased it with His own blood (1 Co 7: 22-23; Rev 5:9)
e) “Church” -This word is used approx. 114 times in NT and this is its first reference. It is also the first time this expression is used regarding the calling out and assembling of believers. Christ is the head of the church and the church is his body made up of believers (Eph 5:25-27).
3. The Product (“and the gates of Hades will not overcome it”)
Church is in a separate Kingdom (
b) The Church is engaged in spiritual battle (Eph 6:11-12).
c) The Church’s enemy is the ruler of this world. (Eph 2:1-2).
d) The Church is “Triumphant” - (lit = “not forced down”).
1. By understanding that the foundation of the church is the person and work of Christ, the believer will understand the central focus of the church, have the discernment as to the main doctrines to defend the church, and have the ability to teach the central truth of the church.
II. GOVERNMENT OF THE CHURCH
A. Minimal Government
1. Organization at a minimum
2. Small group of elders
3. Emphasis on spiritual gifts
4. Membership downplayed
5. Discipline exercised
a) not enough organization in doctrine and logistics
b) extreme isolationists
B. National Government
a) State organized churches
b) State ruled churches
c) State involvement varied
d) As citizens, Christians should obey Government (Ro 13:1-7)
(1) Scripture teaches separation of Church and State (Mt22:21)
(2) Church discipline does not involve the government (Mt 18:17; 1 Co 6:1-6)
C. Hierarchical Government
a) Ruling body in orders or ranks
b) Subordinate to hierarchy
(1) Assumption of terms of “bishops” and “elders” (Titus 1:5-7)
(2) Didache (1st Cent teaching manual) only mentions “bishops”
(3) Apostolic office ended by 1st Cent.
(4) Succession of doctrine, not apostolic authority (2 Ti 2:2)
d) Methodist (less absolute); Episcopal (more absolute); Roman Catholic (totally absolute i.e. Pope)
D. Congregational Government
a) Ultimate authority of members
b) Independent from individuals and organizations
c) Discipline by entire church (Mt 18:17; 1Co 5:4-5)
d) Leadership by appointment by the church (Acts 6:3-5; Acts 15:22)
(1) Delegated leaders, but counts as one vote
(2) Dictatorial Pastors (cp. 1Pe 5:2-3)
(3) Carnal Christians deciding for church (1Co 3:1-3)
E. Federal (Presbyterian) Government
a) Major authority of Church Leaders (Heb 13:17; Titus 1:5)
b) Members retain some power
c) In denominations, authority of Organizational Leaders
d) Federal Government would support office of elders (1 Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:5; 1 Pet 5:1)
e) Federal Government would support office of Deacons but not mandatory (Act 6:1-4; 1 Tim 3:8-13;Titus 1:5)
f) Leadership by appointment by the elders (Acts 14:23; Tit 1:5)
(1) Federal Government in Denominational churches can become totalitarian.
(2) Leadership by appointment by totalitarian elders.
h) Presbyterian, Reformed, Independent Bible, some Independent Baptist
Government appears to be most biblical in an
(2) Biblically, there is a blend of Federal and Congregational.
(3) Perhaps the biblical view could be said to be an elder ruled church with congregational involvement and confirmation.
III. ELDER RULE AND PLURALITY OF ELDERS
A. Elder and Elder Rule
1. The Office of Elder is Spiritual Leadership (presbuteros)
a) Presbuteros is used for an older man (Tit 2:2; 1Ti 5:1).
b) Presbuteros is used for a position of leadership (Ex 17:5; Mt 15:2).
c) Presbuteros is used for a NT church office (1Ti 5:17, 19; Tit 1:5).
2. The Function of Elder is Oversight (episkopos)
a) Episkopos means to look or watch (skopos) over (epi).
b) Episkopos is one whose office and function is to oversee the affairs and spiritual lives of the local body of believers (1Ti 3:1).
c) Episkopos in Tit 1:7 (bishop - KJV; RSV) is interchangeable with “elder” (presbuteros) in Tit 1:5.
(1) It is speaking of the same office, not introducing a new one.
(2) The word “for” (gar) is a conjunction connecting vss. 6 & 7.
(3) [It is the] same office as ‘elder’ in 1:5. ‘Elder is the title, oversight is the function" (B. Weiss from A.T. Robertson’s Word Pictures).
3. The Ministry of the Elder is to Shepherd (poimainō)
a) Poimaino means to rule, govern or to feed and tend a flock literally or figuratively (1Co 9:7).
b) The ministry of elders is to shepherd believers by:
(1) feeding them the word of God (Jn 21:15-17; Acts 6:4),
(2) guarding them from false teachers (Acts 20:28),
(3) leading them spiritually (1Pe 5:2),
(4) being a spiritual example for the flock (1Pe 5:3).
(5) Christ is the Great Shepherd (Heb 13:20; 1Pe 2:25; 1Pe 5:4).
4. The Pastor is an Elder
a) The pastor is not a separate office.
b) The pastor is an elder (1Pe 5:1).
c) The term pastor (poimen - shepherd) is only used once in Eph 4:11 and is combined with “teacher.” The office of “pastor/teacher” supports the shepherding ministry as one of feeding the flock with the word of God.
d) The pastor/teacher/elder is considered a “ruling elder” (1Ti 5:17a).
e) The pastor/teacher/elder is considered worthy of double honor (monetary 1Ti 5:17b).
B. The Plurality Of Elders
1. The majority of usages of “elder” are plural (18)
a) References: (Ac 11:30; Ac 14:23; Ac 15:2; Ac 15:4; Ac 15:6; Ac 15:22; Ac 15:23; Ac 16:4; Ac 20:17; Ac 20:28; Ac 21:18; Php 1:1; 1Ti 4:14; 1Ti 5:17; Tit 1:5; Jas 5:14; 1Pe 5:1; 1Pe 5:2)
2. Very few usages of “elder” are singular (4)
a) Three of them are dealing with qualifications (1 Ti 3:1; 1 Ti 3:2; Tit 1:7).
(1) A valid explanation for singular usage of the term, “elder” in these passages is that Paul was speaking to any individual who desired to be an elder.
(2) Even though Paul’s usage of “elder” is singular in Tit 1:7, it is clear from v.5 that Titus was to appoint “elders” (plural) in every town.
b) In 1 Timothy 5:19, “elder” is used in the singular because, God forbid, there should be more than one elder under accusation at one time.
3. Plurality of Elders in Acts and the Epistles
a) Elders (plural) were appointed in each church (Acts 14:23).
b) There were elders (plural) in the church
c) There were elders (plural) in the church
d) There were elders (plural) in the church
e) There were elders (plural) in the church
f) There were elders (plural) in the church
g) Elders (plural) laid hands on Timothy (1Ti 4:14).
h) Varying responsibilities points to the plurality of elders (1Ti 5:17; James 5:14).
i) Peter addresses the elders (plural) in his epistle (1 Pet 5:1-2).
C. The Duties Of Elders
1. Pastoral - to shepherd the church (1 Pet 5:2). (All responsibilities would fit under this heading)
2. Didactic (educational) - to teach the church (Acts 6:4; Eph 4:12-13; 1 Tim 3:2).
3. Officiate - to preside and lead in the church (Heb 13:7, 17; James 5:14).
a) Elders are to administrate by beings stewards (oikonomos - manager) of the church (Tit 1:7).
b) Elders are to administrate by being set over (proistemi) the body (1Ti 3:5; 5:17).
5. Representative - to represent the church (Acts 20:17; 1 Tim 5:17)
6. Judicial - make decisions within the church (Mat 18:17; 1Co 5:4-5; 6:1-2, 5).
D. The Structure Of Elders And Deacons
1. Elders are not responsible only for the spiritual welfare of the church while Deacons care for financial matters, as is sometimes thought. Elders have the oversight of all facets of the work [as in Acts 11:30]. (Ryrie, Basic Theology, p 414-15). Deacons are to assist the elders in whatever area the elders determine.
ELDERS − DEACONS
(Assist the elders)
IV. QUALIFICATIONS OF ELDERS
1. There is enough biblical implication to pattern a church after the early church with its elder-rule and plurality of elders. Another support for elder rule is the distinct list of qualifications for elders in Scripture (1Tim 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9). If elder-rule were not practiced in the early church, then there would seem to be little concern for their qualifications.
2. When studying the office of elders, it becomes quite clear that Paul views spiritual qualification as a major necessity (dei - of necessity; i.e. “must” - 1Ti 3:2) for spiritual leadership.
3. In addition, these qualities are to be practiced by all Christians, but especially the elders and deacons.
1. A Believer
a) It goes without saying that any officer of the church, especially an elder, must be a believer.
b) How else would he be able to make disciples of Christ (Mat 28:19-20)?
c) How could he have spiritual fellowship with other believers (2Co 6:14)?
d) Or how would he make spiritual decisions (1Co 2:14)?
2. Above Reproach (1Ti 3:2; Tit 1:6)
a) In general, an elder is to be blameless (anepilemptos - not lay hold upon, accusation). In other words, there is to be no reproach that man (Tit 2:8) or Satan (Rev 12:10) can lay hold upon in an individual’s life.
b) This is not to say that an elder is sinless, but there is nothing in his life that he has not made right concerning God and man (Mt 5:23-24). An elder’s testimony is the backbone of the testimony of the church (1Ti 3:15).
c) All spiritual leaders are to be above reproach, even in very practical matters like providing for their family (1Ti 5:7-8).
d) All believers are to be above reproach (1Ti 6:14).
3. The Husband Of One Wife (1Ti 3:2; Tit 1:6)
a) The phrase, mias gunaikos andra, could literally be translated, a “one-woman man.”
b) First, the obvious, historical, and biblical assumption is that overseers are males (cf. 1Ti 2:12-13). This would rule out woman elders or woman pastors.
c) Secondly, there are numerous interpretations of this phrase.
(1) Some erroneously suggest that this verse demands that an elder must be married, though that would contradict Paul’s thoughts on celibacy (1Co 7:7, 26-35).
(2) Some have suggested that this phrase opposes
an elder involved in polygamy. This phrase certainly does not support
polygamy but with a Greek culture of mistresses and temple prostitutes,
polygamy does not appear to have been a major issue. Neither does it appear
to be the intent of the phrase, otherwise then, 1Ti 5:9 (enos
(3) Traditionally, this phrase has been taken to mean that an elder must not be divorced and remarried. Even though divorce and remarriage is biblically permissible by three biblical exceptions (1) immorality - Mt 19:9; 2) desertion - 1Co 7:15; 3) and death - Rom 7:2), Paul places the elders under a higher standard so that no reproach can be brought upon the church. Note: Some historians and scholars have even taken this phrase to disallow the remarriage of a widower (Clement of Alexandria, Athenagoras, Hermas, Ellicot, and special note: S. Lewis Johnson).
(4) Others argue that the phrase means that an elder is a “one-woman-kind-of man.” That is to say that an elder must have the inward and outward quality of being faithful to his wife.
(a) The phrase “one-woman man” doesn’t refer to marital status at all. Paul is giving moral qualifications for spiritual leadership, not outlining what an elder’s social status or external condition is to be. “One-woman man” speaks of the man’s character, the state of his heart. If he is married, he is to be devoted solely to his wife. Whether or not he is married, he is not a lady’s man. (MacArthur, The Master’s Plan for the Church, p 220)
(b) The phrase is without the definite article, which can suggest character or nature.
(c) All of the rest of the qualifications are without articles and describe characteristics.
(d) In order to be a “one-woman-kind-of-man,” it is absolutely necessary that an elder does not succumb to:
(a) Impure thoughts (Jesus calls adultery - Mt 5:28)
(b) Pornography (cf. Mt 19:9)
(c) Being a flirtatious ladies man
(d) Being an unloving husband (Eph 5:25)
(e) Adopting the old cliché, “Can’t live with them and can’t live without them.” That phrase came from a pagan and worldly source.
(5) In conclusion, the “one-woman-kind-of-man” view appears to be supported grammatically and contextually. However, it could also be argued in many cases that a “one-woman-kind-of-man” would not be divorced. In addition, many churches embrace the traditional view to prevent any reproach whatsoever against the Lord’s name and his church.
4. Temperate (1Ti 3:2)
a) “Temperate” (nephalios) strictly means holding no wine; or persons that are sober and abstinent. It also means “to be sober and collected; vigilant and watchful.”
b) Since Paul will deal with intoxication in vs. 3, here the word refers to sobriety in life and sober-mindedness.
c) Elders ought to be serious and vigilant about their character and responsibilities.
(a) [the elder] … attends to his care and charge; is watchful over himself, his words, and actions; and watches for the souls of men, to do them all the good he can...GILL
d) All Christians have reason to be sober-minded because the adversary is on the loose (1Pe 5:8), they are engaged in a battle (1Th 5:8 cp. 2Ti 4:5), the end of all things is near (1Pe 4:7), and the Lord is returning (1Th 5:6).
e) Older men and deacon’s wives are instructed to be sober-minded (Tit 2:2; 1Ti 3:11).
f) Good, godly, and joyful humor is fine (Pr 15:13, 15; 17:22), but when it comes to spiritual things, that is the time to be serious and sober-minded.
5. Prudent (1Ti 3:2; Tit 1:8)
a) “Prudent” (sōphron) is defined by Friberg, as having ability to curb desires and impulses so as to produce a measured and orderly life self-controlled. Literally it means a, so(sozo) - healthy or sound phrona (phren) - mind.
b) Sōphron is similar to temperate (nephalios) but literally means in one's right mind and senses, or able to control impulses. It refers to good judgment in behavior because of the Holy Spirit’s control.
c) A sound mind is a spiritually healthy mind (Luk 8:35).
d) A sound mind in absolutely necessary for prayer (1Pe 4:7 cp. Eph 5:17).
e) Christian men and women are to be examples as those who have biblically sound minds (Tit 2:2, 5, 6).
f) And so, an elder is chosen because of his spiritual discernment. We need men in the church who will respond with biblical discernment, not from the flesh or worldly passions.
6. Respectable (1Ti 3:2)
a) An elder is to be “respectable” (kosmios - well arranged, seemly, modest) in his conduct of godly decorum.
b) He is one who is well ordered spiritually and may be regarded as a man if integrity.
c) The word kosmios is used to describe godly women who are dressed modestly and not wildly or outlandish (1Ti 2:9).
d) Whereas “temperate” (nephalios) would be internal, “respectable” (kosmios) would be external.
e) Some denominations believe the sacraments themselves dispense grace regardless of the minister’s integrity. The Bible speaks against such thinking in two ways:
(1) First of all, the sacraments are not efficacious, i.e. they do not administer grace, therefore they cannot save.
(2) Secondly, the Scriptures teach that a man’s conduct and character does matter. There is not to be a gap between the Gospel they preach and the life they live.
f) Therefore, elder must exemplify decent, orderly and modest conduct that brings harmony to the church. He must not be wild and outlandish, but a man of godly decorum.
7. Hospitable (1Ti 3:2; Titus 1:8)
a) The Greek word for “hospitable” is an interesting one; it is philoxenos, which literally means a “friend of the stranger.”
b) More succinctly, it means to extend hospitality to all with one’s friendship and possessions (Acts 10:23; Acts 28:7).
c) All believers are to practice hospitality and meet the needs of God’s people (Rom 12:13).
d) Peter exhorts all believers to offer hospitality without grumbling (1Pe 4:9).
e) Five times the Scriptures command the believer to greet one another affectionately (Rom 16:16; 1Co 16:20; 2Co 13:12; 1Th 5:26; 1Pe 5:14).
f) Thus, an elder is to express his love through hospitality to all, especially looking at the needs of the church and its ministry (Gal 6:10).
8. Able To Teach (1 Tim 3:2; Titus 1:9-10)
9. An elder must be one who is “able to teach” (didaktikos).
10. There are several nuances in regard to what didaktikos actually is implying.
a) Some suggest that an elder be “apt at teaching”.
(1) “apt teacher” (NRSV)
(2) “apt at teaching” (GLT, MKJV)
(3) “and with a gift for teaching;” (
(4) “and have the gift of teaching” (J.B. Phillips)
(5) “He must be a good Bible Teacher” (Living Bible)
g) Others would suggest that an elder is to be “apt to teach” in the sense of being ready or inclined to teach (DBY, GNV, KJV, TNT, YLT).
h) Another group, which could very well be placed in the first group, suggests that an elder be “able to teach” (NIV, NAS95, NKJV)
(1) “able to teach (TDNT)
(2) “a skilled teacher” (BAGD)
(3) “an able teacher” (NET)
(4) “and be a capable and qualified teacher” (AMP)
i) Perhaps it might go without saying that an elder who is “able to teach” should also be willing (“apt”) to teach. He certainly could not refuse the responsibility of teaching God’s people. However, it would not necessarily dictate that an elder always had to be in a teaching position.
j) On the other hand, one might be willing (“apt”) to teach but not necessarily “able to teach,” especially in light of refuting false teaching (2Tim 2:24). If a man were too young in the Lord to teach the Bible effectively and to refute false teaching (Tit 1:9), he would not be qualified to be an elder.
k) Furthermore, teaching should characterize the heart (Acts 6:4), priority (2Ti 4:1-4), and ministry (Acts 2:42a) of elders.
9. Not Addicted To Wine (1Ti 3:3; Tit 1:7)
a. The Greek word is (paroinos) (para = beside & oinos = wine) and literally means “one who is alongside of wine”. The NIV reads, “not given to drunkenness.”
b. It would suggest that one spends much time with the companionship of wine and is therefore addicted; i.e. a drunkard (cp. Pr 23:29-30).
c. Aristotle used the word of one who was “tipsy” or “rowdy.”
d. It is not sin to drink wine. What is prohibited is the overuse and abuse of wine leading to drunkenness. The same word oinos is used without prohibition in Jn 2:9-10 and 1 Tim 5:23). Yet in our age of lack of control, abstinence is the better of the recommendations.
e. It is also given as an exhortation to Deacons (1Ti 3:8).
f. The spiritual leader is to be an example of one who is not controlled by intoxication but controlled by the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18).
i. It is a continuous command not to let yourself become intoxicated (methuskesthe - pres. pass. imper.).
ii. Intoxication leads to reckless abandonment of moral behavior (asōtia).
iii. Rather, a believer is commanded to be continually filled (plērousthe - pres. pass. imper) with the Spirit by allowing him to have total command and control over his life.
10. Not Pugnacious (Not Violent NIV) (1Ti 3:3; Tit 1:7)
a. The word for “pugnacious” is (plēktēs) and means to strike or smite (cp. Rev 8:12).
b. There could be an implication here of this behavior due to drunkenness.
c. The word would describe someone who settled matters through brawling. I have actually heard where some leadership meetings have ended in fisticuffs.
d. It could also refer to a physically abusive person. Still, it very well could apply to verbal abuse.
e. The Arabic version [states], "not wounding with his tongue. [This could be someone who is] …being too sharp and severe in the admonitions and reproofs of weak brethren, or fallen believers. (Gill)
f. The spiritual leader is to be an example of one who is not controlled by emotions or the flesh but by the Spirit (Eph 5:18) in all of his dealings with the body of Christ.
11. Not Self-Willed (Tit 1:7)
a. Two other qualifications which could be akin to “pugnacious” are found in Tit 1:7; “not self-willed” and “not quick-tempered.”
b. “Self-willed” (authadēs) (auto - self & hēdonē - pleasure cp. Jam 4:1; Eng. Hedonism) means to be self-pleasing, self-loving, or stubborn and willful.
d. Spiritual Leadership is not about the leadership having their own way. Neither is it about doing it the Congregation’s way. It is about doing it God’s way, God’s will.
e. Elders ought to be dogmatic in the truth of God, but when it comes to other things like preferences, they need to be flexible.
f. When it comes to ministries in the church, elders have the oversight to what is being taught, but they also ought to be open to the Spirit’s work in the lives of the body in regard to ministry.
g. The church these days could very well be described as “Self-ism” or “Me-ism” or “Ego-centric” but we ought to be “Theo-centric” or “Logo-centric”
h. The same word is used in Pr 21:24 LXX and describes one who is haughty or thinks they are better than others.
i. The spiritual leader is to be an example of one who is not controlled by self and self-pleasure but by the Spirit (Eph 5:18).
12. Not Quick-Tempered (Tit 1:7)
a. This word is only used one time in the NT. Orgilos means prone to anger, or unbridled temper.
b. Xenophon uses the word to say, [a spirited horse,] like an angry man, he often causes many irreparable injuries both to himself and to his rider.
c. It comes from the Greek root orgē which means wrath in regard to God (Rom 1:18; 1Th 5:9), in regard to man (Rom 12:19; Jam 1:19; 1Ti 2:8), in regard to believers (1Ti 2:8).
d. The OT uses orgilos to warn of the consequences of anger.
i. Anger can lead to sin and strife in the body (Pr 15:18; 29:22).
ii. Anger can influence others to anger and sin (Pr 22:24).
iii. Patience is a necessary quality for spiritual leadership (Pr 16:32; Eph 4:26).
iv. Anger is a foolish response and not becoming of spiritual leaders (Pr 29:11; Ecc 7:9).
e. The spiritual leader is to be an example of one who is not controlled by his temper but by the Spirit (Eph 5:18).
13. Gentle (1Ti 3:3)
a) Instead of being self-willed or quick-tempered, gentleness is prescribed for the spiritual leader in 1Ti 3:3.
b) The Greek word for “gentleness” is epieikēs and means to be considerate and meek and would be in contrast to being violent or quarrelsome.
(1) It can also mean “moderation” as moderation at law, i.e. mildness in the sense of not insisting on the letter of the law in a given case.” TDNT
(2) Josephus uses the word to describe Moses,
the great lawgiver of
c) Gentle consideration, not abusive behavior, has a place within the church and the life of a spiritual leader (Phil 4:5).
d) Gentleness is a wise and biblical response (Jam 3:17).
e) Gentleness describes the character of Christ (2Co 10:1).
f) Gentleness should be our behavior in spite of the response of others (1Pe 2:18).
g) If Christ the Great Shepherd exercised gentleness, then the under-shepherds (spiritual leaders) ought to exemplify gentleness in the church and in their lives.
14. Peaceable (1Ti 3:3)
a) The word “peaceable” does not come from the regular root for peace (eirēnē). Rather it is the Greek word amachos which literally means “without sword” or “without fighting” (Mt 10:34; 26:47).
b) This word is probably only speaking metaphorically of not fighting by quarreling as opposed to pugnacious (Jn 6:52; Acts 7:26).
c) All believers are exhorted to be peaceable and not quarrel (Tit 3:2; Jam 3:17).
d) Instead of quarreling, the spiritual leader should be patient in teaching (2Ti 2:24). In quarreling, the truth is almost always lost.
e) A spiritual leader must not look to start quarrels or finish them, but rather he must be able to teach and prevent quarrels.
15. Free From The Love Of Money (1Ti 3:3; Tit 1:7)
a) The word is (aphilarguros – adjective with a negative) and literally means “not a lover of shining (silver)”.
(1) It describes someone who is money-hungry that would take a bribe.
(a) 2 Maccabees 10:20 But the men with Simon, who were money-hungry (philarguros), were bribed by some of those who were in the towers, and on receiving seventy thousand drachmas let some of them slip away.
(2) The Pharisees were lovers of money (Luk 6:14)
(a) Jesus had just finished the parable of the dishonest manager.
(b) Jesus poignantly revealed the heart of the Pharisees and of man in verse 13.
(c) No one can serve God and money, therefore an elder, a spiritual leader, must not be a lover of money.
(3) The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1Ti 6:10).
(4) The love of money will characterize the last days (2Ti 3:2).
b) “Sordid gain” (aischrokerdes) is a similar word is used in Tit 1:7 for qualifications for elders and in 1Ti 3:8 for qualifications for deacons.
(1) It refers to a person who is eager to gain even if such gain degrades his moral character.
(a) The “love of money” is a sinful motivation of the heart, while “sordid gain” emphasizes a sinful way of going about getting money.
(b) It is not wrong to gain money, but it is wrong to do it in an unbiblical or shameful way.
c) Since elders are to be in charge of the finances of the church, it is imperative that they are not doing it for selfish or shameful gain (1Pe 5:2).
d) Increasing the church’s income is not the church’s purpose. The church is to be concerned with the Father’s business. i.e. the Kingdom (Mat 6:33).
16. Manages His Own Household (1Ti 3:4-5)
a. This qualification sets forth that an elder must be a man who is able to manage his family.
b. The word, “manage,” comes from proistemi and means to place or set before. In other words, one “set before” others is one who presides over, superintends over, or rules over.
c. This same word is used in speaking of spiritual gifts (Rom 12:6-8), which is an asset to spiritual leadership. It is spoken specifically about spiritual leaders of the church (1Th 5:12). This qualification also applies to Deacons (1Ti 3:12).
d. Paul is specifically referring that the elder is to manage his own household (idiou oikou). This is qualified with the phrase, “keeping his children under control with all dignity.”
e. The elder’s children are to be under his authority and control. The word for “under control” comes from the root word hupotassō, which means to arrange under. It is a military term and means placed under a chain of command. The bottom line is that children are to be submissive to their parents.
i. In Eph 6:1 and Col 3:20, the emphasis is on the children’s obedience.
ii. The Greek word is hupoakouō, which is sometimes synonymous to hupotassō and means to be under the hearing of an authority.
f. There is a spiritual emphasis in the leadership of the household. Titus 1:6 includes the description, “having children who believe.”
i. First, this would imply that the man is a spiritual leader in his home; and that he has the ability to bring his family to salvation and sanctification.
ii. Secondly, the word for believe (pistos) could imply “faithfulness” i.e. faithful living being subject to God and their parents. His children would not be accused of “dissipation” (asotia - reckless behavior, cp. Eph 5:18), or “rebellion” (anupotaktos - a derivative and opposite of hupotassō) which otherwise would suggest that his children were not believers.
g. “With all dignity” may be referring to the dignified manner in which the elder manages his household (NET; 1Ti 3:8 cp. Eph 6:4) or most likely refers to the reverent submission of his children (NIV; cp Tit 1:6).
h. Paul’s point is this, if a man is not
able to manage his own household, then how could he manage or take care (epimeleomai
- an object of one’s care) of the
i. The spiritual ability of leading a family to salvation and sanctification is the same ability needed to lead the church in salvation and sanctification. The elder must be one who possesses such leadership qualities.
17. Not A New Convert (1Ti 3:6)
a. “New convert” (neophutos) is made up of two Greek words, neos - new or young and phuō - bring forth, sprout. A new convert is one who recently has been converted. Spiritually speaking he is a, “new sprout” in Christ.
b. The reason he should not be in leadership is because of the temptation to be come conceited (tuphoō - lit. puffed up; to be extremely arrogant; 1Co 13:4).
c. This does not mean that an older Christian cannot become conceited. However, a new believer is more likely to be tempted with pride, having been moved to leadership so quickly. Furthermore, a new believer is not as familiar with the strategies of Satan.
i. Pride was Satan’s initial sin. He was puffed up with his own beauty (Eze 28:13-15, 17a).
ii. Satan took the credit for his own beauty instead of giving God his due honor. His heart was puffed up so much that he wanted to make himself God (Isa 14:14).
iii. A new convert is susceptible to not realizing that the fruit in his life originates from the Lord.
d. The new convert is warned that if he becomes conceited, he would fall into the same condemnation as the devil.
i. Pride brought judgment on Satan and he was expelled from heaven (Eze 28:17b). This does not mean that a new convert will be expelled from heaven, but it does suggest that pride comes before a fall (Pr 16:18).
ii. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (Pr 3:34, Jas 4:6, 1Pe 5:5).
e. Therefore, it is not wise to place a new convert in a place of leadership. Only after a convert grows and demonstrates maturity over a period of times does he become eligible for leadership.
f. Likewise, it is not prudent to place an older convert, who is arrogant, in a place of leadership. For he to will incur the same judgment as both Satan and the new convert.
18. Good Reputation With Outsiders (1Ti 3:7)
a. The Greek word for “reputation” is marturia and means, a “witness, testimony, or record”. It would be the testimony is apparent to others. We also get our English word “martyr” from it, in the sense that a martyr is a witness who dies for a cause before the eyes of others (Acts 1:8).
b. Everyone has a reputation, but we are to have a “good” reputation. “Good” (kalos) would mean morally good, attractive, admirable (Tit 2:10; 3Jo 1:12).
c. That reputation is especially before “outsiders” (exothen) or the world.
i. The NASB translates it as those, “outside the church.” The word church does not appear in the Greek, but it is a fair implication of the fellowship of believers. The NET translates it better with, “outside the faith.”
ii. If the world is to be brought to Christ, may
it never be said that we have become its stumbling block. (
d. This is
the second verse in this section to mention Satan and his strategies. It is
the Devil’s (diabolos - slanderer;
e. The believer must walk in a godly manner and also be vigilant so as to not fall suddenly (empipto suddenly fall, fall without expectancy; Lk 6:39; 10:36).
f. It would most definitely apply to church leaders. God forbid that individuals decide not to fellowship with a congregation because of the bad reputation of one of its leaders.
19. Loving What Is Good (Tit 1:8)
b. A “lover of what is good” would be a believer with the characteristic of goodness or “good-natured” (Mt 7:17; Ac11:24).
c. It would also be a believer who is tireless in acts of goodness prompted by love (Ac 9:36).
d. “Goodness” is a fruit of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer.
e. The overseer must be for promoting what is “good” among the body of believers and an example of one tirelessly performing acts of goodness.
20. Just (Tit 1:8)
a. This is the Greek word dikaios and could be translated “righteous” or “upright.” One who is just or righteous is one who conforms to the righteous standards of society and God.
b. In classical Greek, it refers to one who is a citizen in good standing and innocent of wrongdoing (cp. Mat 27:19; Luk 23:47). This is akin to what Paul says about the believer’s subjection to authorities in Rom 13:1-7.
c. It carries the widespread connotation that one’s life is characterized by doing what is right before God and man (Gen 6:9; Gen 7:1; Job 1:1).
d. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to the believer’s standing (Rom 3:24). And righteousness is imparted in the believer’s life (Rom 8:4).
e. It is with utmost importance that the spiritual leaders are active in pursuing what is right before God and man, while rejecting anything to the contrary (Tit 2:11-12; 1Jo 2:29; 1Jo 3:7).
21. Devout (Tit 1:8)
a. Another qualification for an elder is that he must be “devout.” Devout comes from the Greek word hosios and means “undefiled by sin” or “pious”
b. Zodhiates in, The Complete Word Study Dictionary, makes a case that hosios is to be distinguished from dikaios in the sense that dikaios “refers [also] to human laws and duties,” while hosios refers to [conforming] to God and His laws.”
c. Being devout is used as a characteristic of a believer when he prays (1Ti 2:8).
d. Christ was described as “holy” (i.e. devout) in the prophecy of Ps 16:11 (cp. Acts 2:27) and as a high priest (Heb 7:26).
e. A holy life will make the deepest impression. Lighthouses blow no horns, they just shine. (D.L. Moody)
f. Holiness does not consist in mystic speculations, enthusiastic fervours, or uncommanded austerities; it consists in thinking as God thinks, and willing as God wills." (John Brown, Nineteenth-century Scottish theologian)
g. John Gill says that an elder is to be “devout towards God, constant in all religious exercises in the closet, family, and church.”
22. Self-controlled (Tit 1:8)
a. Self-control is a characteristic of not only elders but of all Christian.
b. “Self-control” (egkratês) takes its sense from the stem krat, which expresses the power or lordship, which one has either over oneself or over something. Perhaps the addition of the preposition en (en – “in”) would suggest the meaning of one who is “in control.”
c. Self-controlled means “having a firm hold over one's desires,” “having power over one’s passions,” or “controlling oneself.”
d. Self-control is needed in order to restrain sensual appetites (1Co 7:9).
e. Self-control is needed in order to fulfill our God-given responsibilities (1Co 9:25).
f. Self-control is needed to put into practice what we learn from the Scriptures (2Pe 1:6).
g. It might be surprising to know to some Christian circles that self-control is also a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:23). Being out of control is not a sign of spirituality, rather it is being under the control of the Holy Spirit in self-control.
h. The Greek word is egkratês, denotes self-mastery, and no doubt primarily relates to curbing the fleshly impulses just described. Such a quality is impossible to attain apart from the power of God’s Spirit (cf. Gal. 5:16). (Walvoord, BKC)
i. [An elder is self-controlled] in eating and drinking; continent from the lusts of the flesh; and even abstaining from those things which might be lawfully used, though inexpedient, for the sake of the weak, the peace of the church, and the glory of God. (John Gill)
j. Today’s spiritual leaders must be disciplined men yielding to the control of the same Holy Spirit, who will never guide any believer to do anything contrary to the principles in Scripture.
C. Concluding thoughts on Spiritual Leadership
a. The following principles of leadership emerge from biblical teaching:
i. Christian leaders should be certain that their goal is to serve God and others, not to receive the title or honor that comes with leadership.
ii. Leaders should not use their position for their own advantage or comfort. No task should be "beneath" them--although some tasks may be delegated. They should not ask others to do what they are unwilling to do themselves.
iii. Leaders will seek to distinguish their own preferences from the will and welfare of the group as a whole.
iv. Normally the position should seek the leader. There may be some situations in which persons may apply or volunteer. Nevertheless, when someone strongly desires a particular responsibility, his or her motivation should be carefully examined.
v. We must learn to see each other as valuable to the Lord and basically equal in his sight. (Millard J. Erickson, The Standard, May, 1982.)
b. Effective leadership is the willingness to sacrifice for the sake of predetermined objectives. (Ted Engstrom, in Erwin Lutzer, Pastor to Pastor, p. 117.)
c. Leadership is the discipline of deliberately exerting special influence within a group to move it towards goals of beneficial permanence that fulfills the group's real needs.
d. Charles Swindoll in, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, (p.107-8) wrote,
vi. THE WORLD NEEDS MEN... who cannot be bought; whose word is their bond; who put character above wealth; who possess opinions and a will; who are larger than their vocations; who do not hesitate to take chances; who will not lose their individuality in a crowd; who will be as honest in small things as in great things; who will make no compromise with wrong; whose ambitions are not confined to their own selfish desires; who will not say they do it" because everybody else does it"; who are true to their friends through good report and evil report, in adversity as well as in prosperity; who do not believe that shrewdness, cunning, and hardheadedness are the best qualities for winning success; who are not ashamed or afraid to stand for the truth when it is unpopular; who can say "no" with emphasis, although all the rest of the world says "yes."
QUALIFICATIONS OF DEACONS
I. DEFINITION OF A “DEACON”
A. The Greek word for “deacon” is diakonos and means someone who “serves or ministers”. The meaning of the root means “to run errands” (Thayer) or “to raise dust in a hurry” (RWP).
B. Diakonos represents the servant in his activity for the work; not in his relation, (Thayer )
C. Every Christian is a diakonos of Christ (Jn 12:26; Mk 9:35; Mk 10:43; Mt 20:26; Mt 23:11).
D. Christ was the ultimate Diakonos (Mt 20:28; Mk 10:45).
E. There is an office in the local church called, “Deacon” (1Ti 3:8, 12)
II. FUNCTION OF A DEACON
A. There is a clear distinction then between the two offices given in the New Testament, defined in their names. Elders are “overseers” who lead, while Deacons are “attendants” who serve the Elders.
B. Whereas it is not clearly stated, it appears that the origin of the office began in Acts 6:1–6 where seven men were selected to care for the material needs of widows in the congregation. That allowed the apostles to devote their time to prayer and ministry of the Word. This indicates the function of deacons is to be subordinate and auxiliary to the elders; while the elders teach the congregation, the deacons care for the material needs of the congregation. (Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology)
C. Deacons serve under the leadership of elders, helping them exercise oversight in the practical matters of church life. (MacArthur Study Bible)
D. In Greek writings “deacon” described a waiter, a messenger, a steward, and a servant. These uses may reinforce the concept that official deacons in the church did whatever kinds of service the elders delegated to them. (Ryrie, Basic Theology, p. 418)
E. Nowhere in the New Testament does it command that there must be deacons. Therefore, it is assumed that deacons are appointed as they are needed to support the elders of the church.
III. QUALIFICATIONS OF DEACONS
A. Many of the qualifications listed for elders are repeated for deacons. In this study, we will not revisit them in detail. They will simply be mentioned.
B. But the point is made that the office of deacon, like the office of elder, emphasizes spiritual qualifications.
C. Another point that can be made is that there are certain qualities that are necessary for any leadership in the church.
D. The elder qualifications repeated for deacons are (1Ti 3:8-10, 11-12):
1. “[Not] addicted to much wine” (mê oinō pollō prosechontas - 1Ti 3:8) - This refers to “not having hold of much wine.” It is akin to those who keep themselves alongside wine (paroinos - 1Ti 3:3).
2. “[Not] fond of sordid gain” (aischokerdês - 1Ti 3:8) - This is the same word as in Tit 1:7 and refers to a person who is eager to gain even if such gain degrades his moral character.
3. “Beyond reproach” (anegkletos - 1Ti 3:10) - This is the same word as in 1Ti 3:2 and Tit 1:6. It means that there is nothing in one’s life that he has not made right with God and man (Mt 5:23-24).
4. “Husbands of only one wife” (mias gunaikos Andres) - Literally this is a, “one woman kind of man,” the same as in 1Ti 3:2 and Tit 1:6. Primarily, this is an inward and outward quality of faithfulness to one’s wife.
5. “Good managers of their children and their own households” - Again, this is the same word (proistemi) used in 1Ti 3:4-5 to mean one who presides, superintends, or rules over his family. He does this in a “good” (kalōs), honorable and beneficial manner.
E. The deacon qualifications that are not repeated in the elder qualifications are (1Ti 3:8-10, 11-12):
1. “Men of dignity” (1Ti 3:8)
a) Friberg defines “dignity” (semnos - reverence) as that which in a human being calls forth veneration and respect from others.
b) Such a one is a man, “who carries himself towards other men with a combination of dignified independence and kindly consideration.” (EXP)
c) Deacons are to be men who have respect and godly decorum in their character and in their affairs with others.
2. “Not double tongued”
a) A double-tongued man (dilogos - lit. “two - words”) is a man who says one thing to one person and another thing to another. In today’s language, he could be called, “two-faced.”
b) It would strongly imply one who is deceitful and quite possibly hypocritical (Pr 6:17; Pr 10:18; Pr 12:19, 22).
c) Since the whole of Christianity is based on truth, it would be unfitting to have its officers dishonest in the affairs of the church.
3. “Clear conscience” (1Ti 3:9)
a) The word conscience (suneidesis) literally means, “with knowledge.” This would refer to the innate moral knowledge and conscience that God placed within man (Rom 1:19; 2:15).
b) When man commits sin, it results with a guilty conscience and a self-knowledge that God’s moral law has been violated. When man does not commit sin, his conscience is clear (katharos - clean, free from wrong cp. Acts 23:1).
c) Consciences can be defiled (Tit 1:5) and seared (1Ti 4:2), but the goal of the believer is to have a good conscience (1Ti 1:5) in the sight of God and man (Act 24:16).
d) A deacon must be one who holds onto the faith while maintaining a clear conscience toward God and man.
4. “Served well” (1Ti 3:13)
a) A deacon should be one who serves well. In order for a deacon to serve well, several things are essential.
b) First he must be a servant (diakonos) of God, of the elders, and of the church.
c) Secondly, he must accomplish such service in a consistent and faithful manner. One in which he is able to look back at the end his life with no regrets concerning his service.
d) As a result, he is rewarded with two things. The deacon is rewarded with a high-standing (bathmos - respect) before God and man. In addition, he is rewarded with a strong and great confidence in the faith.
IV. MEANING OF DEACONESS
A. In 1Ti 3:11, we have a group listed in the middle of the deacon qualifications, simply identified as, “Women” (NASB). Who are these women? There would be two possibilities:
2. Wives of the deacons
B. The word for “women” is gunaikas. Gunê could refer to a woman of any age or a wife. The interpretation naturally depends up n the context and historical background.
C. Did a position of deaconess exist in the NT churches?
1. There are several passages that are used to support such a position. The problem however, is that the word “deaconess” is not used in these passages. Rather, the following descriptions are used:
a) “Women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel” (Phil 4:3).
b) “Fellow worker” (Rom 16:3).
c) “Workers in the Lord” (Rom 16:12)
d) There is no cause to take these passages other than women who helped in the gospel in various ways.
2. The only passage that support might be found for the position of deaconess is Rom 16:1-2 in reference to Phoebe.
a) She is called, a servant (diakonon feminine of diakonos) of the church.
b) Several versions translate diakonon as “deacon” or deaconess*” (NLT, RSV*, NRS, and NJB*).
c) Several others refer to diakonon as “ministry or minister” probably in the sense of servant (YLT, DBY, DRA, NAB, PNT, and TNT).
d) The majority of versions translate diakonon as “servant” quite possibly because she is described in vs. 2 not as a deaconess but as a helper of many.
e) No doubt, Phoebe was a prominent figure in the early church. It is quite likely that she ministered to many and was well known for it. However, there appears to be no compelling evidence in the NT to declare that Phoebe or other women comprised a third group in the church leadership known as, “deaconesses.”
D. Having ruled out a formal position of “deaconesses” in the NT church, 1Ti 3:11 probably then refers to the “wives” of the deacons.
1. Otherwise, it would be strange that Paul did not finish the qualification of deacons first.
2. It would be logical to describe the character of the deacon’s wives in the qualifications of deacons because it was very likely she would be assisting in certain tasks.
3. They were no doubt honorable women and their duties most likely consisted of aiding female baptism candidates, helping during meals and feasts, visiting the sick, and ministering to the needy.
E. As for the admonitions for the deacon’s wives, they were to be:
1. “Dignified” (semnos - godly reverence). This is the same word used in deacon qualifications (1Ti 3:8). Deacons and their wives were to have respect and godly decorum in their character and in their affairs with others.
2. “Not malicious gossips” (diabolos
- slanderous, false accusers,
3. “Temperate” (nêphalios). This was a qualification given to the elders (1Ti 3:2). It means that one is sober-minded in life and in spiritual things. It could possibly imply not becoming intoxicated.
4. “Faithful” (pistos - reliable). A deacon must be faithful and it is appropriate that his wife be faithful to the ministry of the church.
ORDINANCES OF THE CHURCH
I. ORDINANCE VS. SACRAMENT
1. An “ordinance” is a rite, liturgy, or practice of the Christian Church. Some have called the ordinances of the church, “sacraments.”
2. A sacrament is believed by many to be a medium by which grace is dispensed.
3. The Council of
4. The Roman Catholic Church holds to seven sacraments. They are the Eucharist, Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, Anointing the Sick, Matrimony, and Holy Orders.
1. On the other hand, an ordinance only conveys symbolic value.
2. Ordinances are restricted to those which Christ ordered to be administered by the church. The majority of Protestant churches regard Baptism and the Lord’s Supper as the only two ordinances for the church. Some include foot washing.
II. THE ORDINANCE OF BAPTISM
A. The Institution Of Baptism
1. It was commanded by Christ (Mt 28:19).
a) Christ’s command is actually to “make disciples” (mathêteusate - aor act imper). However, in making disciples, it is necessary that a repentant sinner be converted and then be baptized.
b) Disciples are to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is a direct reference to the Trinity.
c) Furthermore, after being converted, disciples are to be taught and encouraged to grow in Christ (20).
2. It was administered to Christ (Mt 3:13-16).
a) Jesus himself was baptized by John the Baptist (13), whose baptism was a baptism of repentance and preparation for the Messiah (Mt 3:11; Mk 1:4; Lk 3:3).
b) Since Christ was the sinless Savior, he was baptized in order to follow and “fulfill all righteousness” (15).
c) Since Christ was the mediator, he was also baptized in order to be identified with sinful man (Lk 3:21).
3. It was approved by Christ (Jn 4:1-2).
a) Though Jesus himself did not baptize, he instructed and superintended his disciples to baptize.
b) The disciples’ baptism would have been a baptism in acknowledgement that Jesus is the Messiah, not having yet died on the cross.
4. It was practiced by the early church (Acts 8:34-38; 18:7-8).
a) It was the common practice of the early church to immediately baptize those who believed on Christ as Messiah.
b) In Acts 8:34-38 the eunuch was well aware that baptism was an identification with belief in Christ and Christianity.
c) In Acts 18:7-8, many believers were baptized immediately after believing.
B. The Significance Of Baptism
1. It is a public confession of salvation.
a) We are saved when faith is exercised in Christ’s work on the cross (Rom 10:9-10).
b) “Confession” (homologeō - say same thing, agree) is an outward evidence of internal faith.
c) Baptism is an initial opportunity to profess our internal faith in Christ.
2. It is an identification with Christ’s death and resurrection.
a) Water baptism is a picture of spiritual baptism.
b) At the moment of faith (not water baptism) in Christ, the believer is spiritually baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection.
c) Christ’s death cut off the power of sin (not the presence of sin) in the believer (Rom 6:6) and Christ’s resurrection gives new life to the believer (Rom 6:4).
d) It is also an identification with the body of Christ (1Co 12:13).
3. It is an obedience to Christ’s command.
a) Christ commanded the church to administer baptism to converts (Mt 28:19).
b) A true evidence of salvation for the believer is an obedient life.
c) Baptism then, is one of the initial acts of obedience for the new believer.
4. It is not for baptismal regeneration.
a) Baptismal Regeneration
(1) Baptismal Regeneration is the belief that baptism is essential to salvation and results in the remission of sins.
(2) Paul refutes baptismal regeneration when he states that Christ did not send him to baptize but to preach the gospel (1Co 1:17). If baptism were necessary for salvation, then it would have been part of the Paul’s gospel.
(3) Salvation is by grace through faith, and not by works (Eph 2:8-9). Those who hold to Baptismal Regeneration make baptism a work for salvation.
(4) The Scriptures teach faith in Christ alone is the requirement for salvation. This conclusion is implied in the Gospel of John where the word, “believe” is used some 88 times (Jn 20:31). The same conclusion is found in Acts where “believe” is used some 46 times (Acts 16:31).
b) Problem Passages
(1) Mk 16:16
(a) Mk 16:16 does not teach baptismal regeneration.
(b) Baptism was synonymous with belief in the early church, not because belief plus baptism saved, but because it was customary for a convert to be baptized immediately (Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12; Acts 8:36-38; Acts 9:18; Acts 16:15; Acts 16:31-33; Acts 18:8).
(c) The passage teaches faith is the sole means of salvation and the absence of faith (not baptism) results in condemnation.
(2) Acts 2:38
(a) Acts 2:38 does not teach that baptism is necessary for salvation.
(b) Unfortunately, the Greek emphasis is difficult to see in English.
(c) Literally it is, “All of you (plural) repent, and each of you (singular) be baptized”
(i) The idea is that all are under the general call of the gospel to “repent.”
(ii) However, the ones who received salvation, were admonished to follow in obedience by being baptized.
(iii) “For” (epi with the dative) can also mean “on the basis of,” i.e. “on the basis of forgiveness of sins.”
(d) A.T. Robertson (Forefather of Greek grammarians): “My view is decidedly against the idea that Peter, Paul, or any one in the New Testament taught baptism as essential to the remission of sins or the means of securing such remission. So I understand Peter to be urging baptism on each of them who had already turned (repented) and for it to be done in the name of Jesus Christ on the basis of the forgiveness of sins which they had already received.” (WP loc.)
(3) Acts 22:16
(a) Acts 22:16 does not view baptism as a part of a formula for salvation.
(b) The Greek shows that the phrases in this passage are not connected but are clearly two separate phrases.
(i) Phrase #1 - “After rising (participle) you yourself be baptized (imperative);”
(ii) Phrase #2 - “and wash away your sins (imperative) after calling (participle) on the name of the Lord”
(c) If baptism washed away sins, there would not be two separate commands.
(d) Ryrie: “Arising is necessary before baptism, and calling before sins can be washed away.” (BT 337)
(i) having risen, baptize thyself, and wash away thy sins, calling upon the name of the Lord. (Young’s Literal Translation)
(ii) Arise and get baptized, and have thy sins washed away, calling on his name. (Darby)
(iii) having arisen, get thyself baptized and get they sins washed away, calling on his name. (Lenski)
C. The Mode Of Baptism
1. The word “baptism” is a transliteration from the Greek verb baptizō.
2. There are three modes of baptism practiced today: Sprinkling, Pouring, or Immersion.
a) Sprinkling (Aspersion)
(1) Some argue that there were certain OT rituals involving sprinkling (Num. 8:7). However, most OT references involve sprinkling with blood not water (Ex 29:21; Lev 5:9; Num 18:17).
(2) Some claim that sprinkling best pictures
the cleansing of the Spirit in Ezek. 36:25. But, Ezek 36:25 is speaking about
(3) Another argument is that Immersion was improbable and impossible in certain circumstances (Acts 2:41 “three thousand” ; Acts 8:38, 26 “desert road” ; Acts 16:33, 32 “in his house” ) (See Immersion, #6)
(4) Some use Heb 9:10 to argue for sprinkling when it mentions, “various baptisms.” However, Judaism did not practice baptism (except with proselytes) and most Bible versions translate the noun, baptismoi as washings (ceremonial). Furthermore, the first known mention of sprinkling wasn’t until Cyprian (A. D. 248)
(5) The majority of denominations sprinkle with water (Catholic, Lutheran, and some Reformed). But, denominational majority never supersedes biblical principles.
b) Pouring (Affusion)
(1) Historically, pouring was applied by the one baptizing pouring water three times over the head of the one being baptized—once for each member of the Trinity. (Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology)
(2) Some claim that pouring best illustrates the Holy Spirit being “poured” on those who trust Christ (Acts 2:17-18).
(a) Actually, Peter is quoting from Joel 2:28-29, which refers to the Spirit’s ministry during the Millennium.
(b) The typical NT expression for the Holy Spirit with regard to the believer is “indwelling” (1Co 3:16).
(3) Paintings in the catacombs, picture the candidate standing in waist high water while having water poured over them.
(a) In one of these subterraneous excavations [of the catacombs in Rome] is a fresco painting representing our Lord as standing waist deep in Jordan, while John, standing on a rock, is baptizing Him by pouring water on His head. (L.W. BATES, D. D., Water Baptism; p. 20)
(b) In another crypt, Jesus stands in the river and John stands upon the shore pouring water upon his head. This is attributed to the second century. (ibid.)
(c) The problem is that the paintings may be dated later than the first century and may reflect the contemporary tradition belief.
(4) It is very possible that the early church practiced immersion unless they were unable to find a suitable water source. In which case, pouring may have been an acceptable alternative.
(a) But concerning baptism, thus shall ye baptize. Having first recited all these things, baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit in living (running) water. But if thou has not living water, then baptize in other water; and if thou art not able in cold, then in warm. But if thou hast neither, then pour water on the head thrice in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Did. 7:1-3)
(1) Immersion is the strongest view grammatically and contextually.
(2) The word baptizō primarily means to dip or immerse.
(3) The usages in Classical Greek illustrate the idea of immersion. It is used in reference to:
(a) Being drowned ( Epict.Gnom.47)
(b) Sinking a ship (Plb.1.51.6)
(c) Being over one’s head and up to one’s ears in debt (Plutarch.Galb.21)
(d) Getting into deep water (Plato. Euthydemus. 277d)
(e) Dipping a cup in a bowl (Aristophanes 14.5)
(4) The usages in the New Testament illustrate the idea of immersion. It is used in reference to:
(a) Dipping the tip of a finger (Lk. 16:24)
(b) Dipping food (Jn 13:26)
(c) A robe dipped in blood (Rev. 19:13)
(5) The phraseology of New Testament concerning baptism supports immersion:
(a) “plenty of water” (Jn 3:23).
(b) “up out of the water” (Mt 3:16).
(c) “went down into the water” (Acts 8:38).
(d) “came up out of the water” (Acts 8:39)
(6) Immersion could have been accomplished in every instance in the NT.
2:41 “three thousand” - Sufficient
pools existed in
(b) Acts 8:38, 26 “desert road” - Even deserted areas (Gaza) were not waterless.
(c) Acts 16:33, 32 “in his house” - Houses often contained pools.
(d) The early church Fathers looked for "rivers, fountains, pools, sea, lakes or canals." (Tertullian, "On Baptism"circa A.D. 200). Why would they have to do so if they were only pouring from a basin?
(7) Immersion best portrays the believer’s identification with the death and resurrection of Christ (Rom 6).
D. The Views On Baptism
1. The Roman Catholic View
a) “By either awakening or strengthening faith, baptism effects the washing of regeneration”.
(1) Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, p.342)
(2) Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water and the word. (quote from Roman Catechism II,2,5; cf. Council of Florence)
b) Baptism is the ex opere operato (working of the element itself)
(1) “Baptism not only purified from all sins, but also makes the neophyte ‘a new creature,’ an adopted son of God, who has become a ‘partaker of the divine nature,’ member of Christ and co-heir with him, and a temple of the Holy Spirit.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, p.354)
c) Baptism eradicates both original sin and venial sin.
(1) By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. (Catechism of the Catholic church, p.353)
d) Faith does not have to be present.
e) Therefore, baptism alone is the means of salvation.
(1) Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches salvation is by grace through faith.
(2) New Testament emphasis is on faith apart from works (Rom 3:28).
(3) Even Mk 16:16 states faith has to be present.
2. The Lutheran View
a) Baptism imparts saving grace.
(1) Of Baptism they teach that it is necessary to salvation, and that through Baptism is offered the grace of God, (Augsburg Confession, 1530)
(2) Therefore state it most simply thus, that the power, work, profit, fruit, and end of Baptism is this, namely, to save. For no one is baptized in order that he may become a prince, but, as the words declare, that he be saved. But to be saved we know is nothing else than to be delivered from sin, death, and the devil, and to enter into the kingdom of Christ, and to live with Him forever. (The Large Lutheran Catechism)
b) In order for baptism to be effectual, there must also be saving faith.
(1) That is, faith alone makes the person worthy to receive profitably the saving, divine water. For, since these blessings are here presented and promised in the words in and with the water, they cannot be received in any other way than by believing them with the heart. Without faith it profits nothing, notwithstanding it is in itself a divine superabundant treasure. (ibid.)
c) They would claim that baptism is incorporated with faith not works.
(1) Though Mk 16:16 insists faith is a prerequisite for salvation, it does not suggest that baptism is also a prerequisite.
(2) Though faith must precede baptism, it is faith alone that lays hold of Christ and His salvation. (Eph 1:3 cp. Eph 4:5; to incorporate baptism with faith for salvation violates Eph 2:8-9)
(3) Jesus did not persuade people to be baptized, but to believe (Jn 3:18; 6:28-29)
(4) Paul did not persuade people to be baptized but to trust in Christ (1Co 1:14, 17).
(a) The issue is a serious one: If baptism is essential for salvation, then to reject that gospel is to be damned; but if salvation is through faith in Christ alone, then to add baptism as a condition for salvation is to reject the true gospel and thus to be eternally lost. (Dave Hunt, In Defense of the Faith, p.309)
3. Church of Christ
a) Baptismal Regeneration is its distinctive trait.
(1) Of the principles cited above, one characteristic marks most Christian Churches and Churches of Christ as distinctly different from other modern evangelical or fundamentalist Christian groups today. That is the teaching that a person is ultimately converted to Christ and saved through faith in Christ and obedience to him in a believer's baptism. (Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ; www.wikipedia.com)
(2) They teach that a believer's baptism is Biblically… a work of God's grace, not a work of man [and]… the occasion when one receives God's forgiveness for their sins, (ibid.)
(3) Of all its beliefs, the Church of Christ movement is perhaps best known for its view that water baptism is absolutely essential for salvation. (Hank Hannegraph, www.equip.org/free/CP0604.htm)
(4) Further, let me remind you that the Cambellites, "the Christian Church" who practice immersion and adult baptism, are as in error concerning the teaching of Baptismal Regeneration as is the Roman Catholic Church. (Baptism by Francis A. Schaeffer)
(5) Others say: you're saved by water; the Christian Church, the Churches of Christ, Disciples of Christ, have taught baptismal regeneration through the years: that you can't get to heaven without going through the water. (John MacArthur Jr, Baptism, A Matter of Obedience)
(6) In and by the act of immersion, as soon as our bodies are put under water, at that very instant our former or old sins are washed away. Immersion and regeneration are Bible names for the same act. It is not our faith in Gods promise of remission but our going down into the water that obtains the remission of sins. W. E. Garrison, Alexander Campbells Theology, 247-299
b) Baptism is part of their salvation formula.
(1) The requirements for salvation are commonly presented in the following steps:
(a) Hearing (the Word of God)
(b) Believing (said Word)
(c) Repenting (of one's sins)
(d) Confessing (that Jesus Christ is the Son of God)
(e) Being baptized (by full immersion).
(f) Continued faithfulness is enjoined because the Church of Christ denies the doctrine of eternal security. (Theory of Salvation; Soteriology; www.church-of-christ.org)
(2) From this passage we go to what Jesus says is important for salvation:
(a) Believe – John 3:16 and 8:24;
(b) Repent – Luke 13:3-5;
(c) Confess – Matthew 10:32-33;
(d) Baptism – Mark 16:15-16 and Matthew 28:19-20. (Marshall Smith, Associate Pastor at WestWay Christian Church. Published a book, Salvation: What Jesus Commands About Salvation)
c) Baptism is the means by which spiritual blessings are given.
(1) You should know that by baptism:
(a) You are saved from sins (Mk 16:16 1 Pe 3:21)
(b) You have remission of sins (Acts 2:38)
(c) Sins are washed away by the blood of Christ (Acts 22:16; Heb 9:22; Heb 10:22; 1 Pe 3:21)
(d) You enter into the church (1Cointhians 12:13; Acts 2:41,47)
(e) You enter into Christ (Gal 3:26-27; Rom 6:3-4)
(f) You put on Christ and become a child of God (Gal 3:26-27)
(g) You are born again, a new creature (Rom 6:3-4; 2 Co 5:17)
(h) You walk in newness of life (Rom 6:3-6)
(i) You obey Christ (Mk 16:15-16; Acts 10:48; 2 Th 1:7-9) (www.church-of-christ.org)
d) They would claim baptism is apart of saving faith and that both are necessary for salvation.
(1) Anything added to the finished work of Christ declares that Christ’s death is not efficient for salvation. Grace is only grace when it is received solely by faith (Rom 4:16; Gal 3:6-7; Gal 5:2-3).
(2) The spiritual blessings in Christ also come at the moment of faith in Christ apart from any works, including baptism (Holy Spirit - Eph 1:3; Eph 1:13; access - Eph 3:12; spiritual baptism - Rom 6:3, 4 cp. 1Co 12:13).
(3) To claim that faith and baptism are necessary for salvation is to make the unbiblical claim that faith and works are necessary for salvation (Eph 2:8-9).
(4) See B. 4. a. “Baptismal Regeneration”
4. The Reformed View
a) The sacraments are outward signs and seals of an inward reality.
b) “Baptism is the act of faith by which we are brought into the covenant and hence experience its benefits.”
c) Baptism is the initiation into the covenant and a sign of salvation.
d) Quotes from Heidelberg Catechism (Christian Reformed Church)
(1) (Question:) How does baptism remind you and assure you that Christ's one sacrifice on the cross is for you personally?
(Answer:) Christ instituted this outward washing and with it gave the promise that, as surely as water washes away the dirt from the body, so certainly his blood and his Spirit wash away my soul's impurity, in other words, all my sins.
(2) (Question:)Does this outward washing with water itself wash away sins?
(Answer:) No, only Jesus Christ's blood and the Holy Spirit cleanse us from all sins.
e) Westminster Confession
(1) Although it is a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance, yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it, as that no person can be regenerated, or saved, without it: or, that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated. (WCF 28:5)
(1) It appears contradictory to say that it is an outward sign, but that baptism brings us into the covenant.
(2) We experience all the benefits of salvation the moment we believe, not after baptism (Eph 1:3).
(3) A sign is not the agent, but a representation.
(4) Nowhere in Scripture does it say that baptism is a seal or sign of a covenant.
(5) Reformers hold to infant baptism, but where then is the act of faith.
5. The Baptist View
a) It is simply a testimony–an initial profession of faith that a believer makes publicly.
b) The symbol shows the community that the individual is now identified with Christ.
c) It is a sign or symbol of an inward reality and is not a sacrament.
(1) The view of Baptists and others is that baptism is only an outward sign of an inward change. It serves as a public testimony of faith in Christ. (Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology)
(2) [Baptism] is the public testimony by which a new believer identifies with the universal and local church. It is an act which signifies his salvation experience. (Derickson's Notes on Theology)
(3) Baptists emphasize a believer's baptism by full immersion, which is performed on non-infants after a public profession of faith in Jesus as Saviour. (Baptist; www.wikipedia.com)
(a) Baptist churches are usually regarded as an Evangelical Protestant denomination originating from the English Puritan movement, when they were often called "anabaptists" (meaning "again" baptised, from Catholics baptised at infancy requesting to be baptised as an adult). (ibid.)
(4) Baptism is a sign, or an outward indication, of the inner change that has already occurred in the believer’s life. It serves as a public identification of the person with Jesus Christ, and thus also as a public testimony of the change that has occurred. (Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
d) There is no objective effect upon the person, but ought to have a subjective effect.
(1) Some claim that the approach is limited to word and textual studies, not necessarily theological ideas. However, any other approach distorts the meaning of baptism, especially if one has to force it into a theological idea.
(a) William Shirreff, whose lectures on baptism come recommended by Charles H. Spurgeon, insists at great length that "the Scriptures of the New Testament are the only rule to direct us in regard to the positive institutions of the Gospel."
(2) Many New Testament verses closely link baptism and salvation. On the other hand, many more New Testament texts discuss salvation by faith apart from baptism; Acts 16:30-31, Eph 2:8-9, 1Co 15:1-4 cp 1Co 11: 23-28.
E. Recipients Of Baptism (Pedobaptism - Infant Baptism)
1. Roman Catholic View
a) Baptism confers salvation and faith is not necessary.
(1) Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water and the word. (quote from Roman Catechism II,2,5; cf. Council of Florence)
b) Therefore, Pedobaptism should be promoted at all costs
(1) The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth. (Catechism of the Catholic church, p.350)
2. Lutheran View
a) Through baptism, an individual is brought into the grace of God for salvation.
(1) Of Baptism they teach that it is necessary to salvation, and that through Baptism is offered the grace of God. (The Augsburg Confession (1530); Article IX: Of Baptism)
b) Therefore, it is necessary to baptize infants so that they can be received into God’s grace.
(1) … and that children are to be baptized who, being offered to God through Baptism are received into God’s grace. (ibid.)
c) Furthermore, they strongly oppose those who reject infant baptism.
(1) They condemn the Anabaptists, who reject the baptism of children, and say that children are saved without Baptism. (ibid.)
3. Methodist/Wesleyan View
a) Some Methodists hold to baptismal regeneration but all Methodists practice infant baptism. Some see it as Covenantal Baptism.
(1) Methodists justify infant baptism by this principle of prevenient grace, often arguing that infant baptism is God's promise or declaration to the infant that calls that infant to (eventually) believe in God's promises (God's Word) for salvation. (www.enwikipedia.org)
b) Traditionally, the Wesleyan Church has practiced infant baptism and many still do.
(1) Baptism now replaces circumcision as the sign and seal of the covenant of grace. Therefore, it follows that ... infant children of Christian believers are proper subjects of baptism. (Pastor Dale Holloway, Living Hope Wesleyan Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.)
c) However, some Wesleyans take a liberal stance on infant baptism and leave it up to the parents of the infant.
(1) The Wesleyan Church permits the baptism of infants, much to the dismay of some fellow Christians. We do not require it, nor even promote it, but for Christian parents who are very serious about their commitment and covenant relationship with God we permit infant baptism. Why? Of course the easy answer is our heritage--our denomination sprang from Methodism, John Wesley and the Church of England. (Keith Drury)
4. Reformed View
a) Baptism includes infants into the New Covenant.
b) Under the New Covenant, infants would not be saved, but would be “set apart”; would experience some of the blessings of a believing house; would be taught salvation by their dedicated parents.
c) Arguments for this position
(1) Baptism is to the NT, what circumcision was to the OT. (Gen 17:7; Col 2:11-12)
(a) Arguments in favor of infant baptism include … the circumcision argument. Colossians 2:11-12 clearly links circumcision and baptism. Since infants were circumcised under the Old Covenant, they should be baptized under the New Covenant. The argument rests on the Covenant Theology concept of a single covenant of grace which involved an initiatory rite into that covenant, the rite being circumcision in the Old Testament and baptism in the New. These rites indicate membership in the covenant, not necessarily personal faith. (Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology, p.423)
(b) The efficacy of baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, according to the counsel of God's own will, in his appointed time. (Westminster Confession)
(i) Col. 2:11-12 is not saying that circumcision is being replaced by baptism. Furthermore, the baptism spoken of here is spiritual baptism produced by the Holy Spirit.
(ii) The idea of baptism replacing circumcision is foreign to the NT. “Covenant” is used; baptism is taught; but they never taught together.
(iii) Jews were born into the covenant, circumcision was only a sign and a seal of that covenant, according to Gen.17:11.
(a) Israelites, however, were not partakers of their covenants on the ground of circumcision; they were born into covenant relationship to God. Therefore, it is not demonstrated that children by baptism become “children of the covenant,” (Chafer Vol VII p.42)
(iv) Also notice that Paul had Timothy circumcised in Acts 16:3. Did he place Timothy under both the Old and New Covenant?)
(v) How does one explain that only males were circumcised, and on the eighth day (Gen 17:12).
(vi) Faith in Christ gives us complete inheritance (Eph 1:3; Col 1:12)
(2) Several recorded baptisms were given to households. The Reformed view would suggest that there were infants in at least one of those households. (Acts 16:15; 16:33; 18:8; 1Co 1:16)
(i) There is no emphatic mention of infants included in the members of Lydia’s household that were baptized in Acts 16:15. Notice Acts 16:13 mentions only “women” who came to the river. Some of those “women” were members of Lydia’s household.
(ii) Again, in Acts 16:33, there is no specific mention of infants being in the household. What is mentioned is that there must be first “belief” and then baptism (cp. 16:31). There must also be understanding to have belief. An infant cannot understand, therefore an infant cannot believe. Paul spoke to everyone in the house, I doubt this meant infants (cp. 16:32).
(iii) From Acts 18:8, the same problems exist. There is no specific mention of infants and it is clear from the text that there was first hearing and belief then baptism.
(iv) In 1Co 1:16, no details are given whatsoever. But it is interesting to look at the following verse. Paul says he was not sent to baptize, but to preach the Gospel. If baptism is an initiation into the covenant, then Paul downplays the whole biblical concept.
(v) Likewise, in Acts 11:14, there is no mention about baptism at all. The only thing mentioned is belief.
(3) Some of the early Church Fathers speak of Pedobaptism.
(a) Eighty-six years have I served him (Polycarp 156 AD)
(b) The Church has received a tradition from the Apostles to give baptism to little children (Origen on Romans V ix.3)
(i) There is a difference between infant baptism and the baptism of believing children.
(ii) There is a difference between the church of the New Testament and the Early Church Fathers
(iii) Some of the Early Church Fathers believed in baptismal regeneration, in which even the Reformed View diverges.
(4) Baptism consecrates children in a believing home (1Co 7:14)
(a) Baptism is never mentioned in this passage.
(b) If it is baptism that consecrates infants, then how does the unbelieving spouse become consecrated, by baptism? The Reformed say not.
(c) This passage teaches that a believer does not have to divorce an unbelieving spouse. The marriage is not nullified, nor will the unbeliever prevent God’s blessing.
(i) Clearly he only means that the marriage relation is sanctified so that there is no need of a divorce. If either husband or wife is a believer and the other agrees to remain, the marriage is holy and need not be set aside. (RWP)
5. The Baptist View
a) Since belief is the criterion, only believing-adults and believing-children should be baptized (Acts 16:31).
b) Since infants cannot believe, infants should not be baptized (Acts 2:41 - “those who accepted the message”; 8:12 - “men and women”; 8:39 - “The eunuch”).
c) Child Dedication is more in line with Scripture (1Sam 1:27-28).
d) Parent Dedication is the real key (Eph 6:4; Pr 22:6).
e) All good men will not agree with me when I say that the addition of infant baptism to the Word of God for it certainly is not there is fraught with mischief. Baptismal regeneration rides in upon the shoulders of Pedobaptism. But I speak now of what I know. I have received letters from missionaries, not Baptists, but Wesleyans and Congregationalists, who have said to me, "Since we have been here" (I will not mention the localities lest I get the good men into trouble) "we find a class of persons who are the children of former converts, and who have been baptized, and are therefore called Christians; but they are not one whit better than the heathen around them. They seem to think that they are Christians because of their baptism, and at the same time, being thought Christians by the heathen, their evil lives are perpetual scandal and a dreadful stumblingblock." In many cases this must be so. (Spurgeon)
f) The examples in the New Testament indicate that believers were baptized right after they believed. No probationary period is indicated, though such might be justified in order to attest to the genuineness of the faith. (Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology p. 423-4)
A. The Institution Of The Lord’s Supper
1. The Lord’s Supper was preformed by the Lord (Mt 26:26-30; Mk 14:22-25; Lk. 22:17-22).
2. The Lord’s Supper was commanded by the Lord (Mt 26:29; 1Co 11:23-25).
B. The Event Of The Lord’s Supper
1. The Lord instituted the Supper in connection with eating the Passover before his crucifixion (Mt 26:17-19).
a) There was a Passover meal and while eating Jesus instituted the ordinance (Mt 26:26).
b) The early church included a love feast. However, this ended because of abuses (1Co 11:17-22) and in general, the church has celebrated it without a meal.
2. Unleavened bread was used in the Passover (also called the Feast of Unleavened Bread) because no leavened bread was to be eaten or kept in the household (Ex 12:15).
a) Unleavened bread is also a symbol of purity from sin (1Co 5:7-8).
b) Christ used the bread as a symbol of his willing sacrifice on behalf of sinners, “Take, eat, this is my body” (Mt 26:26; Mk 14:22), “which is given for you.” (Lk 22:19; cp. 1Co 11:24 - “for” Gk hupér).
c) Note, nowhere does the Bible say Christ’s body was broken (like the bread) for us. In fact the Scriptures explicitly state that not a bone was broken on Christ’s body in fulfillment to prophecy (Jn 19:36).
3. During Jesus’ time, the “cup” or the “fruit of the vine” (Mt 26:29; Mk 14:25; Lk 22:18) was used in the Passover.
a) Many changes seem to have taken place with the celebration of the Passover (cp. Deut 16:2,5,6; 2Ch 30:16; Lev 23:10-14; Num 9:10,11; 28:16-24).
b) The “fruit of the vine” is wine used by Christ and the early church (cp. 1Co 11:21) though probably diluted, to symbolize His blood (Mk 14:24; Lk 22:20; 1Co 11:25) which was shed for the forgiveness of sins (Mt 26:28).
c) Apparently, according to Rabbinical tradition during Ezra’s time, four cups of wine were used in the Passover for four types of redemption (Talmud Yerushalmi 10:1).
4. With both the bread and the cup, Christ gives thanks (eucharistéō). Thus, the early church gave the name, Eucharist, for the Lord’s Supper.
C. The Efficacy Of The Lord’s Supper
1. Roman Catholic View
a) The founder of its view was Thomas Aquinas.
b) The view is called, Transubstantiation.
(1) …And this is done by Divine power in this sacrament; for the whole substance of the bread is changed into the whole substance of Christ’s body, and the whole substance of the wine into the whole substance of Christ’s blood. Hence this is not a formal, but a substantial conversion; nor is it a kind of natural movement: but, with a name of its own, it can be called transubstantiation. (Aquinas, Of The Change Of Bread And Wine Into The Body And Blood Of Christ; P(1), Q(7), A(1); Q(26), A(2))
(2) the miraculous change by which according to Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox dogma the eucharistic elements at their consecration become the body and blood of Christ while keeping only the appearances of bread and wine. (Webster’s Dictionary)
(3) It is by the conversion of the bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood that Christ becomes present in this sacrament. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, p.384)
c) The significance is to strengthen the soul by obtaining forgiveness of sins by the atonement of Christ’s blood at each Mass.
(1) Further, every sacrament of the New Law confers grace. Now grace effects the forgiveness of sins. Therefore since Extreme Unction is a sacrament of the New Law, its effect is the remission of sins. (Aquinas, Of The Effect Of This Sacrament; P(4)-Q(30)-A(1).
(2) For this reason the Eucharist cannot unite us to Christ without at the same time cleansing us from past sins and preserving us from future sins. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, p.390)
(3) If, as often as his blood is poured out, it is poured for the forgiveness of sins, I should always receive it, so that it may always forgive my sins. Because I always sin, I should always have a remedy. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, p.390, quote from St. Ambrose, De Sacr. 4,6,28)
2. Lutheran View
a) The founder of its view is Martin Luther.
b) The view is Consubstantiation.
(1) The elements do not change into the presence of Christ, but he is actually present in, with, and under the elements. (H. Wayne House; Charts of Christian Theology and Doctrine, p. 124)
(2) It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in and under the bread and wine which we Christians are commanded by the Word of Christ to eat and to drink. (The Large Catechism by Dr. Martin Luther)
c) The significance is to receive forgiveness of sins and confirmation of faith.
(1) [The]… recipient has the forgiveness of his sins and the confirmation of his faith. Participation must include faith or the sacrament conveys no benefit. (H. Wayne House; Charts of Christian Theology and Doctrine, p. 124)
(2) These words tell us: ``Given for you'' and ``Shed for you to forgive sins.'' Namely, that the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation are given to us through these words in the sacrament. Because, where sins are forgiven, there is life and salvation as well. (The Small Catechism of Martin Luther; Part Six: The Sacrament of the Altar)
a) The view was promoted by John Calvin.
b) The view does not believe Christ is literally present in the elements, but that he is present spiritually in the partaking of the elements.
(1) In this Sacrament we have such full witness of all these things that we must certainly consider them as if Christ here present were himself set before our eyes and touched by our hands. For his word cannot lie or deceive us: “Take, eat, drink: this is my body, which is given for you; this is my blood, which is shed for forgiveness of sins” (Calvin’s Institutes Vol. 4; Ch 17)
c) The significance is only a commemoration of Christ’s death, but gives spiritual nourishment.
(1) A commemoration of Christ’s death that bestows grace to seal partakers in the love of Christ. The supper gives spiritual nourishment and brings one closer to the presence of Christ. (H. Wayne House; Charts of Christian Theology and Doctrine, p. 124)
(2) Now Christ is the only food of our soul, and therefore our Heavenly Father invites us to Christ, that, refreshed by partaking of him, we may repeatedly gather strength until we shall have reached heavenly immortality. (Calvin’s Institutes, Vol. 4, Ch 17)
(3) ... the chief function of the Sacrament s...is to seal and confirm that promise by which he testifies that his flesh is food indeed and his blood is drink [ John 6:56], which feed us unto eternal life. (Calvin’s Institutes, Vol. 4, p. 360)
4. Baptist or Bible Church
a) The major proponent of this view was Ulrich Zwingli
b) The view believes that Christ is not present in the elements either literally or spiritually.
(1) “I believe, indeed I know, that all the sacraments are so far from conferring grace that they do not even distribute it;” (Zwingli, ‘Confession to Charles V.’ Art. 7)
c) The significance of this view is that it is a “memorial” of the death of Christ and we are reminded of His redemptive work on our behalf.
(1) A commemoration of the death of Christ. The partaker is reminded of the benefits of redemption and salvation brought about in Christ’s death. (H. Wayne House; Charts of Christian Theology and Doctrine, p. 124)
(2) The Lord’s Supper is nothing else than the food of the soul, and Christ instituted the ordinance as a memorial of Himself. (Systematic Theology, Hodge, p. 626-7, quote from Zwingli)
D. The Significance Of The Lord’s Supper
a) The word remembrance comes from the word anamnesis and means to bring up for recall and weigh well or consider. (Lk 22:19; 1Co 11:24, 25).
b) Jesus commanded his disciples twice to partake of the Lord’s Supper in “remembrance” of Christ’s sacrifice for them.
c) Each believer is to recall the death of Christ for them, and seriously weigh all its implications.
a) Eucharist comes from eucháristos, which means grateful or thankful.
b) Jesus gave thanks (eucháristos) during the Passover and many denominations have coined the Lord’s Supper with that name (1Co 11:24).
c) The Lord’s Supper is a time of thanksgiving for the remembrance of Christ’s death for our salvation.
a) Jesus stated that the Lord’s Supper was a “proclamation” (kataggéllō) or a making known of a message (1Co 11:26)
b) Believers are making known the message of Christ’s death to the world in the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper.
a) The Lord’s Supper is a proclamation of the Second Coming of Christ (1Co 11:26).
b) We will partake of the Lord’s Supper with Christ in heaven (Mt 26:29).
c) Therefore, the Lord’s Supper is an anticipation of communion and reunion with Christ.
a) The context of 1Co 11:28ff is about the believers in Corinth who would have a Love Feast while they partook of the Lord’s Supper. However, Paul notes their abuses in that some were getting drunk and some were eating all the food leaving nothing for others (1Co 11:20-21).
b) The Corinthians were warned about ignoring such unspiritual and self-serving behavior while partaking of the Lord’s Supper (1Co 11:27).
c) The consequences for such behavior was discipline from the Lord in the form of weakness, sickness, and even death (2Co 11:30, 32).
d) Therefore, the Lord’s Supper reminds us to continually take close self-examination of our Christian lives (1Co 11:28, 31).
E. Practical Observations On The Lord’s Supper
1. There is no specific frequency mentioned in the Scriptures, but monthly seems to be good. It is neither too infrequent to forget, nor too frequent to down-play its importance.
2. Though many have forbidden non-members and the non-baptized to partake, being a member of Christ’s body (i.e. a believer) is the qualifying factor (1Co 10:16-17).
3. Many strongly assert observance only in the church, with exception to cases of physical limitation. Yet, Christ held Passover, not in the Synagogue, but in the Upper Room.
OF THE CHURCH AND
I. THE CHURCH WAS NOT PREDICTED IN OT
A. The prophets predicted the suffering of Christ (1st Coming) and the Glories of Christ (2nd Coming), but not the Church in between (1 Pet 1:10-12)
B. The OT establishes a time-lapse between dispensations for the Church.
1. Jesus separated dispensations of Isaiah’s prophecy (Is 61:1-2, cp Lk 4:18-20).
2. Israel has a time without and will have a time with her King (Hos 3:4, cp Hos 3:5).
3. The Church Age was hidden between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel (Dan 9:24-27)
II. THE CHURCH WAS CALLED A MYSTERY IN OT
A. The Greek word is “mustếrion” (mystery) and was used by Pagan cults (early Gnosticism) for “an unknown secret revealed only to the initiated.”
B. The biblical usage came to mean “something hidden by God (OT), but now revealed (NT)”.
C. That mystery hidden by God was the Church (Eph 3:1-10)
1. It was hidden by God but now revealed (5,9)
2. It includes Gentile and Jewish believers (6,8)
3. The Church is revealed by God in the Church Age (10)
III. COMPARISON BETWEEN CHURCH AND ISRAEL
1. Israel and the Church are clearly established (Acts 5:31 cp. 21:19).
2. Israel and the Church are clearly distinguished (1Co 10:32; Gal 2:7-9; Rom 1:16).
3. The term Israel is used for the physical descendants of Abraham (Rom 9:1-5).
4. Believing Jews and Gentiles are called the “church,” not Israel (Gal 3:28; Eph 2:13-15; Eph 3:6-10; Col 3:11).
5. Difficult Passages:
a) Rom 9:6 – “spiritual Israel”
(1) Paul does speak of a “spiritual Israel,” but this does not refer to the church, rather Paul is separating “natural” Israel from “believing” Israel. (Rom 9:6)
(2) ...(Rom 9:6) does not say that the spiritual remnant within Israel is the church. It simply distinguishes the nation as a whole from the believing element within the nation. (Ryrie, Dispensationalism, p127)
(3) …où gár pántes hoi ex Israếl hoútoi Israếl could be literally translated, “for not all these out of Israel are Israel.” Note the NET Bible, “For not all those who are descended from Israel are truly Israel.”
b) Gal 6:16 – “Israel of God”
(1) The phrase “Israel of God” in Gal 6:15-16 does not refer to the church as Amillennialists claim, but to Jewish believers. These Jewish believers would be in contrast with the “Israel after the flesh” (1Co 10:18).
(2) There are two recipients in Gal 6:16.
(a) The “them” in the phrase “upon them” refers to the “new creation” in vs. 15, i.e. the church
(b) The group, “Israel of God” refers to believing Jews.
(c) The word “upon” (epì) is used twice to indicate two different groups.
(d) The word, “and” (kaì ) can be a connector of two groups
(3) There are sixty-five usages of the term, “Israel” in the N.T.
(a) All references to term “Israel” refer to Jews
(b) In light of the context of the Bible, it would be strange for “Israel” to include the Gentiles.
(4) ...[in Gal 6:15-16] Paul is simply singling out Christian Jews for special recognition in the benediction. (Ryrie, Dispensationalism, p128)
c) Gal 3:7 – “sons of Abraham”
(1) Gentiles are called the “sons of Abraham”
(Gal 3:7), but it is because Abraham is the father of all those who believe
(Ro 4:11), fulfilling the prophecy, “All nations will be blessed through
you.” (Gal 3:8). The rest of the Abrahamic Covenant belongs to
(a) [Paul] was making the same point to the
believing Jews in
(b) Of great significance is the fact that the
church is never called the seed of Jacob. The fact the church is called the
seed of Abraham should not lead to the confusion of
(c) "Those who are the spiritual seed are
partakers of Jewish spiritual blessings but are never said to become
partakers of the physical, material, or national promises" (Arnold Fruchtenbaum,
1. If you make the church and
2. If the church and
3. Why are there no specific references that
would support the church being called “
4. Justin Martyr was the first to call the
church the “true
5. Covenant theologians believe that all redeemed of every age are part of the Church. There is a redeemed remnant in every age, but the church is a distinctive group.
6. If you combine
a) [The church’s]...character is distinct as
a living organism, the Body of Christ. The time of her existence is distinctive
to this present dispensation, which makes the church distinct from