Word Studies
ELDERS - "PRESBUTEROS"

"presbuteros"      "episcopos"      "poimen"

Elders (presbuteros) literally referred to "aged ones." Anyone of any age in the congregation was called "presbuteros." It was not necessarily an office but a function of age. Paul even calls elderly women by the term "presbuteros in 1 Timothy 5:2. Yet it becomes clear by the use of the term that it is one who ...

  1. Rules, oversees, manages
  2. Labors in word and doctrine
  3. Prays for the sick
  4. Are always plural in the church (more than one).
    • Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. - 1 Timothy 5:17
    • For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: - Titus 1:5
    • Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: - James 5:14

Peter considered himself to be an elder (presbuteros).

"The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:" 1 Peter 5:1

The apostle John referred to himself as an elder (presbuteros). Though he was by office an "apostle" in function he was an elder (presbuteros).

  • The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; - 2 John 1:1
  • The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. - 3 John 1:1

A DEFINITION

<4245> presbuteros p(res-boo'-ter-os)
comparative of presbus (elderly);
AV-elder 64, old man 1, eldest 1, elder woman 1; 67

1) elder, of age,
1a) the elder of two people
1b) advanced in life, an elder, a senior
1b1) forefathers
2) a term of rank or office
2a) among the Jews
2a1) members of the great council or Sanhedrin (because in early times the rulers of the people, judges, etc., were selected from elderly men)
2a2) of those who in separate cities managed public affairs and administered justice
2b) among the Christians, those who presided over the assemblies (or churches) The NT uses the term bishop, elders, and presbyters interchangeably
2c) the twenty four members of the heavenly Sanhedrin or court seated on thrones around the throne of God

ELDER (singular)

  • 1 Timothy 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
  • 1 Timothy 5:2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.
  • 1 Timothy 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
  • 1 Peter 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
  • 1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
  • 2 John 1:1 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;
  • 3 John 1:1 The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
ELDERS (plural)
  • Acts 11:30 Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
  • Acts 14:23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.
  • Acts 15:2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.
  • Acts 15:4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.
  • Acts 15:6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
  • Acts 15:22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren:
  • Acts 15:23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia:
  • Acts 16:4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.
  • Acts 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.
  • Acts 21:18 And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.
  • 1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
  • Titus 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
  • Hebrews 11:2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
  • James 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
  • 1 Peter 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: