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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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Ephesians 4:11 is the only passage in the NT in which ‘pastor’ occurs, although its Greek equivalent, ποιμήν, is frequent; everywhere else ποιμήν is rendered ‘shepherd.’ This exceptional translation is justified, because here only is ποιμήν used of some kind of Christian minister. It is used of Christ as ‘the great shepherd of the sheep’ (Hebrews 13:20 from LXX_ of Isaiah 63:11), as ‘the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls’ (1 Peter 2:25), and as ‘the chief Shepherd’ (1 Peter 5:4)-expressions suggested by Himself (John 10:11; John 10:14). But the metaphor is obvious, and is frequent from Homer onwards. The cognate verb ποιμαίνειν is used of tending Christian flocks; in Christ’s charge to St. Peter (John 21:16), in St. Peter’s charge to his ‘fellow-elders’ (1 Peter 5:2), and in St. Paul’s charge at Miletus to the elders of the Church at Ephesus (Acts 20:28). In Ephesians 4:11, while ‘apostles’ and ‘prophets’ and ‘evangelists’ have each a separate article, ‘pastors and teachers’ are coupled by a common article, and probably form only one group, distinguished by being attached to particular congregations, whereas ‘apostles,’ ‘prophets,’ and ‘evangelists’ were itinerant preachers and missionaries. But ‘pastors’ and ‘teachers’ are not convertible terms; almost all ‘pastors’ would be ‘teachers,’ but not all ‘teachers’ were ‘pastors.’

Literature.-See Commentaries on Ephesians 4:11, esp. J. A. Robinson (1903) and B. F. Westcott (1906); A. Harnack, The Mission and Expansion of Christianity2, Eng. tr._, 1908, i. 336-346.

A. Plummer.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Pastor'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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