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Bible Dictionaries

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Bishop

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פקיר . επισκοπος , signifies an overseer, or one who has the inspection and direction of any thing. Nehemiah speaks of the overseer of the Levites at Jerusalem, Nehemiah 11:22 . The most common acceptation of the word bishop is that in Acts 20:28 , and in St. Paul's Epistles, Php_1:1 , where it signifies the pastor of a church. St. Peter calls Jesus Christ "the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls," 1 Peter 2:25 ; and St. Paul describes the qualities requisite in a bishop, 1 Timothy 3:2 ; Titus 1, 2, &c. It is not improbable that the overseers of Christ's church are in the New Testament called επισκοποι , from the following passage in Isaiah: "I will also make thy officers peace, and thine overseers" ( επισκοπους ), "righteousness," Isaiah 60:17 . The word, as used by the Apostolic writers, when referring to the pastors of Christian churches, is evidently of the same import as presbyter or elder; for the terms, as they occur in the New Testament, appear to be synonymous, and are used indifferently. Thus the same persons that are called επισκοποι , bishops are also called ωρεσβυτεροι , elders. Hence, when St. Paul came to Miletus, he sent to Ephesus for the presbyters of the church, and thus addressed them: "Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you" (the presbyters) " επισκοπους , bishops," or overseers, Acts 20:17 . "Here, says Dr. Campbell, "there can be no question that the same persons are denominated presbyters and bishops." Nor is this the only passage in which we find the terms used convertibly. In Titus 1:5 , it is said, "For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders" (Greek πρεσβυτερους ) "in every city;" and then it follows in Titus 1:7 , "For a bishop" (επισκοπον ) "must be blameless." In like manner, the Apostle Peter, 1 Peter 5:1 : "The elders" (πρεσβυτερους ) "which are among you I exhort; feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof; επισκοπουντες , that is, discharging the office of bishops." See EPISCOPACY .


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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Bishop'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/wtd/b/bishop.html. 1831-2.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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