Bishops and Deacons
by Milton Dunavant
by Milton Dunavant
The Lord brought the children of
out of Egyptian bondage by many signs and wonders and by His mighty arm. They left Israel Egyptin shambles; their crops and their cattle had been greatly damaged or destroyed, they took away the Egyptian gold as they departed, and the Egyptian army and all their chariots had been destroyed in the Red Sea.
They started their journey on the 15th day of the first month of the year and in the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. Apparently, their journey had taken exactly 2 months according to the lunar months of their sacred calendar which set the first month, beginning in the spring, so that the 14th and 15th days of the month were during the time of the full moon.
They camped before the mountain where the Ten Commandment Law and the judgments were given, the three main feasts of
were ordained (Ex.18-24), the seventh day of rest was confirmed (Ex. 35:2-3), and the pattern of the tabernacle was given (Ex. 35:4-19). The people willingly offered the things necessary to build the tabernacle (Ex 35:20-29): the structure, and the hangings, and the clothing, etc. All things were prepared and assembled and it came to pass on the 1st day, in the 1st month in the second year, the tabernacle was reared up (Ex. 40:17). And they kept the Passover on the 14th day of the first month of the second year after leaving Israel (Num. 9:4-5). And it came to pass on the 20th day of the 2nd month, in the 2nd year, that the cloud was taken up from off the tabernacle of the testimony. And the children of Egypt took their journey out of the wilderness of Sinai. Israel
After the tabernacle was set up, the Lord told Moses to number the people (Num. 1:1) and in connection with the numberings, the Lord delegated the service of certain men and of different ages. Prior to this time, the elders of
had been mentioned but no specific age was given, but at this time, specific ages were given for certain services. Israel
30 Years Old until 50 Years Old
The Lord told Moses to take the sum of the sons of Ger’shon (2,630), who served at the appointment of Aaron and his sons, also the sons of Me-ra’ri (3,200), and the sons of the Ko’hath-ites (2,750), saying, “From thirty years old and upward until fifty years old shalt thou number them; all that enter into the work in the tabernacle of the congregation.” (Num. 4:23). All that were numbered for such service were 8,580.
The Ger’shon-ites bore the curtains, his coverings, and the covering of badgers’ skins that was over it, and the hangings for the door. The charge of the burden of the sons of Me-ra’ri was the boards and the bars thereof, and the pillars and sockets, the pillars of the court round about, their sockets, their pins and their cords with all their instruments (Num. 4:24-33). The above verse indicates that thirty years of age was the official age to begin to serve as a priest and to enter into the work in the tabernacle of the congregation. Likewise, Jesus began his earthly ministry when he began to be about thirty years of age.
20 Years and Upward
After the tabernacle was brought into
, David numbered the Levites, beginning at the age of 20, and it seems that they began to serve as assistants at that age to wait on the sons of Aaron in areas of preparation for the Levite priests. Jerusalem
1 Chr. 23:24-28,
24 These were the sons of Levi after the house of their fathers; even the chief of the fathers, as they were counted by number of names by their polls, that did the work of the service of the house of the Lord, from the age of twenty years and upward.
25 For David said, The Lord God of
Israelhath given rest unto his people that they may dwell in for ever: Jerusalem
26 And also unto the Levites; they shall no more carry the tabernacle, nor any vessels of it for the service thereof.
27 For by the last words of David the Levites were numbered from twenty years old and above:
28 Because their office was to wait on the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of the Lord, in the courts, and in the chambers, and in the purifying of all holy things, and the work of the service of the house of God;
25 Years Old and Upward
Those 25 years and upward seems to have had some added responsibility (as assistants to the priests) and were to wait upon the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.
“This is it that belongeth unto the Levites: from twenty and five years old and upward they shall go in to wait upon the service of the tabernacle of the congregation:” (Num. 8:24).
50 Years Old and Upward
“And from the age of fifty years they shall cease waiting upon the service thereof, and shall serve no more:
26 But shall minister with their brethren in the tabernacle of the congregation, to keep the charge, and shall do no service. Thus shalt thou do unto the Levites touching their charge.” (Num. 8:25-26).
All of the different age groups did service, but there was a change in the service for the Levite elders. Those, who were fifty and upward and were obviously elders, ministered in the tabernacle, but not the service of it.
The age groups were observed for hundreds of years in
and after Christ’s ministry on earth, the Jewish elders, who believed on the Lord and were added to the church which is Christ’s body, were still known as elders. However, in the church age, the service of a “deacon” or a “bishop” was more than merely being thirty to fifty or fifty and upward. Their required qualifications equipped them to teach the word, having the “bishops” appointed or recognized from among the elders, which were fifty and over. The “deacons” also must qualify by the same qualifications (with little, if any, difference) except that they were younger. Israel
They that did the service of a deacon “well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim. 3:13). They are obviously those, who are apt to teach and their qualifications qualify them to teach, not merely to handle physical matters of trust.
The apostle Paul also told Timothy, saying, “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; …” Paul’s words obviously apply to some, who are servants of the Lord, who do not have the required qualifications, given in 1 Tim. 3; but the point is, it most assuredly applies to a servant, who has the qualifications of a “deacon.” The popular concepts and the typical duties of church deacons, who function under a one-man ministry, have contributed to the unbiblical belief that “deacons” need not have the ability to teach. However, with the “deacons” qualifications and his proven track record, he must also be apt to teach. The same qualifications will qualify him to be a “bishop” when he becomes fifty and upward.
Paul told Titus to ordain elders in every city, as he had appointed him, if any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, etc. (Tit. 1:5-6). Therefore not all elders were appointed; only elders who had the qualifications. The elders were those fifty and upward. The “bishops” were the elders who qualified.
Paul said, “Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger as brethren; the elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.” Obviously, this is speaking of elders in the general sense of age and not only in the sense of qualified “bishops.”
The original Greek text did not use the term, “office” of a “bishop.” It always spoke of the service or work of a “bishop” or “deacon” as follows:
1 Tim. 3:1, (In the Greek/English Interlinear Translation)
“Faithful [is] the word: if any stretches forward to overseership of a good work he is desirous.” [The original Greek word #1984 meant “overseer” and was arbitrarily translated “the office of a bishop” in the KJV. The word “office” was not in the original. In error, Strongs concordance referenced “office” (which did not appear) and overseer to the same Greek word #1984 (overseer) instead of showing it as an added word.]
Tit. 1:5-6, (From the Greek/English Interlinear Translation)
“For this cause I left thee in Crete, that the things lacking thou mightest go on to set right, and mightest appoint in every city elders, as I ordered thee: if anyone (i.e. of the elders) is unimpeachable, husband of one wife, having believing children, …” [Titus was to simply point-out the elders (not called Bishops in the original) who had attained the required qualifications. He did not make them elders or qualify them; he only pointed-out them that were such.]
1 Tim. 3:10, (From the Greek/English Interlinear Translation)
“And these also let them be proved first, then let them serve, being unimpeachable.” [The original Greek word #1247 meant “serve” and was arbitrarily (and in error) translated “use the office of a deacon” in the KJV. Deacon means servant. The word “office” was not in the original. In error, Strong’s concordance referenced “office” (which did not appear) to the same Greek word #1247 as if “office” was the same as “serve.”]
1 Tim. 3:13, (From the Greek/English Interlinear Translation)
“For those well having served, a good degree for themselves acquire, and much boldness in faith which [is] in Christ Jesus.” [ Again, the original Greek word #1247 meant “served” and was arbitrarily (and in error) translated “have used the office of a deacon” in the KJV. The word for “office” was not in the original. In error, Strong’s concordance referenced “office” to the Greek word #1247 “served,” as if “office” and “served” were the same word.]
Phil. 1:1, (From the Greek/English Interlinear Translation)
“Paul and Timotheus, bondmen of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with [the] overseers (not called Bishops in the original) and those who serve (not called Deacons in the original).
[In every place where the words, bishop(s) and deacon(s) were found in the KJV, they were not found in the original.]
The original Greek text of the Bible identified such men by terms which related to their functions or service and not by the official titles of “Bishops” and “Deacons.” The translators identified the qualified “overseers” and “servants” with clerical and official titles of the times in the Roman church. The titles were interpolated (i.e. to inject extra words) into the scriptures in error and contrary to a true word-for-word translation. According to the original Greek scriptures, there were no “Bishops” or “Deacons” in the church. Elders and servants, who had proven qualifications, described in scripture, ministered the word as “overseers” and as proven “servants.”
Overseer (Bishop) Proven Servant (Deacon)
1 Tim. 3:1-7, 1 Tim. 3:8-13,
Blameless, Serve, being found blameless,
Husband of one wife, Husband of one wife,
Vigilant, Serve, with good degree and great boldness,
Of good behavior, Serve, being found blameless,
Given to hospitality, Wife must be grave, … faithful in all things,
Apt to teach, Serve, with good degree and great boldness,
Not given to wine, Not given to much wine,
Not covetous, Not guilty of filthy lucre,
*Rules well his own house, *Ruling children and house well,
*Having children in subjection
w/ all gravity, *Ruling children and house well,
Not a novice, First be proven,
Have a good report of them without, Serve, being found blameless,
No striker, Grave,
Not greedy of filthy lucre, Not guilty of filthy lucre,
Patient, Holding mystery of faith in pure conscience,
Not a brawler, Not double-tongued,
Blameless, Husband of one wife,
*Having faithful children
not accused of riot or unruly,
Blameless as the steward of God, Not selfwilled,
Not soon angry, Not given to wine,
No striker, Not given to filthy lucre,
Lover of hospitality, Lover of good men,
Sober, Just, Holy, Temperate,
Holding fast the faithful word,
Able by sound doctrine to exhort
and convince the gainsayers.
*The qualified servant, being between 30 and 50 years old must be:
Ruling his children and house well
The qualified elder, being 50 or more years old must be:
Ruling well his own house, having children in subjection w/ all gravity
Having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly
(children of faith)
Overseer (Bishop) Overseer (Bishop)
1 Tim. 3:1-7, Tit. 1:5-10,
Husband of one wife, Husband of one wife,
Vigilant, Blameless as the steward of God,
Of good behavior, Temperate,
Given to hospitality, Lover of hospitality,
Lover of good men,
Apt to teach, Able by sound doctrine to exhort
and convince the gainsayers.
Not given to much wine, Not given to wine,
No striker, No striker,
Not greedy of filthy lucre, Not given to filthy lucre,
Patient, Not selfwilled,
Not a brawler, Not soon angry,
Not covetous, Just,
*Rules well his own house,
*Having children in subjection *Having faithful children
w/ all gravity, not accused of riot or unruly,
Not a novice, Holding fast the faithful word,
Have a good report of them without, Holy,
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