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Bible Facts Little Understood by Christians




The phrase “pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11), one of the Lord’s gifts to the Church “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the headChrist” (Ephesians 4:12-15), was meant to be translated “pastor-teachers” or “teaching-pastors.” This expression was meant to signify the primary responsibility and purpose for the gift of “pastor” (or “shepherd” [Gk:  poimen]) to the Church.  And this most crucial purpose is to bring believers from immaturity to maturity through the mental transformation (Gk: metamorphoo — metamorphosis) process of ingesting and understanding the Word (Romans 12:2; cf. Ephesians 1:17, 18; 4:23, 24; 5:10, 17; Colossians 3:10), which is the only spiritual food that can produce spiritual growth within a believer to the saving of his soul (James 1:21).


Kenneth Samuel Wuest, the former Teacher Emeritus of New Testament Greek, The Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Illinois, explains the reason the Greek structure of this phrase, “pastors and teachers,” must be translated as “teaching-pastors” or “pastor-teachers.”


“The rule is as follows: When two nouns in the same case are connected by the Greek word ‘and,’ and the first noun is preceded by the article ‘the,’ and the second noun is not preceded by the article, the second noun refers to the same person or thing to which the first noun refers, and is a farther description of it.  For instance, the words ‘pastors’ and ‘teachers’ in Ephesians 4:11 are in the same case and are connected by the word ‘and.’  The word ‘pastors,’ is preceded by the article ‘the,’ whereas the word ‘teachers’ is not.  This construction requires us to understand that the word ‘pastors’ and ‘teachers’ is a farther description of the individual called a ‘pastor.’  The expression therefore refers to pastors who are also teachers, ‘teaching-pastors.’” (Treasures from the Greek New Testament)


A biblically sound pastor (shepherd) is one who takes seriously his divine charge to “feed the sheep,” rather than yielding to a litany of other notable duties, originally established to be administered by others within the local church (Acts 6:1-4).  And a biblically sound church is one that recognizes and supports the pastor as the primary teacher of Bible doctrine, rather than relegating this most crucial duty to an organizational formation called “Sunday school” and to other “teachers,” a  structure that usually devotes a minuscule 30-45 minutes to biblical instruction once a week and which unfortunately provides allowance for the pastor to digress from his most holy duty of teaching in-depth doctrine by using the pulpit for more shallow endeavors (e.g., “milk” doctrines, social and sociopolitical themes, etc.) of “encouraging” his flock. 


The following scriptural passages emphasize the teaching responsibility of pastors:  John 21:15-17; Acts 20:27-32; Romans 16:17, 18; Colossians 1:9, 10; 1 Timothy 3:1, 2; 4:11, 13-16; 6:3-5; 2 Timothy 4:2-4; Titus 1:9-11; Hebrews 5:12-14; 1 Peter 5:2-4; 2 Peter 1:1-11.  It is most certain that each pastor, because of his clear commission to teach the Word, will be held to a higher standard when he faces Christ at His Judgment Seat in that coming day, at which time and place he will receive a “just recompense” for how he conducted his divine commission among men (2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 3:12-15; Hebrews 2:2; James 3:1).