The Shepherd is in touch with the Father:

Genesis 41:38 And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?

Acts 13:22  And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.

The Shepherd is in touch with the times:

1 Chronicles 12:32 And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.

The Shepherd knows, and watches the flock:

Proverbs 27:23 Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, And look well to thy herds.

Genesis 33:13 And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die.

The Shepherd must both feed, and tend the flock:

Psalm 78:70–72 He chose David also his servant, And took him from the sheepfolds: 71 From following the ewes great with young he brought him To feed Jacob his people, And Israel his inheritance. 72 So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; And guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.

The Shepherd must courageously protect the flock:

1 Samuel 17:34–35 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: 35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered itout of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.

The Shepherd’s shortcomings or absence brings disaster:

John 10:13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

Ezekiel 34:6My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.

Isaiah 56:11 Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, And they are shepherds that cannot understand: They all look to their own way, Every one for his gain, from his quarter.

Jeremiah 50:6 My people hath been lost sheep: Their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: They have gone from mountain to hill, They have forgotten their restingplace.

Ezekiel 34:2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?

Ezekiel 34:7–10 Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; 8 As I live, saith the Lord God, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; 9 Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; 10 Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.

The Divine Shepherd promises:

Jeremiah 23:4 And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord.

Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently [episkopeo (ἐπισκοπέω, 1983)] lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

The Chief Shepherd Commands Under-Shepherds

John 21:15–20 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest [agapao(ἀγαπάω, 25)] thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love [phileo(φιλέω, 5368)] thee. He saith unto him, Feed [bosko (βόσκω, 1006)] my lambs [arnion (ἀρνίον, 721)]16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest [agapao (ἀγαπάω, 25)] thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love [phileo (φιλέω, 5368)] thee. He saith unto him, Feed [poimaino(ποιμαίνω, 4165)] my sheep [probaton (πρόβατον, 4263)]17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest [phileo (φιλέω, 5368)] thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time,Lovest [phileo (φιλέω, 5368)] thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love [phileo (φιλέω, 5368)] thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed [bosko (βόσκω, 1006)] my sheep [probaton(πρόβατον, 4263)].

  • Hidden in these 5 verses are three variances.
    • [agapao (ἀγαπάω, 25)]  “Christian love, whether exercised toward the brethren, or toward men generally, is not an impulse from the feelings, it is an unselfish “love,” ready to serve. It does not always run with the natural inclinations, nor does it spend itself only upon those for whom some affinity is discovered. Love seeks the welfare of all, Rom. 15:2, and works no ill to any, Rom. 13:8-10; love seeks opportunity to do good to ‘all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith,’Gal. 6:10. See further 1 Cor. 13 and Col. 3:12-14.”
    • [phileo (φιλέω, 5368)]  The use of phileo in Peter’s answers and the Lord’s third question, conveys the thought of cherishing the Object above all else, of manifesting an affection characterized by constancy, from the motive of the highest veneration.
    • [bosko (βόσκω, 1006)]  “to feed,” is primarily used of a herdsman (from boo, “to nourish,” the special function being to provide food;
    • [poimaino (ποιμαίνω, 4165)]  “to act as a shepherd”. The feeding” of the flock from the Word of God is the constant and regular necessity; it is to have the foremost place. The tending (which includes this) consists of other acts, of discipline, authority, restoration, material assistance of individuals, but they are incidental in comparison with the “feeding.”
    • [arnion (ἀρνίον, 721)]  is a diminutive in form [LAMB], but the diminutive force is not to be pressed. It is used only by the apostle John, (a) in the plural, in the Lord’s command to Peter, John 21:15, with symbolic reference to young converts.
    • [probaton (πρόβατον, 4263)]  “to go forward,” i.e., of the movement of quadrupeds, was used among the Greeks of small cattle, sheep and goats; in the NT, of “sheep” only (a) naturally, e.g., Matt. 12:11, 12; (b) metaphorically, of those who belong to the Lord, the lost ones of the house of Israel, Matt. 10:6; of those who are under the care of the Good Shepherd, e.g., Matt. 26:31; John 10:1, lit., “the fold of the sheep.

Acts 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders [presbuteros (πρεσβύτερος, 4245)]of the church [ekklesia (ἐκκλησία, 1577)].

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, *over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers [episkopos (ἐπίσκοπος, 1985)], to feed [poimaino (ποιμαίνω, 4165)] the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

  • en (ἐν, 1722) marker of a position defined as being in a location, in, among
  • (Only once [here] in the New Testament did I find this Greek word translated as “over”. Of the 2768 occurrences it is translated as “in” or “among” 1984 times. This put serious doubt as to whether the thought suggests authority or office over the people of God. It seems rather to suggest the work of guiding them from among them by example first, and word second. All authority is in the Word of God. Therefore these “men of God” who “oversee” can apply only the Word of God, and not their own opinions in guiding God’s people [RBBD]) {*among whom, NOT over}

1 Thessalonians 5:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are *over[proistemi (προΐστημι, 4291)] you in the Lord, and admonish you; {*“to stand before,” hence “to lead, to direct, attend to”}[1]

Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule [hegeomai (ἡγέομαι, 2233)] over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule [hegeomai (ἡγέομαι, 2233)] over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

Hebrews 13:24  Salute all them that have the rule [hegeomai (ἡγέομαι, 2233)] over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.

[the rule over you]  “to so influence others as to cause them to follow a recommended course of action—‘to guide, to direct, to lead.” to lead, guide…

Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 464). New York: United Bible Societies.

1 Peter 5:1–5 The elders [presbuteros (πρεσβύτερος, 4245)], which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder [sumpresbuteros (συμπρεσβύτερος, 4850)], and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Feed [poimaino (ποιμαίνω, 4165)] the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight [episkopeo (ἐπισκοπέω, 1983)] thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords [katakurieuo (κατακυριεύω, 2634)] over God’s heritage, but being ensamples tupos (τύπος, 5179) to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd [archipoimen(ἀρχιποίμην, 750)] shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder [presbuteros (πρεσβύτερος, 4245)]. 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.

  • presbuteros (πρεσβύτερος, 4245), an adjective, the comparative degree of presbus, “an old man, an elder,” is used(a) of age (b) of rank or positions of responsibility
  • (3) in the Christian churches those who, being raised up and qualified by the work of the Holy Spirit, were appointed to have the spiritual care of, and to exercise oversight over, the churches. To these the term “bishops,”episkopoi, or “overseers,” is applied (see Acts 20:17,28, and Titus 1:57), the latter term indicating the nature of their work presbuteroi their maturity of spiritual experience. The divine arrangement seen throughout the NT was for a plurality of these to be appointed in each church, Acts 14:23; 20:17; Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 5:17; Titus 1:5. The duty of “elders” is described by the verb episkopeo. They were appointed according as they had given evidence of fulfilling the divine qualifications, Titus 1:6-9; cf. 1 Tim. 3:1-7 and 1 Pet. 5:2;
  • Note: Presbuteros, “an elder,” is another term for the same person as bishop or overseer. See Acts 20:17,28. The term “elder” indicates the mature spiritual experience and understanding of those so described; the term “bishop,” or “overseer,” indicates the character of the work undertaken. According to the divine will and appointment, as in the NT, there were to be “bishops” in every local church, Acts 14:2320:17Phil. 1:1Titus 1:5Jas. 5:14. Where the singular is used, the passage is describing what a “bishop” should be, 1 Tim. 3:2Titus 1:7. Christ Himself is spoken of as “the … Bishop of our souls,”1 Pet. 2:25. See elder. 
  • ekklesia (ἐκκλησία, 1577), from ek, “out of,” and klesis, “a calling” (kaleo, “to call”) – ASSEMBLY

Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops [episkopos (ἐπίσκοπος, 1985)] and deacons [diakonos (διάκονος, 1249)]:

1 Peter 4:15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. [(allotrioepiskopos (ἀλλοτριεπίσκοπος, [244])], from allotrios, “belonging to another person,” and episkopos, “an overseer,” translated “busybody” in the kjv of 1 Pet. 4:15[2])

Titus 1:5–9 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders [presbuteros (πρεσβύτερος, 4245)] in every city, as I had appointed [diatasso (διατάσσω, 1299)] thee: 6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. 7 For a bishop [episkopos (ἐπίσκοπος, 1985)] must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; 9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

  • diatasso (διατάσσω, 1299), a strengthened form of No. 5 (dia, “through,” intensive), frequently denotes “to arrange, appoint, prescribe,” e.g., of what was “appointed” for tax collectors to collect
  • episkopos (ἐπίσκοπος, 1985), lit., an overseer” (epi, “over,” skopeo, “to look or watch”), whence Eng. “bishop,” which has precisely the same meaning, is found in Acts 20:28; Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:7; 1 Pet. 2:25. See overseer. – BISHOP (Overseer)

1 Timothy 4:14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery [presbuterion (πρεσβυτέριον, 4244)].

  • presbuterion (πρεσβυτέριον, 4244), a noun, “an assembly of aged men,” denotes (a) the Council or Senate among the Jews, Luke 22:66; Acts 22:5; (b) the “elders” or bishops in a local church, 1 Tim. 4:14, “the presbytery.” For their functions see A, No. 1,

1 Timothy 5:17 (KJV 1900) — 17 Let the elders [presbuteros (πρεσβύτερος, 4245)] that rule [proistemi(προΐστημι, 4291)] well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour [kopiao (κοπιάω, 2872)] in the word and doctrine.

  • kopiao (κοπιάω, 2872), akin to A, No. 1, has the two different meanings (a) “growing weary,” (b) “toiling”; it is sometimes translated “to bestow labor” (see under bestow, No. 3). It is translated by the verb “to labor” in Matt. 11:28; John 4:38 (2nd part); Acts 20:35; Rom. 16:12 (twice); 1 Cor. 15:10; 16:16; Eph. 4:28; Phil. 2:16;Col. 1:29; 1 Thess. 5:12; 1 Tim. 4:10; 5:17; 2 Tim. 2:6; Rev. 2:3; 1 Cor. 4:12, rv, “toil” (kjv, “labor”)

1 Timothy 3  This is a true saying, If a man desire [orego (ὀρέγομαι, 3713)] the office of a bishop [episkope(ἐπισκοπή, 1984)], he desireth [epithumeo (ἐπιθυμέω, 1937)] a good work [ergon (ἔργον, 2041)]2 A bishop [episkopos (ἐπίσκοπος, 1985)]  then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth [proistemi (προΐστημι, 4291)] well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity5 (For if a man know not how to rule [proistemi (προΐστημι, 4291)] his own house, how shall he take care [epimeleomai (ἐπιμελέομαι, 1959)] of the church [ekklesia(ἐκκλησία, 1577)] of God?) 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. 8 Likewise must the deacons [diakonos (διάκονος, 1249)] be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; 9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. 10And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon [diakoneo (διακονέω, 1247)], being found blameless. 11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. 12Let the deacons [diakonos (διάκονος, 1249)] be the husbands of one wife, ruling [proistemi (προΐστημι, 4291)] their children and their own houses well. 13 For they that have used the office of a deacon [diakoneo(διακονέω, 1247)] well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus. 14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: 15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

  • orego (ὀρέγομαι, 3713), “to reach or stretch out,” is used only in the middle voice, signifying the mental effort of stretching oneself out for a thing, of longing after it, with stress upon the object desired
  • episkope (ἐπισκοπή, 1984), besides its meaning, “visitation,” e.g., 1 Pet. 2:12 (cf. the Sept. of Exod. 3:16; Isa. 10:3; Jer. 10:15), is rendered “office,” in Acts 1:20, rv (kjv, “bishoprick”); in 1 Tim. 3:1 “the office of a bishop,” lit., “(if any one seeketh) overseership,” there is no word representing office. 
  • Note: The corresponding verb is episkopeo, which, in reference to the work of an overseer, is found in 1 Pet. 5:2,rv, “exercising the oversight,” for kjv “taking the oversight.” See oversight 1983.
  • epithumeo (ἐπιθυμέω, 1937), “to desire earnestly” (as with A, No. 1), stresses the inward impulse rather than the object desired. It is translated “to desire” in Luke 16:21; 17:22; 22:15; 1 Tim. 3:1; Heb. 6:11; 1 Pet. 1:12; Rev. 9:6. See covet.
  • ergon (ἔργον, 2041) denotes (I) “work, employment, task,” e.g., Mark 13:34; John 4:34; 17:4; Acts 13:2; Phil. 2:30; 1 Thess. 5:13; in Acts 5:38 with the idea of enterprise; (II), “a deed, act,”
  • episkopos (ἐπίσκοπος, 1985), lit., an overseer” (epi, “over,” skopeo, “to look or watch”), whence Eng. “bishop,” which has precisely the same meaning, is found in Acts 20:28; Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:7; 1 Pet. 2:25. See overseer. – BISHOP (Overseer)
  • proistemi (προΐστημι, 4291), lit., “to stand before,” hence, “to lead, attend to” (indicating care and diligence), is translated “to rule” (middle voice), with reference to a local church, in Rom. 12:8; perfect active in1 Tim. 5:17; with reference to a family, 1 Tim. 3:4 and 12 (middle voice); v. 5 (2nd aorist, active)
  • epimeleomai (ἐπιμελέομαι, 1959) signifies “to take care of,” involving forethought and provision (epiindicating “the direction of the mind toward the object cared for”), Luke 10:34-35, of the Good Samaritan’s care for the wounded man, and in 1 Tim. 3:5, of a bishop’s (or overseer’s) care of a church—a significant association of ideas.¶
  • ekklesia (ἐκκλησία, 1577), from ek, “out of,” and klesis, “a calling” (kaleo, “to call”) – ASSEMBLY
  • diakonos (διάκονος, 1249), (Eng., “deacon”), primarily denotes a “servant,” whether as doing servile work, or as an attendant rendering free service, without particular reference to its character. The word is probably connected with the verb dioko, “to hasten after, pursue” (perhaps originally said of a runner). “It occurs in the NT of domestic servants, John 2:59; the civil ruler, Rom. 13:4; Christ, Rom. 15:8Gal. 2:17; the followers of Christ in relation to their Lord, John 12:26Eph. 6:21Col. 1:74:7; the followers of Christ in relation to one another, Matt. 20:2623:11,Mark 9:3510:43; the servants of Christ in the work of preaching and teaching, 1 Cor. 3:52 Cor. 3:66:411:23Eph. 3:7Col. 1:23251 Thess. 3:21 Tim. 4:6; those who serve in the churches, Rom. 16:1 (used of a woman here only in NT); Phil. 1:11 Tim. 3:812; false apostles, servants of Satan, 2 Cor. 11:15. Once diakonos is used where, apparently, angels are intended, Matt. 22:13; in v. 3, where men are intended, doulos is used.”* 
  • diakoneo (διακονέω, 1247), akin to A, No. 1, signifies “to be a servant, attendant, to serve, wait upon, minister.”
  • 53.66 διακονέωd: to serve God in some special way, such as a deacon—‘to be a deacon, to minister to.’ οὗτοι δὲ δοκιμαζέσθωσαν πρῶτον, εἶτα διακονείτωσαν ἀνέγκλητοι ὄντες ‘they should be tested first, and then, if they prove blameless, they should serve as deacons’ 1 Tm 3:10.
  • (Vs 10 “then let them be serving as deacons” no office is envisioned here, just work, service . This is a verb in the Greek. Were it to represent an office, would it not be a noun?[RBBD])


[1] Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W., Jr. (1996). Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. Nashville, TN: T. Nelson.

The Shepherd

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