Acts 20:17 (KJV 1900) — 17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders [presbuteros (πρεσβύτερος, 4245)] of the church [ekklesia (ἐκκλησία, 1577)].
- 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 1:5 and 7), 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 14:23; 20:17; Phil. 1:1; Titus 1:5; Jas. 5:14. Where the singular is used, the passage is describing what a “bishop” should be, 1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 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