Acts 20:28 (KJV 1900) — 28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which [en (ἐν, 1722)] 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])
- poimaino (ποιμαίνω, 4165), “to act as a shepherd”
- Note: In John 21:15, 16, 17, the Lord, addressing Peter, first uses No. 1, bosko (v. 15) then No. 2, poimaino (v. 16), and then returns to bosko (v. 17). These are not simply interchangeable (nor are other variations in His remarks); a study of the above notes will show this. Nor, again, is there a progression of ideas. The lesson to be learnt, as Trench points out (Syn. Sec.xxv), is that, in the spiritual care of God’s children, 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.”