In today’s religious vernacular, a preacher is a pastor.  In fact, the word pastor is used almost exclusively as a title in religious organizations.  Most dictionaries would list synonyms for “preacher” to be “pastor” or “minister”.  Effectively, in the religous world today, “Preacher”, or preaching, has been relegated to simply one duty of the Pastor for many.  But is to say a preacher is a pastor really Biblical?

There are many duties of a pastor. On Sunday mornings, the pastor is a preacher, sharing the word of God with the faithful.

how Scripture answers "Is a preacher a pastor?"

A preacher is not the same as a pastor according to Scripture1,2,3. In fact, they are two, very distinct roles1 that together serve to “equip the saints”1. However, there is nothing in Scripture that would indicate a single individual couldn’t serve in both roles simultaneously, as Paul was both a preacher and an apostle4.

the answer above is based on and footnoted with the following Scripture Blocks

And he himself gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,

He [Christ] appointed some apostles, some prophets, some as evangelists [preachers], and others as pastors [elders] and teachers, in order that each might arm the saints for the work of gospel, for building up the church,

Paul, writing to the church in Ephesus, is using a body metaphorically to describe the church.  Jesus is the head that supplies all the other members of the body (vss 15-16).

How does it inform?

Paul identifies distinct and separate roles for preachers (“evangelists”) and “pastors” (e.g. elders/shepherds). While distinct roles, they both are to “build up” the body/church (vs 12).

Does it apply? Yes


This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

I left you in Crete to put things in order and appoint elders in every town as I directed.  They should be above reproach, the husband of one wife and believing children who don’t indulge in excessive sensual pleasure and respect authority.  This is because an overseer is God’s steward, therefore he must have an impeccable reputation.  He cannot be arrogant, quick-tempered, a drunkard, violent, or looking out for material gain.  Instead, he should be hospitable, always looking to do good, self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.  He must be true to the gospel, so that he can teach sound doctrine and oppose those that distort it.
Paul is writing to a young preacher, Titus.  After giving these qualifications for a church elder, he continues to give instruction regarding behavior to certain segments/groups within the church: older men (2:2), older women (2:3), younger women (2:4), younger men (2:6) and finally slaves (2:9).  With all of these, their behavior is to be exhibited as would “accord with sound doctrine” (1:9, 2:1, 2:10).
How does it inform?

Paul tells Titus, someone fulfilling the role of a preacher, about selecting elders (e.g. pastors).

Does it apply? Yes

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

It’s a true statement that anyone reaching for the office of elder is a noble pursuit since an elder must be above any charge, a one woman man, serious, self-controlled, respected, gracious, able to teach, not given to wine or violent but gentle, not argumentative or in love with material things. He must manage his household well with honor, keeping his children under control because how else would he know how or be able to care for God’s household?  He must not be new to the faith, otherwise he might become arrogant and become condemned.  Finally, he must be well-respected in the community so as not to bring shame and be entrapped by the devil.

Paul is writing to a young preacher, Timothy.  After giving these qualifications for elders, he also gives the qualifications for deacons in order that “you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.” (3:15)

How does it inform?

Paul lays out for Timothy, a young preacher himself, the qualifications for the specific role of overseer (e.g. pastor, shepherd).

Does it apply? Yes

For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

For this I was appointed to be a preacher and an apostle – teaching the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Paul’s letter to a young preacher, Timothy.  This chapter begins with specific instructions on various matters beginning with praying for all and wishing that all are saved.
How does it inform?

Paul was appointed as both a preacher and an apostle.

Does it apply? Yes

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