1. AN OVERSEER a. What is an overseer? Let’s begin by talking about the word overseer. The word in Greek is episcopos, which means overseer. In many translations, this word is rendered as “bishop” which is a word that most people are familiar with if you know anything about Roman Catholic or Episcopalian churches. In our text here in Titus, we see that elder and overseer are being used interchangeably. This is not the only place that we see this. if we look at the descriptions of what an elder does and what an overseer does, they are the same thing. For example, 1 Timothy 5:17 says let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. Here you would expect the word overseer to be used by Paul but instead, he uses the word Elder. Now turn over to 1 Peter chapter 5 verses 1 through 2. It says “so I exhort the elders among you as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you exercising oversight.” So In this passage, Peter uses the word Elder. He says that the Elder is to Shepherd, or Pastor is the word in the original language. and he also tells them to have oversight, to oversee the people. So the Apostle Peter uses all three words, pastor, elder, and overseer, in connection to the same office, to the same group of people. The Apostle Paul likewise connects Pastor overseer and Elder. If you look at Acts chapter 20 we find an example. In verse 17, he sent to Ephesus and called for the Elders of the church to come. In verse 28 Paul tells the elders that the Holy Spirit had made them overseers. and then he tells them to care for the church, which is literally the word pastor in Greek. So we have here Paul telling Elders that they are overseers and that they are to pastor. So these three terms all refer to one role in the church. They are just 3 words that describe one job. Now, this gets confusing because depending on the denomination or church, they don’t use the words in the same way as Peter and Paul do. Some have created three different offices for these words which seems to contradict what Peter and Paul say. But regardless of what is practiced today, the apostles used the words interchangeably. b. Steward. The second thing that Paul mentions is that elders are stewards. Remember that a steward is a person who uses the possessions of another to provide for others. According to Webster, a steward is, “a minister of Christ whose duty is to dispense the provisions of the Gospel to preach its doctrines and to administer its ordinances.” So an elder is a person who dispenses the provisions of the Gospel. It’s not his message, it’s not his provision. He hands out the gospel. Paul spoke of this in 1 Corinthians chapter 4 where he says “this is how one should regard us as Servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God moreover it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.” So you can throw steward into the mix of shepherd and elder and overseer. All four of these words refer to the one role in the church. The word steward helps to put this role in its proper place. There is a temptation for elders to think highly of themselves because of the work that they’re doing. We have all heard of the abuse that has been done by Elders or pastors who have thought too highly of themselves. So for an elder to think of themselves as a steward, owning nothing in themselves, but only using what has been given to them, is good. c. Above reproach. Again Paul brings up the idea of above reproach. I won’t go into this in much detail since we covered it last time. But it is worth noting that Paul uses it again right after he used it in the last sentence. The first time he used it was about the elder’s family. And now he uses it concerning the elder’s own behavior. An elder must be above reproach concerning how he runs his family and how he runs his own life. He must not disgrace himself or the name of Christ by his behavior. He should not be scorned because he’s living in sin. Now he will be scorned by the world when he is living a godly life, and that is to be expected and to rejoice over. The overseers are set up as examples to the church and therefore immediately following the qualification of being above reproach we have examples of what he must not be and examples of what he must be.