Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Is Eph 4:11c "pastors and teachers" one or two roles and/or positions?

I have read elsewhere that apologists should aspire to be pastors. In part, they base this on Eph 4:11c. However, what does Paul mean here? I write elsewhere (in a forthcoming paper) addressing this moderate problem:



I digress as some say pastor and teacher are of one role since Ephesians 4:11c seems to connect the two. It says, “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers.”[1]NT scholar Daniel Wallace agrees with me that , “Eph 4:11 seems to affirm that all pastors were to be teachers, though not all teachers were to be pastors.”[2] His reasoning is the following:

The debate over this text has focused on the issue of whether one gift or two are mentioned. Most commentators have seen only one gift here, but primarily because they erroneously thought that the Granville Sharp rule absolutely applied to plural constructions. Also, against the “one gift” view, there are no clear examples of nouns being used in a plural TSKS construction to specify one group. However, we are not shut up to the “entirely distinct groups” option only.
The uniting of these two groups by one article sets them apart from the other gifted leaders. Absolute distinction, then, is probably not in view. In light of the fact that elders and pastors had similar functions in the NT, since elders were to be teachers, the pastors were also to be teachers. Further, presumably not all teachers were elders or pastors. This evidence seems to suggest that the ποιμένας were a part of the διδασκάλους in Eph 4:11. This likelihood is in keeping with the semantics of the plural noun construction, for the first-subset-of-second category is well-attested in both the clear and ambiguous texts in the NT[3]

 Max Turner essentially concurs stating, “The ‘pastors’ and ‘teachers’ here share a single definite article in the Greek, and this may suggest they are one group (‘pastors who are also teachers’); but in this longer listing of different ministries it is more likely that the two groups with overlapping (i.e. teaching) functions are in view.”[4] John Calvin also agrees writing:

Teaching is, no doubt, the duty of all pastors; but to maintain sound doctrine requires a talent for interpreting Scripture, and a man may be a teacher who is not qualified to preach. Pastors, in my opinion, are those who have the charge of a particular flock; though I have no objection to their receiving the name of teachers, if it be understood that there is a distinct class of teachers, who preside both in the education of pastors and in the instruction of the whole church. It may sometimes happen, that the same person is both a pastor and a teacher, but the duties to be performed are entirely different (emphasis original). [5]

Even so, Church father Jerome had a somewhat different view saying, “For he does not say ‘some shepherds, some teachers’ but ‘some shepherds and teachers,’ meaning that he who is a shepherd should at the same time be a teacher.”[6] NT scholar, that late F.F. Bruce, agrees with Jerome suggesting, “that the two terms, ‘pastors and teachers,’ should be joined together to denote one order of ministry.”[7] Swiss theologian Markus Barth says the wording is ambiguous, though he does not rule out a linkage.[8] Reformed theologian Wolfgang Musculus (A.D. 1497-1563) also seems to connect the two together.[9] Similarly, Charles Hodge connects to the two positions.[10]
However, the late NT scholar Harold Hoehner agrees with Wallace, Turner, and Calvin stating, “it seems that these two gifts, pastoring and teaching, are distinct although it could be said that all pastors should be teachers but not all teachers are pastors.…Teaching includes instruction in doctrine and its application to daily life but the teacher may not have all the administrative and shepherding responsibilities of the pastor.”[11] Similarly, even though he use to take that this was one office, NT scholar Grant Osborne current position is, “Most likely this speaks of two offices, though Paul viewed them as overlapping, with pastors required to teach well and teachers playing a pastoral role in the church.”[12] Though advocating flexibility of overlap between the two roles, NT scholar Ernest Best states, “That one article governs both teachers and shepherds does not identify them as one group for the same is true of apostles and prophets in 2:20 and they form two groups.[13]” NT scholar Andrew Lincoln also states, “It is more likely that they were overlapping functions, but that while almost all pastors were also teachers, not all teachers were also pastors.”[14] Moreover, Craig Keener separates the roles, espousing, “‘Teachers’ were expounders of the Scriptures and of the Jesus tradition; if they functioned like Jewish teachers, they probably offered biblical instruction to the congregation and trained others to expound the Scriptures as well.”[15] Nelsons New Illustrated Bible Commentary states, “While the Greek ties the two titles teachers and pastors closely together here, elsewhere they are listed separately (Rom. 12:7; 1 Pet. 5:2).”[16] Pentacostal theologians Guy P. Duffield and Nathaniel M. Van Cleave state, “There may be teachers who are not pastors, but there cannot be pastors who are not teachers.”[17] Swiss reformer Heinrich Bullinger (A.D. 1504-1575) separates the ministries, saying, “The teachers were instructors, catechists and in short anyone who, privately or publicly, instructed” the masses.[18] A.T. Robinson states, “Here Paul groups ‘shepherds and teachers’ together.” However,  when it comes to verse 4:11, “All these gifts can be found in one man, though not always. Some have only one.”[19] Similarly, Lutheran reformer Eramus Sarerius (A.D. 1501-1559) separates pastors and teachers into two different roles stating:

Teachers are those who simply teach the Word in the church, and those who have the gift of teaching in the church should not be weighed down with other cares and responsibilities. To teach is to follow a method, so whoever teaches must clearly and logically explain what things are, where they come from, what they are made of, what they are for, what their effects are and what is incompatible with them.[20]

Similarly, the Westminister Confession indicates some overlap, but ultimately states, “A teacher, or doctor, is of most excellent use in schools and universities; as of old in the schools of the prophets, and at Jerusalem, where Gamaliel and others taught as doctors.”[21] Though, linking pastor and teacher in Eph 4:11, J.I. Packer does admit, “In the congregational leadership groups envisaged by the apostles, there may have been teachers who were not elders.”[22] Ephesian commentator Frank Thielman comes to a similar conclusion, noting that there is a similar grammatical construction in Ephesian 2:20, where “apostles and prophets” are mentioned, but these are two different groups with somewhat overlapping functions similar to
“pastors and teachers.” [23]
 Moreover, the distinction between these two roles is further evidenced in the NT for there are many times when the gift of teaching is mentioned and there is silence on the pastorate role (Rom 12:7; 1 Cor 12:28–29; Heb 5:12; Jas 3:1; maybe 2 Tim 2:2).[24] Moreover, Paul says (via Teritus), “In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.”[25] Thus, teachers do not have to be pastors, including apologists. The content may have overlap, but their function is mostly different (Rom 12:4).



[1] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Eph 4:11.
[2] Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 284.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Max Turner, “Ephesians,” in New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, ed. D. A. Carson et al., 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 1238.
[5] John Calvin and William Pringle, Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010), 280.
[6] Mark J. Edwards. Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians: 8 (Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture) (Kindle Locations 6306-6307). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.
[7] Bruce, Frederick Fyvie. The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians (p. 348). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. Kindle Edition.
[8] Markus Barth, Ephesians: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary on Chapters 4-6, vol. 34A, Anchor Yale Bible (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2008), 438.
[9] Musculus states, “Paul does not fully enumerate all of the offices of ministers of Christ. For in Ephesians 4, along with prophets, he mentions evangelists and pastors, and then he places teachers. Now it appears that the teachers mentioned here are the same as those he calls pastors in Ephesians.”  Scott M. Manetsch, Timothy George, and David W. McNutt, eds., 1 Corinthians: New Testament, vol. IXa, Reformation Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2017), 293.
[10]  Hodge concludes, “therefore, must be taken as a two-fold designation of the same officers, who were at once the guides and instructors of the people.” Charles Hodge, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians (New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, 1858), 227.
[11] Hoehner, Harold W.. Ephesians: An Exegetical Commentary (Kindle Locations 11026-11030). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
[12] Osborne, Grant R.. Ephesians Verse by Verse (Osborne New Testament Commentaries) (Kindle Locations 2139-2140). Lexham Press. Kindle Edition.
[13] Ernest Best, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Ephesians, International Critical Commentary (Edinburgh: T&T Clark International, 1998), 393.
[14] Andrew T. Lincoln, Ephesians, vol. 42, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1990), 250.
[15] Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Eph 4:11.
[16] Earl D. Radmacher, Ronald Barclay Allen, and H. Wayne House, Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary (Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers, 1999), 1537.
[17] Guy P. Duffield and Nathaniel M. Van Cleave, Foundations of Pentecostal Theology (Los Angeles, CA: L.I.F.E. Bible College, 1983), 354.
[18] Timothy F. George, “General Introduction,” in Galatians, Ephesians: New Testament, ed. Gerald L. Bray and Scott M. Manetsch, vol. 10, Reformation Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2011), 341.
[19] A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933), Eph 4:11.
[20] Ibid,
[21] Westminster Assembly, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition (Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851), 513.
[22] J. I. Packer, Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993), 208.
[23] Thielman, Frank. 2014. Ephesians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), 275
[24] Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996).
[25] Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013), Ro 12:6; As John Dickson states, “The crucial thing to note is that he goes out of his way to say that these three activities are not the same.” Dickson, John. Hearing Her Voice, Revised Edition: A Case for Women Giving Sermons (Fresh Perspectives on Women in Ministry) (p. 23). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

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