The Apostle Paul explains the duty of bishops or pastors by saying: “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desires a good work” (1 Timothy 3:1). He then introduces a set of principles for the nomination of the elders (bishops or pastors) and deacons in the church. The requirements applied to them are categories of qualities needed to fulfill the duty of a Christian minister. However, every Christian needs to grow into Christ’s character likeness. Therefore, every mature Christian should display these qualities, not just the elders.- Titus 1: 7-9; 2: 2-3.
“Bishop” means “inspection (for relief); by implication, superintendence” (Strong’s G1984). He is not a supervisor like a master, although this misconception is common. Just as Jesus “inspected” and served by washing the apostles’ feet, bishops should humbly serve.
The word “servant” is the Greek word “diakonos,” or “deacon.” Apostle Peter describes himself and all believers as “the servants of God” (1 Peter 2:16). Additionally, the Apostle Paul says: “our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers (diakonos, servants) of the new testament,” 2 Corinthians 3:5. We prefer to emphasize the fact that even the apostles and prophets, who were elders in the Church, were all deacons/servants. The Lord, Himself, said: “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” Matthew 23:11.
An elder of a congregation is a good teacher (1 Timothy 3: 2) and should have a good knowledge of the Word of God. He should use his knowledge to spiritually up-build believers and prevent doctrinal and moral errors. “Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.” Acts. 20:30. He is to provide care for Christian believers, just as the shepherd looks after the sheep.
Bishop, or pastor as servant, is the first feature of the true role of the elder, followed by care and teaching. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. Matthew 23:11.