Author: Ron Graham

Glossary Simplybible

Word Study: Pastor

Word family: Pastor, pastoring, pastoral.

Synonyms: Overseer, bishop, shepherd, elder, presbyter

Related ideas: church government, leadership, guardianship, submission

Definitions: In Latin, the word for shepherd is "pastor". In English, "pastor" is generally used to mean a clergyman or preacher. However in the scriptures it refers exclusively to the shepherds (elders) of a congregation, not the preachers or evangelists.

Greek References and Scripture:

There are four Greek words rendered by seven English words. Here are the Greek, English, Strong's reference, and scripture examples

A comparison of these passages will show that the terms overseer, bishop, shepherd, pastor, elder, presbyter, and ruler, are synonymous and interchangeable. They are simply different words for the same thing. Notice in particular the following points:

Comment: In the above table, the Greek/English equivalents are given. Some translators, instead of the simpler English, use the words in brackets. Personally, I think the bracketed words (bishop, pastor, presbyter) are less suitable for general use in the church, because they need too much explaining and can be misleading because of denominational usage.