“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.”   Titus 1:5 The reason that Paul saw the need for young Pastor Titus to appoint elders in every city is that churches were being planted in every city and these new fellowships needed leaders. At this point, we will not look at the qualifications for these men (and yes they are to be men), but give a quick biblical survey of elders as leaders of God’s people:

“Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, “I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt.”   Exodus 3:16 [notice that even in bondage God’s people were being led by elders]

Joshua 7:6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the LORD until the evening, he and the elders of Israel. And they put dust on their heads.

1 Chronicles 21:16 And David lifted his eyes and saw the angel of the LORD standing between earth and heaven, and in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces.

1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.

James 5:14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

1 Peter 5:1 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 

This represents just a small sampling of elders in the bible. The plural “elders” occurs 188 times in the Scriptures. Granted, many of these uses are of the elders in Israel who rejected Jesus the Messiah. But that was just the irony. It was the very men who were in the office of leading God’s people that turned the people away from God’s chosen one. This demonstrates what the role of elders primarily is supposed to be. They are to call people to turn to Jesus the Messiah, the Savior. Next week we will examine the qualifications of elders in 1 Timothy 3. From there, we will then differintiate between elder and deacon.