"Pastor" is NOT in the Bible - Twisted Bible Part 6

This Twisted Bible series seeks to unpack and develop many words in English translations of the Bible that seem to be lacking. In this series, we will start by looking at words that could have been translated better (or at least more accurately), and then we will gradually build to translated words that were more heavily twisted, censored, or out-right butchered. If you have not read the introductory post on this series, please read it here. For every word I will give you the link so you can look it up on Blue Letter Bible. There you can see the Greek word, the full definition, and the cross references. Here is an article on how to use it for all its worth.

"So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." - Ephesians 4:11-13

Do you know that the word "pastor" is not in most Bibles?  
Throughout the entire Bible, many translations do not even use the word "pastor" once. So where does the word come from? What is the actual Greek word behind the word "pastor"? The word is "poimÄ“n" and it specifically means "shepherd." This word, along with "archipoimÄ“n" (which means "chief shepherd") together appear 19 times in the New Testament. The word specifically means "shepherd." When we connect this with the many references throughout the Bible we see the fullness of what the word means. We also are reminded of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, who is described 15 of the 19 times the Greek Word is used.

So why would English translators invent a word for one single occurrence? The truth is I don't know. But I can tell you that the first handwritten English Wycliffe Bible in 1380, and the first printed Tyndale New Testament in 1534, and the Great Bible in 1540, and Matthew's Bible in 1549 all translated the word "shepherds." It was not until the Geneva Bible in 1560 and the King James Version in 1611 that the word "pastor" was used. 

What motivated this word to be coined? Keep in mind Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis in 1517, which means the word "pastor" was placed in our English Bibles at the height of the Reformation. Since the Reformers wanted to cut ties with the Catholic Church, it makes sense that shedding the term "priest" could lead the way to make a title out of Ephesians 4:11. Hence the word "pastor" was derived from the Old French word "pastur" and the Latin "pastorem."

The fact that they coined a new word is not necessarily a bad thing. However, what's bad is that in creating a title we have disconnected the roots of that word that are found in Jesus, David, Abraham, and many others throughout the Bible. When we look at Ephesians 4 we see many roles have their purpose in equipping all of God's people to do the work of the ministry. It is not work that is solely assigned to pastors. Modern day pastors do fulfill an important role in the modern day church, but that role is abused. Read Ephesians 4:11-13 again. Who is doing the work of the ministry?

Let us remember that "pastor" means "shepherd" and once again reconnect the meaning. For "shepherds in the Near East [were] responsible for watching out for enemies trying to attack the sheep, defending the sheep from attackers, healing the wounded and sick sheep, finding and saving lost or trapped sheep, loving them, and sharing their lives and to earn their trust." (Blue Letter  Bible) That is the beautiful definition of the role "shepherd." A shepherd was never intended to be the CEO of the local business that sells God. So regardless if we call our local church leader "shepherd" or "pastor" let us remember what a shepherd is and who they should be imitating. If we see power, prestige, and privilege, that "pastor" is completely missing the point. 

Let us also remember that none of us are called to be leaders, but we are all called to be servants. Let us all practice Ephesians 4:11-13.

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