Copyright Rev. Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. 1992












In my early college days the Lord laid it on my heart to prepare for the ministry of teaching at the college level. All of my college and seminary work was aimed toward that time when I would be teaching in a Bible college or Bible Institute. The Lord used a number of things to help me understand that I had the gift of teaching. To begin with, I found that I seemed effective as a teacher with several age groups. Many people responded positively to my ministry and finally there were many that told me they felt that I had the gift of teaching.

I proceeded to pray concerning where the Lord might be able to use me and it seemed obvious that teaching was the area. From that point on I attempted to be involved in that ministry. As time went by, I discovered that the usual college/institute teacher was a pastor that had decided later in life to go into teaching. Many of them as I observed were men that did not do that well in the pastorate.

At one point in my life I was faced with deciding whether I should go into the pastorate. I was not comfortable with doing the work that we noramlly assign to the pastor. The roll of marrying, counceling, funeraling etc. As I considered these things it crossed my mind that I was certain what a teacher was, but that I was not certain about what a pastor was. As I considered this, a word study about the word "pastor" seemed appropriate.


The gift is listed in Ephesians four. Please take time to read verse 11-16. Notice that the gift of pastor is linked to the gift of teaching. This gift is listed in Rom. 12:6-8, I Cor. 12:28-30, and Eph. 4:11. We cannot look at the gift of pastor without considering the gift of teaching. Some link these two gifts together showing there is a gift of pastor-teacher and a gift of teaching. The thought being that the pastor of a church should have the gift of pastor-teacher while a teacher would have the gift of teaching.

The text seems to indicate that the Lord gifted different men in different ways. The emphasis is on the man that is gifted in the text. The man that was listed as a pastor also received the gift of teaching. This is not to say that every pastor must have the gift of teacher, only that Christ gifted some with both pastor and teacher. You might wonder why I give emphasis to this. The church is given the gifts that it needs. We have a wrong concept of what the pastor of a church is. Today a pastor is a man that preaches, teaches, councels, calls, visits, mowes lawns, cleans floors, and everything else.

I believe, and I believe that Scripture teaches that this concept is grossly wrong. A pastor is not all of these things. A pastor is a man that has the gift of pastor. This man may be the local undertaker, or the banker, or the butcher. He is a man in the church that can do the work of a pastor. We will look at what I mean as we go along, but we MUST get rid of the thought that the pastor of a church is the man that does everything.

Paul in Ephesians was not trying to say that the pastor-teacher was the head of the physical local assembly. He was telling the Ephesians that the Lord had given some men the gift of apostleship, some men the gift of prophet, some men the gift of evangelism, some men the gift of pastoring and some men the gift of teaching. The first two, the gifts of apostles and prophets were among the sign gifts that have passed away. He stated by coupling the gifts of pastor and teacher together that some men have both gifts. He was not requiring that the pastor be a teacher or that every teacher be a pastor.

There are two gifts. Pastor and teacher. The pastor gift is not listed elsewhere in scripture. Indeed the translation of this Greek word by the term "pastor" is misleading and probably due to the wrong concept of pastor that the church has had for many years.

The Greek term translated pastor here is actually translated differently every time it appears in the New Testament. It is normally translated shepherd, which is a totally different idea than what we have for the pastor of our day. Let's consider all of this for awhile.

What are the terms that are used in Eph.? The term translated pastor is "poimeen" and it is normally translated shepherd. Indeed, it is never translated pastor, except in the Eph. text. The term translated teacher is "didaskalos" and is translated "master" in the Gospels and teacher in the rest of the New Testament.


Let's look at the term "poimeen" and find out just what a shepherd should be. There are only two references containing this term in the epistles and both of them are referring to the Good Shepherd Jesus Christ. (Heb. 13:20; I Pet 2:25)

The other uses of the term are found in the Gospels. We won't take time to look at these, but they show the ministry of a shepherd to his sheep. Probably the reference that depicts the overall idea is Matt. 9:36 which shows the overall concern of the shepherd. "But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they were faint, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd." You should note that this Shepherd not only had the compassion for the people, but His entire ministry was the steps He took to relieve their misery. It was a caring, and ministering to the sheep.

I would like to sum up the thoughts of the other Gospel references and just list the items that can be seen concerning the shepherd. (These references contain the word "poimeen". Matt 9:36 (Mar. 6:34); Matt. 25:32; Matt. 26:31 (Mar. 14:27); Lu. 2:8-20; Jn. 10:1-16.)


Gathers the sheep. Collect, control, draw, and limit are part of gathering sheep.

Keeps the sheep from falsehood or things that are not true.

In the case of Christ, He died for the sheep.

Watches over the sheep.

Stick with the sheep to assure their safety. Won't leave them.

Know his sheep. His sheep will also know the shepherd. This is not descriptive of many of our churches today.

We won't go into these thoughts. You can apply these things for yourself.


If the man is gifted to be a shepherd then he is one that practices the art of shepherding with a flock of believers. The man that is a teacher is teaching the sheep to do the work that the Lord has for them to do.

It is of interest to me how the apostle Paul operated. Some of the apostles were active in the local church at Jerusalem while others according to tradition went out evangelizing as Paul did. Acts 13 mentions there were prophets and teachers that were active in a local assembly. One of those men was Saul, or Paul as we know him. He was either a prophet or teacher and I would guess that he was one of the teachers, because there is no indication in the NT that he was a prophet.

Now, why did Paul never settle down in a church? The only reason that I can think of is that he realized that he was a teacher and that the Lord wanted him out teaching. He did not practice the gift of pastor in the NT as far as I can find. He knew his gift and he practiced his gift where he could. He did not stuff himself into a pastoring position because he knew he was not gifted in that area.

I trust that as we continue on through life that we will seek to find ways of allowing the gifted to practice their gifts instead of placing them where they do not belong.

A teacher is a teacher and a pastor is a pastor. If a men is both then he should do both. If a man is a teacher, he should be a teacher and if a man is a pastor, he should be a pastor.

May we make some observations:

1. There are five gifts listed in the text. This may have application in three areas: a. This could mean that you will have one man with two gifts, that of pastoring and teaching. b. This could mean that you have one man that is a shepherd and one man that is a teacher if you have a plurality of leadership. If you have only one leader then the man should have both gifts. c. This could mean that a teacher should not be the soul leader of a church. If that is all you have then you should look around until you find the man that is gifted to be a shepherd. Use a "teacher only" if that is all you have, but I believe there will be a shepherd if there is a need.

2. Shepherd is a gift separate from the gift of teaching.

3. In Eph. 4 we see that these men are there for the training of the believers. We must assume that the shepherd is involved in training as well as the teacher. Let's think about how the two might be able to train believers.

THE SHEPHERD: Leads to proper food, corrects, protects from falsehood, guides, motivates to move, and gathers.

THE TEACHER: Teaches proper principles of living, interpreting etc., teaches the Word, warns from the Word.

There seems to be a difference of ministry between the two. We must realize that one cannot do the other, and they are a complmentary pair of gifts. Indeed, the evangelist can train the believer in areas that the shepherd and teacher cannot.

The teacher can teach principles of evangelism, however it is the evangelist that can take the believer out and show them how it is done.

All three gifts work to train the believer, yet the three cannot operate alone and be effective.

(Some feel that the gift of prophet is current today but that it is functioning in a different way than in the sign gift days. They feel that the prophet is the preacher. This does not detract from what we have stated thus far.)


The importance of all this is seen in the fact that we may have a man that is a pastor and a teacher at the same time, but it is also true that we may have a man that is a pastor and a man that is a teacher and that we could function well as a local assembly with either situation.

I include this study in the hope that we will change our concept of "pastor" to one that is Biblical and not traditional. I have met many men that would love to preach and teach from a pulpit in churches, but they do not feel they are able to handle the other parts of "pastoring" which the church has laid upon the man in the pulpit.

On the other hand I suspect that we have many men that can shepherd that would never be capable of entering into a preaching or teaching situation that are not functioning in the local church because the pastor does those things.

If we had a proper understanding of the term pastor, we could operate a church with a teacher in the pulpit, in the class room or in the Bible study and a pastor in the sick room, or in the counceling room, or in the visiting room.


Christ gave gifts to all believers. Some of these gifts are for training the sheep.

As we move into a new century for the world and the church might we look into the scripture for our forms and organization, rather than into the traditions that we have inherited from past generations.

May we seek to minister to one another as Christ has gifted us.

May we determine that we are not going to cram a teacher into a pastoring positions or a pastor into a teaching position.

I might mention there are churches that have realized these things and have allowed their teachers to teach and their pastors to pastor. These churches have a plurality of leadership and function quite nicely with these principles. I am told that A.W. Tozer was a teaching elder in his church and that others did the shepherding.