In our current series on elders we are studying the different titles for elders. These titles serve as picture words that help us understand the roles of these men in the life of the church. Our last post looked at the title “elder.” You can read that post here. In this post we will study the word “steward.”
Steward is a word used as a synonym for “elder” in Titus 1:7. An elder (Titus 1:5) is “God’s steward” (Titus 1:7). Steward is a translation of the Greek word oikonoms, which refers to a household manager. So, the elders are God’s household managers.
These household managers were slaves responsible for the care of the master’s household. They cared for the family members and property of their master. (Please note that this is not an endorsement of slavery. It is simply a statement of facts as they were historically. See this post for more)
Joseph is a biblical example and illustration of these household managers. In Genesis 37 Joseph, the eleventh son born to Jacob, was hated by his brothers and sold into slavery. He was sold to the captain of Pharaoh’s guards. The Lord made Joseph prosperous, and he was a proven slave. So, Potiphar made Joseph his household manager. Genesis 39:4 says, “So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had.” So, Joseph became the manager of Potiphar’s possessions.
It is important to remember that Joseph was manager of Potiphar’s possessions. Household managers do not own property. They care for the property of their master. This is a principle for us as we consider elders. The elders are God’s household managers. They do not own the church. The church does not belong to them. The church belongs to God. God purchased the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28). So, the church belongs to Him. The elders are strictly managers, keeping watch over and taking care of God’s church family.
The elders are God’s household managers, caring for His church His way. The church is God’s family. The elders have the solemn responsibility to take care God’s family.
Articles in this series:
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Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.