spoke of the elders who are among you. There is no Scriptural reference, that one-man is to be the head of a church, nor is there is to be any board of men who are over those who feed and lead the flock. And yet, in many churches today, they have one man who rules the church or a board of men who rule the elder pastors who are called to lead the church. However, I can find nowhere in the New Testament, that the people of God enjoined to obey him who has rule over you, but rather them who have the rule over you. Nowhere are pastors told to submit to people but rather to people in Hebrews 13 are told to submit to the shepherd-pastor, the spiritual leaders, over them.
"The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning. I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality. Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin. No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments. The sins of some men are quite evident, going before them to judgment; for others, their sins follow after. Likewise also, deeds that are good are quite evident, and those which are otherwise cannot be concealed."
I believe that it is unfortunate that word "rule," as is used here, was to describe the pastor’s work. That word in our world implies that these men are the bosses, that they have to be obeyed, and that they are governors over the congregation. It is actually the Greek word, proestōtes, which means "to put before, to set over," or lead and it is the common word for leadership. So a reasonable translation of the verse would read "Let the pastors who lead well be worthy of double honor."
Paul goes on to say "… especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching." Although this is rarely understood by those who have never had the weight of responsibility to prepare messages, if it is done correctly, it is often, hard work. This is often seen in that church members who are hard pressed for the right thing to say to the pastor after the service has ended. In fact, on those rare occasions, I have had some who have actually said "I don’t care what the others say, I happen to like your most of your sermons." And, on one other occasion, someone said "Had I have known you were actually going to preach something good today I’d have brought a few neighbors with me." Um, thank you, I think. And, of course, there is the typical, "Hey pastor, today's message wasn’t half bad!"However, the responsibility of the pastor, is to teach the Word of God to his people, and should never come to the pulpit unprepared. And, to do this, it requires hours and hours of study and preparation. This reminds me of a story I once heard, many years ago, about a pastor who was never prepared, he failed to read and study the Scripture during the week, and on Sunday mornings, he’d sit on the platform while the church was singing the hymns, desperately praying, "Lord, give your message, Lord give me your message." One Sunday, while desperately praying for the Lord’s message, he heard the Lord say, "O.K., here’s my message. "You are a lazy preacher!"
I'd like you to understand, that Luke’s Gospel was already been written down and was being circulated in the churches by the time Paul wrote I Timothy. So, we can clearly see, or at least I hope that you can, that it is biblical, to show pastors respect, appreciation and honor, for their faithful work of service on your behalf. It is carrying out the teaching of Hebrews 13:17, which says "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you."In verses 19-20, Paul illustrates that it is sometimes necessary for elders to be rebuked. "Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning." The point Paul is making here, is if an elder is found to be in sin and there are multiple witnesses, then rebuke him. However, I'd like to also add, that one should never rebuke an elder by themselves or without having multiple witnesses. It has been my personal experience, that most often, when one person rebukes an elder, it isn’t that the elder has actually done something wrong, but it is most generally, a difference of opinions. I have seen several pastors, who were unfairly rebuked over differences of one man's opinion, and left the pastorate.
the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
Now and forever, in Jesus' name