Paul told Titus to appoint elders (Presbyters) in Crete after saying, “put what remained into order” (Titus 1:5). In the same paragraph (verse 7) he uses the word overseer (Episcopal) to describe the same responsible leadership, “as God’s steward.” How we got two denominations out of one responsibility God only knows! 😊 The word elder refers to father, and father in this sense refers to the oversight of households in the nation of Israel as prescribed by Moses. This responsibility represents The Father (G0d) to those under the care of an elder. Fathers represent the will, the way, and the word of God as stewards to those for whom they are responsible. This is not about superior intellect or ability, or about having more revelation than anyone else, be man or woman. Rather, it is a God given responsibility as determine by godly character… a key for Titus and Timothy in appointing elders.
True elders do not work alone. Elders relate to other elders, let alone with their wives who also have Holy Spirit. So, the elder is committed to having his wife be a partner in stewarding responsibility, while being the one ultimately responsible according to scripture designation. Elders are fathers… and that’s God’s created order with purpose and not discrimination against or apart from mothers. Mothers have responsibilities that only they can fulfill, though with the help of Fathers. So, Fathers and Mothers help one another to fulfill their God-given stewardship responsibilities of those under their care.
Elders are also committed to one another in their sphere of influence. For example, in the Church of locality the elders steward and shepherd as one eldership, watching over one another. This healthy understanding of eldership guards against competition and discrimination and individual distortion. In todays mess of the church as we currently experience, may true elders begin to dig into the scriptures to discover together who they are in Christ for the sake of Christ’s Church and the advancement of the Kingdom of God on earth.