The Organization of the Lord Part 11
An argument against the authenticity of the letters of Timothy and Titus is the alleged presence of the so-called monarchial episcopate, or the church run by a single bishop. Those who advance this position concede that the monarchial episcopate (one-man elder ruled) does appear for the first time in the Second Century. Such a structure first occurs in the writings of Ignatius. But such a later church structure does not necessarily occur in these epistles. What is missed by almost everyone is that the name “bishop” simply means overseer. That there is NO CLEAR difference between an elder (presbuteros, Titus 1:5 and bishop, Titus 1:7. The terms are freely applied to the same persons. Earlier letters by Paul reflect a similar kind of church structure to that found here in Timothy and Titus. In Philippians 1:1, there is mentioned bishops (episkikopois) as well as deacons (diakonois) and suggest Paul’s interest in church matters (1 Corinthians 12 and Acts 14:23) Every time the word “elder” or “elders” is used in the New Testament, it does not always mean those who have meet the qualifications given in Timothy and Titus. “Elders” or “elder” could also mean “older” brethren, both men and women. IF there can be differing offices, functions, and even sexes that are described by the same name is it unreasonable to see that the use of “bishop” could speak to both sides of the structural make-up of the body of Christ? If the word is defined as “overseer” and there are two parts to the structural/governing part of the Lord’s Church, the word itself would describe the action of “overseeing” wherever it is found!! Both the evangelistic side and the episcopalian side of the church would then have “overseers,” both function as designed, and both serve the Lord’s desired purposes. This would explain Timothy and Titus, Demas and Luke, Mark and James, the Lord’s ½ brother.
Toward the end of the first century, the apostles were appointing personal representatives. We have discussed this before. This established, using the term “prophet” and knowing this was one on whom an apostle had laid hands, this passed away as did the apostles. This would have passed into the pages of history were it not for the ½ brother of Christ, James. James assumed the position in the Early Church (Galatians 2:12) that would fit the use of the term “bishop”, yet as far as I can find, James was NEVER married, which would naturally prevent him from even becoming an elder, but not a preacher of the gospel!! It is argued that 1 Corinthians 9:5 would prevent us from believing that James and the Lord’s brothers WERE NOT married, that seems to be implied, but in no place have I found this to be verified and or even mentioned.
Clement of Alexandra, Hegesippus, and Eusebius mention James as the “bishop of the Jerusalem Church” in their later histories. James ossuary (the place dead men’s bones were stored) was found and observed in 2002 in Canada. with 200 brethren/scholars of the Churches of Christ attending. On the lid of the ossuary was the inscription in Aramaic; ya’akor bar Yosef akhur di Yeshua. Translated this reads; James, son of Joseph, brother to Jesus. The word patriarch is the same as bishop.
It was believed by the early church that the death of James brought on the destruction of Jerusalem. It seems that the Pharisees (thinking James would speak to the people on their behalf) placed James on the pinnacle of the Temple. As recorded, his opening remarks were: “Jesus Christ is seated at the right of God and will return on the clouds as He comes in His glory.” The Jews immediately had him pushed off the pinnacle, his fall to the ground did not kill him, and on his knees he was praying; “Father, lay not this sin to their charge.” He was then killed with a fullers brush (used to ring out dye in clothing).