2. The answer is found in the terms used. The four we just titles we just looked at give us some insight – maturity, advocacy, tender loving care, watchfulness and the Greek word translated by the KJV as "rule" adds even more.
3. It literally means "to care for as a protector or guardian, to be out in front leading and guiding." It is interesting to notice that it is only used in Paul’s writings. On time referring to the gifts of God’s people in Romans 12:8 - leadership, 5 times in direct reference to elders and deacons in I Thessalonians and I Timothy. Twice to refer to the faithfulness of God’s people in Titus3:8 – devote.
4. Maybe a better insight in the Hebrew equivalent, by the way which would have been the foundation of 1st century Christian thought.
a. Leviticus 24:25 - help
b. Judges 16:28 – strengthen; 20:22 – encourage
c. II Samuel 11:25 – encourage
d. Zechariah 10:12 – strengthen
C. This is the same message Paul gave in Acts 20:28 when he told the Ephesian Elders to "shepherd or tend to the flock of God." All of this fits quite well with the leadership style of Jesus which is the ultimate pattern. Which brings us to the last item from I Timothy 5:17 – preaching and teaching.
1. Again the Shepherd, Pastor, Bishop roles are seen here as the two Greek terms logos & didaskalos used here literally mean the word and the teacher.
2. They point us back to Jesus as these same two terms are also names Jesus carried as He walked among His people leading them as lost sheep back to God.
D. The work of Spiritual Leaders is the same word Jesus performed. Leading, guiding, shepherding and teaching God’s people toward a greater relationship with Jehovah God. This is an awesome and tremendous task. Not one to be taken lightly nor one to be underestimated. The next phrase in our text gives insight.
II. THE REWARD OF SPIRITUAL LEADERS
A. In our text Paul writes that those Shepherds who fulfill their duties and fulfill them well are worthy of double honor. In my estimation this stresses the sheer weighty nature of the task at hand. There are two interesting things in this phrase.
1. The first is "worthy." In the original Greek it literally means weighty, deserving & befitting. Yet it also carries the connotation of examination and scrutiny. It is also used in the NT to mean desire, good and thoughtfulness.
2. The second thing is the phrase "double honor." I wrestled with this a long time. What does it mean to be worthy of double honor? In the Greek it is literally what our English translations say "double honor." Finally it dawned on me that is must mean honor on top of honor. The role and service of a Spiritual Leader is honorable in and of itself. The very position it places one in is hallowed before God because of its undeniable proximity to Jesus Himself.
3. To say that those who "fulfill their roles well are deserving of double honor," is to say that they have achieved the greatest position they could possibly achieve. They are not only filling the role in bodily form, but they are filling it full of meaning and truth by their actions.