The Pastor as Steward

The Pastor as Steward

The same word is used in Titus 1:3, “And at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior.” Paul’s emphasis on this metaphor shows its importance for understanding the nature of ministry as a stewardship. Modern readers have a grasp on the meaning in the English, but to truly understand the text one must examine what it meant to Timothy. 

There are many metaphors for the pastor in the New Testament. He is compared to a shepherd, farmer, soldier, and a workmen to note a few. One often overlooked metaphor is the pastor as steward. The New Testament uses metaphors because they are a powerful communication tool that illicit a visual response in the readers mind and make a simple connection to clarify and sharpen the thing to which they are compared. The image not only invokes information but emotion.

Although, there are many metaphors in the pastoral epistles, I would argue the controlling or dominating picture is the estate stewardship metaphor. Paul states his purpose and his occasion in 1 Timothy 3:14, “I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of truth.” Paul’s reason for writing is that he is concerned he may be delayed in coming to see Timothy and needs to make Timothy aware of what the church should be doing at Ephesus. The purpose of the letter is to stand in place of Paul himself to provide instruction how people are to behave in God’s house.

It is the introduction of this metaphor, the church as God’s household, that would strike the original reader. Modern households are anything but structured or uniformed, but first-century households conformed to strict rules according to the household code. Specifically, Paul is communicating specific instructions as one in authority to a subordinate.

The Apostle Paul was writing to Timothy to entrust a deposit that Timothy was then to steward according to the instructions of the letter. This stewardship language of “entrust” is used multiple times in Pauls’ epistles.

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