Paul laid down rules of behavior for leaders in Christian communities, not for bishops as we know them.

Tuesday, 9/17/13

The rules that Paul sets down for bishops in today’s reading might not have been for bishops as we know them, but simply for religious overseers. There is confusion here.

The Greek word Paul used for an overseer was epi-scopus, which in Latin became Episcopus. It was applied to the chief Christian in any gathering, The over-seer. In the next century the use of the word epi-scopus was narrowed down to apply only to that single Christian in a major community who was the overseer, or the bishop as we know them. After 1200 A.D. with Anglo-Saxons becoming Christians, their pronunciation of the word episcopus was gradually altered; with the “p” sound becoming a “b” sound, and the “sc” sound becoming an “sh” sound, so that episcopus mutated into bishop.

So, today’s reading was not telling our present day bishops that they should marry once, raise obedient families, and go easy on the drink. 

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