Conversation: Where are the Pope and Bishops in Scripture


Q. Where is the acknowledgment of the apostolic church as presented in these writings of the position claimed for Peter?

A. In the early Church there were all three ordained offices of the Catholic Church that we have today (Deacons, Priests, Bishops). They were called by different names but the offices were in existence and are designated in Acts 6:5 and Acts 15 at the first Church Council and elsewhere in the New Testament.

Q. I cannot find the use of Deacon, Priest or Bishop in Acts 6:5.

A. The establishment of the office of Deacon is in Acts 6:1-6. This I was taught as a Protestant.

Q. Where is the hierarchy in Acts 15? I’m missing it.

A. First, we have Peter at the council who stood up and settled the dispute, made the POPE or Vicar of Christ in Matthew 16:17-19.

Q. Providing the evidence that answered the question the council was debating is not the same as making the ultimate decision, just as in a court of law the judge listens to all the evidence and then makes a decision, not the witness who provides the pertinent evidence influencing the decision.

A. Paul and Barnabas were bringing the evidence of their experience to the Church at Jerusalem. Peter was not a witness. He was one of the pillars of the Church in Jerusalem. Paul submits his teaching to him and the other apostles in Jerusalem in

Galations 2:1-2 Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain.

. Peter gave his decision regarding the debate and James the bishop of Jerusalem made practical application of Peter’s decision exactly as it is still done in the Church today.

Then, also present at the first Church Council were the apostles who became the first BISHOPS ( Gr. Episkopos) in the Church. There are many other New Testament passages that mention the office of bishop or overseer.

Q. A church is a body of believers who have banded together just as we are instructed in Hebrews 10:25, and just like any earthly organization to operate effectively the duties and responsibilities are split up, this is a work of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit assigns gifts to each one. In each body different positions exist for the good of the body, such as Pastor/Teacher, Elder, Deacon, etc. That does not mean that all bodies of believers are answering to the same leadership except that of Jesus Christ.

A. This is the Protestant theory of leadership but in reality and in the final analysis each man decides for himself what he believes according to what he reads in scripture. The Catholic Church just has one pope but the Protestants have millions of popes.

Q. The term translated as Bishop means overseer of a church and can you show me in the N/T where this term is ever used to describe a specific individual, such as Peter?

A. No, but we know they ordained bishops. Do you believe you can prove no bishops were ever ordained? Yes, their function is an overseer of the local Church. We call them Bishops. You call them overseers but their office exists in scripture.

Acts 1:20
For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.

Q. This is commonly translated as “his work”. To have designated Judas to have actually been a Bishop in the Church has to be wrong as technically the church did not exist pre-Calvary.

A. That is not a translation but an interpretation. Judas had been ordained to an office and his successor needed to be appointed. This was decided by none other than the first Pope, Peter.

And, as an aside, Peter also pronounced and freed the Christian Church from the obligation of circumcision. That was a pretty big deal, especially for the Jewish Christians. Can you imagine the nerve of Peter to abrogate something instituted “forever” by God? Unless, everyone knew, Jesus Himself had given Peter this authority.

Phil. 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

1 Timothy 3:1-2
This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

Titus 1:7
For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;

1 Peter 2:25
For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

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