31 Notable Bible Verses About Elders (with Explanations)

Throughout history, elders have been revered for their accumulated wisdom, experience, and guidance. In the Bible, they hold a special place, acting as cornerstones of communities, offering counsel, and upholding traditions. But their significance extends beyond their age. They embody the enduring values passed down through generations, serving as bridges between past, present, and future.

Delving into Bible verses about elders is akin to unearthing a treasure box of practical wisdom and timeless principles. We’ll encounter verses that exhort us to respect and honor the aged, recognizing the wealth of knowledge they possess.

We’ll also discover verses that highlight the responsibilities entrusted to elders, urging them to shepherd their communities with integrity and compassion.

So, open your mind and prepare to be enriched by the voices of experience as we explore the Bible’s perspectives on elders.

Also Read: Top Bible Verses Before Surgery (with Explanations)

Bible Verses About Elders

1 Timothy 5:17 (NIV)

The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.

In this verse from 1 Timothy, elders are recognized for their leadership within the church community. The phrase “double honor” underscores the importance of acknowledging and respecting the dedicated service of elders, particularly those engaged in preaching and teaching.

This verse highlights the significance of elders’ roles in guiding and shepherding the congregation, emphasizing the value placed on their faithful stewardship.

Titus 1:5-9 (NIV)

The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you… An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.

Titus 1:5-9 provides guidelines for the appointment of elders within the church community. The passage outlines the qualifications for elders, emphasizing characteristics such as blamelessness, faithfulness in family life, and soundness in doctrine.

This passage underscores the importance of selecting elders who exemplify spiritual maturity and integrity, serving as role models for the congregation and upholding the standards of leadership set forth by the apostle Paul.

1 Peter 5:1-3 (NIV)

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.

In 1 Peter 5:1-3, elders are called to fulfill their roles as shepherds of God’s flock with humility and diligence. The passage emphasizes the importance of servant leadership, urging elders to care for the congregation willingly and selflessly.

Elders are reminded to exercise their authority with integrity, serving as examples of Christ-like humility and genuine concern for the spiritual well-being of those under their care.

Acts 20:28 (NIV)

Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

Acts 20:28 underscores the solemn responsibility of elders to oversee and shepherd the church with vigilance and care. This verse highlights the divine appointment of elders as overseers of God’s flock, emphasizing the sacrificial nature of Christ’s redemption and the priceless value of the church.

Elders are called to exercise their leadership with attentiveness and devotion, recognizing the high cost of redemption and the sacred trust placed in their hands.

James 5:14 (NIV)

Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.

James 5:14 highlights the role of elders in ministering to the needs of the congregation, particularly in times of sickness or distress. The passage underscores the importance of communal prayer and spiritual support within the church community.

Elders are called upon to intercede for the sick and offer spiritual guidance and comfort through prayer and anointing.

Hebrews 13:17 (NIV)

Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.

Hebrews 13:17 emphasizes the importance of respect and submission to the authority of church leaders, including elders. The passage underscores the weight of responsibility entrusted to elders, who are called to give an account for the spiritual welfare of the congregation.

Believers are urged to cooperate with their leaders and support them in their ministry efforts, recognizing the mutual benefit of a harmonious relationship between leaders and followers.

1 Timothy 3:1-7 (NIV)

Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

In 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Paul outlines the qualifications for overseers, which are synonymous with eldership in the church. The passage emphasizes the moral and personal character traits necessary for effective leadership within the church community.

Elders are called to exemplify integrity, wisdom, and spiritual maturity, both in their personal lives and in their interactions with others.

1 Peter 5:5-6 (NIV)

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

This passage from 1 Peter emphasizes the importance of humility in relationships within the church community. Elders are presented as figures deserving respect, and younger members are encouraged to submit to their wisdom and guidance.

The humility advocated in this verse extends to both elders and congregation, creating an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation. The promise of God’s favor to the humble underscores the transformative power of humility in fostering healthy relationships within the church.

1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.

While not explicitly about elders, this verse highlights the concept of leadership and influence regardless of age. It encourages believers, including potential future elders, to set an example in various aspects of life.

This verse reminds us that leadership qualities are not restricted by age, and individuals, regardless of their youth, can inspire others through their conduct and faithfulness.

Acts 14:23 (NIV)

Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.

Acts 14:23 offers a glimpse into the early church’s practice of appointing elders. The verse reflects the significance of prayer and seeking God’s guidance in the selection of elders.

The commitment to the Lord underscores the spiritual nature of this responsibility, emphasizing the importance of relying on divine wisdom in appointing leaders within the church.

1 Corinthians 16:15-16 (NIV)

You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord’s people. I urge you, brothers and sisters, to submit to such people and to everyone who joins in the work and labors at it.

In this passage, the devotion of the household of Stephanas to serving the Lord’s people is commended. While not explicitly about elders, it reflects the broader principle of recognizing and respecting those who dedicate themselves to serving the church.

The call to submit to such individuals underscores the importance of acknowledging and appreciating those who labor for the well-being of the community.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (NIV)

Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.

This passage from 1 Thessalonians encourages believers to acknowledge and hold in high regard those who work hard in their midst, particularly those who care for and admonish them in the Lord.

The emphasis on love and peace within the community underscores the importance of valuing the contributions of those who labor for the spiritual well-being of the congregation.

1 Corinthians 12:28 (NIV)

And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.

While not explicitly about elders, this verse provides insight into the diverse roles within the church. Elders, often serving as spiritual guides and teachers, hold a crucial position among the various gifts and roles mentioned.

The verse highlights the intentional placement of these roles by God, emphasizing the significance of each in contributing to the overall health and functioning of the church.

Philippians 1:1 (NIV)

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons.

This greeting in Philippians includes a mention of overseers (often synonymous with elders) and deacons within the church community. While not a direct commentary, it acknowledges the leadership structure within the church, with overseers playing a vital role in guiding and shepherding the believers in Philippi.

This brief mention reflects the organizational structure within the early Christian communities, highlighting the collaborative efforts of various roles for the well-being of the church.

1 Peter 5:4 (NIV)

And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

This verse from 1 Peter 5:4 refers to Jesus as the Chief Shepherd. The imagery of shepherds and sheep is common in biblical metaphors for leaders and their congregations.

Here, the promise of receiving a crown of glory highlights the ultimate reward for faithful and devoted shepherding. Elders are encouraged by the prospect of an eternal and imperishable reward, emphasizing the eternal significance of their role in leading and caring for God’s people.

Hebrews 13:24-25 (NIV)

Greet all your leaders and all the Lord’s people. Those from Italy send you their greetings. Grace be with you all.

In the closing remarks of the book of Hebrews, there is a mention of greeting the leaders and all the Lord’s people. While not specifically mentioning elders, it acknowledges the broader leadership within the Christian community.

The mention of greetings conveys a sense of unity and connection among believers, reinforcing the importance of mutual support and fellowship within the church.

Acts 20:17 (NIV)

From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church.

In Acts 20:17, we see Paul actively engaging with the elders of the church in Ephesus. This action by Paul signifies the importance of leadership collaboration and communication.

The meeting with the elders serves as a model for open dialogue and partnership between apostolic figures and local leaders. It reinforces the concept of shared responsibility and leadership within the church community.

Colossians 1:28-29 (NIV)

He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.

In Colossians 1:28-29, Paul expresses his commitment to proclaiming Christ and teaching with wisdom. While not explicitly about elders, this passage echoes the responsibility of spiritual leaders to guide believers toward maturity in Christ.

It emphasizes the earnest effort and reliance on Christ’s power required for effective teaching and admonition, illustrating the passionate dedication required in leadership roles.

1 Corinthians 9:14 (NIV)

In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.

While specifically addressing those who preach the gospel, this verse from 1 Corinthians 9:14 has implications for the support and care of leaders within the church, including elders. It highlights the principle of providing for those who dedicate their lives to full-time ministry.

This verse underscores the importance of recognizing and meeting the material needs of those in leadership roles, acknowledging the mutual responsibility between the congregation and its leaders.

Romans 12:6-8 (NIV)

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

In Romans 12:6-8, Paul outlines various spiritual gifts within the body of Christ, including the gift of leadership. This passage reinforces the diversity of roles and gifts within the church community.

The mention of leadership as a distinct gift emphasizes the specific calling and role of those with the ability to lead. It encourages individuals to embrace and exercise their unique gifts, fostering a harmonious and effective functioning of the entire body of believers.

2 Timothy 4:1-2 (NIV)

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.

In 2 Timothy 4:1-2, Paul charges Timothy with the responsibility to preach the word consistently, regardless of the circumstances. While directed towards Timothy, this charge sets a precedent for those in leadership, including elders, to faithfully communicate the message of the Gospel.

The call to correct, rebuke, and encourage highlights the multifaceted nature of shepherding, emphasizing the need for patience and careful instruction in the leadership role.

1 Corinthians 16:15 (NIV)

You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord’s people. I urge you, brothers and sisters, to submit to such people and to everyone who joins in the work and labors at it.

In this verse, the dedication of the household of Stephanas to the service of the Lord’s people is commended. Though not directly about elders, it emphasizes the principle of recognizing and respecting those who devote themselves to serving the church community.

The call to submit to such individuals reinforces the importance of acknowledging and appreciating those who labor for the well-being of the congregation.

James 5:14-15 (NIV)

Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.

James 5:14-15 highlights the role of elders in providing spiritual care, particularly in times of sickness. The act of anointing with oil and praying in faith illustrates the holistic approach to healing within the Christian community.

This passage emphasizes the spiritual dimension of leadership, as elders are called upon to intercede for the sick and facilitate a connection between physical well-being and the forgiveness of sins.

Matthew 20:25-28 (NIV)

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

While not specifically about elders, this teaching from Jesus challenges conventional notions of leadership. It emphasizes a servant-leadership model, suggesting that greatness in the kingdom of God is marked by a willingness to serve.

This principle has implications for elders, underscoring the importance of humility and a servant’s heart in their leadership roles.

1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 (NIV)

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21, Paul instructs the believers not to quench the Spirit and encourages them to test prophecies. While not explicitly about elders, this passage implies the need for discernment within the community.

Elders play a role in guiding and facilitating this discernment process, ensuring that the spiritual vitality of the community is maintained while holding onto what is good and aligned with the truth of God’s Word.

1 Peter 5:2-3 (NIV)

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.

This passage from 1 Peter 5:2-3 provides a detailed description of the shepherd-like role of elders. It emphasizes the voluntary nature of leadership, the motivation to serve, and the call to be examples to the flock.

Elders are instructed to lead with humility, avoiding any sense of superiority, and displaying a genuine eagerness to serve the congregation. This passage provides a comprehensive guide to the relational and ethical aspects of elder leadership in the church.

1 Corinthians 14:40 (NIV)

But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

While not explicitly about elders, this verse from 1 Corinthians 14:40 emphasizes the importance of order within the church community. Elders, as spiritual leaders, play a crucial role in fostering an environment of order and decency.

This verse underscores the responsibility of leaders to guide the congregation in conducting their gatherings with decorum, ensuring that all activities align with the principles of God’s Word. The emphasis on a fitting and orderly way highlights the leadership’s role in facilitating worship and fellowship that honors God and promotes unity among believers.

Also Read: Top Bible Verses Before Surgery (with Explanations)

What Does the Bible Say About Elders?

The Bible provides guidance and instructions regarding elders, also referred to as overseers, shepherds, or pastors, within the context of the Christian community. Elders hold positions of spiritual leadership and authority, tasked with shepherding and caring for the congregation.

Here are some key points about elders as outlined in the Bible:

Qualifications for Elders:

The New Testament provides specific qualifications for elders in passages such as 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. These qualifications include moral character traits such as being above reproach, faithful in marriage, temperate, self-controlled, hospitable, and able to teach. Elders must exhibit qualities that reflect their commitment to God and His Word, serving as examples to the congregation.

Role and Responsibilities:

Elders are entrusted with the spiritual oversight and care of the church community. They are called to shepherd the flock of God, providing guidance, teaching, and discipline as needed (1 Peter 5:1-4, Acts 20:28). The primary responsibility of elders is to ensure the spiritual well-being and growth of the congregation by teaching sound doctrine, providing pastoral care, and exercising discipline when necessary.

Leadership and Authority:

Elders are appointed to positions of authority within the church, serving as spiritual overseers and shepherds (Hebrews 13:17). They are called to lead with humility and wisdom, exercising their authority for the edification and unity of the body of Christ. Elders are accountable to God for their leadership and must lead with integrity and sincerity, seeking the welfare of the flock entrusted to their care.

A Short Prayer For Elders

Heavenly Father,

We come before you with gratitude for the elders you have placed in our midst. Thank you for their wisdom, guidance, and unwavering commitment to shepherding your flock. Bless our elders, Lord, with discernment, strength, and an overflow of your grace.

Grant them wisdom as they lead, compassion as they care, and humility as they serve. May your Spirit continue to empower and inspire them in their roles as spiritual leaders. Surround them with your love and protection.

We pray for their well-being, both physically and spiritually. Strengthen them in times of weariness and refresh their souls. May they continue to be beacons of your light, reflecting your love to the community.

In the name of Jesus, our Chief Shepherd, we pray.