Old Testament Elders
Topic: Old Testament Elders
By Pastor David Cox
Taken from a white paper by David Cox written August 11, 1994
Let me say that there is a difference between an older person and an elder. The difference is that an elder is a person who is respected because of HOW he lived his life. Basically hard work, good decisions, and faithfulness to the basic tasks of work, home, family, nation, and church is what defines a person as an elder. In the Old Testament there were not churches of course, but “the congregation” or the people of Israel in their religious capacity. Before this structure came to be though, the elders of a group of people saw to the religious affairs of that group. Job is an example that is without date, but very old. Yet without the tabernacle nor the temple, Job was worried about the religious state of his children. The is a good man being an elder. We see Cain and Able offering sacrifices for their family, and Abraham as well. This leadership in life is what makes the difference between an old man and an elder.
In time, God brought chosen leaders onto the scene, and while in a sense they replaced the elders as leaders, they really only became more focused leaders given over to the ministry of administration and leadership. They both received support the elders, and they ministered to the elders.