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THAT'S NOT IN THE BIBLE? Part 4.

March 29, 2015

L. John Bost
L. John Bost

Previous - That's Not In The Bible? Part3.

In this article we will continue the discussion of things that, perhaps surprisingly, are not found in the Bible(See Parts1, 2, and 3).
Priests, Bishops, Cardinals, dioceses, and popes. To clarify, priests and bishops are found in the Bible (See Part I). However, neither term is found in the Bible in the sense in which they are commonly used today. Further, there is no mention in the Bible of Cardinals, dioceses, or popes!
Oxford Dictionaries defines priest, "An ordained minister of the Catholic, Orthodox, or Anglican Church having the authority to perform certain rites and administer certain sacraments." Webster gives the following definition of priest: "One authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion especially as a mediatory agent between humans and God; specifically: an Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, or Roman Catholic clergyman ranking below a bishop and above a deacon." Neither of these definitions fits the Biblical definition of a priest in the Lord's church!
Peter writes, "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood , to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 2:5). Here Peter says that the church as a whole is a "holy priesthood!" He calls us a "royal priesthood" in 1 Peter 2:9 (See also Revelation 1:6 and 5:10). Paul, at length, writes that Jesus is our High Priest. As priests, we offer up "spiritual sacrifices" (1 Peter 2:5), and our bodies as "living sacrifices" (Romans 12:1). The Levitical Priesthood was an important office in the Jewish worship to God. However, the New Testament knows no concept of a special priesthood as a part of a clergy as it is commonly understood.
Oxford Dictionaries defines Bishop, "A senior member of the Christian clergy, typically in charge of a diocese and empowered to confer holy orders." However, as we have already seen (Part I), in the New Testament, Bishops (also referred to as "elders," and "pastors"), were ordained in "every church" (Acts 14:23). The concept of the clergy and dioceses overseen by Bishops is not a Biblical concept.
Webster defines cardinal, "A priest of the Roman Catholic Church who ranks immediately below the Pope." This concept is found nowhere in the Bible. In fact, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the term was not used until the Twelfth Century!
Perhaps the most well-known of the leaders of the churches among those who profess Christianity is the pope. Oxford Dictionaries defines pope, "The bishop of Rome as head of the Roman Catholic Church." This, too, is a concept not found in the Bible. First, there is no Biblical concept of ranking bishops. Second, Jesus says, "And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven" (Matthew 23:15). According to Online Etymology Dictionary, the word is from "Old English papa (9c.), from Church Latin papa "bishop, pope" (in classical Latin, "tutor"), from Greek papas "patriarch, bishop," originally "father." So the word original meant, "father," and eventually came to mean "pope." To refer to anyone as "father" (in a religious sense), would be to violate the Lord's commandments, and New Testament precedent. In the same etymology entry, The term, pope, was "Applied to bishops of Asia Minor and taken as a title by the Bishop of Alexandria c.250. In Western Church, applied especially to the Bishop of Rome since the time of Leo the Great (440-461)..." So, the Roman church hierarchy and ecclesiastical system is not found in the Bible, but came about centuries after it was written.
Unfortunately, these are not nearly all of the words and terms that are in common use but not in the Bible. Next we will summarize what we have learned so far, and add some concluding remarks. Then we will move on to other vital topics from God's word.

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