Bishop of Our Souls

The word, bishop, comes from the Greek word, episkopos, and literally means an overseer. In most instances this title has reference to a pastor or gospel minister (Acts 20:28; Phil. 1:1; I Tim. 3:1, 2; and Tit. 1:7) and denotes their responsibility and accountability to watch over the flock (congregation) over the which the Holy Ghost has made them overseers. However, in one instance, the term is used in reference to Christ: 1 Pet. 2:25, "For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and BISHOP of your souls."

Jesus Christ is the "bishops of our souls." Jesus and Jesus alone has the responsibility and accountability for our eternal salvation as he said in John 6:37 39, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.  And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day." Consequently, we are "preserved in Jesus Christ" (Jude 1) and not a one of us shall be lost: "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one." (John 10:28 30).

While we may suffer troubles in this life we are as secure as Job was when Satan designed to destroy him as the Lord said,"Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life" (Job 2:6). Satan cannot touch our eternal life because our Bishop is watching over us and not one of us will be lost!

Jesus' work as a Bishop extends beyond just preserving our eternal life. He also watches over his people as we live in this time world.  According to Ps. 34:7, "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them." This lesson is illustrated in II Kings 6:13 18 when the king of Syria had sent an host to capture Elisha the prophet and when Elisha's servant saw the great host encompassing the city he cried, "Alas, my master! How shall we do?" To which Elisha answered, "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they which be with them." Then Elisha prayed, "Lord, I pray thee, open the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha."

Ps. 34, 121, and 139 are full of precious treasures of the Lord's oversight over his people. A few of these nuggets are presented below:

1. Ps. 34:4, "I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears." The Lord's people have many fears in life, yet the Lord watches over us and delivers us from our fears.

2. Ps. 34:6, "This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles." In Job we read that "man is born unto trouble, as thesparks fly upward." We also read in Job 5:19, "He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee." Again, the Lord watches over us in our troubles and delivers us as he did the "poor man" of Ps. 34:6.

3. Ps. 34:9, "O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him." The word "want" here means "lack." Thus the Lord watches over us to supply all of our needs so that we do not lack anything that we need.

4. Ps. 34:15, 17, "The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry...The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles." Thus the Lord watches over us, listens to our prayers, and delivers us from our

5. Ps 139 tells us just how closely and intimately the Lord watches over us: Ps. 139:1 10, "O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my down sittings and mine uprisings, thou understandest my thoughts afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from they spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me."

6. Ps. 121 also speaks of the Lord's watch care over us. The three key words in this chapter are help, keep, and preserve. The Lord is our helper, he is our keeper, and he is our preserver. With such an overseer as this we truly have no reason to want or fear for indeed the Lord is the "Bishop" of our souls.