Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 30, 1961


L. A. Mott, Jr., Las Vegas, Nevada

It is not necessary to understand the Greek language in order to be saved, or even to understand most of the New Testament for that matter. But now and then the individual who knows enough of the fundamentals of the language of the New Testament to look up and study the words in the original language comes across something which makes Bible study all the more interesting. The word which serves as the heading of this article is such an instance.

This word occurs in 1 Pet. 4:15, "For let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evil-doer, or as a meddler in other men's matters." The emphasized words are the translation of this one Greek word. This word is compounded of two words: (1) allotrios which means belonging to another, not one's own, and (2) episkopos which is the word commonly translated bishop (cf. Tit. 1:7) which is another name for the elders (v. 5). It means an overseer. Thus, when the two words are taken together, they refer to one who seeks to oversee the affairs of someone else. Thayer defines allotrioepiskopos: one who takes the supervision of affairs pertaining to others and in no wise to himself.

Now I understand that the primary application of I Pet. 4:15 is not to the bishops, or elders, exclusively. But it occurs to me that in the light of some of the modern brotherhood projects the word we are studying has a most striking application to some elders.

Elders are appointed in local churches (Acts 14:23) and are to oversee that flock .(church) in which they are appointed. (20:28). Their oversight is limited to the flock among them. (1 Pet. 5;2) But some of our modern elders, it seems, are not satisfied unless they are overseeing the work of a plurality of local churches. Yet they have no jurisdiction whatever in any congregation except the one in which they are appointed. Thus, this modern bishop is allotrioepiskopos, "a meddler in other men's matters."