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Greek translated ‘bishop’ in the Pastoral Epistles but rarely elsewhere (Phil. 1: 1; Acts 20: 28). Moses used it for army commanders (LXX of Num. 31: 13–14) and in 1 Pet. 2: 25 Christ is called episcopos (‘bishop’ in AV, RV; but ‘guardian’ in modern translations). The office (Gk, episcope) is used of Judas (Acts 1: 26) and for an office of leadership which grew in importance from the 2nd cent. ce until by the 4th or 5th cents. ce it was central to the Church's structure and valued as a focus of unity across space and time.

Subjects: Biblical Studies.

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