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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VII:
The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles: Chapter XV.—Bishops and Deacons; Christian Reproof

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XV. 2497 —Bishops and Deacons; Christian Reproof.

1. Appoint, therefore, for yourselves, bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, men meek, and not lovers of money, 2498 and truthful and proved; for they also render to you the service 2499 of prophets and teachers. 2. Despise them not therefore, for they are your honoured ones, together with the prophets and teachers. 3. And reprove one another, not in anger, but in peace, as ye have it in the Gospel; 2500 but to every one that acts amiss 2501 against another, let no one speak, nor let him hear aught from you until he repent. 4. But your prayers and alms and all your deeds so do, as ye have it in the Gospel of our Lord. 2502  



The larger part of verse 1, and a clause from verses 2, 3, respectively, are found in Apostolic Constitutions, vii. 31. Verses 1, 2, both in the use of terms and in the Church polity indicated, point to an early date: (1) There are evident marks of a transition from extraordinary to ordinary ministers. (2) The distinction between bishops and elders does not appear [1 Pet. v. 1. Vol. i. p. 16, this series], and yet it is found in Ignatius. (3) The word χειροτονέω is here used in the sense of “elect” or “appoint” (by show of hands), and not in that of “ordain” (by laying on of hands). The former is the New Testament sense (Acts xiv. 23; 2 Cor. viii. 19), also in Ignatius; the latter sense is found in Apostolic Canons, i. (4) The choice by the people also indicates an early period.  


Comp. 1 Tim. iii. 4.  


Or, “ministry.” This clause and the following verse indicate that the extraordinary ministers were as yet more highly regarded.  


Comp. Matt. xviii. 15-17.  


The word ἀστοχέω, occurring here, means “to miss the mark;” in New Testament, “to err” or, “swerve.” See 1 Tim. i. 6, vi. 21; 2 Tim. ii. 18.  


The reference here is probably to the Sermon on the Mount: Matt. v.-vii., especially to chap. vi.  

Next: Chapter XVI.—Watchfulness; The Coming of the Lord

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