Pastoral theology – What is it?

Several New Testament passages address the role of a pastor, elder, bishop, and/or overseer. The study of those passages, in context, and how they apply to the church, is pastoral theology.

Pastoral theology is closely related to practical theology, which is the study of biblical truths applied to everyday situations in churches. Leaders in the church, regardless of their title, must come to some conclusions about their own pastoral theology to guide them in their actions, reactions, and relationships regarding their spiritual care. For those who preach, pastoral theology also applies to homiletics, the preparation and delivery of sermons.

Lay leaders and members of congregations should also be aware of some aspects of pastoral theology, such as the qualifications of church leadership, responsibilities, care for fellow church members, and biblical leadership.

Paul's letters to the initial churches, Titus, and Timothy, offer specific and general guidance for administering a church. For example, elders and overseers, according to Titus 1:6–7, must be above reproach, among other standards.

Anyone involved in church leadership, from the highest office to the most basic volunteer leader, should study and understand pastoral theology (1 Timothy 3:1).

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