Does an elder have a more exalted position in the assembly than others?

Does an elder have a more exalted position in the assembly than others?

The Bible teaches that a man publicly sharing in oversight is "exalted" in that he has greater responsibility and accountability, but he serves "at the feet" of the believers in lowliness of mind.

The Authorized Version is misleading in translating the verse, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers" (Acts 20:28). Rather than "over the which," more accurate translations of this passage read "in which" (ESV) or "among which" (YLT). Although fellow-believers are to submit to (Hebrews 13:17), know and esteem highly (1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13), and honor (1 Timothy 5:17) elders, those elders are in, not over, the flock. Their position is not above other believers.

When an assembly recognizes a man whom the Lord has raised up to be an elder, this does not change his heart’s concern for believers or his ability to care for them by means of God’s Word. It does however give him the added responsibility of meeting with the elders when they gather (Acts 20:17, 18). He has publicly joined others and shares with them an accountability for the spiritual health of each sheep (Heb 13:17).

The Lord gave a spiritual lesson by literally washing His disciples’ feet (John 13:7, 12). He was exemplifying loving care for others in removing all that hinders fellowship with Him ("no part with Me," v 8). By girding Himself with a towel and stooping at His disciples’ feet, He was the model of servant-care (vv 5, 6). Thus, those who accept the responsibility of lovingly caring for the spiritual condition of fellow-believers are lowly servants of the Master. He taught that those who lead His people are ministering servants (diakonos) and bondservants (doulos) (Matthew 20:26, 27).

D. Oliver