Biblical Church Hierarchy

There is a proper operating structure in each church around the world and the same is true for Biblical church as well. Biblical churches around the world follow a proper structure of organization and administration.  The structure of the earliest church was made on the basis of current Judaism.  In the beginning, the church was referred to as the apostolic church and was composed of the elders and the apostles.  Then the Roman Catholic Church extended in office by adding the position of a Bishop.

The church hierarchy of the Biblical church consists of the Apostles, the Bishops, the elders and the Deacons. Each member of the church had a different role to play and different set of responsibilities to handle. The Biblical church hierarchy is slightly more complex and to understand it,you can read the following given information.

Biblical Church HierarchyApostles

Apostles occupy the highest position in biblical churches and the term apostle basically means ‘Messenger’.  The apostles were the first propagators of the gospel of Christ and these people gave the church the New Testament Revelation.  There were a total of 12 apostles who had to have special requirements to qualify. These 12 apostles had no successors and had a crucial role to play in the church.


Next in the Biblical Church hierarchy was the Bishop-overseer.  According to tradition, there were a total of 72 men involved.  The Bishops worked on the instructions of the Apostles. Overseer emphasizes the responsibility and the activity of a benevolent overseer. They deal with inner character, family leadership, outward behavior, faith in God’s word, andresponsibilities of overseer ship etc.


In the biblical church hierarchy, the next position was occupied by the Elders.  The basic meaning of ‘elder’ is ‘older’ or ‘senior’. The elders followed the instructions of the Bishops but were highly respected in the Church.  Both the apostles and the leaders in the early Christian church were referred to as the ‘elders’.

Elders emphasize the status of recognized spiritual maturity.


The word deacon or ministers appears twice in the English New testament.  The ministry of a deacon was required to serve the needs of other people.  Any person who looked after the needs of the others was considered to be working for the deacon ministry. This position came after the position of the elders in the church. The men who served the needs of the other people were set apart to the office of deacons.