Ordain and ordination – what do these words mean?

A common word within religious groups is “ordain.” What does this word mean? Who is “ordained”? What is an “ordained minister?” Who can become an “ordained minister”? What are the qualifications for an “ordained minister”?

As with any other Bible question, we must go back to the Bible for answers. The word “ordain” does occur in the scriptures. In the Greek New Testament a verb translated “ordain” is (diatasso), a term that occurs sixteen times. Readers may find this term in Mt. 11:1; Lk. 3:13; 8:55; 17:9, 10; Acts 7:44; 18:2; 20:13; 23:31; 24:33; 1 Cor. 7:17; 9:14; 11:34; 16:1; Gal. 3:19; Tit. 1:5.

When the previous references are studied, readers find that “ordain” means things like “give orders,” “command,” “direct,” or “prescribe.” Jesus “commanded” the twelve disciples (Mt. 11:1). An “order was given to the churches of Galatia” (1 Cor. 16:1).

By studying these Bible verses readers instantly see that the scriptures use “ordain” to describe commands and instructions. The term does not describe a “special person” who is “set aside” or “license” for religious purposes. In the Bible there is no such thing as “licensing a preacher.” Ordination is a false idea created by men (Mt. 15:8-9); it has no Biblical basis. Men may wear special clothing to indicate they are “religious.” They may have clerical collars and call themselves “Reverend,” “Pope,” “Cardinal,” or some other title, but they cannot get these kinds of things from the Bible. Men often seek to exalt themselves in a religious group, but this is precisely the type of behavior Jesus said is wrong (Mt. 23:12).

The next time someone says they are “ordained,” ask them who did the ordaining. Was it “God or man” (Mt. 21:25). If a person is honest, they will say their ordination came from a school or their own religious group. They will not be able to say it came from God or from the word of God.

When people use Biblical words like “ordain” and “ordination,” be sure those words are being used in a way like the Bible describes.

Find the truth about God and become a New Testament Christian. Find out more about New Testament Christianity by running some Internet searches for “church of Christ” and “churches of Christ.” You may also want to visit http://www.abiblecommentary.com for Bible study information.

Remember, in order to be saved and enjoy all God’s blessings (not the least of which is salvation), a person must have faith (Jn. 8:24), be willing to repent (Lk. 13:3), and after confessing Christ as Lord, the final step is water baptism (Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Pet. 3:20-21). Bible baptism is by immersion only (“burial,” Rom. 6:4), and once it is done, heaven puts that person “into Christ” (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3). After proper baptism a person has their sins forgiven (Acts 2:38).

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