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What is an armor-bearer? Should there be a church position of armor-bearer?


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Question: "What is an armor-bearer? Should there be a church position of armor-bearer?"

In Scripture, an armor-bearer (also spelled armorbearer and armor bearer) was a servant who carried additional weapons for commanders. Abimelech (Judges 9:54), Saul (1 Samuel 16:21), Jonathan (1 Samuel 14:6-17), and Joab (2 Samuel 18:15) had armor-bearers/armorbearers. Armor-bearers were also responsible for killing enemies wounded by their masters. After enemy soldiers were wounded with javelins or arrows, armor-bearers finished the job with clubs or swords. After the time of David, armor-bearers are no longer mentioned, likely due to the fact that commanders began to fight from chariots (1 Kings 12:18; 20:33).

Some churches today have instituted a figurative position of armor-bearer. The duties range widely, but generally speaking, a church armor-bearer carries the “armor” of a church leader, such as the leader’s Bible, “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12). In some instances, a church armor-bearer essentially serves as a church leader’s bodyguard. Is the idea of a church armor-bearer biblically based? No, it is not. Does the concept of a church armor-bearer contradict anything in Scripture? Not necessarily. Any church considering such a position should prayerfully study God’s Word and make sure the responsibilities assigned in no way conflict with the New Testament’s teaching on the church. The fact that the New Testament nowhere mentions armor-bearers and nowhere describes any of the apostles/prophets/elders having a person in that role should give pause to any church considering instituting the role of armor-bearer.

Recommended Resources: Pastoral Ministry by John MacArthur and Logos Bible Software.

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What is an armor-bearer? Should there be a church position of armor-bearer?

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