Posted by: chuckbumgardner | October 21, 2007

John Gill on the Duties of Members of Churches to Their Pastors

In Gill’s Body of Practical Divinity (chapter 4, section 2b), he states well that the obedience of members of churches to their spiritual leaders (referencing Hebrews 13:17) consists mainly in

. . . a due regard to the ministry of the word by them; which regard to it is seen in a diligent and constant attendance on it; for if their pastors are to be diligent and constant in their work, they are to be as diligent and constant in attending upon them in it; if ministers are to preach the word in season and out of season, or as often as they have opportunity for it, then members should as frequently assemble to hear it: they show their obedience to the word, and to ministers in dispensing it, by their receiving it in faith and love . . .

Gill goes on to say that the obedience of which he speaks goes as far as the preaching is consistent with Scripture.  The point that impressed me, however, is found in the italics I’ve added to Gill’s text.  We (rightly) expect our ministers to labor in the Word in order to prepare messages for the church.  That is their calling: “Preach the Word!”  But we shamefully neglect our own duty when we fail to be hearers and doers of the Word preached, for to this we have been called.



  1. John Gill lists “hearing the word” as one of the ordinances. This was a common emphasis, from what I can tell, during this period.

  2. Very interesting! And lest you think that I’m reading through Gill’s Body of Divinity — which would be a profitable exercise — I actually stumbled across that section while searching for his comments on 2 Timothy 4:2.

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