11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
and some pastors [shepherds] and teachers,
The words “pastors and teachers” is one gift because of the Greek grammar (Granville Sharp rule). God designed this gift for particular congregations (Ti 1:9).
The Bible does not differentiate pastor-teachers from bishops and elders. Both pastor-teachers and the bishop are elders. “Elder” is just a generic term for any leader. A bishop is the singular leader of a local church (Ac 20: 17, 28).
The term “pastors” emphasizes leading, like a shepherd leads his sheep. He looks after their safety by guarding them against false doctrine with the truth of Scripture. “Pastors” emphasizes authority of the office. God gives pastors authority over souls.
“Teachers” accentuates communicating the content of the Word. According to John Stott, teaching is the sine quo non gift for the church. The “teacher” instructs in Bible exposition. He is didactic in approach, revealing truths systematically revealed from God. The expositor’s purpose is to build an edification construct in the souls of those who listen to him.
The pastor-teacher gift became prominent in the post-canonical period in which we now live. This is the greatest need in the church today. After the offices of apostles and prophets came to a close with the finishing of the New Testament, the gift of pastors-teachers came to the fore. A prophet gave revelation, but a pastor-teacher expounds existing revelation.
The Savior gave what He received—people who would build the edification construct of the church.
Note that the gifts of verse 11 are not primarily capacities given to people but gifted people given to the church. The Savior gave what He received—gifted men who would edify the church.
The New Testament provides five lists of gifts (Ro 12:6-8; 1 Co 12:8-30; 1 Pe 4:10-11 and our passage). These lists include more than 20 different gifts. The gifts listed in these chapters are not intended to be exhaustive or definitive in a complete sense.
The word “pastor” means shepherd. Jesus was the “good shepherd” (Jn 10:11, 16; cf. He 13:20 and 1 Pe 2:25; 5:4). The role of the shepherd was to feed the sheep and to protect from wild animals.
The primary content we learn after we become Christians we study from the Bible (Ro 12:6f). Every believer has a built-in Bible teacher—the Holy Spirit. God gives us divine assistance in understanding Scripture. Paul spent three years teaching in Ephesus, both publically and from house-to-house (Ac 20:19f). That was the longest he spent anywhere. There is never a time when we do not need Bible teaching from the infallible, inerrant Word of God.
The purpose of the pastor-teacher is to build the church toward edification. Therefore, he oversees the local church both to pastor and teach (1 Tim 3:2; Ti 1:9; 1 Pe 5:1-13). The purpose of all gifts is to equip the church for ministry (Eph 4:12).
The shepherd role in 1 Peter 5:4 says that pastors are not to abuse their congregations. Shepherds can shear sheep many times but they can only skin them once.