Question: "What is pastoral theology?"

Answer: Pastoral theology is the study of what the Bible says about the office of pastor/elder/bishop/overseer. It applies timeless biblical truth to situations faced every day in churches and is closely related to practical theology. Pastoral theology examines the issues and challenges associated with being a pastor and informs the relationship between a pastor and the people under his spiritual care. Pastoral theology also covers the art of homiletics (the preparation and delivery of sermons).

Common questions asked and answered in pastoral theology are “What are the qualifications for being a pastor or a deacon?” “What are a pastor’s responsibilities to his congregation?” “How do I prepare a sermon?” “How can I best care for this church?” and “What is biblical leadership?”

Because the church is a New Testament teaching, the study of pastoral theology focuses more on the New Testament than the Old, giving special attention to the Pastoral Epistles of Titus and 1 and 2 Timothy. In those books we find guidance for administering a church and, just as importantly, commands that the pastor cultivate godliness in his own life and in the lives of his congregation. “An elder must be blameless” (Titus 1:6).

Pastoral theology is an important branch of biblical theology. “Whoever aspires to be an overseer” (1 Timothy 3:1) should be a committed, continued student of pastoral theology.