From: Larry Swain (
Date: Sun Jun 28 1998 - 03:26:45 EDT

In answer to the first question: I don't think so. EPISKOPHS, EPISKOPOS,
EPISKEPSIS all are derived from EPISKOPEW-to visit, oversee, take care
over, inspect in Koine. EPISKOPHS is simply a visit....and EPISKOPOS
"overseer" "guardian", the one who visits so to speak. Anyway, the point
is that the word in question is merely a visit. The idea that an
EPISKOPOS, and EPISKOPH as what the EPISKOPOS EPISKOPEW (couldn't resist!)
is an "office" is a new idea and isn't really fully developed until after
the New Testament was written.

I happen to think for what it is worth that this verse refers back to
Zechariah's speech in 1:68-the gospel begins with God visiting and
effecting salvation, and ends with Jesus , (i. e. the result of God's
salvific visitation) going to the cross, which is where we are at Lk 19.
I'm not making a big deal of it, just a very interesting parallelism.

On another interesting note, checking the LJS the only lexicon I have to
hand at the moment, it does refer to this verse and Numbers 16.29 as
examples of EPISKOPH meaning "visitation from God"-I don't have a LXX to
hand either to check on the Numbers passage, perhaps someone on the list
On the other hand, it is used in Acts and in a couple places in Paul's
letters to denote a "bishopric", I Tim 3.1 comes to mind-EI TIS EPISKOPHS
OREGETAI..... which may be in the same ball park as what you're after, but
not close enough.

All of that to say that I don't think you can read it as being "time to
perform an office"-its basic Greek meaning is a "watching over", a visit,
and then in Pauline writings as EPISKOPOS begins to take on new meaning,
EPISKOPH also becomes the "office" the officer holds. An overseer has an

Larry Swain

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