Priesthood of all believers

Q. What does the “priesthood of all believers” mean?
A. All of God’s people, both Old and New, are members of a priesthood.
In Exodus 19:6“…and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation,” refers to the Israelites of the Old Testament. In the New Testament, I Peter 2:9 (“But you are … a royal priesthood, a holy nation”)refers to Christians. So, in both covenants God considers the faithful, members of a priesthood. The function of a priest is to offer sacrifices to God. The ‘priesthood of all believers’ offer their own individual and personal spiritual sacrifices to God (I Peter 2:5)

Q. Then, why do we have priests if everyone is a part of the priesthood?
A. In both covenants God also, ordained a ministerial priesthood,
separate from the ordinary faithful, who offered sacrifice to God for the people. In the Old Testament: Exodus 28:1 “Have Aaron your brother brought… along with his sons …so they may serve me as priest. Lev 21:1,10 “Then the LORD said to Moses,”The priest who is the highest among his brothers, on whose head the anointing oil has been poured and who has been consecrated to wear the garments....” In the New Testament: Acts 14:23 “And when they had ordained them presbyters in every church…” (Greek “presbuteros= English-“priest”) The priests in the Old Covenant offered the daily animal sacrifices on the altar, in the Temple in Jerusalem. And Catholic priests, today, offer daily the eternal sacrifice of Christ on our altars all around the world.

You can read more about the the Catholic Priesthood …Here For an explanation of how the OT Priesthood of all Believers and the ministerial priesthood was retained in the NT Church click HERE

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7 Responses

  1. i agree with you that in the old covenant that there were certainly some who were set apart as “priests”, but peter (and others, eg hebrews, etc) makes it quite clear that all believers are priests. we are all ministers of God’s grace through JC.

    with that said, i think you are dead right about presbyters. that is why some are placed into positions of leadership (like james the just or peter and paul, etc). however, these leadership positions are extensively talked about by paul in timothy and other places. in timothy, paul says that presbyters are to be husbands of but one wife and their kids are to be respectful because if they cant control their family they cant control the church.

    so now tell me, how can a claim be made that presbyters are supposed to be celebate? even extrapolating from paul’s talk in 1 corinthians about celebacy (and JC in the Gospels), there is no mandate that presebyters are celebate. in fact, the exact opposite. paul says that they should marry if they cant control their passions.

    from someone who struggled with lust for much of my life to date, i understand paul’s concern. now, however, God has graciously given me a godly wife who complements and balances me. i dont have a struggle with lust (not saying its gone, but defeated through God’s grace).

    so why should we discount the ministry of a man simply because he has chosen marriage? dont we learn many otherwise impossible lessons through oneness with our wives? isnt that why JB, JC, and paul all spoke of the relationship between man and wife as an allegory for Christ and the church?


  2. thanks for the response. i agree with you about your points, minus one problematic thing i have always disagreed with the church on. why if the word presbyter is the only word for “priest” do we think that now a priest (in the Latin Rite, i know there are some in the Eastern Rite that are married (and on a few occassions in the Latin Rite, for instance a priest who was anglican who became catholic but was already married was allowed to become a priest)) SHOULD NOT be married. i understand there are some whom God calls to live celebate lives, but most of us burn with passion if we arent married. besides that we are supposed to follow Tradition as it is passed down to us. the very earliest traditions (not only in the New Testament, but also in church history) there were many priests and bishops who were married. how then can we as the church hold a rite like the Latin tradition when the earlier tradition supercedes it?


  3. Please click for my response HERE–> Why Can’t Catholic Priests Get Married?

  4. My response is contained in the middle portion of Why Can’t Catholic Priests Get Married?

  5. agreed. i have read that passage many many times and do take it literally.

    so what do you do with the fact that peter (and others seemed to be married)? peter, according to the catholic church, is the first pope. what a precedent to set for popes who have the “discipline” of celebacy. we are to go by tradition, the church just seems to pick and choose which traditions it likes.


  6. Peter,
    My response is in the last Q&A of this post–> Why Can’t Catholic Priests Get Married?

  7. Peter, we have as much reason to believe that Peter was a widower as that he had a wife in the time of his ministry. Perhaps more reason to believe he was widowed.

    The one reference to the spouse of Saint Peter, is not to a spouse at all but a mother-in-law. Interesting to note that when she is cured by Christ, she sets about to attending to them. This would have been the duty of a wife. In the home of a widower taking care of his departed spouse’s widowed mother, it would have fallen upon the mother-in-law to see to this hospitality.

    At best we know Peter had been married, we have no evidence that she was alive in the time of Christ or Peter’s ministry. Extra-scriptural traditions about Peter (to be sure, not authoratative, but perhaps telling) never make any mention of a “Mrs. Peter”.

    I hope you share these at The Black Cordelias!

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