The Meaning of the Term
The phrase “priesthood of all believers,” sometimes called the “universal priesthood,” refers to the biblical teaching that all Christians are, in a sense, priests. This doctrine is based on a number of biblical passages, including 1 Peter 2:9, which states that “you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.”
The word “priesthood.”
The word “priesthood” is derived from the Greek word “presbyteros,” which literally means “elder.” In the New Testament, this word is used to refer to those men who were appointed by Jesus Christ to serve as His special witnesses and representatives. These men were given the authority to teach His gospel, perform ordinances, and administer the affairs of His Church.
Today, the priesthood refers to the power and authority that God has given to His chosen servants to act in His name. This power is accessed through the laying on of hands by those who hold the priesthood. Priesthood holders have a sacred responsibility to use their priesthood authority for the benefit of others. They are to serve as Latter-day Saints’ shepherds—watching over and caring for God’s children.
The phrase “of all believers”
The phrase “of all believers” is used to describe the spiritual equality of all Christians. The phrase is derived from the New Testament, where it is used to refer to the collective body of Christ, who are all seen as being equal in their relationship with God.
The phrase “of all believers” can also be interpreted more broadly to refer to the equality of all people, regardless of their religion. This usage is often found in discussions of social justice and human rights. In these contexts, the phrase is used to emphasize that everyone should be treated fairly and with respect, regardless of their beliefs.
The Historical Development of the Doctrine
The priesthood of all believers is a theological doctrine that affirms that all Christians are called to ministry and are equal in spiritual status before God. This doctrine has been central to Protestantism since the Reformation.
The New Testament
The New Testament of the Christian Bible is a record of the teachings and activities of Jesus Christ and his followers after his death. It also includes accounts of the apostles and other early Christians. The New Testament was written in Greek, and most scholars believe it was composed between about 50 and 100 CE.
The Early Church
Christianity began as a Jewish sect in the mid-1st century. The new religion quickly spread among the Jews of Palestine and then to other lands in the Mediterranean world. At first, most Jewish Christians continued to observe Jewish law and customs, but tensions between Jewish and Gentile Christians led to a split by the early 2nd century. As a result, two distinct Christian traditions emerged: -One based in Judaism (later known as Rabbinic or Orthodox Judaism) -And one based on Gentile Christianity (later known as Christianity).
The Reformation was a period of time when there was a split in the Catholic Church. This happened because people were unhappy with the Church. They thought that the Church was not following what Jesus said. So, they started their own churches.
The most famous person during the Reformation was Martin Luther. He was a monk in the Catholic Church. He started his own church, which we now call the Lutheran church. Other people who started their own churches during the Reformation were John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, and King Henry VIII.
The Reformation lasted from about 1500 to 1650.
The Implications of the Doctrine
The “priesthood of all believers” is a major doctrine of the Protestant Reformation that teaches that all Christians are equal before God and are called to minister to the world. This doctrine had far-reaching implications for the social and political order of 16th-century Europe.
For the Church
The Doctrine of the Trinity has implications for the Church in several ways. First, it helps us to understand who God is and how He relates to us. Second, it gives us a model for relationships within the Church. And third, it reminds us that we are called to be a holy people, set apart from the world.
For the Individual Christian
The implications of the doctrine of the Trinity for the individual Christian are far-reaching. In short, the doctrine affirms that there is one God who exists eternally in three persons, namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This means that we worship and serve a God who is both personal and relational. He is not some distant and abstract being; rather, he is a loving Father who has sent his Son to save us from our sin, and he is a Holy Spirit who indwells and empowers us for godly living. Here are four specific implications of the doctrine of the Trinity for our lives as Christians:
- We worship a personal God.
The doctrine of the Trinity affirms that God is personal. He is not an impersonal force or principle; rather, he is a self-conscious being who knows himself and relates to others. This means that when we worship God, we are not worshipping an abstract entity; rather, we are worshipping a living being who hears and responds to our prayers. We can know him personally and intimately because he has revealed himself to us in his Word.
- We serve a relational God.
The doctrine of the Trinity also affirms that God is relational. He exists eternally in relationship with himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And he has created us to exist in relationship with him and with others. This means that our primary identity is not as individuals but as members of the Body of Christ—a community of believers united by our common bond in Christ. As such, we are called to love one another as Christ has loved us (John 13:34).
- We are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone.
The doctrine of the Trinity teaches us that salvation is by grace alone through faith in Christ alone. Because God exists eternally as three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—he doesn’t need us in order to be complete or fulfilled. Rather, he chose to save us out of his great love for us (Eph 2:4-5). And because salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone, we can be confident that our salvation rests securely on him and not on our own efforts or works (Phil 3:9).
4 We live by the power of the Holy Spirit .
The final implication of the doctrine of the Trinity for our lives is that we live by the power of the Holy Spirit . Because the Holy Spirit indwells every believer (Rom 8:9), we have all that we need to live godly lives (2 Pet 1:3). The Holy Spirit gives us strength when we are weak (Rom 8:26), wisdom when we don’t know what to do (1 Cor 2:16), and courage when we are afraid (2 Tim 1:7). In short, he enables us to live lives that please God (Gal 5:16-17).