“I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding” (Jeremiah 3:15). Most of Israel’s pastoral imagery is grounded in two traditions: Moses as God’s under-shepherd and David as shepherd-king.
Timothy S. Laniak explains these traditions provided prototypes for leaders that followed. He forms the background for the ministry of Jesus, the good shepherd. He argues the pastoral role was central to the ongoing life of local churches in the Christian movement, and today’s pastors are still called to be shepherds after God’s own heart to lead his people, living on the margins of settled society, to their eternal home. He draws on a wide range of Old and New Testament texts to develop the biblical theology of “shepherd” imagery. He concludes with some principles and implications for contemporary pastoral ministry.
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Timothy Laniak is associate professor of Old Testament and coordinator of the Urban Ministry Certificate Program at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina. He has written several books, including Handbook for Hebrew Exegesis, Finding the Lost Images of God.