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The Elder and His Work (Dickson)

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P&R Publishing


The Elder and His Work is a classic that conveys the gravity and importance of the elder’s calling. Nineteenth-century author David Dickson provided this brief, complete manual describing the qualifications and duties of elders.

According to Dickson, an elder is a shepherd of Christ’s flock and a student of God’s Word—a man growing in the gracious disciplines of the Christian life.

This edition has Scripture references, updated spelling and usage, explanatory notes, and study questions for personal reflection and group discussion.

Table of Contents:

  1. Importance of the Eldership
  2. The Elder’s Qualifications
  3. Duties of Elders
  4. The Elder in His District
  5.  Ordinary Visitation by the Elder
  6. Visitation of the Sick
  7. Family Worship, the Young, Inquirers, Servants
  8. Special Means of Doing Good
  9. Cases of Discipline
  10. Members Encouraged to Work
  11. Fellowship Among Church Members
  12. The Elder’s Relations to the Minster and Session
  13. Incidents – Encouragements and Discouragements


“Dickson’s work has a continuing relevance for today’s church and its leaders. Both teaching and ruling elders will benefit from this excellent work, and the whole church will be nurtured and strengthened.” — J. Stafford Carson

“Though this book was written by a Scottish ruling elder over 150 years ago, Dickson sets forth the framework for the ruling elder in shepherding God’s flock. Rediscovering these biblical principles and practicing them would impact today’s church.” — Charles Dunahoo

“Phil Ryken and George McFarland have served us well by bringing this classic on the shepherding ministry of elders up-to-date and back into print. The thoughtful tone of this work is convicting, encouraging us to be the shepherds God has raised up for the good of His flock and the glory of His name. I can’t wait to use this with our own elders!” — Mark Dever


David Dickson was an elder in nineteenth-century Scotland. At the age of thirty, he was ordained as an elder in the Free New North Church, and he served as clerk of session for thirty-three years. His practical experiences as an elder led him to publish The Elder and His Work.