The New Testament teaches that all four “orders” which form the government of the Church – laity, deacons, priests and bishops – are necessary to the proper functioning of the Body of Christ.

All four are clearly visible in St. Paul’s first letter to Timothy. This section will address the laity who are also called, “saints” (Rom 1:7; 2Cor 1:1; 1Tim 5:10), the “faithful” (Eph 1:1), and “brethren” (Col 1:2). The laity (GR. Laos) are the people of God, the “priesthood” (1Pet 2; 4-10). Technically, the term “laity” includes the clergy though in our day the word usually refers to those in the Church who are not ordained. It is from among the laity that the other three orders emerge.

from The Orthodox Study Bible, Thomas Nelson Press copyright 2008 St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology

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