The “priesthood of the believer” is an intriguing concept when it comes to evangelism. We normally think of this doctrine in terms that we have direct access to God without going through another human being. We have “boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:19). The Holy Spirit enables direct access to God, as we “have access by one Spirit to the Father ( Ephesians 2:18). In other words, we don’t need to go to a priest or pastor to connect with God. We can pray directly. We receive forgiveness directly. We commune directly. It tends to be “me and God” oriented.
The priesthood of the believer is however directly related to the Great Commission and is others oriented. If we distill the topic down to basics it might be as simple as this:
1. OLD TESTAMENT: A priest’s job was to help connect people with God. While they had some mundane responsibilities like caring for the temple, keeping the lamps burning and helping with sacrifices, they did all that so there was a pathway to God.
2. NEW TESTAMENT: There are three references (Revelation 1:6 and 5:10) to the priesthood of the believer but only one reference gives the job description. I Peter 2:5-9 says that the function of a priest is to “proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Like the OT, the priestly role is to help as a pathway to God.
It looks like in both the OT and the NT, the function of the priest was Great Commission oriented.