the weblog of Alan Knox

Ruling or Leading?

Posted by on Jul 9, 2007 in elders, office, service | 18 comments

Back in March, I began studying “Leadership, Obedience, and Authority” in the context of the church. I’ve posted a few blogs as I’ve continued this study. This is another post in this extended series.

In the last post of this series, called “Exercising Authority…“, I examined several Greek terms that mean “exercise authority”, or “rule over”, or “be the master of” – in other words, terms that mean “to tell someone else what to do”. These terms are not used in a positive sense in the New Testament. This was my conclusion in that post:

So far, in these passages, there is no indication that one person should exercise authority over another person in a spiritual sense. In fact, it seems like just the opposite is indicated. But, if the apostles were not to exercise authority, and Paul did not exercise authority, and Peter told elders not to exercise authority, then I’m not sure where the command for leaders to exercise authority over other people is coming from. However, I’m still searching Scripture. It is possible that I’ve missed something, or that there are other passages of Scripture where leaders are instructed to exercise authority.

In this post, I want to examine two more Greek verbs that are occasionally translated “rule” in various translations. The verbs are:

προίστημι (proistÄ“mi) – (translated “rule/lead” in 1 Tim 5:17; Rom 12:8) According to the standard Greek lexicon (BDAG) this verb can mean 1) to exercise a position of leadership, rule, direct, be at the head of, or 2) to have an interest in, show concern for, care for, give aid.

ηγέομαι (hÄ“geomai) – (translated “ruler/leader” in Luke 22:26; Heb 13:7, 17, 24) Again, according to BDAG, this verb can mean 1) to be in a supervisory capacity, lead, guide, or 2) to engage in an intellectual process, think, consider, regard.

Most importantly, in some cases, ηγέομαι (hÄ“geomai) is used in a sense to mean the opposite of a servant: “But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves” (Luke 22:26 ESV). From the context of Luke 22:26, it is clear that Jesus is telling his followers to be “leaders” who act as “servants”. Thus, the extreme range of ηγέομαι (hÄ“geomai) that means the opposite of “servant” cannot be in view here. Would Paul or the author of Hebrews or another believer promote a type of leadership that was condemned by Jesus?

Thus, in English, the word “rule” carries the connotation of making a decision for someone else, exercising authority over someone else, displaying dominance through the exercise of power. Meanwhile, the word “lead” can have similar connotations, but it can also carry a different meaning: “travel in front of”, “go in advance of others”, “guide”.

So, while both “rule” and “lead” are possible glosses for the two Greek verbs, and since the idea of “ruling” or “exercising authority” is always cast in a negative in the context of the relationship between one believer and another believer, it would seem that “lead” in the since of “walking ahead of” or “guiding” would be a better English translation. This would also explain Peter’s insistence that elders “shepherd” by being “examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:2-3).

There are a few other passages that can help us understand how the New Testament authors used this verbs in the context of the church. For example, in 1 Timothy 3:5, the Greek verb προίστημι (proistēmi) is paralleled with another verb, επιμελέομαι (epimeleomai):
“For if someone does not know how to manage (προίστημι) his own household, how will he care for (επιμελέομαι) God’s church?” (ESV) In this verse, Paul uses the verb προίστημι (proistÄ“mi) to describe someone’s relationship to their family, while he uses the verb επιμελέομαι (epimeleomai) to describe that person’s relationship to the church. While προίστημι (proistÄ“mi) can carry a range of meanings from “rule” to “lead” (as has already been described), the verb επιμελέομαι (epimeleomai) does not have the same range of meanings. In this case, it seems that προίστημι (proistÄ“mi) is used with the secondary meaning of “care for” not “rule”.

Thus, when the New Testament is looked at as a whole, and when relationships between believers are examined, it seems that believers are never instructed to “rule” one another, but that one believer may be called on to “lead” another believer or a group of believers. The concept of a Christian “ruler” who makes decisions for other believers, or who directs the lives of other believers, or who tells other believers what to do is not found in the pages of the New Testament. Instead, the New Testament authors call mature believers to lead by being examples to and serving other believers. Followers of Jesus Christ have only one ruler. He is the living, breathing, ready, able, wise, knowing, powerful, present, and authoritative chief shepherd. And, no one can serve two masters.


18 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 7-9-2007

    I guess, many are still uncertain about this: Leadership.

    Defining ‘leadership’ as in the context of men’s civilization thoughout centuries, gives an impression that the word ‘lead’ or ‘rule’, are quite pressuring.

    The thing we should consider here is this: What’s ‘Leadership’ in the sight of God?

    Think about Adam and Eve. As men are appointed ‘leaders’ to the wives, does that mean that men and women are NOT equal? Does that mean that men ‘rule’ over women? If that’s so, Christianity has nothing to be proud of… because we call God a ‘fair’ God, and the world will say, “But you Christians’ teachings are already unfair.”

    What’s Leadership? …
    Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

    The above scripture used the word ‘Rule’, but do we know what does it mean by ‘rule’? Force?? Superiority?? …

    Adam, ‘Man’, means the ‘Image of God’. And Eve, taken out of the body of ‘Man’, Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman’, for she was taken out of man.” – Genesis 2:23

    Notice something? Eve was taken from INSIDE ‘Man’. Now back to ‘leadership… Over the history of mankind, men have always portrayed a ‘strong’ character – exercising authorities, strict, disciplined, stern, tough, honour-emphasis, glory-seeking, etc. (less-emotional as compared to their female counterparts); while women have always portrayed a ‘weaker’ character – soft, loving, humble, peace-seeking, harmony-emphasis, etc. … What makes ‘Man’ the leader then, force?? Power??

    Think about it, God the Father – being a disciplined, strict, powerful, glorious, wise, honourable, and ‘strong’ God, at the same time has overwhelming Love, harmony, peaceful, and humble charateristics. But which SET of characteristics ‘rule’? Note that i used the word ‘rule’ here. Don’t the ‘ruling’ characteristics look like the common traits posed by ‘Man’? And why? Because this ‘SET’ of characteristics maintain Order, then the sub-dominant (common characteristics of female) characteristics come into the picture to make things WHOLE. Just like you can’t build a flyover bridge without its pillars, it will fall! So the ‘pillars’ represents Man’s characteristics, while the ‘bridge’ represents Woman’s characteristics. THIS, is Leadership.

    It doesn’t mean ‘Rule’ as in the comprehension of men, which i mean to say, Leadership is NOT forceful. It doesn’t mean that men is superior as compared to woman, both men and women are equal; just that men possesses the ‘dominant’ traits, and thus appointed as leaders over women that wives shall submit to husbands. NOT by force, but Love. “Woman’s submission comes after the Love of her husband.”

    Same applies in the governance of Church – ‘Leadership’ is NOT by knowledge, skills, or example; although all these counts, but before all these, comes first – Love. With ‘perfect’ Love, everything is possible. NO dissatisfaction, NO dissensions, NO lies, NO selfishness, but UNITY in Truth, in God alone. Yes, men alone cannot accomplish ‘perfect’ Love, but in God, we can (if we’re humble enough).

    I sincerely hope that fellow Christians gain mutual understanding in God, that despite all different factions, we are able to achieve Unity in Him who is gracious to us.

    “The wise speaks at a proper time, with words that builds; but a fool speaks to prove, for reasons he does not know.”

    May all peace be with you all.

    In His grace,
    Jave Ithiel

  2. 7-9-2007

    I guess, many are still uncertain about this: Leadership.

    Defining ‘leadership’ as in the context of men’s civilization thoughout centuries, gives an impression that the word ‘lead’ or ‘rule’, are quite pressuring.

    The thing we should consider here is this: What’s ‘Leadership’ in the sight of God?

    Think about Adam and Eve. As men are appointed ‘leaders’ to the wives, does that mean that men and women are NOT equal? Does that mean that men ‘rule’ over women? If that’s so, Christianity has nothing to be proud of… because we call God a ‘fair’ God, and the world will say, “But you Christians’ teachings are already unfair.”

    What’s Leadership? …
    Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

    The above scripture used the word ‘Rule’, but do we know what does it mean by ‘rule’? Force?? Superiority?? …

    Adam, ‘Man’, means the ‘Image of God’. And Eve, taken out of the body of ‘Man’, Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman’, for she was taken out of man.” – Genesis 2:23

    Notice something? Eve was taken from INSIDE ‘Man’. Now back to ‘leadership… Over the history of mankind, men have always portrayed a ‘strong’ character – exercising authorities, strict, disciplined, stern, tough, honour-emphasis, glory-seeking, etc. (less-emotional as compared to their female counterparts); while women have always portrayed a ‘weaker’ character – soft, loving, humble, peace-seeking, harmony-emphasis, etc. … What makes ‘Man’ the leader then, force?? Power??

    Think about it, God the Father – being a disciplined, strict, powerful, glorious, wise, honourable, and ‘strong’ God, at the same time has overwhelming Love, harmony, peaceful, and humble charateristics. But which SET of characteristics ‘rule’? Note that i used the word ‘rule’ here. Don’t the ‘ruling’ characteristics look like the common traits posed by ‘Man’? And why? Because this ‘SET’ of characteristics maintain Order, then the sub-dominant (common characteristics of female) characteristics come into the picture to make things WHOLE. Just like you can’t build a flyover bridge without its pillars, it will fall! So the ‘pillars’ represents Man’s characteristics, while the ‘bridge’ represents Woman’s characteristics. THIS, is Leadership.

    It doesn’t mean ‘Rule’ as in the comprehension of men, which i mean to say, Leadership is NOT forceful. It doesn’t mean that men is superior as compared to woman, both men and women are equal; just that men possesses the ‘dominant’ traits, and thus appointed as leaders over women that wives shall submit to husbands. NOT by force, but Love. “Woman’s submission comes after the Love of her husband.”

    Same applies in the governance of Church – ‘Leadership’ is NOT by knowledge, skills, or example; although all these counts, but before all these, comes first – Love. With ‘perfect’ Love, everything is possible. NO dissatisfaction, NO dissensions, NO lies, NO selfishness, but UNITY in Truth, in God alone. Yes, men alone cannot accomplish ‘perfect’ Love, but in God, we can (if we’re humble enough).

    I sincerely hope that fellow Christians gain mutual understanding in God, that despite all different factions, we are able to achieve Unity in Him who is gracious to us.

    “The wise speaks at a proper time, with words that builds; but a fool speaks to prove, for reasons he does not know.”

    May all peace be with you all.

    In His grace,
    Jave Ithiel

  3. 7-9-2007

    I guess, many are still uncertain about this: Leadership.

    Defining ‘leadership’ as in the context of men’s civilization thoughout centuries, gives an impression that the word ‘lead’ or ‘rule’, are quite pressuring.

    The thing we should consider here is this: What’s ‘Leadership’ in the sight of God?

    Think about Adam and Eve. As men are appointed ‘leaders’ to the wives, does that mean that men and women are NOT equal? Does that mean that men ‘rule’ over women? If that’s so, Christianity has nothing to be proud of… because we call God a ‘fair’ God, and the world will say, “But you Christians’ teachings are already unfair.”

    What’s Leadership? …
    Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

    The above scripture used the word ‘Rule’, but do we know what does it mean by ‘rule’? Force?? Superiority?? …

    Adam, ‘Man’, means the ‘Image of God’. And Eve, taken out of the body of ‘Man’, Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman’, for she was taken out of man.” – Genesis 2:23

    Notice something? Eve was taken from INSIDE ‘Man’. Now back to ‘leadership… Over the history of mankind, men have always portrayed a ‘strong’ character – exercising authorities, strict, disciplined, stern, tough, honour-emphasis, glory-seeking, etc. (less-emotional as compared to their female counterparts); while women have always portrayed a ‘weaker’ character – soft, loving, humble, peace-seeking, harmony-emphasis, etc. … What makes ‘Man’ the leader then, force?? Power??

    Think about it, God the Father – being a disciplined, strict, powerful, glorious, wise, honourable, and ‘strong’ God, at the same time has overwhelming Love, harmony, peaceful, and humble charateristics. But which SET of characteristics ‘rule’? Note that i used the word ‘rule’ here. Don’t the ‘ruling’ characteristics look like the common traits posed by ‘Man’? And why? Because this ‘SET’ of characteristics maintain Order, then the sub-dominant (common characteristics of female) characteristics come into the picture to make things WHOLE. Just like you can’t build a flyover bridge without its pillars, it will fall! So the ‘pillars’ represents Man’s characteristics, while the ‘bridge’ represents Woman’s characteristics. THIS, is Leadership.

    It doesn’t mean ‘Rule’ as in the comprehension of men, which i mean to say, Leadership is NOT forceful. It doesn’t mean that men is superior as compared to woman, both men and women are equal; just that men possesses the ‘dominant’ traits, and thus appointed as leaders over women that wives shall submit to husbands. NOT by force, but Love. “Woman’s submission comes after the Love of her husband.”

    Same applies in the governance of Church – ‘Leadership’ is NOT by knowledge, skills, or example; although all these counts, but before all these, comes first – Love. With ‘perfect’ Love, everything is possible. NO dissatisfaction, NO dissensions, NO lies, NO selfishness, but UNITY in Truth, in God alone. Yes, men alone cannot accomplish ‘perfect’ Love, but in God, we can (if we’re humble enough).

    I sincerely hope that fellow Christians gain mutual understanding in God, that despite all different factions, we are able to achieve Unity in Him who is gracious to us.

    “The wise speaks at a proper time, with words that builds; but a fool speaks to prove, for reasons he does not know.”

    May all peace be with you all.

    In His grace,
    Jave Ithiel

  4. 7-9-2007

    I guess, many are still uncertain about this: Leadership.

    Defining ‘leadership’ as in the context of men’s civilization thoughout centuries, gives an impression that the word ‘lead’ or ‘rule’, are quite pressuring.

    The thing we should consider here is this: What’s ‘Leadership’ in the sight of God?

    Think about Adam and Eve. As men are appointed ‘leaders’ to the wives, does that mean that men and women are NOT equal? Does that mean that men ‘rule’ over women? If that’s so, Christianity has nothing to be proud of… because we call God a ‘fair’ God, and the world will say, “But you Christians’ teachings are already unfair.”

    What’s Leadership? …
    Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

    The above scripture used the word ‘Rule’, but do we know what does it mean by ‘rule’? Force?? Superiority?? …

    Adam, ‘Man’, means the ‘Image of God’. And Eve, taken out of the body of ‘Man’, Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman’, for she was taken out of man.” – Genesis 2:23

    Notice something? Eve was taken from INSIDE ‘Man’. Now back to ‘leadership… Over the history of mankind, men have always portrayed a ‘strong’ character – exercising authorities, strict, disciplined, stern, tough, honour-emphasis, glory-seeking, etc. (less-emotional as compared to their female counterparts); while women have always portrayed a ‘weaker’ character – soft, loving, humble, peace-seeking, harmony-emphasis, etc. … What makes ‘Man’ the leader then, force?? Power??

    Think about it, God the Father – being a disciplined, strict, powerful, glorious, wise, honourable, and ‘strong’ God, at the same time has overwhelming Love, harmony, peaceful, and humble charateristics. But which SET of characteristics ‘rule’? Note that i used the word ‘rule’ here. Don’t the ‘ruling’ characteristics look like the common traits posed by ‘Man’? And why? Because this ‘SET’ of characteristics maintain Order, then the sub-dominant (common characteristics of female) characteristics come into the picture to make things WHOLE. Just like you can’t build a flyover bridge without its pillars, it will fall! So the ‘pillars’ represents Man’s characteristics, while the ‘bridge’ represents Woman’s characteristics. THIS, is Leadership.

    It doesn’t mean ‘Rule’ as in the comprehension of men, which i mean to say, Leadership is NOT forceful. It doesn’t mean that men is superior as compared to woman, both men and women are equal; just that men possesses the ‘dominant’ traits, and thus appointed as leaders over women that wives shall submit to husbands. NOT by force, but Love. “Woman’s submission comes after the Love of her husband.”

    Same applies in the governance of Church – ‘Leadership’ is NOT by knowledge, skills, or example; although all these counts, but before all these, comes first – Love. With ‘perfect’ Love, everything is possible. NO dissatisfaction, NO dissensions, NO lies, NO selfishness, but UNITY in Truth, in God alone. Yes, men alone cannot accomplish ‘perfect’ Love, but in God, we can (if we’re humble enough).

    I sincerely hope that fellow Christians gain mutual understanding in God, that despite all different factions, we are able to achieve Unity in Him who is gracious to us.

    “The wise speaks at a proper time, with words that builds; but a fool speaks to prove, for reasons he does not know.”

    May all peace be with you all.

    In His grace,
    Jave Ithiel

  5. 7-9-2007

    I guess, many are still uncertain about this: Leadership.

    Defining ‘leadership’ as in the context of men’s civilization thoughout centuries, gives an impression that the word ‘lead’ or ‘rule’, are quite pressuring.

    The thing we should consider here is this: What’s ‘Leadership’ in the sight of God?

    Think about Adam and Eve. As men are appointed ‘leaders’ to the wives, does that mean that men and women are NOT equal? Does that mean that men ‘rule’ over women? If that’s so, Christianity has nothing to be proud of… because we call God a ‘fair’ God, and the world will say, “But you Christians’ teachings are already unfair.”

    What’s Leadership? …
    Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

    The above scripture used the word ‘Rule’, but do we know what does it mean by ‘rule’? Force?? Superiority?? …

    Adam, ‘Man’, means the ‘Image of God’. And Eve, taken out of the body of ‘Man’, Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman’, for she was taken out of man.” – Genesis 2:23

    Notice something? Eve was taken from INSIDE ‘Man’. Now back to ‘leadership… Over the history of mankind, men have always portrayed a ‘strong’ character – exercising authorities, strict, disciplined, stern, tough, honour-emphasis, glory-seeking, etc. (less-emotional as compared to their female counterparts); while women have always portrayed a ‘weaker’ character – soft, loving, humble, peace-seeking, harmony-emphasis, etc. … What makes ‘Man’ the leader then, force?? Power??

    Think about it, God the Father – being a disciplined, strict, powerful, glorious, wise, honourable, and ‘strong’ God, at the same time has overwhelming Love, harmony, peaceful, and humble charateristics. But which SET of characteristics ‘rule’? Note that i used the word ‘rule’ here. Don’t the ‘ruling’ characteristics look like the common traits posed by ‘Man’? And why? Because this ‘SET’ of characteristics maintain Order, then the sub-dominant (common characteristics of female) characteristics come into the picture to make things WHOLE. Just like you can’t build a flyover bridge without its pillars, it will fall! So the ‘pillars’ represents Man’s characteristics, while the ‘bridge’ represents Woman’s characteristics. THIS, is Leadership.

    It doesn’t mean ‘Rule’ as in the comprehension of men, which i mean to say, Leadership is NOT forceful. It doesn’t mean that men is superior as compared to woman, both men and women are equal; just that men possesses the ‘dominant’ traits, and thus appointed as leaders over women that wives shall submit to husbands. NOT by force, but Love. “Woman’s submission comes after the Love of her husband.”

    Same applies in the governance of Church – ‘Leadership’ is NOT by knowledge, skills, or example; although all these counts, but before all these, comes first – Love. With ‘perfect’ Love, everything is possible. NO dissatisfaction, NO dissensions, NO lies, NO selfishness, but UNITY in Truth, in God alone. Yes, men alone cannot accomplish ‘perfect’ Love, but in God, we can (if we’re humble enough).

    I sincerely hope that fellow Christians gain mutual understanding in God, that despite all different factions, we are able to achieve Unity in Him who is gracious to us.

    “The wise speaks at a proper time, with words that builds; but a fool speaks to prove, for reasons he does not know.”

    May all peace be with you all.

    In His grace,
    Jave Ithiel

  6. 7-9-2007

    I guess, many are still uncertain about this: Leadership.

    Defining ‘leadership’ as in the context of men’s civilization thoughout centuries, gives an impression that the word ‘lead’ or ‘rule’, are quite pressuring.

    The thing we should consider here is this: What’s ‘Leadership’ in the sight of God?

    Think about Adam and Eve. As men are appointed ‘leaders’ to the wives, does that mean that men and women are NOT equal? Does that mean that men ‘rule’ over women? If that’s so, Christianity has nothing to be proud of… because we call God a ‘fair’ God, and the world will say, “But you Christians’ teachings are already unfair.”

    What’s Leadership? …
    Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

    The above scripture used the word ‘Rule’, but do we know what does it mean by ‘rule’? Force?? Superiority?? …

    Adam, ‘Man’, means the ‘Image of God’. And Eve, taken out of the body of ‘Man’, Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman’, for she was taken out of man.” – Genesis 2:23

    Notice something? Eve was taken from INSIDE ‘Man’. Now back to ‘leadership… Over the history of mankind, men have always portrayed a ‘strong’ character – exercising authorities, strict, disciplined, stern, tough, honour-emphasis, glory-seeking, etc. (less-emotional as compared to their female counterparts); while women have always portrayed a ‘weaker’ character – soft, loving, humble, peace-seeking, harmony-emphasis, etc. … What makes ‘Man’ the leader then, force?? Power??

    Think about it, God the Father – being a disciplined, strict, powerful, glorious, wise, honourable, and ‘strong’ God, at the same time has overwhelming Love, harmony, peaceful, and humble charateristics. But which SET of characteristics ‘rule’? Note that i used the word ‘rule’ here. Don’t the ‘ruling’ characteristics look like the common traits posed by ‘Man’? And why? Because this ‘SET’ of characteristics maintain Order, then the sub-dominant (common characteristics of female) characteristics come into the picture to make things WHOLE. Just like you can’t build a flyover bridge without its pillars, it will fall! So the ‘pillars’ represents Man’s characteristics, while the ‘bridge’ represents Woman’s characteristics. THIS, is Leadership.

    It doesn’t mean ‘Rule’ as in the comprehension of men, which i mean to say, Leadership is NOT forceful. It doesn’t mean that men is superior as compared to woman, both men and women are equal; just that men possesses the ‘dominant’ traits, and thus appointed as leaders over women that wives shall submit to husbands. NOT by force, but Love. “Woman’s submission comes after the Love of her husband.”

    Same applies in the governance of Church – ‘Leadership’ is NOT by knowledge, skills, or example; although all these counts, but before all these, comes first – Love. With ‘perfect’ Love, everything is possible. NO dissatisfaction, NO dissensions, NO lies, NO selfishness, but UNITY in Truth, in God alone. Yes, men alone cannot accomplish ‘perfect’ Love, but in God, we can (if we’re humble enough).

    I sincerely hope that fellow Christians gain mutual understanding in God, that despite all different factions, we are able to achieve Unity in Him who is gracious to us.

    “The wise speaks at a proper time, with words that builds; but a fool speaks to prove, for reasons he does not know.”

    May all peace be with you all.

    In His grace,
    Jave Ithiel

  7. 7-9-2007

    I guess, many are still uncertain about this: Leadership.

    Defining ‘leadership’ as in the context of men’s civilization thoughout centuries, gives an impression that the word ‘lead’ or ‘rule’, are quite pressuring.

    The thing we should consider here is this: What’s ‘Leadership’ in the sight of God?

    Think about Adam and Eve. As men are appointed ‘leaders’ to the wives, does that mean that men and women are NOT equal? Does that mean that men ‘rule’ over women? If that’s so, Christianity has nothing to be proud of… because we call God a ‘fair’ God, and the world will say, “But you Christians’ teachings are already unfair.”

    What’s Leadership? …
    Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

    The above scripture used the word ‘Rule’, but do we know what does it mean by ‘rule’? Force?? Superiority?? …

    Adam, ‘Man’, means the ‘Image of God’. And Eve, taken out of the body of ‘Man’, Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman’, for she was taken out of man.” – Genesis 2:23

    Notice something? Eve was taken from INSIDE ‘Man’. Now back to ‘leadership… Over the history of mankind, men have always portrayed a ‘strong’ character – exercising authorities, strict, disciplined, stern, tough, honour-emphasis, glory-seeking, etc. (less-emotional as compared to their female counterparts); while women have always portrayed a ‘weaker’ character – soft, loving, humble, peace-seeking, harmony-emphasis, etc. … What makes ‘Man’ the leader then, force?? Power??

    Think about it, God the Father – being a disciplined, strict, powerful, glorious, wise, honourable, and ‘strong’ God, at the same time has overwhelming Love, harmony, peaceful, and humble charateristics. But which SET of characteristics ‘rule’? Note that i used the word ‘rule’ here. Don’t the ‘ruling’ characteristics look like the common traits posed by ‘Man’? And why? Because this ‘SET’ of characteristics maintain Order, then the sub-dominant (common characteristics of female) characteristics come into the picture to make things WHOLE. Just like you can’t build a flyover bridge without its pillars, it will fall! So the ‘pillars’ represents Man’s characteristics, while the ‘bridge’ represents Woman’s characteristics. THIS, is Leadership.

    It doesn’t mean ‘Rule’ as in the comprehension of men, which i mean to say, Leadership is NOT forceful. It doesn’t mean that men is superior as compared to woman, both men and women are equal; just that men possesses the ‘dominant’ traits, and thus appointed as leaders over women that wives shall submit to husbands. NOT by force, but Love. “Woman’s submission comes after the Love of her husband.”

    Same applies in the governance of Church – ‘Leadership’ is NOT by knowledge, skills, or example; although all these counts, but before all these, comes first – Love. With ‘perfect’ Love, everything is possible. NO dissatisfaction, NO dissensions, NO lies, NO selfishness, but UNITY in Truth, in God alone. Yes, men alone cannot accomplish ‘perfect’ Love, but in God, we can (if we’re humble enough).

    I sincerely hope that fellow Christians gain mutual understanding in God, that despite all different factions, we are able to achieve Unity in Him who is gracious to us.

    “The wise speaks at a proper time, with words that builds; but a fool speaks to prove, for reasons he does not know.”

    May all peace be with you all.

    In His grace,
    Jave Ithiel

  8. 7-10-2007

    Alan,

    I think you nailed it.

  9. 7-10-2007

    Great post, Alan. I appreciate the time you’ve put into these types of word studies, and pointing us in a direction where we can examine more thoroughly for ourselves.

    Thanks for helping this fellow journey-walker.

  10. 7-10-2007

    Jave,

    I agree on the importance on focussing on God’s love. No matter what we do, no matter how God uses us, no matter what we say, no matter who we interact with, everything should be motivated by the love that God is creating within us. That love is the same love that he lavished on us. If leaders forget that, then they are not leaders in God’s eyes.

    Tim,

    Thanks for the kind words.

    Steve,

    I’m glad that you’ve found these studies helpful. My desire is to help the church. Perhaps God has accomplished that through me, at least in your case.

    -Alan

  11. 7-10-2007

    ^^” I’m sorry if i ever sounded ‘critical’, forgive me, but i do really hate it when people mis-use the ‘authority’ of God to do things of their own interest, especially ‘half-hearted’ deeds; where they doesn’t even know that they’re insulting God, yet making proud claims. So usually i seem to side the ‘non-christians’ or the ‘oppressed/weak’ when they become ‘victims’ of the ‘Christians’. Not that i’m against my fellow brothers, but that i choose to stand for absolute Truth – which builds, and doesn’t causes others to fall.

    Well, here in malaysia i’m often disliked, because my ‘code of conduct’ is different from many ‘Christian church-goers’ here. While the 6 months i was in New York, i was very welcomed. So contradicting, how funny. It’s really disappointing to me, that many of my fellow church members here often have ‘one eye open, the other closed’ mentality, and leaders that practises ‘half-love’ … In the end, many who fell due to their disappointment towards the church’s governance left, or some, came to me for a listening ear.

    But i must agree that i’ve been edified, a lot, from reading your blog posts. Do keep watch though, as we all know that the more a person serves God, the more Satan desires to cut him down. Just one word of concern, “Getting too used to a certain ‘environment’ over a long period, often makes a person blind.”

    May God has mercy on you and lead you through all hindrances and evil schemes which intend to ruin you. I’ll keep you in prayers…

    In FAITH, you have received.

    His unworthy servant,
    Jave Ithiel

  12. 7-10-2007

    ^^” I’m sorry if i ever sounded ‘critical’, forgive me, but i do really hate it when people mis-use the ‘authority’ of God to do things of their own interest, especially ‘half-hearted’ deeds; where they doesn’t even know that they’re insulting God, yet making proud claims. So usually i seem to side the ‘non-christians’ or the ‘oppressed/weak’ when they become ‘victims’ of the ‘Christians’. Not that i’m against my fellow brothers, but that i choose to stand for absolute Truth – which builds, and doesn’t causes others to fall.

    Well, here in malaysia i’m often disliked, because my ‘code of conduct’ is different from many ‘Christian church-goers’ here. While the 6 months i was in New York, i was very welcomed. So contradicting, how funny. It’s really disappointing to me, that many of my fellow church members here often have ‘one eye open, the other closed’ mentality, and leaders that practises ‘half-love’ … In the end, many who fell due to their disappointment towards the church’s governance left, or some, came to me for a listening ear.

    But i must agree that i’ve been edified, a lot, from reading your blog posts. Do keep watch though, as we all know that the more a person serves God, the more Satan desires to cut him down. Just one word of concern, “Getting too used to a certain ‘environment’ over a long period, often makes a person blind.”

    May God has mercy on you and lead you through all hindrances and evil schemes which intend to ruin you. I’ll keep you in prayers…

    In FAITH, you have received.

    His unworthy servant,
    Jave Ithiel

  13. 7-10-2007

    ^^” I’m sorry if i ever sounded ‘critical’, forgive me, but i do really hate it when people mis-use the ‘authority’ of God to do things of their own interest, especially ‘half-hearted’ deeds; where they doesn’t even know that they’re insulting God, yet making proud claims. So usually i seem to side the ‘non-christians’ or the ‘oppressed/weak’ when they become ‘victims’ of the ‘Christians’. Not that i’m against my fellow brothers, but that i choose to stand for absolute Truth – which builds, and doesn’t causes others to fall.

    Well, here in malaysia i’m often disliked, because my ‘code of conduct’ is different from many ‘Christian church-goers’ here. While the 6 months i was in New York, i was very welcomed. So contradicting, how funny. It’s really disappointing to me, that many of my fellow church members here often have ‘one eye open, the other closed’ mentality, and leaders that practises ‘half-love’ … In the end, many who fell due to their disappointment towards the church’s governance left, or some, came to me for a listening ear.

    But i must agree that i’ve been edified, a lot, from reading your blog posts. Do keep watch though, as we all know that the more a person serves God, the more Satan desires to cut him down. Just one word of concern, “Getting too used to a certain ‘environment’ over a long period, often makes a person blind.”

    May God has mercy on you and lead you through all hindrances and evil schemes which intend to ruin you. I’ll keep you in prayers…

    In FAITH, you have received.

    His unworthy servant,
    Jave Ithiel

  14. 7-10-2007

    ^^” I’m sorry if i ever sounded ‘critical’, forgive me, but i do really hate it when people mis-use the ‘authority’ of God to do things of their own interest, especially ‘half-hearted’ deeds; where they doesn’t even know that they’re insulting God, yet making proud claims. So usually i seem to side the ‘non-christians’ or the ‘oppressed/weak’ when they become ‘victims’ of the ‘Christians’. Not that i’m against my fellow brothers, but that i choose to stand for absolute Truth – which builds, and doesn’t causes others to fall.

    Well, here in malaysia i’m often disliked, because my ‘code of conduct’ is different from many ‘Christian church-goers’ here. While the 6 months i was in New York, i was very welcomed. So contradicting, how funny. It’s really disappointing to me, that many of my fellow church members here often have ‘one eye open, the other closed’ mentality, and leaders that practises ‘half-love’ … In the end, many who fell due to their disappointment towards the church’s governance left, or some, came to me for a listening ear.

    But i must agree that i’ve been edified, a lot, from reading your blog posts. Do keep watch though, as we all know that the more a person serves God, the more Satan desires to cut him down. Just one word of concern, “Getting too used to a certain ‘environment’ over a long period, often makes a person blind.”

    May God has mercy on you and lead you through all hindrances and evil schemes which intend to ruin you. I’ll keep you in prayers…

    In FAITH, you have received.

    His unworthy servant,
    Jave Ithiel

  15. 7-10-2007

    ^^” I’m sorry if i ever sounded ‘critical’, forgive me, but i do really hate it when people mis-use the ‘authority’ of God to do things of their own interest, especially ‘half-hearted’ deeds; where they doesn’t even know that they’re insulting God, yet making proud claims. So usually i seem to side the ‘non-christians’ or the ‘oppressed/weak’ when they become ‘victims’ of the ‘Christians’. Not that i’m against my fellow brothers, but that i choose to stand for absolute Truth – which builds, and doesn’t causes others to fall.

    Well, here in malaysia i’m often disliked, because my ‘code of conduct’ is different from many ‘Christian church-goers’ here. While the 6 months i was in New York, i was very welcomed. So contradicting, how funny. It’s really disappointing to me, that many of my fellow church members here often have ‘one eye open, the other closed’ mentality, and leaders that practises ‘half-love’ … In the end, many who fell due to their disappointment towards the church’s governance left, or some, came to me for a listening ear.

    But i must agree that i’ve been edified, a lot, from reading your blog posts. Do keep watch though, as we all know that the more a person serves God, the more Satan desires to cut him down. Just one word of concern, “Getting too used to a certain ‘environment’ over a long period, often makes a person blind.”

    May God has mercy on you and lead you through all hindrances and evil schemes which intend to ruin you. I’ll keep you in prayers…

    In FAITH, you have received.

    His unworthy servant,
    Jave Ithiel

  16. 7-10-2007

    ^^” I’m sorry if i ever sounded ‘critical’, forgive me, but i do really hate it when people mis-use the ‘authority’ of God to do things of their own interest, especially ‘half-hearted’ deeds; where they doesn’t even know that they’re insulting God, yet making proud claims. So usually i seem to side the ‘non-christians’ or the ‘oppressed/weak’ when they become ‘victims’ of the ‘Christians’. Not that i’m against my fellow brothers, but that i choose to stand for absolute Truth – which builds, and doesn’t causes others to fall.

    Well, here in malaysia i’m often disliked, because my ‘code of conduct’ is different from many ‘Christian church-goers’ here. While the 6 months i was in New York, i was very welcomed. So contradicting, how funny. It’s really disappointing to me, that many of my fellow church members here often have ‘one eye open, the other closed’ mentality, and leaders that practises ‘half-love’ … In the end, many who fell due to their disappointment towards the church’s governance left, or some, came to me for a listening ear.

    But i must agree that i’ve been edified, a lot, from reading your blog posts. Do keep watch though, as we all know that the more a person serves God, the more Satan desires to cut him down. Just one word of concern, “Getting too used to a certain ‘environment’ over a long period, often makes a person blind.”

    May God has mercy on you and lead you through all hindrances and evil schemes which intend to ruin you. I’ll keep you in prayers…

    In FAITH, you have received.

    His unworthy servant,
    Jave Ithiel

  17. 7-10-2007

    ^^” I’m sorry if i ever sounded ‘critical’, forgive me, but i do really hate it when people mis-use the ‘authority’ of God to do things of their own interest, especially ‘half-hearted’ deeds; where they doesn’t even know that they’re insulting God, yet making proud claims. So usually i seem to side the ‘non-christians’ or the ‘oppressed/weak’ when they become ‘victims’ of the ‘Christians’. Not that i’m against my fellow brothers, but that i choose to stand for absolute Truth – which builds, and doesn’t causes others to fall.

    Well, here in malaysia i’m often disliked, because my ‘code of conduct’ is different from many ‘Christian church-goers’ here. While the 6 months i was in New York, i was very welcomed. So contradicting, how funny. It’s really disappointing to me, that many of my fellow church members here often have ‘one eye open, the other closed’ mentality, and leaders that practises ‘half-love’ … In the end, many who fell due to their disappointment towards the church’s governance left, or some, came to me for a listening ear.

    But i must agree that i’ve been edified, a lot, from reading your blog posts. Do keep watch though, as we all know that the more a person serves God, the more Satan desires to cut him down. Just one word of concern, “Getting too used to a certain ‘environment’ over a long period, often makes a person blind.”

    May God has mercy on you and lead you through all hindrances and evil schemes which intend to ruin you. I’ll keep you in prayers…

    In FAITH, you have received.

    His unworthy servant,
    Jave Ithiel

  18. 7-10-2007

    Jave,

    You did not sound critical. In fact, my comment was not meant to disagree with you. I agree with you. Thank you for the warning – I do take that very serious – and the prayer – I need that desperately!

    -Alan

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Assembling of the Church | Ruling or Leading? - [...] used in Scripture to describe elders and other Christian leaders. I wrote one post called “Ruling or Leading?” as …