In yesterday’s post, “What did Paul think about his subordinates?,” I explained that in the next few post I intend to examine what Paul thought about the people who traveled with him and the people he worked with in various cities. Did he think of himself as being a superior with them being subordinates? Did he think of them all as equals?
Before I get into the evidence from Scripture, I think it’s important that I define the terms that I’m using in this series.
A person higher than another person in rank, status, authority, or quality
A person lower in rank, status, authority, or quality in comparison to another person
And, since this word will probably pop up from time to time, I will include it as well:
A ranking of different people based on status, authority, or quality
In reality, in the way that I’m using these terms, the three go together. A hierarchy requires superiors and subordinates. The presence of superiors or subordinates automatically dictates the presence of the other and automatically forms a hierarchy.
So, if I rephrase the original question using these definitions, then this is what I’m asking: Did Paul think of himself as being higher in rank, status, authority, or quality than the people he traveled with or the people in worked with in various cities?
Now, I want to point out something very important. I am not talking about extreme cases of superiority or subordination. I’m not talking about dictatorial leaders or blind followers. I’m simply talking about hierarchy of any kind, and superiors and subordinates of any kind.
A kind, benevolent, caring, supportive, and empowering superior is still a superior and is still above his/her subordinates in a hierarchy based on some rank.
So, in the remaining posts in this series, I will examine the terms that Paul used to refer to his traveling companions and other believers in various cities in order to determine if he used terms denoting a superior/subordinate relationship or if he used terms denoting an equal relationship.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the definitions I’m using.
Series: Does Paul refer to other Christians as superiors/subordinates?
- What did Paul think about his subordinates?
- Defining the terms
- The ways that Paul most often refers to other believers
- When Paul refers to other believers using father/child language
- Examining Paul’s use of the father/child language
- Does Paul use the term apostle to refer to a superior/subordinate relationship?
- When Paul DOES use the language of superiors and subordinates