À propos de l'Église de Christ
Translated by James Mack
A GOOD METHOD
For centuries now, some christians have been faced with the confusion of (Hebrews 13:17) « Obey your leaders », I believe it is important to understand what the author of Hebrews wanted to teach us.
The Scriptures are confirmed and explained by the Scriptures. Our feelings, our emotions, and ideas must not go against the Scriptures.
God has given us His advice through out the whole Bible.
I believe that the correct method for an adequate study of the Scriptures is by following these steps:
1 – Taking the verse that we are studying in its context.
For example, it is clear that we are not « physically » eating the flesh of Jesus (Jn 6:50-63). Verse 63 gives us the explanation in the context of what Jesus told us:
Jn 6: 63 The Spirit is the one who gives life and the flesh doesn’t help at all. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
The context of a verse (or subject) has a location in the Scriptures. For example, when one wants to talk about the Church, the New Testament is the appropriate place.
However, even if a subject like the Church is mentioned in the Bible, our research will be directed towards the New Testament.
2 – A verse that we are studying must be confirmed, completed and balanced out by additional verses.
In doing so, we will fully understand God’s advice better.
For example, in our present study on « obedience », we see that we do not have the same obedience to leaders in the world as in the Church. We will also see that our current definition to « obedience to leaders » is not the same as God’s.
3 – We must DEFINE the words that are being used to fully understand ourselves.
This is very important, but often neglected.
And better yet, without being specialists in Greek or Hebrew, today, we have the true meanings and definitions of the words by the Bibles Strong’s definition, may it be Greek or Hebrew.
4 – Accepting the idea that there are things that we will never fully understand.
The Bible calls them « mysteries ». There are things that we can understand with our intelligence and others that we need to understand « by faith ». We are unable to « rationalize » God, his plans, his ways, nor his thoughts. Those who study the Bible with honesty always end up by saying: God you are bigger than I can understand!
Let’s study and take a look at Hebrews 13:17 in all its perspective. Taking the words: « obey », « leaders », « respect » and « they keep watch » and study them separately, in its context, and then, the complete Scriptures. This will give us a more complete comprehension of the verse.
HEBREWS 13:17 : Obey (« Peitho » (3982) your leaders (« Hegeomai ». 2233) and submit (« Hupeiko ». 5226) to them, for they keep watch (« Agrupneo ». 5258) over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
« Peitho » OBEY. (3982)
The Greek word « Peitho » is found 55 times in the New Testament. It is the ‘original word’, it means that it is the first of a series of other words coming from it.
To understand this principle, let’s look at the « progression » of the word « Peitho »:
« Peitho » means « persuade », or « be persuaded », or also « have confidence ».
From the word « Peitho » came several words:
1. « Pistis » (4102) which means « faith », referring to faith in God.
2. « Pistos » (4103) which means « faithful », or « be faithful and loyal ». This Word still speaks of faith in God.
3. « Peithos’ (3981) which means »persuasive ». Only found in 1 Cor 2:4.
From « Pistis » we found 2 words:
1. « Pisteuo » (4100) which means: believe, have faith.
2 « Pistikos » (4101), which means: skilled to produce belief.
From « Pistos » we found 1 Word:
1. « Pistoo » (4104) meaning: what is recognized and certified as sure and certain.
« Peitho » has also been combined with other words as in:
-« Peitharcheo » (3980), which consists of the word « Peitho » and the word « Archo » (757). Peitharcheo means: have confidence in a sovereign or a superior.
Although this may seem a bit complicated, I believe that it is sometimes necessary to know and dig deeply into the word of God. The purpose of this method of « digging » is to know and understand WHAT GOD REALLY WANTS TO SAY.
Therefore it is important to note that the word « Peitho » really means: to persuade in the sense « to bring someone to believe something by the use of words« .
It is the ORIGINAL word from which is derived the word « FAITH ».
That is the way in which this word is translated through the NT:
– To Persuade (20 times),
– To Confide (11 times. Trust),
– To Obey (4 times)
– To Soothe (1 time), to follow (2 times), to exhort (1 time), to listen (2 times), to boast (1 time), to have assurance (once), to reassure (1 time), seek to convince (1 time), to believe (1 time), to desire favor (1 time)…
However, it is clear that the passage in Hebrews 11:17 does not mean: « To persuade your leaders »!
The « key » to this word lies in the manner in which it is conjugated. Here, we are talking about the active or passive voice.
If I conjugate the verb « persuade » to the active voice, Then I am saying : I persuaded. It’s me that persuades.
If I conjugate the verb in the passive voice, Then I am saying: I am persuaded by someone. It is NOT me who persuaded but I am the one who is persuaded.
As if this was not sufficiently complicated, the voice that is used here is the « middle » voice, that is to say, it is between the active voice and the passive voice.
The average voice DOES NOT SAY « I persuaded someone, » or « I am persuaded by someone » but « I PERSUADED MYSELF ».
Thus, « obey your leaders » should be translated: let yourself be persuaded by your leaders, be open and receptive to their teachings, do not have a « closed » attitude with them, and agree to trust them.
Here we are far from the « unconditional obedience » that some leaders claim for members of their assemblies.
Here are a few verses with the Greek word « Peitho » in which it is translated in different ways.
Matthew 27: 20: But the chief priests and the elders persuaded (Peitho) the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death.
Matthew 27: 43: He trusts (Peitho) in God; let God rescue Him now, if He delights in Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’
Matthew 28: 14 And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will win (Peitho) him over and keep you out of trouble.”
Acts 5: 40: They took (Peitho) his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to [b]speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them.
Here are a few more verses to better understand the middle voice.
Matthew 26: 45: Then He *came to the disciples and *said to them, “
Are you still sleeping and resting? (medium voice. Are you still sleeping and resting?) Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.
Mark 5: 36 But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, *said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid any longer, (middle voice. Let not fear settle in you) only believe.”
Luke 12: 15: Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; (medium voice. Do not let greed settle in you) for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”
HEGEOMAI. TO YOUR LEADERS. (2233)
Here is another word that is poorly understood and poorly translated!
It is necessary to take a few verses to better understand the concept of being a leader. Hegeomai was found in 27 verses.
A leader is:
-The one who nourishes.
-The one who governs.
-The one who gives the word, who says what must be said.
-Someone who is considered, estimated and appreciated for what emanates from him.
-The one who judges. One who looks carefully at situations, to bring an appropriate judgement based on the way in which God judges.
-One who loves, who has affection for those that God has entrusted to him.
A leader feeds those he leads. He teaches and his teaching feeds them and makes them grow to resemble Jesus.
Matthieu 2: 6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, Are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; For out of you shall come forth a Ruler (hegeomai) who will shepherd My people Israel.’
A leader is a Governor, but a Governor who acts as a servant and not a Governor who dominates. The leader is actually a SERVANT.
Luke 22: 26: But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader (hegeomai) like the servant.
A leader is the one who brings the word. Meaning « the one who speaks », and the word that he brings is not his but the one that which comes from God.
Acts 14: 12: And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. (hegeomai).
A leader is a normal man and a brother, but who is considered and appreciated by his brothers and sisters. He does not establish himself.
Acts 15:22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas—Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading (hegeomai) men among the brethren,
A leader judges what is necessary for the edification of the body of Christ.
2 Corinthians 9: 5: I have therefore found it (hegeomai) necessary to invite the brothers to visit before you, and to take care of your already promised liberality, so that it is ready to be a grant, not an act of greed.
A leader considers the other brothers and sisters as superior to him and not lower. A true leader does not consider others as inferior to him. It is the concept of the servant.
Philippians 2: 3: do not do anything by spirit of party or conceit, but that humility do you watch (hegeomai) the other as being above yourselves.
By the same idea as the verse above, a leader does not want to be equal with God, but he sees himself as a servant.
Philippians 2: 6: who, in the form of God, looked point (hegeomai) as a prey to snatch to be equal with God,
A leader looks at all his natural talents and its hereditary privileges as a loss. He wants the talents of Christ to grow in him, and for that, he needs to decrease and let Christ increase in him.
Philippians 3:7-8 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted (Hegeomai) loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count (Hegeomai) them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.
A leader has the highest regards (esteem) of interest in his brothers and sisters, meaning, he loves and forgives.
1 Thessalonians 5:13 (NIV) Hold them in the highest regard (Hegeomai) in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.
A leader does not regard others as enemies, but he is able to warn them.
2 Thessalonians 3:15 (NIV) Yet do not regard (Hegeomai) them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer.
A leader is considered trustworthy to his service.
1 Timothy 1:12 (NIV) I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered (Hegeomai) me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.
WE HAVE TO, THINK, CONSIDER, COUNT, DECIDE AND JUDGE
« Hegeomai » is sometimes translated as; « thought », « consider », « decided », « counted » and « judged », but in most French versions, (2 Corinthians 9: 5) the word « judged » is used instead of « thought » or « considered ».
For the English versions. In (1 Timothy 1:12) the « English Standard Version and the « Amplified Bible » use the word « judged » instead of « considered » or « counted ».
So judged fits perfectly in place of « thought », « consider », « counted », « decided », you will see that all these words perfectly describes the word judgement. This notion of « judgment » must be understood in order to know and understand how leaders should judge.
It is clear that a leader must take decisions. The decisions taken, are taken with his judgment and appreciation for certain situations.
For example, when a leader DECIDES to promote something or to prohibit something, he must JUDGE that one is GOOD while the other is BAD (or terrible). His judgment will affect all those who took it as a reference. It is therefore of the utmost importance that his judgments are established ACCORDING to the Scriptures.
There are many words in the New Testament, who speak of the notion of judging. « Hegeomai » is one, but we have 4 other words that speak of judge or think.
« Dokeo » (1380), « Phaino » (5316), « Oiomai » (3633), et Nomizo (3543).
Dokeo, is referred to as the subjective judgment, which may or may not conform to the facts.
A leader who is not subjected to Christ for his decisions. This leader listens to his feelings and emotions and then makes decisions.
Phaino and Oiomai refer to the actual outward appearance, generally correct, but, can be misleading.
A leader that takes too much into consideration about a persons appearance. The leader’s judgment is based on the external appearances of the people he or she leads. These emotions drives the leader to his decisions.
-Hegeomai (2233) and Nomizo (3543).
Hegeomai denotes a more attentive judgement and more deliberate than Nomizo.
Hegeomai « takes more time » before making a decision, and analyzes much more the facts than Nomizo does.
These two words involves judging, and believing, they are not based on sensitivity or feelings, but on consideration of external elements, and comparison of the real facts.
Leaders who do not listen to their emotions, but who continually seek to listen to what God says. According to the Scriptures, they analyze whether their decisions will be consistent with what God says.
HUPEIKO. SUBMIT YOURSELVES (5226)
to resist no longer, but to give way, yield (to combat)
metaph. to yield to authority and admonition, to submit.
Comes from hupo (5259) and eiko (yield, « weak »). Hupeiko found that in the verse of nore study.
Hebrews 13:17 (NIV) Have confidence in your leaders and submit (Hupeiko) to their authority,
« Hupeiko » confirms what we saw earlier with « Peitho ». It is clear to see that the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews insists on the fact that we must trust, be open minded and not to resist those who teach us.
AGRUPNEO. FOR THEY WATCH. (69)
Literally, « agrupneo » means: do not sleep. It is translated by: ensure, be careful and be ready. Agrupneo has been found in 4 verses.
(Mark 13:33) 33 Take ye heed, watch (Agrupneo) and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
(Luke 21:36) 36 Watch (Agrupneo) ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
(Ephesians 6:18) 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching (Agrupneo) thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
(Hebrews 13:17) 17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch (Agrupneo) for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
HEBREWS 13:17 « AMPLIFIED ».
I will conclude with Hebrews 13:17 and give you an « amplified » version of what we’ve just seen.
Let yourself be persuaded by those who teach and feed you the Word of God. Be open and be receptive to their teachings, based on the Scriptures. Don’t have a « closed » attitude with them, and agree to trust them, for their judgments and decisions are taken by searching for the wisdom that comes from God.
Do not resist their love and their patience when they are « watching over you » and take no rest until you mature.
Remember that they must realize the responsibility entrusted to them by God.
Thus, do not sadden them, and you’ll have a mutual and harmonious relation.