x293......Rule rule who's got the rule??
17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch 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, KJV).
25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:25-28, KJV).
Here are 2 areas of scripture that seem to contradict one another. The first seems to say that there is someone --within the church--who has "the rule" over other Christians.
Yet at the same time--Jesus in Matthew 20 seems to be saying that amongst Christian--there should not be someone who has "rule" over other Christians.
But of course the truth is that both statements agree absolutely true and correct--we must just take them in their totality.
Matthew 20:27 states that a person who will be "chief" among Christians--should be a servant.--Hebrew 13:17 says that we should "submit" or give heed--"listen to" a person who has "rule". So it is obvious that within the church--the person how has "rule" is the person who is the greatest servant and does not "Lord it over" others. The full understanding of this is that the person who has the "rule" is the person who does not exercise authority over others!
As Jesus says--this is the opposite of the way the world operates-
".....Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them."
In the world--leaders "exercise dominion"---they assert the authority of their own will over the people they "rule"--But to "rule" in the church is to be the servant of all.
42 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. 43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. (Mark 10:42-44, KJV).
Again in the book of Mark, Jesus reiterates this concept of "rulership" in the church--amongst Christians--amongst His followers. This is Gods "inside out kingdom"--to "rule" is to serve!
Now we must also remember that in Hebrews 13:17 the scripture states that those who have the "rule" must also "give account". The word "account" in the Greek is the word "logos" meaning the written word of God. This further qualifies the "rule" of whom we are speaking. What the fullness of this scripture means is that we should "submit" (give heed to or listen to)--the word of God coming through those who are serving us by giving us the word. We are not to submit to the will of people--just as Matthew 20 and Mark 10 state--but rather to submit to the word of God--being "served" (ministered) to us through others.
When a person serves us--or "ministers" to us--the word of God--we should "submit to it"--we should listen to this word--give heed to it--let that word come in to us and change us.
We certainly are not meant to be subject to the will or "authority" of another person--but rather to the word of God which comes through that person--who "must give account".
Serving out the word God to others certainly is serving them--is being their "minister". This explains the benefit of teaching within the church. However, if we totally center the church upon teaching people who are already Christians, we fall far short of the Biblical apostolic operational plan of the church.
If we were to study history we will find that the strong tradition of "one-man's teaching" as being the centerpiece of the church, comes to us from the Roman empire. It comes to us from a time, 1700 years ago--when a Roman emperor, who considered himself to be the head of the church, declared everyone in Rome a Christian. If everyone is a Christian, the focus of the church did not need to be apostleship (which is the working of Jesus' ministry out to the world--in small groups). Rather it made perfect sense to simply meet once a week, for worship and the teaching of the people. This tradition was then reinforced by over 1,000 years of a continuation of this belief in the catholic or "universal" church (again--people become "Christians" by baptism at birth--and nearly everyone was baptized in Eurpope during these "dark ages"). Reformation finally arrives only 500 years ago, yet the protestant churches retain the same basic format of church operation--stressing the teaching of the leadership, and ignoring the apostleship of all the people!
"Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves:............"
Now it is interesting to note that the Bible says to "them"--the plural form is used--not the singular form. It is clear that there was not, nor ever was, in the Bible, meant to be one "ruler" in a church. This verse is referring to a group of people who "give account"---it is referring to a group of people within the church who have the right to teach the word. The Bible certainly does not say "obey the pastor who has the rule over you"--which unfortunately is often the mistranslation behind this verse.
Instead it refers to a "them" a group of people--apparently not defined--not a fixed person--who "gives the account--the "logos". This "them" are the ones who we are to "submit" to (listen to)--Not a single "emperor" of the church who has the fixed position of being the only person within the church who can "define doctrine or teach the word of God.
The same book of Hebrews tells us an interesting thing--about exactly who ought to be teaching within the church.....
12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. (Hebrews 5:12, KJV).
This verse, previously written in Hebrews, makes the little taught statement that "when for the time ye ought to be teachers,"--(by this time--you all ought to be teachers!) If we simply put these two doctrines together, it becomes clear that the "them" that we should "submit" to, could possibly be anyone in the church. If any or all can teach---then at any time, any should be submitted to. This concept lines up perfectly with the idea of ministry being a gift "given unto every one of us"--as well as the statement made in 1Peter...
"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. (1 Peter 5:5, KJV).
The Greek word translated as "be subject" (hupotasso) is the
same word translated as "submit" in Hebrews 13:17. The fact is
that anyone in the church in the Bible could teach----as the Spirit directed.
It was NOT the sole right of leadership.
The logos is in the hands of "them" rather than a singular individual who is the only one who is allowed to "give account". This verse in Hebrews 13:17 when understood within the context of scripture lets us understand what real "authority" is within the church--that it is the service (ministry) of them who teach us the word of God that we are to "submit" to---which could be anyone!
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Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves:.....
.....they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you:.......
.....the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you:....
In Hebrews 13:17 we see the word "rule" and the assumption is made that this means that there is someone who has "authority" over others within the church. But when we relate this verse to what Jesus says in Matthew 20:25 and Mark 10:42 we see that "rule" in the church--amongst Christians--means to serve--not to "exercise authority"
Exercising authority over others is the way the world operates--not the way it should be "among you"
Rule does not mean "to exert authority over others" amongst Christians--but rather it means to serve others.