x340......Them that are "Over You"

12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves. (1thessalonians 5:12-13)

There are some verses in the Bible which spawn an entire doctrine about the "rankings" in a church. We have the concept that there are some people who are "over" one another in the Lord.

what exactly does this mean?

Does it meant that the Lord has set some people up above others in the church? That the Lord has given some people special authority over others within the church?

1Th 5:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;

Heb 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

Heb 13:17 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.

Heb 13:24 Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.


Here are the other verse in the Bible which seem to refer to someone being "over you" in the Lord. The general concept that most Christians believe or have been taught is that the Lord sets some people into "ministry" which puts them in "rulership" over the others in the church. Whether we realize it or not, in ages past, the Christian church followed after this concept in a very extreme way. And, whether we realize it or not, we still largely cling to the operational structure that was established in those past ages. The format of the church is based upon the Roman empire's idea of rulership and function within the church they established--based largely on teaching and holding people under authority--(and at the root is the collecting of money!)--the complete opposite of the release (apostlship) which was integral to Jesus' ministry and the ministry of the church of the Bible.

but the definition "ministerial rulership" goes directly against the words that we are using here.

the key thing to remember is that ministry means service--it means being a servant--Jesus relates the kingdom of the church as follows--

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)

the person who has the "rule" over others in the church--the person who is "over" others is the greatest servant--or at least is supposed to be according to the way Jesus asked His church to be set up. Yes there is someone who is "chief" amongst a group of Christians--we certainly need Christian leadership--however--this person is not to rule the way the world rules--having "authority" over one another. This concept can be difficult for us to understand, since the world operates in the wrong way (the strongest are the leaders)--and so does the church! We ought to get rid of the words (translated by people who were writing a Bible for a "Christian king"--King James--who supposedly had "authority" to "rule" "over" his "subjects" who had to "submit"--all supposedly from God) that mislead us here--"chief"--"rule over"--these are words that simply mean leadership.

Leadership amongst Christians is to be without "authority"---without the power of God which is meant to be used against the devil---something hard for us to understand--but something which we are told to strive toward. But maybe it's not as hard as we think-if we understand that Christ is the Head of the church--and the Head of every man. And the church is supposed to meet frequently (every day!) in small groups--not a "once-a-week holy day of obligation"--when the rule is that "all must attend"--or else.

Let's look at these misleading words in detail...


Are there people who are "over" one another in he body of Christ? Well the bible says there is---this is the word in he Greek--

hegeomai {hayg-eh'-om-ahee} v

----- count 10, think 4, esteem 3, have rule over 3, be governor 2, misc 6; 28

1) to lead 1a) to go before 1b) to be a leader 1b1) to rule, command 1b3) a prince, of regal power, governor, viceroy, chief, leading as respects influence, controlling in counsel, overseers or leaders of the churches 1b4) used of any kind of leader, chief, commander 1b5) the leader in speech, chief, spokesman 2) to consider, deem, account, think


Notice that it describes a leaders---"chief"--and we see clearly that Jesus described how someone should look who is the "chief"--

27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

Here is the Greek word for "servant"--

doulos {doo'-los} n

---- servant 120, bond 6, bondman 1; 127

1) a slave, bondman, man of servile condition 1a) a slave 1b) metaph., one who gives himself up to another's will those whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing his cause among men 1c) devoted to another to the disregard of one's own interests 2) a servant, attendant


This is literally a slave--someone gives up himself and serves others fully--just a as Jesus did--as He stated by giving up His life for all-

45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)

24 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. 25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. 27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. 28 Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. 29 And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; (Luke 22: 24-29)

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. 45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Mark 10:42-45)

So to rule--or be chief--is to be the servant of all--and specifically NOT to exercise authority over others. THIS IS JESUS' DEFINITION OF "RULE"---MINISTRY---SERVICE TO OTHERS--ONE CANNOT BE A SERVANT AND A MASTER--JESUS IS MEANT TO BE THE ONLY MASTER AMONGST CHRISTIANS!

the persons who are "over you" in the Lord are the people who serve all.....now re-read the "over you" scriptures


7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. (Hebrews 13:7)

this scripture which tells us to remember them that rule--tells us clearly that we ought to give heed--or submit to the lifestyle (conversation)of those who serve others--and follow after their faith--which means that we should in fact strive to be ministers--servants as they are. The striving amongst Christians is NOT to have rule--but rather to serve one another to a greater degree.

We are not to be under the "authority" or "power" of ministers or leaders--but they are to be servants whose example we are meant to follow after--so that we might become the same type of servant that they are--ministers unto the Lord.