Friday, February 27, 2009

A good read


Joined: January 3rd, 2009, 2:39 am
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Post Obeying your leaders: A short commentary on Hebrews 13:17
Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
~ Hebrews 13:17 (NIV)

Let me start this post by saying that I believe there is such a thing as biblical authority, and that it is healthy for believers to obey their spiritual overseers in the local church. What I want to focus on here is the nature of this obedience.

According to Vine's Expository Dictionary Of Old And New Testament Words, the Greek work translated here as "obey" is peitho. Elsewhere in the Bible, peitho is translated as: to yield, to believe, to be assured, to have confidence in, to trust, and to be persuaded by. The obedience here is the kind that comes from a trusting relationship between human beings.

In contrast, look at the Greek word hupakouo, which is also translated as obey in some parts of the Bible. According to Vine's, hupakouo is used for obedience in the following instances:
(a) to God by everyone and everything in Hebrews 5:9 and 11:8
(b) to Christ by natural elements in Matthew 8:27
(c) to disciples of Christ when they command a mulberry tree to uproot cast itself into the sea in Luke 17:6
(d) to the faith by new believers in Acts 6:7; and to the Gospel in Romans 10:16 and Christian doctrine in Romans 6:17 (as to a form or mold of teaching)
(e) to apostolic injunctions, such as in Philippians 2:12
(f) to Abraham by Sarah, as in 1 Peter 3:6
(g) to parents by children in Ephesians 6:1
(h) to masters by servants in Ephesians 6:5
(i) to sin by ourselves if unaided by God in Romans 6:12
(j) in general as slaves in Romans 6:16

See Vine's online here:

Hupakouo is not about being persuaded or trusting in someone. No, it is about unquestioning, automatic obedience that comes from domineering authority. It's important to note that nowhere in the list does Vine's apply hupakouo to the obedience that should occur between church members and their spiritual overseers. The vital difference is a trusting relationship that produces a voluntary yielding and submission. Moreover, hupakouo is unquestioning, whereas peitho implies that the person obeying weighs the instruction in his or her mind, then deliberately decides to submit to a fellow human being. (Of course, our relationship with God is also trusting like a sheep with its good shepherd or between close friends, but our obedience occurs because He is our Lord and Master.)

What does this imply for obedience to spiritual overseers in the church? It means that we should consider the results of their faith. Hebrews 13:7 says, "Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith." We should know their lives and their conduct. This should produce a natural trust. If you obey your boss at work, it's likely hupakouo (though you're lucky if it's peitho). Or if you get stopped by the police, you're not supposed to care about how the officer manages his or her affairs at home. Peitho is different. We know our leaders and trust them.

Moreover, we consider what they say. Like the Bereans in Acts 17, we look in the Bible to see what they say is true or not. Otherwise, if we are not to consider what they say, how can we "be persuaded by" them as peitho implies?

I'm interested to hear the thoughts of people who have considered this question. What is the nature of obedience in Hebrews 13:17?


Anonymous said...

Obey the leaders is a part verse of the bible. There are other verses in the bible which are also to be followed. Jesus also said as leaders not to be overbearing like the pharisees, leaders to show good examples, etc. When the bible said to obey the leaders to make their job easier, the objective is for the benefits of the church, for the kingdom of GOD, not for man's kingdom, not for personal gain. It is for God's kingdom benefits, for the advancement of HIS KINGDOM. Not personal gain. God told us in the book of HAGAI to build HIS TEMPLE first, then build our own panelled houses. Daniel & friends said they would still worship GOD and would not bow down to other gods although GOD did not answer their prayers and they were burnt to death.

This is my hypothesis or personal belief. DJ might be disappointed with GOD when GOD did not fullfil the desires of his heart after he has built up GOD's kingdom. so DJ resorted to his own actions, strength and power to achieve his personal ambitions. Probably it is not time or even GOD's will for DJ to be a politician. He might then become delusional. How can he deny becoming a CHRISTIAN and being the founder of HOPE churches when there are many living witnesses and evidences? To protect the church? Let GOD be the judge.
In politics as we all know, he needs to please the majority to win the election. And we all know majority of Thais are BUDDHIST. So the objective and integrity are in questions.

Re: PN has apologised to DJ for his sin and DJ has forgiven him. If DJ has denied being a CHRISTIAN, I dont think DJ would have or should have any authority over PN anymore. I dont think PN should seek DJ's forgiveness. PN should also seek the church and members' forgiveness. Paul said to submit to one another. PN should seek SIMON ENG's forgiveness and all those below PN. NOT TO BE CONDEMNED BUT TO BE RESTORED IN GOD.

Lets us keep them in our prayer for their restoration and forgive them. Not condemning them even though they have become stumbling blocks and most of us are disappointed. They are only humans and any man can fall into any temptation. GOD's grace is sufficient for us all, no matter who we are or what we have done. All sins can be forgiven except sin against the HOLY SPIRIT.


Anonymous said...

my question is if DJ or PN ask you to steal or commit suicide or kill anyone, would you do it because you want to obey your leaders? What happened to other verses of the bible that need to be obeyed and followed?

Would you still kill or steal?

Anonymous said...

Hi Everyone,

Yes this event has caused sadness, disappointment and heart broken. But as some have said, lets move on. We are following God, not men. God will deal with this situation in His own ways and timings. We dont have to make assumptions or speculate what should have been done. Let GOD do HIS job and we do ours.

Is this blog encouraging or putting people down. Is this blog edifying overall? This blog itself could be a stumbling block to those who want to be CHRISTIANS and follow GOD.

Keep the people involved in prayer so they will get GOD's guidance, will and intructions to resolve the matter and move on. GOD is the boss of the organisation. so LET GOD be GOD and let us be still and know that HE IS GOD.


Wilfred said...

Hi all, a biblical lesson by Dr J I hold stongly to. Man will fail, but His word will never.

Hope Media International- Building
Biblical Churches Series:

A Kingdom Church

Kingdom involvement
At this present time, the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world is existing side my side. This situation will continue until the Second Coming of Jesus. While the Kingdom of God is not a present political entity, God’s people are still responsible to exert a positive influence on their society. The leaders of this world may not know God but still, they have been ordained by God and held accountable to God. Despite the lack of clear guidelines for God’s people in the aspect of their involvement in the society, there are some teachings which we cannot ignore. Such as;
a) Concern for the poor and needy
27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)
b) Concern for the oppressed
4Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.[a] 6You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you. (James 5:4-6)
c) Denouncing unjust laws
1 Woe to those who make unjust laws,to those who issue oppressive decrees,2 to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless. (Isa 10:1-2)
d) Seeking justice and goodness
14 Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. 15 Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph. (Amos 5:14-15)
God’s people should be influencing the society. They should do more that just bringing a few souls into the Kingdom but they should also be involved in helping the oppressed in this world. On the other hand, we must understand that regardless of how good our structure may be or how our divine principles and standards are able to influence the world, the present world kingdom will come to an end and it will be replaced by the consummate Kingdom of God. God’s people involvement in society may not be radical outwardly, but it can be an influence in the manner of salt and light in that society. The radical transformation of lives can only be done when Jesus returns.