Leadership In Scripture

**As I progress through my doctoral program I will be placing some of my work on here. Please feel free to engage with me in the learning process to seek greater depth in understanding of leadership, scripture, and life.

Leadership remains as a central theme in scripture, though it often carries with it many negative connotations for Christians. Even throughout Paul’s writings, he avoids vocabulary commonly used to reference leadership due to the negative perspective of the Roman authority. (Tidball, 2012, 33)

Paul understood the necessity of leadership from demonstration throughout Jewish history. A look through the Old Testament makes it apparent leadership was “essential if any society is to be healthy”. (Tidball, 2012, p. 33) The twenty first chapter of Judges ends with “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Crossway, 2012) With this in mind, Paul recognized the importance leadership, and established leaders himself in Acts 14:23. He understood leadership for Christians was meant to be different because they are supposed to be servants. (Tidball, 2012, p.31)

Paul’s backdrop of leadership understanding also contained the words of Jesus to guide him. In Matthew 20:25-27 Jesus draws a contrast to the authoritative leadership seen in the Gentiles to what he is expecting from his followers, calling them to serve. (Crossway, 2012) Paul believes in leadership so much, that in Romans 12:8 he lists it as one of the gifts of the spirit. (Tidball, 2012, p. 34)

As crucial as leadership is, so is followership. Throughout scripture this is seen as a choice of submission. In Genesis 16:9 Hagar is commanded by God to “Return to your mistress and submit to her” (Crossway, 2012), while Hebrews 13:17 instructs Christians to “Obey leaders and submit to them.” (Crossway, 2012) Followership is as essential as leadership to the health and well being of any group, organization, or people group.

In the modern church, how has the scriptural essence of leadership and followership been missed?


Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English Standard Version (ESV text ed.). Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles.

Tidball, D. (2012). Leaders as Servants: a Resolution of the Tension. Evangelical Review of Theology, 36(1), 31–47.


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