Thursday, October 21, 2010

Proper Translation of Hebrews 13:17

Hebrews 13:17
Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive (NKJV)
Obey your spiritual leaders and do what they say. (NLT)
Obey your leaders and submit to them (NASB)
Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. (NIV)
   The NIV adds the word "authority" to the text where there is no word to represent it in the Greek.

Three words are mistranslated in Hebrews 13:17. First I will give the definition of the English word then I will give the definition of the Greek word that is actually in the text.

English word: Obey- To carry out or fulfill the command, order, or instruction of.
Greek word: peitho- to persuade; to be persuaded

English word: Leader(s)- A person who leads; One occupying the first or foremost position.
Greek word: hegeomai-those who lead/guide. It is a verb while leader is a noun. The verb translated properly can be defined as a person/those who lead(s) but the noun leader can and does also give the idea of "One occupying the first or foremost position." I prefer the word guide as opposed to lead because lead has an inherent authoritarian perception coupled with it.

English word: Submit- To give in to the authority, power, or desires of another
Greek word: hupeiko- to yield, to give in to. This Greek word only appears once in the NT. The word hupotasso is the primary word for submit in the NT and is not used here.

Proper translation:
Be persuaded by those guiding you, and be yielding; for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them watch over you with joy and not with grumbling, for this would be unprofitable for you.

This is essentially saying to be persuadable, to not be prideful but to be yielding. Allow those with wisdom to guide you to truth. Listen to the trustworthy. Those who watch over & guide others are to do so joyfully and willfully not with grumbling. We are not to cause them to grumble by our unwillingness to yield.

This verse DOES NOT say that there are leaders in positions or offices who we must obey on the basis of their authority. There is ONE LORD, JESUS CHRIST!

There is no "man of God" who has legitimate authority over other people. There is no guiding or guarding without relationship. If someone is not actually guiding you personally, if that person is not alert to the condition of your life, then that person is not keeping watch over your soul!

Be responsive to those who guide you. Listen to their counsel. They are those who are alert to the condition of your lives and work under the supervision of God and His truth.

For more on Hebrews 13:17 as well as a look at every place the word "leaders" is used in the New Testament (all 4!) read this teaching:  The Word Leaders in the New Testament

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


We've replaced obedience with "special calling."
Instead of "obeying everything Jesus has commanded" we "wait on God" for Him to reveal a "special calling." But why would He reveal anything "special" to us if we won't even obey the commands He has clearly laid out in scripture? They are things all of His children are supposed to do!

We've replaced teaching and discipling with preaching and performance.
Nowhere in scripture are God's children preached to. The gospel was preached to the lost but the saved were taught and discipled! Teaching that resulted in obedience not telling that resulted in information held as trivial.

We've replaced people with a place.
God's ekklesia, His assembly, are His people not a place, not a church building. In the New Testament there is no such thing as a place, an institution, an organization that God's people attend as spectators!

We've replaced servants with leaders.
The Greek word translated minister means servant not leader!

We've replaced Jesus with men.
There is no hired professional man of God in the New Testament. "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5). All of His children are to be His obedient servants and disciples. There are no titles, special names, given to set someone apart from the rest regardless of if they obey God or actually lead anyone. No one was called Pastor Paul, Reverend Peter, Minister John, or Priest James.

What did the writers of the New Testament call themselves if they did not use the titles we have today?
  • Paul, a bond-slave of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle (delegate) (Romans 1:1)
  • James, a bond-slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ (James 1:1)
  • Simon Peter, a bond-slave and apostle of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:1)
  • Jude, a bond-slave of Jesus Christ (Jude 1:1)
  • The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-slaves, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-slave John (Revelation 1:1)

Jesus said to the Pharisees "You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men. You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition." (Mark 7:8-9)

Job was "blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil" (Job 1:1) but God still said to Him later on "Would you declare me guilty so that you might be right?" (Job 40:8)

Search the scriptures and lexicons and find the truth. Once you find it what will you do with it?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Life itself is Jesus

"For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. Christ is your life" (Colossians 3:3-4).

We think that being a Christian is a "life-style" or that Jesus is "a part of my life." Our idea of "the Christian life" is short sighted. The Christian life is Christ! We were spiritually dead until Jesus gives us HIS eternal life!

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by trust in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).

"Life itself was in Jesus" (John 1:4).

"This is eternal life, that they may know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent" (John 17:3).

Jesus Himself is Life. Without Him our spirit is dead. It is dead in the sense that we can do nothing to bring them to life, just as a dead man can't rise out of the grave by his own choice. When the Father draws us to Jesus and we trust Him the life of Jesus is given to us forever.

"When we became Christians and were baptized to become one with Christ Jesus, we died with him. Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life" (Romans 6:3-4).

"Having been buried with him in baptism, you also have been raised with him through your trust in the power of God who raised him from the dead. Even though you were dead in your sins .. he nevertheless made you alive with him, having forgiven all your sins" (Colossians 2:12-13).

"If Christ is in you .. the spirit is alive because of righteousness" (Romans 8:10).

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and THE LIFE" (John 14:6).
If Jesus is anything less to you than The Way, The Truth, & The Life you have the wrong perception of God or have lost sight of His love. Following Christ is not a lifestyle, it is life, His life living in and through His people.

Renewing the mind

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2)
 The result of your mind renewal is being able to prove what God's will is. This proving is done by experiential examination of who God is, in other words it is done in a relationship with God.

"You were taught with reference to your former way of life to lay aside the old man who is being corrupted in accordance with deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image – in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth. Therefore, having laid aside falsehood, each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another." (Ephesians 4:22-25)
Once the old man/falsehood is laid aside we are to "speak the truth with our neighbors." This means that I learn of & submit to Christ so He can renew my mind in order to have me help renew the mind of someone else.