Devout Christians: Obey or Persuade.

Be mindful of well-meaning brothers and sisters, and the methods they might implement in order to manipulate you. One of the most egregious abuses among believers is the slot bonus new member out-of-context use of Scriptures, like Hebrews 13:17 which states:

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. (KJV)

In Hebrews 13:17, the word “obey” is a mistranslation of the Greek word “peitho.” Peitho means to persuade or to win over. The word “rule” is a mistranslation of the Greek word “hegeomai.” This word simply means to guide or go before. The word “submit” comes from the Greek word “hupeiko.” And while the word is translated correctly, for clarity’s sake in line with the previous words, the Greek word carries the idea of yielding, retiring, or withdrawing to another and coincides with “peitho.”

If we pull all of these words together, we can get a better context for what the author of Hebrews was trying to tell us, because the Greek text is correct. The error and misunderstanding are in the mistranslations of the King James and other versions of the original text. So rather than conveying the idea of mindlessly obeying a ruler, a more accurate translation of Hebrews 13:17 when reinserting the original words from the Greek text might read: “Allow yourselves to be persuaded by those who are willing to guide you.” That sounds a lot different than the King James Version. Can you see more of a cooperative and harmonious relationship in the text between the instructors and those receiving the instructions? The difference between persuasion and obeying a ruler are completely different experiences.

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In addition, according to Hebrews 13:7, we are to “imitate their faith” as we “consider the outcome of their life.” Not all elders in our society are good role models, but there are proven elders who live lives that are pleasing to the Lord (the outcome of their life), and they shouldn’t have to demand that anyone submit to them in order to provide instruction. People should respect the wisdom, spiritual maturity, sacrificial service, and godly character of our proven elders; and listen to them.

Brethren, there is no need or Biblical instruction for believers to brow beat, manipulate, or control other believers. In fact, the Bible is 100% against it. But there are preachers all around the country who misuse this and other Scriptures against the people of God. It is imperative that each believer has an intimate relationship with the Lord and the written Word, because no one can be completely dependent upon others to receive teaching. Not every teacher has a full understanding of the context of Scripture in every area; and sometimes, even our teachers need prayer and to be corrected in love. May we all walk in humility to the glory of God in all things.

We have no King except Jesus, and we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. There are no big “I’s” and no little “U’s” in the Kingdom of God.

Staff Writer; Brian Ganges

One can connect follow this Christian brother over at; B. Ganages.  Also drop an email at; [email protected].

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