ἡγέομαι (hēgéomai) – a New Testament word study
note: this belongs in conversation beneath my last post on Church Leadership
And those engaged in exercising any measure of authority over the people of God directly contradict Christ’s words to his disciples on how this thing called the Ekklesia is to function.
Let me show you as much with a look at the Greek underlying our word “leaders,” particularly ἡγέομαι (hē–gé–o–mai) which is falsely translated (and egregiously so) in the NKJV of Hebrews 13: 7, 17, and 24 as “those who rule over (you)”.
First, we have in Matthew 20 the mother of John and James approach Jesus with the request that her sons might have the places of honor at his right and left hand in the Kingdom.
Her request was not in Christ’s power to grant, but he did address the Twelve with these words:
“You know the rulers [archōns] of the Gentiles have dominion over [kata–kurieúō] them, and those who are great [megáloi] exercise authority [kat–exousiázō ] over them. It shall not be this way among you. Now whoever desires to be great among you will take the form of a servant [diákonos]; and whoever desires to be first among you will take the form of a slave [doúlos]. Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (vv 25-28).
Then, as you remind us, in Matthew 23 our Lord addressed the behavior of the Scribes and Pharisees who took for themselves the places of honor at the feasts and in the synagogues. And while these religious leaders and occupants of the seat of Moses loved to be called, “Rabbi, Rabbi,” our Master called them “blind guides,” “hypocrites” and “serpents, brood of vipers.”
“But you—do not be called Rabbi,”1 said Jesus. “For One is your Teacher [didáskalos], and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth your father, for you have One Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called leaders [kathēgētaí], for you have One Leader [kathēgētés], the Christ” (vv 8-10).
So here we have our Master’s explicit word on the issue of leadership in God’s Ekklesia. We have One Leader. Any other so-called leaders—along with their exclusive titles of authority such as Reverend, Bishop, Pastor, and the like—are all categorical antichrists in direct rebellion against our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ignorant or not, these pretenders have exalted themselves against Christ and His Body as false heads of something the prophecy of Jesus Christ calls the Whore of Babylon.
Leader [kathēgētés] is Christ’s singular designation. It belongs to no one else.
Found only here in the New Testament kathēgētés has been variously translated in our English bibles as “instructor,” “teacher,” “master,” with the NASB translating it as “Leader.”
Here’s the entry for The Complete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament:
καθηγητής – kathēgētés; gen. kathēgētoú, masc. noun from kathēgéomai (n.f.), to lead or guide in the way, which is from katá, an intens., and hēgéomai, to lead. A guide in the way, a teacher, leader (Matt. 23:8, 10). Equivalent to rhabbí, rabbi, master, a title of respectful address to Jewish teachers.
Those behind The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament lean toward translating kathēgētés as “master,” and enter: “Jesus rejects any claim to leadership made by anyone in the Church,” which is true. However, these scholars contradict this truth as they go about defining the word hēgéomai in relation to Hebrews Thirteen (as shown below).
So Yes, the Word of our Master on the leadership of His Body should be most definitive—Do not be called leaders, for you have One Leader who is the Christ.
Note: the preposition kata in kathēgētés works as an intensive prefix designed to deepen or strengthen in some sense the meaning of the verb hēgéomai, which is the word we now key in on.
Now what does hē–gé–o–mai mean?
It’s a fairly frequent verb in Ancient Greek, occurs twenty-eight times in the New Testament, and can be broken down into three basic senses.
The most common way hēgéomai takes its meaning, as found twenty times in the NT, involves a mental sense of the word, and means to engage in an intellectual process, such as—to think, to consider, to esteem, to view, to regard, to suppose, to believe, to hold, to count, to reckon.
We see examples of this mental meaning in Philippians 2:3, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem [hēgoúmenoi] others better than himself.” And in James 1:2, “count [hēgésasthe] it all joy. . .” (see footnote for NT verses containing all twenty mental senses of the word ἡγέομαι).2
Then we have the remaining two senses of the verb hēgéomai that must not be confused, as they often have been in our English translations of Hebrews Thirteen.
One sense means “to guide” and “to lead,” and the other sense means “to govern” and “to rule,” signifying “two different sets of interpersonal relations” (Louw & Nida 36.1).
As we consider the eight remaining occurrences of hēgéomai—we look to both its shape and context to determine our sense of meaning. In each respective instance we see the verb inflected as a present participle. So they share an identical form. However, each particular context makes clear for us our understanding of what was Written.
In Luke 22:26 we have a clear example of how Scripture interprets Scripture as Jesus delimits this present participle for His disciples to a guiding and leading explicitly divested of any governing or ruling power and authority. So in all truth—brothers and sisters in Christ—we need look no further than how our Head defined this word for us in respect to interpersonal relations between members of His Body.
Now—to break it down in terms of form and function—it is in the grammatical form of a present participle that hēgéomai finds its function as a verbal adjective in six of the remaining instances, and as a noun in two.3
In the Greek Seleucid and Ptolemaic Kingdoms the present participle of hēgéomai was a technical term for one in charge of a city. This participial form referred also to the whole spectrum of Roman authorities in their various governing roles, and carried the same basic meaning as its noun form—hēgemón.
Hēgemón was the official title of a Roman governor. Pilate was a Hegemon (Matt 27:2); Felix was one (Acts 23:24); Festus also (Acts 26:30).
Yet only twice in the New Testament do we find the present participle of hēgéomai used in a “governing” and “ruling” sense—as nouns in Matthew 2:6 referring to Jesus Christ as “Ruler [hēgoúmenos]” and in Acts 7:10 referring to Joseph as “governor [hēgoúmenon]” over Egypt.
The remaining six occurrences then are to be understood strictly in the “guiding” and “leading” sense—
In Acts 14:12, between Paul and Barnabas, Paul was the “leading [hēgoúmenos] speaker.”
In Acts 15:22 we read of “leading [hēgouménous] men among the brothers.”
And most importantly: so that no one might twist and change the intent and meaning of Hebrews Thirteen, Jesus, in Luke 22:26, defined the ekklesial nature and scope of this present participle as a “leading” from the bottom in humble servitude, not as a “ruling” from the top as an ordained minister.4
So from Christ Jesus we see our personal life ministries as holy persuasive callings that have nothing to do with a system of government that demands obedience and submission to a set of rulers or leaders within the church.
That would be the governmental system of the Antichrist, empowered by the same spirit of error that inspired the King James mistranslation of Hebrews 13:17, which reads, “Obey them that have the rule over [hēgouménois] you, and submit yourselves.”
Consider now how our Master made it impossible to translate hēgéomai in the “ruling” or “governing” sense in Hebrews Thirteen—as seen in light of His instructions to us in Luke Twenty-Two:
“There arose a dispute among the disciples as to who should be considered the greatest. And Jesus said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles exercise rule over [kurieúousin] them, and those who exercise authority over [exousiázontes] them are called Benefactors [title of honor]. But it must not be this way among you. On the contrary, he who is greatest among you must become as the youngest, and he who is leading [hēgoúmenos] as one who is serving [diakonōn]. For who is greater, the one reclining at table or the one serving? Is it not the one reclining at table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves’ ” (vv 24-27).
As the English mistranslation of hēgéomai in Hebrews Thirteen provides the proof text for the priests and apologists of the Whore of Babylon to ground their hierarchical schemes upon—I want to contrast for you now the false New King James Bible renderings of these three remaining present participles against translations holding true to Christ and the grammatical structure of hēgéomai:
FALSE – “Remember those who rule over [hēgouménōn] you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct” (NKJV).
TRUE – “Be mindful of those who have guided you, who spoke the Word of God to you; consider carefully the outcome of their behavior, and imitate their faith.”
FALSE – “Obey those who rule over [hēgouménois] you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you” (NKJV).
TRUE – “Have trust and confidence in those who are guiding you and give way to their care, for they are watchful for your souls as those who must give an account. Allow them to do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
FALSE – “Greet all those who rule over [hēgouménous] you, and all the saints” (NKJV).
TRUE – “Embrace all those who are guiding you and all the saints.”
We can just as well translate the present participle as “those who are leading,” however, I opted for the language of guiding over leading for the sort of perverse energy that has built up around the word “leaders” and the actions of “church leadership” among the daughters of the Whore of Babylon.
It should be noted that most of our English Bibles have the present participle translated as “leaders,” as in the ESV of Hebrews 13:17 which reads, “Obey your leaders, and submit to them.”
I contend that all three words here—obey and leaders and submit—are inappropriate renderings of the intent and meaning of the underlying Greek New Testament.
Since Jesus told us not to call ourselves “leaders,” then it’s best to stay faithful to the present participle form as written in the original text of Scripture and translate hēgéomai not as a noun but as a verbal descriptor—as those who are guiding, or those who are leading.
And all authoritarian language must be abandoned, it doesn’t belong. It was superimposed upon our English Bibles by a system of antichrist that had long displaced Christ as the Head of the Ekklesia.
Also, the Greek word behind “obey” is peíthō and basically means—to persuade, to convince; to trust, to believe. It’s the same word found in a passive voice in the very next verse: “Pray for us, for we are confident [peíthómetha] that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably” (Heb 13:18).
And the Greek word behind “submit” is hupeíkō and literally means—to give way, to yield.
These two verbs are imperatives in the volitional mood exhorting us to respond to those who are guiding with nothing less than a willful and informed assent.
Again, the proper reading is, “Have trust and confidence in those who are guiding you and give way to their care” (Heb 13:17a).
Now it should go without saying that the entire letter to the Hebrews must be held together as a whole in order to properly discern what these verses in question mean for the faith and practice of the Ekklesia.
“Long ago and in many parts and in many ways,” begins Hebrews. “God spoke to our fathers through the prophets. But in these last days He has spoken to us through His Son” (1:1-2a).
“Therefore we must pay more careful attention to what we have heard, lest at any time we drift away” (2:1).
“As the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice. Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion’ ” (3:7-8a).
“For Christ in His perfection has become the Source of eternal salvation to all engaged in obeying [hupakoúousin5] Him” (5:9).
“So see to it that you do not disobey the One who is speaking from heaven” (12:25).
Hebrews begins and ends and resounds throughout with an emphasis on trusting and obeying the Word of God’s Son. The final words we have in chapter thirteen exhort those who are guiding others in the exploration of God’s Word to be faithful and true in their exposition of It. Moreover, their lives must faithfully line up to the truth of Its teachings.
Consider, Bryn, what a perfect companion the letter to the Hebrews is to the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
For in Revelation we hear His voice from heaven calling His Bride to come out of the Whore of Babylon:
“Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities” (Rev 18:4-5).
Now, I ask: do we hear an echo of this call to “come out of her” in Hebrews Thirteen?
I believe so:
As Christ gave himself as our sacrifice and sanctified us by his blood outside the Jerusalem gate, we are instructed therefore to “go out to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no lasting city. Instead, we desire the one to come” (Heb 13:12-14).
The desired city to come was mentioned just a few verses earlier in Hebrews Twelve:
“For you have not come to [Mount Sinai (where the old covenant law was given)]. . . But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to myriads of angels, to the festal assembly, to the Ekklesia of the firstborn whose names have been written in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to the Mediator of the new covenant—Jesus, whose sprinkled blood speaks of more excellent things than the blood of Abel” (Heb 12:18, 22-24).
Notice how this contradistinction between the mountains and the covenants parallels what is written in Galatians Four of the two women who represent the two covenants that correspond to two distinct Jerusalems:
“Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one from the slave woman and one by the free woman. But the son of the slave woman was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman through the promise. Now here is how this allegory is to be interpreted: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children of slavery—this is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem as she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free—she is our mother” (Gal 4:21-16).
In the Hebrew language the name Jerusalem is spelled in the dual—meaning two of. For there is at once the old and earthy Jerusalem—called the Great Whore of Babylon (Rev 17 and 18), and there is the new and heavenly Jerusalem—called the Bride and wife of the Lamb (Rev 21 and 22).
So with deep irony we find this direction to come out of Jerusalem smack dab in the middle of Hebrews Thirteen—the key spot in our corrupt English Bibles where antichrists point to in order to coerce obedience and submission to themselves.
Yet in the original Greek we read of no hierarchy or any such expression of false authority, only the opposite: for the Ekklesia, here, is being called to come out of the Jerusalem camp—both out of the legalistic system of the old covenant, and out of anything new whose communal faith and practices differ from the Word of God.
So in all truth of Scripture this means the people of God are being called to come out of the Roman Catholic Church, out of the Presbyterian Church, out of Calvary Chapel, and out of any and all institutional expressions of the antichrist.
“For the sake of your tradition you have made void the Word of God,” said Christ. “In vain do you worship Me—teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt 15:6, 9).
Remember that the letter of Hebrews was written to saints who had become “dull of hearing” (5:11), a Biblical expression portraying “an unwillingness to listen to Christ to the point of disobedience,” and as such they had become unknowing and in danger of apostasy.
Here’s what was written to the entire enlightened community:
“For it was expected of you to be teachers by this time. However, you need to be taught again the first principles of the Speakings of God. You have come to rely on milk and not solid sustenance. For all who live merely on milk exist as infants, inexperienced in the Word of Righteousness. But the mature live off the solid meat of Scripture, having their spiritual discernment exercised to the point of being able to judge rightly between what is good and what is evil” (Heb 5:12-14).
The emphasis here is on knowledge of God’s Word, which is necessary for both our obedience to Christ and our discernment of spiritual realities.
Quite simply, the key to the whole shebang is trusting and obeying Christ, which is the ultimate thrust of Hebrews. Nowhere in its thirteen chapters will we find the writer making any sort of distinction among the beloved between exclusive leaders and those who owe them obedience or submission. Such a divisive idea is a distortion of the Church and is nowhere supported in the New Testament.
Again, just the opposite is taught, as we read in First Corinthians Twelve:
“Now God has so united the Body, that those who are lacking in it are given greater honor, in order that there may be no division in the Body, but that all the members would have the same care for one another” (vv 24b-25).
Although the Church’s hierarchical scheme of government appears to have the support of God’s Word—we find no such thing in a proper reading of the underlying Greek.
So why then do we have such authoritarian language in most of our English Bibles?
History tells us it was first imposed upon us by those who assumed themselves Heads of the Church of England. So ultimately it was an imposition of the Adversary through the machinations of his captive whores—men inspired to do their father’s will by the spirit of error and antichrist.
A few years previous the likes of these Heads were burning people at the stake for the mere possession of a Bible. Translating the Word of God into English was also punishable by death. But then the Heads of the English Church had a sudden reversal of heart and decided to issue their own Authorized Version in 1611 and present that to the world as God’s Word.
Intriguing, isn’t it?
The question also needs to be asked: for the saints who had long been under the influence of the Whore—how were they to know this clergy-laity system of ecclesiastical rule was based upon doctrine foreign to Scripture, especially since the language of the King James Bible purportedly taught such an hierarchical institution?
The answer is no different for us today than it was for the 17th century English speaking world: the Ekklesia is bound not to know the truth of God’s Word on this matter as long as they take the Authorized Version as their Word of Righteousness, or any other version—like the NKJV, NIV, NASB, and ESV—that follows the traditional authoritarian language of the AV1611; these versions are corruptions that mask some fairly significant spiritual realities and should not be taken as God’s unadulterated Word of Truth.
So the Body of Christ is in need of a pure and undefiled English Bible Translation.
Yes, yes, I do trust they are otherwise honorable saints—our contemporary evangelical scholars employed by the Christian publishing houses to provide good and updated translations to the world—but they have completely missed the mark on this rather big note.
And I suspect they have done so for having grown up inside the Whore and taken for granted as good and right the Leadership structure that institutes herself as Church. Plus the standard biblical lexicons and theological dictionaries—the tools of their trade—are largely apologia for the Whore on this twisted matter.
Know that in a very real and magical sense the institutional structure of the Church has been conjured and maintained by a body of words antithetical to the language of the New Testament.
Even the name she goes by is a lie. Yet it’s integral to the magic of Babylon and serves to bend and bind various clusters of lies together that, in turn, work to bend and bind the people of God in service and submission to The Church.
As mentioned earlier, this misnomer—Church—serves as the linguistic keystone that locks into position a vast religious complex of adversarial terms and adverse realities. And as such we call the Whore’s tongue Churchspeak, and the Whore’s realm of authority The Church.
But I suspect I sound like a madman to Babylonian church folk and to anyone else not on intimate terms with the language and teaching of Scripture. So let’s finish up by answering with God’s Word some of the twisted logic that exists beneath the false translations of hēgéomai.
As referenced above, the scholars behind the Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament contradict Christ’s Word in their arguments for an hierarchical application of hēgéomai to Hebrews Thirteen. And they do this in line with the same scholastic assumptions of Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.
Examine for yourself in these two quotes (taken from their respective lexical entries for hēgéomai) the faulty reasoning underpinning their assertions of hierarchy.
From the EDNT:
The author of Hebrews mentions church leaders in a greeting (πάντες οἱ ἡγούμενοι, 13:24). He distinguishes them from the ἅγιοι, the “normal” church members, mentioning the leaders first. Thus he indicates that for him a hierarchically structured church is in view; since they are leaders of the church responsible to God as “watchers over souls,” obedience is due to the ἡγούμενοι (13:17).
And from the TDNT:
In the greeting in 13:24 the ἡγούμενοι are mentioned before the ἅγιοι. The community is obviously divided into those who lead and those who are led. In 13:17 they are pastors responsible to God. God has entrusted the other members of the community to them, and therefore these owe them obedience.
Where does one ground such assumptions?
In direct defiance of Christ’s delimitation of our present participle to the realm of a guiding and leading, these scholars plug a governing and ruling sense into the word—thus assigning to them a very different relational (i.e., spiritual) dynamic than what the Word of God teaches for the Ekklesia.
I’m thinking maybe these scholars became deaf to their Master’s voice from having grown up inside the antichristian traditions of the Church. Perhaps the perverse reading of the AV1611 became the obvious choice for these apologists from having drunk deeply from the cup of the Whore.
But the living and powerful and piercing Sword of God calls these deceived and deceiving scholars out as those who lie against the truth.
In the same breathe in which the writer of Hebrews exhorts the fledgling community to stay faithful to the Word of Promise he warns them not to be carried away by extra-biblical doctrines:
Remember or “be mindful of those who have guided [hēgouménōn] you, who spoke [elálēsan] the Word of God to you; consider carefully the outcome of their behavior, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings” (Heb 13:7-9).
Yet today the wolves stand in their pulpits and in the tradition of their fathers teach a false spiritual authority in order to dominate, fleece and feed off God’s sheep. And for generations it has been going on like this, with the wolves and the sheep apparently knowing no other way—for the Whore has entrained all creatures within her to perceive, think and behave according to her sorceries, doctrines and traditions!
Notice how our first occurrence of our present participle in Hebrews Thirteen refers to those who spoke [elálēsan] the Word of God to them. To get technical for a moment, the reason we translate the present participle in the past tense here is for it’s qualifying relationship to the following verb shaped in the indicative mood and aorist tense, an inflection which typically denotes past time—so we translate the word as “spoke.”
Those guides of Hebrews 13:7 are inclusive of anyone and everyone who has ever spoken the Word of God to them, including those of verses 17 and 24. And they were not rulers, that much we know, but fellow members of Christ’s Body entrusted with knowing, sharing and living out God’s Word—the standard by which the faith and practice of every saint and ekklesia is to be measured by.
“To all hearing and obeying Him—Christ is the source of their eternal salvation” (Heb 5:9).
To assert that exclusive obedience is due the pastor is an assumption based purely upon the commandments and traditions of men. These scholars are guilty of casuistry, of engaging in tautological argumentation, circular reasoning, and outright ecclesiastical madness. But that’s the nature of the beast.
Just because those who are leading are mentioned before the saints should not be confused for a divided community wherein the clergy are owed obedience and submission from the laity.
Yes—those who are leading are those who must give account for how they do so. And, of course, shepherds and teachers will be held to a stricter judgement, as James 3:1 teaches. But that in no way displaces the truth that everyone in Christ Jesus is “responsible to God” for how we go about serving and caring for one another.
“For all things are laid bare and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we all must give account” (Heb 4:13; see also Rom 14:12).
As we have things it is not sound to assume that what is the norm ought be the rule for the people of God. That would be an assertion based upon the authority of tradition. A tradition that has long made void the authority of God’s Word.
As Children of Light our obedience and submission is due our Lord as we discern His pleasure by His Spirit and His Word. That is our way of grace and salvation. To do otherwise is to risk serious discipline at the hands of a Holy God (see Heb 12:3-17), and removal of ekklesial status for a community of faith (see Rev 2:5 with 1:20, and also 2:16).
“Therefore we must pay more careful attention to what we have heard, lest at any time we drift away from it. For if the word spoken through angels was legally binding, and every violation and disobedience received a just punishment, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation that was first spoken through the Lord and was confirmed as true to us by those who heard” (Heb 2:1-3).
ῥαββί rhabbí; indeclinable masc. noun transliterated from the Hebr. rabbī (not found in the OT), my master. A doctor, teacher, master; a title of honor in the Jewish schools which continues until modern times (Matt. 23:7, 8; 26:25, 49; Mark 9:5; 11:21; 14:45; John 1:38, 49; 3:2, 26; 4:31; 6:25; 9:2; 11:8). In Matt. 23:8 it is explained by kathēgēté̄s (2519), a teacher, master; in John 1:39 by didáskalos (1320), an instructor in reference to usage rather than to meaning.
In Hebr. rhabbí means a great one, chief, master. This was introduced as a title into the Jewish schools under a three–fold form, Rab, as the lowest degree of honor; Rab with the first person suffix i, Rabbi, my master, with higher dignity; and Rabboni, meaning my great master, the most honorable of all. This was publicly given to only seven persons, all of the school of Hillel and of great eminence.
In the days of Christ the title was misused by Jewish teachers in that they used it to require implicit obedience to their decisions and traditions and words rather than to those of the law and the prophets.
ῥαββονί rhabboní; indeclinable masc. noun from Rhabbí (4461), master. The highest title of honors attributed, usually to the president of the Jewish Sanhedrin if he was a descendant of the school of Hillel. It means my great master and was addressed to Christ by blind Bartimaeus and Mary Magdalene (Mark 10:51; John 20:16).
2. The twenty mental senses of the word ἡγέομαι can be found in these verses in the NT: Acts 26:2; 2 Cor 9:5; Phil 2:3; 2:6; 2:25; 3:7; 3:8 (twice); 1 Thess 5:13; 2 Thess 3:15; 1 Tim 1:12; 6:1; Heb 10:29; 11:11; 11:26; James 1:2; 2 Pet 1:13; 2:13; 3:9; 3:15
3. The form and meaning of this word appears to be etymologically influenced by two different words: ‘ago (ἄγω) a verb that means “to lead”, and hegos (ἡγός) a noun that means “leader”, which disappeared in favor of the noun hegemon (ἡγεμών), according to José Miguel Jiménez Delgado’s recent paper “On the etymology of ἡγέομαι”.
4. Ordination is not a Biblical concept. It’s based on the Latin ordo—a word signifying an order, class, caste, station; an ecclesiastical rank or office; basically a position within a body structured as a hierarchy. The term for the legal act of installing one into a ranking corporate position is ordinatio. For the Church this involves a division of the Ekklesia that violates, for one, 1 Cor 12:25, “For God has so composed the body so that there may be no division in the body—but that the members may have the same care for one another.” 1 Peter 4:10 tells us, “As each one [in Christ] has received a gift we are to minister these gifts to one another as good administrators of the many-colored grace of God.” Every born of the Spirit one of us has been gifted in order to be ministers of God’s grace. There is no division in the Body of Christ between those who are ministers and those who are not. The word hierarchy comes from the Greek ἱερός (hierós, “holy”) and ἄρχω (árkhō, “I rule”) conveying a concept of ekklesial separation that runs antithetical to Scripture.
5. Our primary New Testament word for “obey” is hupakoúō and means “to hear” in the sense of “heeding,” thus we understand it as an “obeying.” So hupakoúō is a type of “hearing” that is to be followed by the appropriate response to the call.