Please start at the Introduction , Part 1 and Part 2
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2: 9-10
According to W.E. Vine, the Greek word peitho means "to persuade, to win over, in the Passive and Middle Voices, to be persuaded, to listen to, to obey, is so used with this meaning, in the Middle Voice. THE OBEDIENCE SUGGESTED IS NOT BY SUBMISSION TO AUTHORITY, BUT RESULTING FROM PERSUASION" (emp. mine. An Expository Dic-tionary of New Testament Words, Vol. 3, p. 124).
Peitho is sometimes translated "trust" in the King James Version of the New Testament and would have been an ideal translation in verse 17: ‘Trust them....’ This leaves the reader with a different flavor entirely than does the translation "Obey them..."
Revised Standard Version: Obey your leaders and submit to them ....
New American Standard Version: Obey your leaders, and submit to them ....
Living Bible: Obey your spiritual leaders and be willing to do what they say.
Today's English Version: Obey your leaders and follow their orders.
New International Version: Obey your leaders and submit to their authority.
Jerusalem Bible: Obey your leaders and do as they tell you.
New English Bible: Obey your leaders and defer to them ....
The Goodspeed Translation: Obey your leaders and give way to them ....
The Moffatt Translation: Obey your leaders, submit to them ....
Berry's Interlinear: Obey your leaders, be submissive ....
There can be no doubt that have the rule over you is not a proper translation of hegeomai, there is not a Greek word in this verse that carries the idea of "rule." Recent scholarship testifies to the fact that "leaders" is the best translation, as we have demonstrated above.
As we have pointed out before, the problem with the word "rule" is that we associate it with power and authority. Jesus has all power and authority (Matt. 28:18) and has not delegated any of it to any man or group of men. Now, you might be thinking of other scriptures that seem to teach that elders have the authority to rule. Let's look at them:
Romans 12:8 - "...he that ruleth, with diligence." First, we are not told that this pertains to elders, it must be assumed. The word "ruleth" is from proistemi, not archo, and means "to stand before, hence to lead, attend to (indicating care and diligence)..." (Vine). Paul is talking about those in leadership roles.
First Thessalonians 5:12 -"...know them that labor among you, and are over, you in the Lord, and admonish you." Again, we must assume these to be elders. This may not necessarily be so. Definitely, "over you" is a biased translation of proistemi. There is no word in this verse that should be translated "over you." Proistemi means "to lead, attend to." Literally, it means "to stand before," according to Mr. Vine. Once again, we have the idea of "leaders" among the saints. This verse does not contain the idea of authoritative figures ruling congregations.
First Timothy 3:4,5 - "...ruleth his own house...." Since proistemi is our Greek word, we must understand that elders are charged with "leading," "attending," "caring for" their own house as well as the "house of God." Power and authority are not inherent in this word. The emphasis is on provision. The same is true in regard to the charge made to deacons in verse 12.
First Timothy 5:17,- "Let the elders that rule well..." Again, proistemi tells us that the reference is to leadership, not authority. In Berry’s Interlinear, he calls them, the 'take the lead elders'. Rule conveys the idea of "power and authority" and should give way to "lead" as a proper translation of proistemi.
All of these scriptures are saying the same thing, matching exactly what the writer of Hebrews wanted to convey. Spiritually matured men were charged by GOD with responsibilities to lead the flock. This included feeding (teaching) and caring for the people of God. They were to watch out for their souls. None of these requires power and authority. Neither was given by God.
H. Leo Boles, writing on this subject in 1944, could just as well have been writing for us today:
"There are elders who think themselves clothed or invested with all authority. They do not regard the wishes of the congregation, but impose their own dictatorial authority of the church. They never attempt to get the wishes of the church; and when the wishes are known, they do as they please. They 'boss' the affairs of the church. They usurp the authority from Christ, and are dictators over the church." (Gospel Advocate, Feb. 2, 1944, p. 2).
Hupeiko is only found one time in the New Testament, in Hebrews 13:17. Mr. Vine says it means:
There are other words in the Greek that are translated "subject,' "subjection,'' and "submit," but interestingly, not a one of them applies to "elders." Hupotasso is a word that is used 40 times, not once pertaining to "elders." Mr. Vine states that it is "primarily a military term, to rank under..." (Vine, Vol. 4, p. 86). Can you see why this word could not be used to describe the relationship between the congregation and the elders? In the Kingdom of God, there is no one with "rank" or authority over others! Therefore, the Holy Spirit used hupeiko and not hupotasso.
It should be stated, however, that hupotasso doesn’t always carry with it the idea of rank and authority. While we are subject to Christ (Eph. 5:24), to the righteousness of God (Rom. 10:3), and to His law (Rom. 8:7), we are subject to the earthly governments (Rom. 13:1). Wives are subject to their husbands (Col. 3:18), children are subject to their parents (I Tim. 3:4), and servants are subject to their masters (I Pet. 2:18). Now, we all recognize that rank and authority may be included in these examples, however, in Ephesians 5:21, Paul encouraged "subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ." This is a use of hupotasso as well.