What does the Bible say about obeying elders and overseers?

The Bible has much to say about the importance of obeying elders and overseers. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, we see examples of God's people being called to submit to those in authority over them, and to honor those who have been placed in positions of leadership.

In the Old Testament, we see God's people being called to obey the priests and Levites who were responsible for leading worship and offering sacrifices. In Deuteronomy 17:12, for example, we read that anyone who refuses to obey the decision of the priest or judge should be put to death. Similarly, in 1 Chronicles 15:12-15, we see David instructing the Levites to carry the ark of the covenant, and they obey him without question.

In the New Testament, we see a similar emphasis on the importance of obeying those in positions of authority. In Hebrews 13:17, we read that believers should obey their leaders and submit to their authority, recognizing that they are watching over their souls. Similarly, in 1 Timothy 5:17, we read that elders who rule well are worthy of double honor, and that they should be considered worthy of respect.

While the Bible calls us to submit to those in authority over us, it also recognizes that leaders can abuse their power and authority. In such cases, the Bible calls for accountability and correction. In 1 Timothy 5:19-20, for example, we read that an accusation against an elder should not be accepted unless it is supported by two or three witnesses. Similarly, in Galatians 2:11-14, we see Paul publicly rebuking Peter for his hypocrisy.

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Jamie Larson