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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Leading

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LEADING.—‘Lead’ is used in the Gospels in its ordinary senses: intransitively in the description of the ways that lead to life or destruction (Matthew 7:13-14), and transitively often. The OT metaphor of Jehovah as a Shepherd leading His people like a flock (Psalms 23:1; Psalms 80:1) is repeated in the parables representing Christ as a Shepherd whose sheep recognize and obey Him (John 10:3-4; John 10:27). The general conception of God’s leading His people, so frequent in the Psalms and in Deutero-Isaiah and elsewhere, is assumed in the petition ‘Lead us not into temptation’ (Matthew 6:13, Luke 11:4); for the true life is along a right path wherein God leads His children.

The leadership of religious authorities is referred to in the description of scribes and Pharisees as ‘blind guides’ or ‘blind leaders of the blind’ (Matthew 23:16; Matthew 15:14); the metaphor being based on the sight, familiar in Eastern cities, of rows or files of blind persons each holding by the one in front. But, as this saying is placed by St. Luke (Luke 6:39) in immediate connexion with the appointment of the Twelve, it may be presumed that Jesus pressed on His disciples the necessity of their recognizing and qualifying for the duties of true leadership. They are required to have light and to let it shine, to be, in short, ‘men of light and leading.’

The position of Jesus as a Leader is most frequently expressed in terms of following. The imperative ‘Follow me’ is addressed to individuals, as Peter and Andrew, James and John (Matthew 4:19; Matthew 4:21), Matthew (Matthew 9:9), and Philip (John 1:43); and to unnamed disciples or listeners (Matthew 8:22; Matthew 19:21). It is repeated in the fundamental law of the Kingdom, where self-denial or cross-bearing is enjoined (Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23, John 12:25); but here the reference is to Jesus as a supreme example rather than a present guide, and the instruction is primarily spiritual. It may be said that during His whole public ministry Jesus was leading and training disciples to carry on His work; while the risen Christ is the Head of the Church and the Leader of the Christian army (Matthew 28:18-20).

Four times the term ‘Leader’ (ἀρχηγός) is applied to Christ: in the Authorized and Revised Versions phrases ‘Prince of life,’ ‘Prince,’ ‘Captain (Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 ‘Author’) of salvation,’ ‘Author of faith’ (Acts 3:15; Acts 5:31, Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 12:2); and a similar meaning is expressed by πρόδρομος, ‘Forerunner’ (Hebrews 6:20). In these passages the leadership is through death from life on earth to life in heaven.

Literature.—II. Bushnell, The New Life, p. 74; Phillips Brooks, Mystery of Iniquity, p. 171; B. B. Warfield, Power of God unto Salvation, p. 151.

R. Scott.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Leading'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdn/l/leading.html. 1906-1918.

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