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When I counsel my students about how to approach a research topic, the first thing I tell them to do is to read a good general article on the subject in one of the several standard scholarly Bible dictionaries. Such a strategy does several things: (1) it provides an overview of, and “feel” for, the subject; (2) it offers insight as to how one might organize their research; and (3) it suggests bibliographic resources with which to move deeper into the subject. That is usually sound advice; however, when it comes to the study of leadership in the Bible, that advice is not all that helpful. You will look in vain for an article on “leadership” in the major Bible dictionaries. You may find an article on “lead,” but that refers to the heavy metal, not the process, skills, and characteristics involved in managing people. There are, perhaps, lots of reasons for that, not least the fact that in English the term “leadership” connotes the act of one person exercising power and/or control over others. Here are some synonyms listed in an online English thesaurus for “leader”: chief, head, principal, boss, CEO, commander, master, manager, captain, ruler, authority, and the like.[1] The Bible, it seems, is not very interested in this subject.



The unedited version of a chapter in "Biblical Leadership" edited by Ben Forrest and Chet Roden. Permission to post was granted by Kregel Academic. This is the unabridged version of Chapter 21 in Biblical Leadership, Kregel Academic, 2017.

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