The Author Of Hebrews As A Leader Of The Faith Community -- By: Victor (Sung-Yul) Rhee

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 55:2 (Jun 2012)
Article: The Author Of Hebrews As A Leader Of The Faith Community
Author: Victor (Sung-Yul) Rhee

The Author Of Hebrews As A Leader Of The Faith Community

Victor (Sung-Yul) Rhee

Victor Rhee is associate professor of NT language and literature at Biola University, 13800 Biola Ave., La Mirada, CA 90639.

I. Introduction

In recent years some scholars undertook the study of leadership in the Bible by considering the backgrounds and the authors’ intended messages in certain books of the NT. With this approach they attempted to bring out the essential characteristics of the biblical model for leadership.1 This method is in contrast to many writers who took the approach of employing the passages of Scriptures as prooftexts to support the lessons they learned from their ministry experiences, or the principles they borrowed from the social science in writing about Christian leadership.2 However, a survey of literature indicates that virtually no article or book is written on the topic of leadership in Hebrews.3 The author of Hebrews displays many leadership traits as the spiritual leader of the community to which he was writing. This essay will highlight some of the important characteristics of leadership that the author demonstrates from the book of Hebrews. Some implications from these leadership qualities will also be drawn. This arises from the conviction that the principles of the Scriptures derived from sound exegesis must be applied to contemporary issues that we face in our churches today.

II. The Leadership Challenge Faced By The Author Of Hebrews

Let us imagine for a moment a church in Rome in the first century whose members consisted predominantly of Hellenistic Jewish Christians,4 who were converted to the Christianity by the effort of those who received the gospel from the apostles and others eyewitnesses of Christ (Heb 2:3-4; 13:24).5 As the church was growing and expanding, there arose trials and persecution during the period of the reign of Claudius. This persecution was probably due to the edict of the expulsion of Jews by Claudius in ad 49 (cf. Acts 18:1-2). It appears that the persecution mentioned in Heb 10:32-34 was before the persecution of Nero in ad 64 because Heb 12:4 ind...

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