“Them that have the rule over you” or “Leaders” in Hebrews 13:7 et al.?
"Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation." (Hebrews 13:7, KJV)
Some well-meaning critics of the institutional church allege that the KJV translators employed High Church jargon to render ηγουμενων as “them that have the rule over [you]” rather than “leaders” in order to promote the institutional hierarchy of the High Church. Critics see that “rule” is problematic in that it supposedly places the laity under a dominating clergy. However, “rule” does not mean “dominate” or “control.” “Rule” is derived from the Old French “riule,” which came from the Latin, “regula,” which means, "straight stick, bar, ruler, pattern," and “regere,” which means “to rule, straighten, guide” (Online Etymological Dictionary). Thus, a “ruler” is one that guides something else based on a standard. Thus, we use a straight-edged “ruler” to guide us as we draw a line. This ruler does not “control” or “dominate” the person drawing the line; it merely “guides” the person.
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