Authority in the Church



Authority in the Church:
Who’s in Charge?




Authority defined.

Jesus’ instruction regarding authority

Matthew’s Gospel

Mark’s Gospel

Luke’s Gospel

John’s gospel

Jesus’ Instructions Regarding Leadership

The Purpose and Composition of the Church

Personal Examples of Leadership in the Church



I was listening to a Christian radio station. The program director was interviewing an author regarding his book, The Management Methods of Jesus: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Business.[1] The title and subsequent conversation caught my immediate attention. The Body of Christ was going through a time when many different management methods were being promoted. I had the privilege of attending seminars conducted by leaders of the Ministry of Management team at Arrowhead Springs in California as well as others.

For more than a decade church management was a popular subject. Some churches grew rapidly in numbers and others did not. The staff of those that grew trained the staff of those that did not. Growth in numbers was the goal. It was a time when mega church became synonymous with success and small churches were consider failures, (I was in the ministry of church planting and encouraging small churches).

As Bob Briner was interviewed, he gave snippets from his book presenting his philosophy of management in the Body of Christ. His Introduction begins:

Forget Attila the Hun. Where is his management legacy? You can’t find it. The all-time greatest management entrepreneur is Jesus Christ. Just look at what he accomplished. By any measurement standard, the empirical evidence bears witness that the organization founded by Jesus is the most successful of all time. Longevity? Two thousand years and counting. Wealth? Beyond calculations. Numbers? Beyond counting. Loyalty of adherents? Many give their lives for it. Distribution? Worldwide, in every country. Diversification? Successfully integrated into all kinds of enterprises. Ergo, Jesus Christ reigns Supreme as the greatest manager the world has ever known.[2]

His introduction ends with a statement regarding where he was going in delineating what he considered to be the management methods of Jesus:

Take the life and teaching of Jesus out of any mystical or spiritual context, and you will see that it is packed full of wisdom highly relevant to my world and yours—the world of business.[3]

As a business man, television producer, and consultant, Briner’s purpose was to introduce business methods he developed over many years. Churches and Christian leaders were looking for any tool that would grow churches and church organizations numerically. The larger the church, the greater the need for CEO type leaders who could make things happen. Lyle Schaller suggested that churches need “change agents” in order to manage the church.[4] Schaller went on to publish several books related to church management.

Jay Adams published several books and spoke at numerous seminars and conferences regarding church management. In one book regarding church discipline, he refers to “Preventive Discipline, “and “Corrective Discipline.” Adams describes Jesus as “the Great Teacher,”[5] In Adams’ view, the authority in the church to conduct church discipline is the board of elders. This authority is absolute and extends to disciplining other churches who do not perform church discipline in the manner described by Adams in his book.[6] Refusal to follow his guidelines amounts to “contumacy.” Adams writes regarding the disciplining of a “so-called brother”:

(There is some doubt about whether he is really a brother, because he fails to heed the admonition of the brethren and the authority of Christ exercised by His officers in the church: by the time the entire congregation begins its task, he has gone very far in his willful disobedience and contumacy.)[7] (parentheses his)

To give a detailed account of every style of church government, of every situation where leadership is exercised, and the broad subject of conflict resolution in the church, would require many articles with reference to numerous aspects of church life. The topic before us is authority in the church. Therefore, the following is a careful study of the term translated authority in the Greek New Testament.

Authority Defined

In the New Testament, one term stands out regarding leadership in the church. In the King James translation, there are 102 occurrences of the noun, exousia, translated “authority.” Also, in the King James there are 31 occurrences of the verb, exoustin. In most contexts it is translated, “is it lawful.” Milligan gives the primary meaning of exousia as “power of choice,” “liberty of action.”[8]

Walter Bauer,[9] gives four connotations for exousia, in the New Testament. Following is a summary of each:

  1. Freedom of choice, right to act, decide, or dispose of one’s property as one wishes.
  2. Ability to do something, capability, might, power.
  3. Authority, absolute power, warrant authority and commission.
  4. The power exercised by others in high position by virtue of their office.

While 1 and 2 above would apply to almost anyone in western culture today, 3 and 4 are apropos to the subject under discussion, i.e., authority in the church. Lawrence O. Richards provides an excellent overview of the subject:

With few exceptions, the word “authority” in the NIV and NASB is a translation of the Greek word exousia. Unlike the OT terms with their wide range of meaning, this Greek word conveys a basic concept that has important connotations for one understanding of the nature of authority.

The basic idea in the word exousia is freedom of choice. The greater the exousia, the greater the possibility of unrestricted freedom of action. A person without exousia has little freedom of action, for others maintain a right to control and determine what he does. A person with maximum exousia, will have total freedom of action and thus the right to control the actions of others. It is easy to see why, when used of secular authorities, this word commonly means the “power to give orders” (Mt 8:9; Lk 7:8; 19:17; 20:20; Ac 9:14; 26:10,12; 1 Pe 2:13). [10]

Richards asks a pertinent question:

The Scriptures teach and assume that in a world warped by sin, governing authorities are a necessity.

But a vital question for Christians has to do with the nature of authority within the body of Christ. In its philosophical and theological sense as freedom of action to control or limit the freedom of action of others, do Christian leaders really have authority within the church?[11]

Richards goes on to state:

The issue is an important one and deserves much study and debate. But a number of observations should be made to help us think about this issue.

For instance, Jesus delegated authority to his disciples (cf. 3:15; 6:7; Lk 9:1; 10:8-12), but this was authority over demons and diseases. No passage suggest freedom to exercise control over other human beings. In fact, the freedom of choice of those to whom these disciples came is clearly protected (cf. Mk 6:11; Lk 10:8-12).[12]

Jesus’ instruction regarding authority

Matthew’s Gospel

A fuller explanation is now in order. The answer to Richards’ question goes to the heart of church life as the Lord Jesus Christ intends. Many discount the importance of this question with a retort, “It’s the message that is inspired, not the method.” This remark overlooks nearly all of ecclesiology (the doctrine of the church) and highlights the near absence of the clear, unmistakable definition of church in the New Testament. It is essential to note that often the method is the message. If not, why did Jesus need to live and minister on the earth for nearly four years before His death on the cross?

When Jesus ended the sermon on the mount in chapters 5-7, Matthew writes:

The result was that when Jesus had finished these words, the multitudes were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes. (Matt 7:28-29 NASB)

It is instructive to note the point at which the matter of authority emerges in Jesus’ ministry. The authoritative nature of the leadership, both in Israel and secular society, was a constant issue in the Old Testament. Leadership for the most part was by force. For the Jews, leadership was to enforce compliance to the pattern given in the Mosaic Law.

Never quite satisfied with leadership under the law, from Moses through Samuel, Israel finally demanded leadership like all the other nations.

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah; and they said to him, "Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations." But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us." And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, "Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them." (1 Sam 8:4-7 NASB)

Israel had experienced the sinful results of human government firsthand. They did not learn that it was because of their constant rejection of God’s direct leadership through His mediators that leadership became oppressive. God instructed Samuel to give Israel a king. But what kind of leadership did Jesus teach and exemplify?

In Matthew’s gospel little is mentioned regarding authority except the authority of Jesus and the reaction of the multitude to Him. In Matthew 20:17-24. Jesus once again told His disciples He was going to be killed. This raised a question in the minds of the disciples and an argument ensued as to who was greatest. (cf. Mk 10:34).

This question goes to the heart of authority (exousia). Sitting on the right and the left was a reference to power and authority. Sitting on the right was second only to the one in the middle. Sitting on the left indicated authority but less than the one sitting on the right. The disciples aspired to positions of authority in the kingdom of heaven.[13]

Matthew’s comment regarding the reception of Jesus as one having authority, follows immediately the Sermon on the Mount which referred to living in the kingdom that Jesus was offering the Jews in that extended teaching. Some who observes this contextual element are accused of teaching that the gospels are not applicable to the church age.

Proper exergies and exposition seek abiding principles not limited to a moment of time. Are there principles in the sermon on the mount not limited to a moment of time? Yes! However, care must be taken to not teach temporal principles (that is principles limited only to the time Jesus was teaching) as abiding principles. More will be presented on abiding principles in an article by that name on this website.

Events in Matthew’s gospel are presented thematically rather than chronologically. Beginning with the genealogy of Jesus as King of the Jews in the first two chapters, he begins with the presentation of the King of the Jews in chapter 3. This is where we began exploring the identity of the kingdom of heaven in the published article on this website. Chapter 5 through 7 are often referred to as “the King’s Manifesto.” At the end of chapter 7, Matthew picks up the theme of Jesus’ authority. The final statement of Jesus in Matthew’s gospel is:

"All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. " (Matt 28:18-20 NASB)

The overall outstanding and abiding principle of Matthew’s gospel is that Jesus is the Christ and has the sole authority over His kingdom. He has never delegated or abrogated this authority, especially when it comes to the church. Paul’s extended teaching regarding the church in the book of Ephesians present the same picture regarding the authority of Christ Jesus in the first chapter:

And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all. (Eph 1:22-23 NASB) (emphasis mine)

Some may object that Paul is only referring to the spiritual realm and not the world of everyday living. This is the most prominent error committed throughout the church age and is one of the reasons that the church has so little effect on the world today. Christians must not separate the material world from the spiritual world. Any truly abiding principle that applies to one will also apply to the other. There are activities performed for and during the assembly of believers, but the abiding principles for one will always be true for the other. Leadership and authority are perfect examples.

Mark’s Gospel

All three of the synoptic gospels give similar statements regarding leadership in the body of Christ (Matt 20:25-28; Mark 10:42-45; Luke 22:25-27). While Matthew’s gospel organizes events and teaching thematically, Mark’s gospel is chronological. His main theme is given in the first verse of the first chapter; “the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” The Wycliff Bible Commentary introduces Mark’s gospel:

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;

These words stand as a title indicating the content of the book as a whole. The gospel here is not the book, but the message, the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. The facts of the life and death of Christ make up the beginning of the gospel, which implies that the apostolic preaching was the continuation. To Mark, no less than to John the Baptist, the deity of Christ is of primary importance, and thus he includes it in the title of his Gospel.[14]

Beginning with the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, Mark traces successive events in the life and ministry of Jesus culminating with His death on the cross. Not all the events recorded in other gospels are mentioned, only those that accomplish Mark’s purpose of introducing Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. Since he was writing for a Roman audience, nothing is mentioned regarding Jesus as King of the Jews and therefore he does not mention the kingdom of heaven as Matthew records.

One interesting observation regarding Mark’s account is that nearly every sentence begins with the coordinating conjunction, “and” (kai). Some translations exchange this to some other word or phrase. One individual who served as a translator of the NIV was asked to explain why kai was changed. His response was that translated as written was boring to the reader. In so doing, this translator betrayed his own lack of commitment to a concordant translation and hides an important aspect of Mark’s style and purpose.

In the section, Mark 10:32-45, reference is made to Jesus’ teaching regarding authority. This was either a different occasion or an additional part of the same conversation as in Matthew:

And calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. "But it is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:42-45 NASB)

While much is the same as Matthew’s commentary with some details omitted such as the mother making the request, etc. These details would have been of little significance for Mark’s Roman readers.

Mark gives a detail of the conversation that is not seen in Matthew’s gospel. In stead of “authority” translating the Greek term, exousiazo, (the verb form of exousia), Mark records the term as katexousiazo.

The term Mark uses for “exercise authority” has the prefix, kata, emphasizes the action as intense control over someone. While a Roman reader might miss the significance of Jesus’ statement in Matthew’s account, he would note the greater intensity in Mark’s account.

Luke’s Gospel

Luke addresses his gospel account to a Roman official who was familiar with the concept of authority in both Roman and Jewish society in his day. Beginning with the birth, baptism, genealogy, and temptation of Jesus in chapters 1:1-4:14, Luke presents how Jesus was introduced to the world. In this introduction, while His authority is not specifically mention, His birth and subsequent facts concerning His origin and identity lead to the conclusion that Jesus was more than just a man.

The concept of authority is introduced in chapter 4:15 and following. Like Mark’s gospel account, Luke’s account is chronological. His gospel account does not reference the gospel of the kingdom of heaven as Matthew does. The gospel mentioned in the section in Mark and throughout the book is the gospel of the kingdom of God. This makes perfect sense since only Matthew presents what specifically concerned the Jews.

Jesus’ custom was to teach in the synagogues. Beginning in His home town of Nazareth. The first sermon Luke relates is only a portion of the extensive text in Isaiah:

And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book, and found the place where it was written, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are downtrodden, To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord." (Luke 4:17-19 NASB)

Jesus stopped at the phrase, “the favorable year of the Lord” and added, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearting.” By this Jesus clearly applied this passage to Himself as the One promised.

The initial response of those in attendance was praise for such “gracious words.” But their praise ended and turned into rage when Jesus applied the text to them (4:22-28). The passage in Isaiah and the rest of the prophecy goes on to relate the blessings and curses that will come from the Lord when He establishes His kingdom on earth.

Luke also relates Jesus’ teaching regarding leadership in Luke 22:25-26:

And He said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called 'Benefactors.' "But not so with you, but let him who is the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as the servant. (Luke 22:25-26 NASB)

Luke follows the example in Matthew’s account recording the term for authority as exousiazo instead of katexousiazo, as Mark does. There may be more than one reason for this change. However, Luke is addressing his account to a gentile official who would not make any mistakes as to the meaning of authority nor need any clarification. Therefore, he records exousiazo instead of katexousiazo. Compare Matthew 8:8-9 for an example of one who knows about authority.

But the centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. "For I, too, am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, 'Go!' and he goes, and to another, 'Come!' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this!' and he does it." (Matt 8:8-9 NASB)

John’s Gospel

John refers to authority (exousia) in five passages, (John 1:12; 5:27; 10:18; 17:2; 19:10). In the first passage, authority to become members of God’s family is given to all believers in the Son of God. In the remaining four passages, it is Jesus’ authority that is at issue. Writing about sixty years after the crucifixion, the question of who Jesus was had become the subject of controversy. The temple in Jerusalem had already been destroyed and the Jews were once again scattered among the nations.

John’s purpose in writing his account was to refute the many errors being taught in the church by the Gnostics of the day, both Jewish and gentile, as to the nature of Jesus. John’s account demonstrate that the authority of the Son of God is derived from God the Father. This authority is absolute. John’s style of writing is to present the truth, to give an example of how that truth is revealed in Christ Jesus, and how it applies to the plan of salvation. We see this purpose clearly stated in 20:30-31:

Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:30-31 NASB)

Jesus’ Instructions Regarding Leadership

Looking back to the synoptic gospels; Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Christian leadership is not to be top-down, domineering, or controlling. In all three gospels, Jesus instructs His disciples that they should be servants:

"It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; (Matt 20:26-27 NASB)

"But it is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. (Mark 10:43-44 NASB)

"But not so with you, but let him who is the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as the servant. (Luke 22:26 NASB)

Bob Briner, in his book, has a chapter on authority. He writes:

The surest way to success for a business executive is to put his employees and his customers first—in effect, to become a servant to them and meeting their needs.[15]

He concludes this section with this admonition:

To succeeded, use the Jesus model. Take care of your employees and your customers.[16]

This hard charging business man lays out the many details an individual in business needs to observe in order to succeed. Many of his ideas are helpful for a business. However, the church is not a business. The church includes everyone who is born of God. Every believer has a responsibility to assist in meeting the needs of other believers through the leading of the Holy Spirit. There is no hierarchy.

The Purpose and Composition of the Church

Paul makes it very clear that every member of the body represents both a spiritual asset to the church and needs which can only be met through a local church. This is what is meant by “fellowship” (koinonia). Paul, writing to the church at Rome stated:

For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. (Rom 12:3-8 NASB)

Here he emphasizes unity in diversity. To the church at Corinth, he writes:

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. (1 Cor 12:4-7 NASB)

But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. (1 Cor 12:11-12 NASB)

But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. (1 Cor 12:18-20 NASB)

Peter expressed it this way:

As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (1 Peter 4:10 NASB)

The church is not a business. It is a body of believers equipped to meet each other’s needs. There must be a clear distinction between a business and a church. A business consists of individuals working together in order to make a profit and expand its clientele. A local church is a body of believers, each one with gifts and needs. (see my article on what a spiritual gift is on this website) Leaders in the church must learn how to serve anyone whom God places within its fellowship. Very quickly it becomes apparent that the church can also be viewed as a group of walking wounded, each one coming with their own experiences and hang-ups.

Personal Examples of Leadership in the Church

Paul set the example of church leadership. He wrote to the Thessalonian believers:

…but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men but God, who examines our hearts. For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed — God is witness —  nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority. But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having thus a fond affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us. (1 Thess 2:4-8 NASB)

When seeking to correct the church at Corinth, Paul did not go himself. Instead he sent letters with trusted individuals. His reason:

But I call God as witness to my soul, that to spare you I came no more to Corinth. Not that we lord it over your faith but are workers with you for your joy; for in your faith you are standing firm. (2 Cor 1:23-24 NASB)

To the Roman church, a church he did not start and had not visited, he wrote:

And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able also to admonish one another. (Rom 15:14 NASB)

Peter exhorts his readers:

Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:1-3 NASB)

The ultimate goal of church leadership is to encourage and assist in building up each individual in the Body of Christ whom God has brought into the fellowship and to equip them to do the work of the ministry. A top-down, autocratic style of leadership cannot do this.

Years ago, the director of an association of churches made the statement to a group of pastors he gist of which was, “you will not grow your church until you give up the idea of being able to know all of your people.” Several years later when this individual served as the interim president of a seminary, he and I had lunch together. During that meeting, I asked him why he made such a statement. He confessed he had gotten off track. It was a mistake. It was a serious mistake and he agreed. 

The church must be structured so that organization is kept to a minimum and only to accomplish the main objective of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry, i.e., ministering to each other. Some might object that this is self-centered with self being the local church. However, writing to the churches in Galatia, Paul instructed:

To Ephesus he wrote:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:10 NASB)

To Timothy he wrote:

Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed. (1 Tim 6:17-19 NASB)

To follow the business model of a large corporation will not accomplish the purpose of the church. However, this does not mean that the church can function without leaders. But they must serve, not command or control:

But let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner. (1 Cor 14:40 NASB)

Freewill is a popular topic in Christian circles today. I avoid this topic because I do not see freewill, as usually defined, to be biblical. Nowhere in the Old and New Testaments will you find freewill as understood by most who argue for it. Instead of the sovereignty of God and freewill of man, we need to think in terms of the sovereignty of God and responsibility of man.

There is only one place where freewill is mention in the New Testament. Paul met a slave named Onesimus in Rome and led him to faith in Christ Jesus. As was the custom of the day, Paul sent Onesimus back to Philemon, his Christian owner. He requested that Philemon receive him as a brother in Christ and to forgive any debts he might have incurred in running away. Paul was willing to pay any outstanding debt out of his own pocket. In this short personal letter, Paul demonstrates servant leadership:

but without your consent I did not want to do anything, that your goodness should not be as it were by compulsion, but of your own free will. (Philemon 14 NASB)

Bob Briner, in the chapter, Establish Authority, writes:

Jesus did not run a democratic organization. Not one did he call for a vote on the course that should be followed. He was in charge…

In this day, when nonauthoritarian leadership is lauded at every turn, it is important to note that no successful organization is ever built or maintained without a strong ultimate authority.[17]

One the one hand, Briner speaks of building relationships while on the other, he insists on exercising authority over others in the church. Church leaders must always lead in such a way that those they lead are led to Christ who is the true and sole authority in the church. Servant leadership is a must for spiritual growth. Servant leadership is the product of a spirit-led church. Servant leadership and working together as a body with Christ as the head is the true style of church leadership.

[1] Bob Briner, The Management Methods of Jesus: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Business, (Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996)

[2] Ibid., xi.

[3] Ibid., xii.

[4] Lyle E. Schaller, The Change Agent: The Strategy of Innovative Leadership, (Abingdon Press, 1972).

[5] Jay El Adams, Handbook of Church Discipline, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1986), p. 15

[6] Ibid, p. 99ff.

[7] Ibid, p 73.

[8] Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament (Moulton-Milligan), PCStudy Bible Formatted Electronic Database © 2015 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.

[9] Bauer, Walter. (Berlin, 1949-1952) A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature. Translated by William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich. The University of Chicago Press. pp. 277-278.

[10] Lawrence O. Richards, Expository Dictionary of Bible Words (The Zondervan Corporation, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1958). p. 92.

[11] Ibid., 93.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Note the article on this website titled The Kingdom of Heaven.

[14] The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, (Electronic Database. Copyright © 1962 by Moody Press. All rights reserved).

[15] Briner, 57.

[16] Ibid, 58.

[17] Briner, 15-16.