Research Paper on Religious Leadership: Examining Hebrew Scriptures for Ministerial Examples

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1101 Words
Date:  2023-02-12


Leadership is an essential element in society, and religious leadership is highly linked to religious scriptures, which are an example to modern leaders (Whittington, 2015). Leadership in Hebrew Scriptures is portrayed through the actions of different characters and case scenarios involving the people of Israel. Different recorded events in the Hebrew scripture are records of leadership and can be used today as ministerial leadership examples to guide religious leaders (Bridge, 2013). Different leaders in the Hebrew scripture approached leadership in a unique model, and approaches can be used today as examples of leadership (Stevens, 2012). This paper will assess the ministerial leadership models and approaches within the context of Hebrew Scriptures.

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Leadership Model

Leadership in God, for God, by God

Leadership in the Hebrew Scriptures is placed in the context of what God wants with human beings such as Moses, Joshua, and Kings ruling in place of God and not for themselves (Stevens, 2012). The Hebrew Scriptures show that the leaders of the people of Israel were in direct instruction from God himself and led based on the desires of God and his will for the people of Israel (Wolak, 2016). Similarly, ministerial leaders should be obedient to the will of God and rule the flock based on the desires of heaven and not individual mandates.

Autocratic and Leadership by Consensus

The Hebrew scriptures in the book of Joshua two basic leadership models are presented in the context with one leadership being autocratic in nature with Joshua leading with God by his side whereas, in the second model, Moses offers a consensus leadership model in which Joshua should lead the children of Israel but with the help of the council of elders (Friedman, Friedman, & Fireworker, 2006). On the other hand, God's model of leadership is aristocratic, which can be evidenced in the rule of Kings and desire for Joshua to act alone only under God's directives. God's approach to leadership of the Israelite generation at the time where he encouraged forcing his will on the people (Stern, 2005). God's perspective towards leadership is absolute and lonelier because he does not seek to share his glory and vision with the humankind (Stevens, 2012). This model shows that God's perspective on leadership is that it is a personal responsibility.

Leadership Metaphor

Servant/Steward Leadership

God calls for leaders to be a servant to serve in his place and for his purpose, which requires leaders to submit to the will of God entirely and to serve the people (Shirin, 2014). The Hebrew scripture identifies servant/stewardship metaphor as a model of submission and purpose with the primary objective being to serve God (Kletz, AlmogBareket, Habisch, Lenssen, Adaui, & Gottlieb, 2012). This has been exemplified in the Hebrew Scriptures through the account of Abraham, Moses, David, and Elijah, who are referred to as servants of Yahweh (Stevens, 2012). The servant, in this case, is an agent who has a sacred obligation to watch over another's property and do their bidding (Lynch & Friedman, 2013). This means that a servant in the Hebrew Scripture is a leader first and a servant of the Lord.

Approach of Leadership

Transactional Leadership

The transactional approach to leadership means that Yahweh's leadership is based on rewards and punishment (Von Rad, 2001). Those that obey are rewarded, and those that disobey are rebuked. This approach of leadership is evidenced during the Exodus where the Israelites are punished when they do wrong such as the worship of idols, and they are rewarded when they show faith in God (Stern, 2005).


The Hebrew Scripture shows a diverse aspect and approach to leadership, whereby the leaders take different approaches to exercise authority. The Hebrew scripture pictures God's preferred leadership as autocratic and submissive leadership whereby the leaders are required to be submissive, and the leader's operational approach should be in place of God and not towards their interests. God's approach to leadership involves both rewards and punishments, which means that ministerial leaders should expect rewards when they lead in God's will and punishment when they fail in their mandate and responsibility as leaders. The leadership metaphor of stewardship and servant leadership means that leaders are just servants whose responsibility is bestowed in place of God.


Bridge, E. J. (2013). The Metaphoric Use of Slave Terms in the Hebrew Bible. Bulletin for Biblical Research, 13-28. Retrieved from

Friedman, H. H., Friedman, L. W., & Fireworker, R. (2006). 'An Understanding Heart to Judge Your People': The View of Successful Leadership in the Hebrew Bible. Friedman, Hershey H., Friedman, LW, and Fireworker, RB, 103-117. Retrieved from

Kletz, P., AlmogBareket, G., Habisch, A., Lenssen, G., Adaui, C. L., & Gottlieb, E. (2012). Mosaic leadership: charisma and bureaucracy in Exodus 18. Journal of Management Development. Retrieved from

Lynch, J., & Friedman, H. H. (2013). Servant leader, spiritual leader: The case for convergence. Lynch, JA & Friedman, HH (2013). Servant leader, spiritual leader: The case for convergence. Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics, 10(2), 87-95. Retrieved from

Shirin, A. V. (2014). Is servant leadership inherently Christian?. Journal of religion and business ethics, 3(1), 13. Retrieved from

Stern, E. R. (2005). Teaching Torah in the Twenty-First Century: Three Jewish Bible Commentaries. Prooftexts, 25(3), 376-402. Retrieved from

Von Rad, G. (2001). Old Testament Theology: The theology of Israel's historical traditions (Vol. 1). Westminster John Knox Press. Retrieved from

Whittington, J. L. (2015). Images of Leadership: Biblical Metaphors for Contemporary Leaders. In Biblical Perspectives on Leadership and Organizations (pp. 95-121). Palgrave Macmillan, New York. Retrieved from

Wolak, A. J. (2016). Religion and Contemporary Management: Moses as a Model for Effective Leadership. Anthem Press. Retrieved from

Stevens, M. E. (2012). Leadership Roles of the Old Testament: King, Prophet, Priest, Sage. Wipf & Stock Pub, ISBN-10: 1610974085. Retrieved from,+M.+E.+(2012).+Leadership+Roles+of+the+Old+Testament:+King,+Prophet,+Priest,+Sage.+Wipf+%26+Stock+Pub,+ISBN-10:+1610974085.&ots=jxhEPrKWUV&sig=zth7pCMnbcEV3H7qVx851ymBgeM

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Research Paper on Religious Leadership: Examining Hebrew Scriptures for Ministerial Examples. (2023, Feb 12). Retrieved from

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