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Have charge over (4291) (proistemi from pró = before, over + hístemi = put, place, stand) literally means those who are put or placed before you or over you. Proistemi has the basic meaning of “standing before” others and, hence, the idea of leadership. It describes one who presides over others, and exercises a position of leadership (rule, direct, be at the head of). Rogers writes that proistemi has two possible meanings in this passage either to preside, lead, direct or to protect , to care for. (Rogers, C L - originally by Fritz Rienecker: New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament. Zondervan. 1998) In secular Greek proistemi was used in some context (not these ways in NT) meaning to put forward as a pretence or use as a screen. To stand before so as to guard. Proistemi (as in this passage) also includes the idea of having an interest in, showing concern for, caring for or giving aid. Hiebert adds that proistemi... literally means "standing before," hence to be at the head, to direct, to rule. It may denote informal leadership or management of any kind, but papyrus usage establishes that it can be used of various kinds of officials.' It points to the spiritual guidance these men are giving to the church, a recognized function of the elder. It combines the concepts of leading, protecting, and caring for.' (Ibid) Vincent writes the use of proistemi refers... to any position involving superintendence. No special ecclesiastical office is meant. The IVP Bible Background Commentary notes that proistemi was used for those who “have charge” (NASB, NRSV) or “are over” (KJV, NIV) the Thessalonian Christians was especially applied in the Greco-Roman world to patrons (The social superior in the Roman patron-client relationship, who granted favors to and acted as political sponsor for his clients, or social dependents. The obligations in the relationship were viewed as reciprocal; clients were to grant the patrons honor as their benefactors), sponsors of clients ( A person socially dependent on a patron in Roman society) and religious associations. (Keener, Craig: The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. 1994. IVP) Here are the 7 other NT uses of proistemi and is rendered -- engage in (2), have charge over(1), leads(1), manage(1), managers(1), manages(1), rule(1). Romans 12:8 (note) or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads (stands on the first place), with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. 1 Timothy 3:4 He (overseer) must be one who manages (proistemi - to stand before, to rule over, to manage. Note that in the ancient Greek culture, the authority of the father was exceedingly great.) his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 (but if a man does not know how to manage (proistemi) his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?) 1 Timothy 3:12 Let deacons be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households. 1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who rule well (Guthrie notes that the word means general superintendence and describes the duties allotted to all presbyters) be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. Titus 3:8 (note) This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God may be careful to engage (here proistemi speaks of a responsible preoccupation with something. Take the lead in. Be careful to busy yourself with. The word also has a technical meaning - "to practice a profession") in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men. Titus 3:14 (note) And let our people also learn to engage (proistemi) in good deeds to meet pressing needs, that they may not be unfruitful. There are 5 uses of proistemi in the non-apocryphal Septuagint - 2Sam. 13:17; Pr. 23:5; 26:17; Isa. 43:24; Amos 6:10 Stedman comments that... The English translators of the Scriptures were in a church that had a highly structured hierarchical leadership. Thus, many Scriptural references are translated in that direction. The phrase, "those who ... are over you in the Lord," is not a good translation. It reflects a relationship that Scripture everywhere speaks against. Jesus said to his disciples, "do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers." {Mt 23:8}. Christians are brothers. That is not practiced in very many places, unfortunately. What is really being said here in Thessalonica is, "respect those who labor among you and stand before you in the Lord." The apostle is referring to those who stand in front and lead the whole group. There is no suggestion of anyone being "over" others. Tradition has caused this proper translation to be lost sight of down through the years. It badly needs correction. What Paul is saying, therefore, is, "follow your leaders." (Ibid) In the Lord - This phrase clearly identifies these men not as secular leaders (as one might think of leading men in the community) but as those who lead in connection with spiritual concerns in the sphere of the Lord -- as His appointees, under His authority, etc Stedman comments that... Leaders have been appointed by the Lord Jesus, regardless of the human process by which they were chosen. That does not mean that they cannot be changed or that in the course of events they will not go someplace else. What it means is that when they are in leadership they are to be regarded as the Lord's men and the Lord's women. He has sent them among us. (Ibid) Hiebert adds that... Their position does not stem from personal ambition but rather from their spiritual maturity. Their position of leadership in the church is based upon the recognized fact that both they and those being led are in the Lord. "His Lordship underlies their leadership." Their authority is not that of a formal ecclesiastical hierarchy but rather is "one exercised in the warmth of Christian bonds." (Ibid) "Go to the page below to access live links related to the material on this page - these links include Scriptures (which can be read in context), Scripture pop-ups on mouse over, and a variety of related resources such as Bible dictionary articles, commentaries, sermon notes and theological journal articles related to the topic under discussion." http://www.preceptaustin.org/1thessalonians_512-13.htm#c

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