Discerning Quality Christian Leadership

Christian leadership is a challenging concept to fully understand, embrace, and discern quality in. Not only does one have to discern whether the individual offering leadership is offering leadership by way of a quality model such as transformational, authentic, or servant (Northouse, 2013). Once this is determined, then one must determine if the quality leadership being offered is from a biblical concept that is in line with scripture. It is here things can become incredibly more complex.

The reality of biblical interpretation is the distance from the modern interpreter to the actual events is a few thousand years in some cases (House, 1995). In order to have a clear perspective on what the original authors intended in their messages, and without the ability to speak to an actual eyewitness directly, interpreters are left to rely on methods of biblical interpretation such as socio-rhetorical criticism (Robbins, 1996). Unfortunately, quality methods of interpretation are not an absolute science (Kahl, 2000, p. 422) so it is very difficult for the interpreter to not allow their own personal perspectives, cultural influences, and ideologies influence the biblical interpretation.

The challenge for Christians is to know what leaders to follow when different Christian leaders have differing views of interpretation on scriptural truths. It is for this reason Christians must develop their own skills of biblical interpretation and follow those leaders they are in alignment with. Since a leader uses ethics as a standard of determining what is right and wrong in relation to actions and volitions (Ciulla, 2014), it is vital for individual Christians to diligently interpret ethical portions of scripture such as Paul’s virtues of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-26).


Ciulla, J. B. (Ed.). (2014). Ethics, the Heart of Leadership (3 edition). Santa Barbara, California: Praeger.

House, H. (1995). The International Inductive Study Bible: New International Version (1st edition). Eugene, Or: Harvest House Pub.

Kahl, W. (2000). Intercultural Hermeneutics — Contextual Exegesis. International Review of Mission, vol. 89(iss. 354), pp. 421–433.

Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: theory and practice (6th ed). Thousand Oaks: SAGE.

Robbins, V. K. (1996). Exploring the texture of texts: a guide to socio-rhetorical interpretation. Valley Forge, Pa: Trinity Press International.

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