Biblical Leadership Themes of the New Testament


The bible is centered on themes that help Christians to live in accordance with God’s ways. The New Testament provides biblical leadership themes that when applied help Christian leaders to enhance their efficiency by fulfilling God’s purpose. The New Testament discusses the importance of servant leadership to be successful leaders. This theme emphasizes self-giving love while serving others. The second theme is leadership and reconciliation which fulfils God’s purpose of reconciling all things. The third theme is leadership and suffering. This theme holds that Christian leaders must be ready to suffer for obedience to God attracts hostility but with faith there is always hope. The other theme is leadership and knowledge which holds that for a leader to be effective he or she must know the direction in which he is directing others. Lastly is the theme of sharing power which emphasizes the need for leaders to share the power to increase efficiency. These themes are helpful because they improve the understanding of what leadership ought to be from a biblical point of view enabling people to lead in God’s ways. Biblical leadership themes from the New Testament guides leaders into leading in a Godly manner.

Servant leadership

The New Testament emphasizes the quality of Christian leadership starting from the life of Christ. Through His death on the cross, Christ demonstrated self-giving love which is servant love found in John chapter 13. Even though Jesus had power and authority, he stooped down to wash his disciples’ feet. This showed how he combined servant hood with power. The New Testament does not set power, authority and servant love over each other and when it comes to leadership they should not be placed over each other. Leaders have to be careful when they are exercising their authority and power. Leaders must practice servant love as part of Christian practices as Christ emphasizes in John 13:14. In the book of Ephesians, Paul calls believe in this case Christian leaders to imitate Christ in the actions of self-giving. The leaders should serve their subjects with love. Even though the leaders have authority and power, leaders should seek to serve others instead of being served. In their actions, leaders should preach and practice obedience. They should practice forgiveness, be ready to sacrifice themselves for the sake of others, and promote justice. It is easy for leaders to oppress their subjects due to their power and authority, however, servant hood will ensure that they promote justice (Forrest et al., 2017). Instead of misusing resources, they will use them to help and serve others just as Jesus did by sacrificing his own life to save mankind. This theme is important as it teaches this generation that when it comes to Godly leadership, authority and power must be combined with servanthood irrespective of the context one is leading from. Today, leaders are power hungry and when they acquire it they use it to oppress others. However, this theme teaches that a good leader is the one that combines servant hood and power in serving other people with love and care.

Reconciliation and leadership

The New Testament emphasizes the purpose of God in Christ which is to reunite all things. Therefore leaders are expected to promote reconciliation.A leader that achieves God’s purpose is the one breaking down barriers that stand between people. One of the visions of Revelation (5:9) is a reconciliation of people from every language and tribe and nation and people gathered around the throne. In the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians, he says that God’s work for reconciliation has begun. This means that people are caught up on this work of reconciliation. Even in presence of suffering and pain, there is hope as God’s power in reconciliation will prevail. This theme is important considering the division that continues to exist in the world. People are divided based on color, ethnicity, gender, economic status, and power amongst others. Leaders are fuelling these divisions in the society. However, as the theme holds, an effective Christian leader seeks to reconcile people and yearns to see people living in unity. This theme is important to this generation that is so divided especially on racial lines (Forrest et al., 2017). It is only Christian leaders that will help overcome such barriers that divided God’s people. If leaders fail to reconcile people, then their leadership will have failed. Leaders should seek to ensure that people from different nations, races, economic status, and gender are relating well to fulfil God’s people as opposed to creating more barriers. The New Testament recognizes reconciliation at all levels of the community as one of the deepest wishes and values of a Christian leader.

Leadership and suffering

Christian leaders should be ready to suffer as gospel obedience to Christ hostility and resistance. Hebrew chapter 11 lists faith heroes in the bible such as David and Joshua who often suffered. Leaders will often find themselves into temptations and often fall into them causing pain not only to themselves but also to the community. However, every time the New Testament talks about suffering it includes hope. One thing that leaders know is that they will prevail eventually. Christ Himself went through suffering and therefore leaders should expect to suffer but remember that there is hope. They should not engage in undesirable behaviors to evade suffering as this would cause them pain and more suffering. This theme is important to this generation because, leaders tend to think that due to their power and authority they are not prone to suffering (Forrest et al., 2017). However, the theme teaches that leaders should be ready to suffer, that is, Christian leaders because obedience to Christ attracts rejection. This means that when leaders face hostility and rejection from their subjects due to an obedient act, they should not despair but hold on to their decision even if they endure suffering because at the end there is hope. It is through suffering that good results will be yielded. Going against Christ’s teaching to please other people will only result in more pain not only for the leader but also for the surrounding community. The theme also teaches that suffering is not a form of God’s rejection, instead it is a sign of a good deed that has attracted hostility but as the bible states there is hope as long as one has faith.

Leadership and knowledge

The New Testament emphasizes on the need for knowledge for one to be a successful leader. The testament explains that for one to be a good guide he or she must know the way. For one to be an effective teacher, knowing the subject is a must. For one to be a good shepherd they must know the sheep and the needs of these sheep. To be a good leader one must know the matters he or she will be providing directions on. In 1 Corinthians Paul urges people not to be ignorant. 1 Thessalonians and Romans chapter 1 also urge Christians especially those taking up leadership roles to avoid being ignorant. This means that they have to seek knowledge to lead effectively. Having sufficient knowledge enable leaders to understand their followers. Through knowledge acquisition, Apostle Paul was able to understand the church in Thessalonica and realized their weakness and was eventually able to strengthen them. This theme is important as it emphasizes on the need for seeking knowledge and wisdom for effective decision making (Forrest et al., 2017). Today people are facing many challenges and due to lack of knowledge leaders are unable to help them. However, as the theme holds, having knowledge promotes understanding of various situations which makes it address any issue. Apart from leaders, seeking knowledge is also helpful to followers as they are able to make informed decisions. As the testament says people should not be ignorant, instead they should seek wisdom from God.

Leadership and sharing of power

The New Testament stresses on the need for leaders to share power with their subjects. As Philippians Chapter 2 verse 4 states leaders should not serve their own interests rather they should serve the interests of other people. This theme seeks to teach against the self-centred building of an empire, extreme isolation, and excessive individualism. Based on the theme leading through teams is more effective than individual leadership. Jesus practised sharing of power by not appointing one successor but by appointing the twelve disciples. In Acts chapter 6 there are seven people who are appointed to dispense funds. The seven acted as servant leaders. Christ appointed other people who he included in the leadership circle but never assigned one the role of chief leader. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says that two people are better than one as they empower each other. In fact the New Testament does not suggest anywhere that there is any church that survived with one elder. This proves strengthens the theme of sharing power. The theme is important because current secular leadership talks of leaders empowering others but in the real sense leaders are using power for their own gain by grasping and retaining it. The theme teaches that leaders should look forward to serving others as opposed to serving their own interest. If current leaders embraced such a theme then people would overwhelm by the joy of success (Forrest et al., 2017). However, individualism has overtaken our leaders limiting them from serving other people as the New Testament provides. A Christian leader ought to share the power to promote the effectiveness of services because as Ecclesiastes says two heads are better than one.


The New Testament offers leadership themes that act as a guide to the current generation in leading in a Godly manner. Leading and living in accordance with God’s ways help fulfil God’s ways. In this paper five themes have been identified that have positive impacts on the current generation for the Godly guidance. The themes include servant leadership which involves serving others rather than waiting to be served. Reconciliation and leadership which fulfils God’s purpose of using Christ to reconcile all things. Leadership and suffering which holds that Christian leaders must be ready to suffer since obedient to God attract rejection. However according to the testament there is hope after the suffering. Leadership and knowledge explain that leaders must seek knowledge to lead others effectively. Lastly is the theme of sharing power which enables leaders to serve the interests of others as God expects.The themes act as a guide to Christian leaders and followers who seek to act in accordance with God’s ways.


Forrest, B., Roden, C., and Hawkins, R. (2017). Biblical Leadership: Theology for the Everyday Leader. Kregel Academic.