We continue our search of the Bible for more answers about leadership. In this article we will see that in God’s eyes we are all on equal footing. He does not place any person higher than another. We will see that He is no respecter of persons. He has no partiality. Please understand, God does respect Christians, as we are His children [Rom. 8:16]. He will reward us, which shows that respect we have earned. We will be rewarded in the future for what we do here on earth, good or bad [2 Cor. 5:10 KJV]. We will be rewarded according to our labor [1 Cor. 3:8]. He will reward those who seek Him [Heb. 11:610 KJV]. We will be rewarded an inheritance for serving the Lord [Col. 3:24]. So, God rewards us for what we do but still is no respecter of persons.
We know from the Word of God, that we are to imitate God [Eph. 5:1 ASV], and the Lord [1 Thess. 1:6 ASV] too! As you follow along with this article, it will become clear that we are to be like God and the Lord and they are no respecter of persons. This is why I brought up imitating them, as that is the way they are, so we are to be that way also!
It is very important to understand that our goal is to let Jesus be the Head and to follow his lead. He gave the revelation to Paul to write much of the Christian Scriptures:
Galatians 1:11and 12 (ASV)
11 For I make known to you, brethren, as touching the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not after man. 12 For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ.
We want to develop that kind of a walk with our Lord. We plan on that as a reality, not lip service. We are the Lord’s Body, with only one Head, no hierarchy, yet structure. We recommend an article: “Church Leadership; What Does the Bible Say?” which, in part, covers our thinking.
As we read through the Hebrew Scriptures, we find that God is no respecter of persons. Let us look at the following verse:
2 Chronicles 19:7 (KJV)
Wherefore now let the fear of the Lord [Yahweh] be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the Lord [Yahweh] our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.
The word “respect” is translated “partiality” in the following translations: NIV, CJB, HCSB, ESV, NAB, NASB [all versions], NET, NJB, NKJV, NLT, NRSV, and RSV. There are more, but 12 different translations read this way and we agree. So it should read: “…with Yahweh our God there is no partiality…” This verse has come up many times over the years and few really understand it. No matter how it is said, “God is no respecter of persons” or “with Yahweh our God there is no partiality” [to understand more on the name Yahweh see: “Intimacy with God and His Great Name”]. He does not elevate one person over another, for if He did, then He would have partiality—respect one over another! We are to follow God’s example here and do the same! Please consider the following two verses:
Proverbs 24:23 (ASV)
These also are sayings of the wise. To have respect of persons in judgment is not good.
Proverbs 28:21 (ASV)
To have respect of persons is not good; Neither that a man should transgress for a piece of bread.
Many translations say “respect” and many say, “partiality,” but either way, we are not to be partial or respect one person over another.
What we have seen in these verses is that God is no respecter of persons [has no partiality when it comes to people], and we are to follow that example! Take a look at other verses along this line in the Christian Scriptures:
Acts 10:34 (KJV)
Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
As with the Hebrew Scriptures, the translators of the Christian Scriptures use different words for “respecter”. They use five different English words to translate prosopolemptes, which is the English transliteration of the Greek: προσωπολήπτης. The NIV, HCSB, NET, and NLT use “favoritism.” The ASV, BBE, DBY, DRA, ERV, GWN, MRD, NRSV, WEB, and YLT use “respecter.” The CJB uses “play favorites.” The NAB, NASB [every version], NKJV, RSV, and RWB use “partiality.” The NJB uses “favourites.” The Amplified Bible [AMP], reads “…God shows no partiality and is no respecter of persons.”
No matter how it is translated, God shows no partiality, is no respecter of persons, has no favoritism, and plays no favorites or favourites, and we are to follow that example. I hope the point is hitting you as hard as it hit me! I have heard for over forty years, “God is no respecter of persons,” but only in the last year has it lived in my heart. Jesus Christ did not become Lord and Christ until he walked through life, gave his life, was raised, ascended, and was seated at God’s right hand. Then God made this Jesus both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36) [see “When Did Jesus Become Lord and Christ?”]. Jesus earned the right to become the Head of his Body [the Church]. Not one of us has done anything worthy enough to be over anyone else, or for God to respect me more than any other Christian. Hey, we are not finished here. Here are a few more:
Romans 2:11 (KJV)
For there is no respect of persons with God.
Fits perfectly with Acts 10:34 (KJV), and Romans is a doctrinal epistle written to us Christians, so it is for us to live by. Ephesians is also a doctrinal epistle written to Christians, so let us look at it:
Ephesians 6:8 and 9 (KJV)
8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord [kurios, speaking of Jesus], whether he be bond or free. 9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master [Lord, Greek kurios] also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him [Jesus].
Now we find “neither is there respect of persons with Jesus.” God, Jesus, and we Christians are to not be “respecters of persons.” There are more places:
Colossians 3:25 (KJV)
But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
As we get close to the end of this topic, I want you to look at another verse on how God Judges men impartially.
1 Peter 1:17 (KJV)
And if ye call on the Father, who without respect [impartially] of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
God is without respect of persons—impartial—and elevates no man above another, with the exception of His Son, who walked a walk we could never walk, all the way through the death on the Cross! Jesus is the Head and we are a part of his Body. Think on this verse in 1 Corinthians 12:25:
1 Corinthians 12:25 (ASV)
that there should be no schism [divisions] in the body; but that the members should have the same [many translations read: equal] care [concern] one for another.
The word “same” can be translated “equal” or “equally” and the word “care” can be translated “concern” or “concerned.” It is translated “equal concern” in the NIV, and “equally concerned” in the CJB, and NJB. Think about that, we are to have “equal concern” or “be equally concerned” for one another. How would that be possible if there were a hierarchy?
As we close this, you may be saying: “Boy, Bob repeated himself over and over, quoting the same verses over and over.” Well, look back at what we have read and you will see not one verse was repeated. I could actually quote more, but I believe you get the point! As we look back at all the verses, it is very apparent that, like God and Jesus, we Christians are to show no partiality, be no respecter of persons, have no favoritism, and to play no favorites. We must remember there is only one Head, Jesus, and we are to imitate him, as well as follow his direction. I hope this short article helps you understand how God, our Lord, and even us Christians are to act and look at one another.