“archōn”

Quick Facts

  • Pronunciation: ä’r-khōn
  • Strongs Concordance: #G758
    • a ruler, commander, chief, leader
  • Appears 37 times in  36 verses in the New Testament
  • Common translations
    • “authorities” (1x)
    • “leaders” (1x)
    • “magistrate” (1x)
    • “official” (2x)
    • “official’s” (1x)
    • “prince” (1x)
    • “ruler” (13x)
    • “rulers” (16x)

How archōn is used in the New Testament

  1.  Matthew 9:18, 23, 34 NASB – “18 While He was saying these things to them, a synagogue official came and bowed down before Him, and said, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live.” … 23 When Jesus came into the official’s house, and saw the flute-players and the crowd in noisy disorder, … 34 But the Pharisees were saying, “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.””

  2. Matthew 12:24 NASB – “24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.””

  3. Matthew 20:25 NASB – “25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.”

  4. Mark 3:22 NASB – “22 The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.””

  5. Luke 8:41 NASB – “41 And there came a man named Jairus, and he was an official of the synagogue; and he fell at Jesus’ feet, and began to implore Him to come to his house;”

  6. Luke 11:15 NASB – “15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.””

  7. Luke 12:58 NASB – “58 “For while you are going with your opponent to appear before the magistrate, on your way there make an effort to settle with him, so that he may not drag you before the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison.”

  8. Luke 14:1 NASB – “1 It happened that when He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread, they were watching Him closely.”

  9. Luke 18:18 NASB – “18 A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?””

  10. Luke 23:13, 35 NASB – “13 Pilate summoned the chief priests and the rulers and the people, … 35 And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.””

  11. Luke 24:20 NASB – “20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death, and crucified Him.”

  12. John 3:1 NASB – “1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews;”

  13. John 7:26, 48 NASB – “26 “Look, He is speaking publicly, and they are saying nothing to Him. The rulers do not really know that this is the Christ, do they? … 48 “No one of the rulers or Pharisees has believed in Him, has he?”

  14. John 12:31, 42 NASB – “31 “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. … 42 Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue;”

  15. John 14:30 NASB – “30 “I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me;”

  16. John 16:11 NASB – “11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”

  17. Acts 3:17 NASB – “17 “And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also.”

  18. Acts 4:5, 8, 26 NASB – “5 On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; … 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, … 26 ‘THE KINGS OF THE EARTH TOOK THEIR STAND, AND THE RULERS WERE GATHERED TOGETHER AGAINST THE LORD AND AGAINST HIS CHRIST.'”

  19. Acts 7:27, 35 NASB – “27 “But the one who was injuring his neighbor pushed him away, saying, ‘WHO MADE YOU A RULER AND JUDGE OVER US? … 35 “This Moses whom they disowned, saying, ‘WHO MADE YOU A RULER AND A JUDGE?’ is the one whom God sent to be both a ruler and a deliverer with the help of the angel who appeared to him in the thorn bush.”

  20. Acts 13:27 NASB – “27 “For those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, recognizing neither Him nor the utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning Him.”

  21. Acts 14:5 NASB – “5 And when an attempt was made by both the Gentiles and the Jews with their rulers, to mistreat and to stone them,”

  22. Acts 16:19 NASB – “19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the authorities,”

  23. Acts 23:5 NASB – “5 And Paul said, “I was not aware, brethren, that he was high priest; for it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT SPEAK EVIL OF A RULER OF YOUR PEOPLE.'””

  24. Romans 13:3 NASB – “3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same;”

  25. 1 Corinthians 2:6, 8 NASB – “6 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; … 8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;”

  26. Ephesians 2:2 NASB – “2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.”

  27. Revelation 1:5 NASB – “5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood–“

My observations and perspective

The word archōn is used 37 times in the New Testament. Interestingly, most instances are speaking of the leaders of the Jews. Take note that in these contexts, several times, a distinction is made between these rulers and the elders, often mentioned in the same verses. This demonstrates that in the Jewish culture, elders were not the rulers of the people. Rulers were a separate office.

Also interesting to note is how often it is mentioned that these rulers either denied Jesus Christ, or at best, secretly believed in him but hid such out of fear.

No mention of the word archōn is ever used in a local church leadership context – with one exception – when Revelation 1:5 uses this word to describe the rule of Christ over the kings of the earth (and elsewhere understood to be ruler/head over the Church).

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