“archisynagōgos”

Quick Facts

  • Pronunciation: är-khē-sü-nä’-gō-gos
  • Strongs Concordance: #G752
    • ruler of the synagogue. It was his duty to select the readers or teachers in the synagogue, to examine the discourses of the public speakers, and to see that all things were done with decency and in accordance with ancestral usage
  • Appears 18 times in 9 verses in the New Testament
  • Common translations
    • “ruler of the synagogue” (7x)
    • “chief ruler of the synagogue” (2x)
    • “synagogue official” (NASB – 7x)
    • “leader of the synagogue” (NASB – 2x)

How and where archisynagōgos is used in the New Testament

  1. Mark 5:22, 35-36, 38 NASB – “22 One of the synagogue officials named Jairus came up, and on seeing Him, fell at His feet … 35 While He was still speaking, they came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher anymore?” 36 But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.” … 38 They came to the house of the synagogue official; and He saw a commotion, and people loudly weeping and wailing.”

  2. Luke 8:49 NASB – “49 While He was still speaking, someone came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, “Your daughter has died; do not trouble the Teacher anymore.””

  3. Luke 13:14 NASB – “14 But the synagogue official, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, began saying to the crowd in response, “There are six days in which work should be done; so come during them and get healed, and not on the Sabbath day.””

  4. Acts 13:15 NASB – “15 After the reading of the Law and the Prophets the synagogue officials sent to them, saying, “Brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it.””

  5. Acts 18:8, 17 NASB – “8 Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his household, and many of the Corinthians when they heard were believing and being baptized. … 17 And they all took hold of Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and began beating him in front of the judgment seat. But Gallio was not concerned about any of these things.”

My observations and perspective

In every case of the word archisynagōgos appearing in the New Testament, the context always indicate that the person(s) being spoken of are the leaders of the Jewish synagogue. Neither endorsement or condemnation for that role appears in these verses. None of these verses can serve as a foundation for a view of local church leadership that places one human being in a position of headship or authority over another.

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