Biblcal Leadership Traits - Not Self Willed

Masters Men: Leadership

Biblical Leadership Traits

Not Self Willed

Titus 1:7




NAU Titus 1:7 For the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain,

BGT Titus 1:7 δεῖ γὰρ τὸν ἐπίσκοπον ἀνέγκλητον εἶναι ὡς θεοῦ οἰκονόμον, μὴ αὐθάδη, μὴ ὀργίλον, μὴ πάροινον, μὴ πλήκτην, μὴ αἰσχροκερδῆ,

This colorful term is translated “arrogant” by ESV and “overbearing” by NIV. Literally it is the term could be translated “self pleasing”. Auqadh comes from auto meaning self plus hdomai meaning to seek pleasure. Sounds like the English hedonism. Add the negative mh and thus “not self pleasing”. This is not a good term.

Other uses:

NAU Proverbs 21:24 "Proud," "Haughty," "Scoffer," are his names, Who acts with insolent pride.

NAU 2 Peter 2:10 and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties,

Friberg 12898 gives the definition of the term without the prefix as “Indulgence and lack of control regarding natural sensual appetites”. Some uses are:

NAU 2 Peter 2:13 suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you,

NAU Titus 3:3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. NAU James 4:1 What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.

Putting this all together we can easily see how several related concepts are associated with this term:

Stubbornness – hence the translation – “arrogant” or “overbearing”

Maintaining one’s own opinion at all cost

Always asserting one’s perceived rights – hence the translation “self willed”

Being reckless with the rights and feelings of others.

The following comment puts this trait in perspective.

“He is one so far overvaluing any determination at which he has himself once arrived that he will not be removed from it;…the man thus obstinately maintaining his own opinion, or asserting his own rights, is reckless of the rights, feelings and interests of others; one indeed who with no motive at all is prompt rather to run counter to these than to fall in with the them…” (Synonyms of the New Testament, Trench 349).



  1. Given the authority of the average leader (especially an elder in the church) and given the nuance of “self willed”, what are the potential consequences to people and the organization if a leader is chosen who is “self willed”?
  1. If you have ever had a problem with being self willed, how has it affected your relationship with your wife? Your children? Those close to you?
  1. What do you think is the main cause for being self willed?
  1. What plan of action might you adopt in order to overcome this trait?

© Copyright. Joseph Flatt. 2018. All rights reserved. May be used for educational purposes without written permission but with a citation to this source.