Biblical Leadership Traits - Gentle

Masters Men: Leadership

Biblical Leadership Traits


1 Timothy 3:3



These next three traits are apparently in stark contrast to the last qualifications - “but” (ἀλλὰ) – or perhaps directly in contrast to the “pugnacious” (violent) requirement.

“Gentle” (ἐπιεικής) is built on two words - epi meaning “upon” and eikoj meaning “without cause, or reason” [see NAS Romans 13:4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil]. Or it may come from verb eikw meaning “to yield.” [see NAS Galatians 2:5 But we did not yield in subjection to them (referring to the legalists in Jerusalem) for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you]. So the basic idea is reasonableness; even to the point of being willing to yield to others. In fact, the term describes someone who is willing to forego his rights for the better welfare of others. Of course the great model of this trait is God himself, who, in mercy, grants forgiveness rather than exacting immediate punishment. {see Trench 153-55} Thus, lexicons use other synonymous English terms such as “yielding” or “tolerant”.

There are three other uses of this term in the New Testament: NAS Titus 3:2 to malign no one, to be uncontentious, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. NAS James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy  NAS 1 Peter 2:18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable.

So in this sense, a person who is gentle will not always insist on his way. He will be a good listener. His judgment and decisions will be seasoned with reason and compassion.


  1. What suggestions do you have for resolving the apparent tension between the need to be a yielding person who doesn’t insist on your own way and at the same time being in a place of authority?
    1. There are several kinds of leadership styles. Possession of authority does not require that one “demand” to be followed.
    2. Leaders who are functioning properly will usually be followed voluntarily
  1. Describe a good listener.
  1. Describe an instance where you yielded to someone else or another opinion

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