"Obey your leaders, and submit; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you." Hebrews 13:17.
The word translated here as 'obey', is, in the original Scriptures, which are written in ancient Greek, 'peithō'.
The word, here in the nasb, translated as 'your leaders', is, 'hēgeomai'. In the kjv this word has been translated as, 'them that have the rule over'.
The word translated here as 'submit', in the original Greek is 'hupeikō'.
Peithō; a primary verb; to convince (by argument, true or false); by analogy to pacify or conciliate (by other fair means); reflexively or passively to assent (to evidence or authority), to rely (by inward certainty): - agree, assure, believe, have confidence, be (wax) content, make friend, obey, persuade, trust, yield.
Hēgeomai; to lead, that is, command (with official authority); figuratively to deem, that is, consider: - account, (be) chief, count, esteem, governor, judge, have the rule over, suppose, think.
Hupeikō; (to yield, be "weak"); to surrender: - submit self.
Peithō, in most if not all translations is translated as obey, but in being thus translated it leaves room for misinterpretation, or even manipulation in how some would deem their position to be over others within The Church, Which Is The LORD'S Body; HE Is The Head, Over All Rule And Authority.
"As you therefore have Received CHRIST JESUS The LORD, walk In HIM, having been firmly rooted being built up In HIM and established in ( by ) your faith, just as you were instructed, overflowing with gratitude. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to ( in a manner corresponding to ) the tradition of men, according to the elementary principals of the world, rather than according to CHRIST. For In HIM All The Fulness Of Deity Dwells in bodily form, and In HIM you have been Made Complete, and HE Is The Head Over All Rule And Authority; and In HIM you were Circumcised with A Circumcision Made without hands, in The Removal of the body of the flesh By The Circumcision Of CHRIST; having been Buried With HIM In Baptism, In Which you were also Raised Up With HIM through faith In The Working Of GOD, WHO Raised HIM from the dead." Colossians 2:6-12.
The members of The Body are One In CHRIST In Truth, being dependant upon one another equally, through faith The GOD Given Gifts By The Power Of The SPIRIT for the proper working and building up of The Body to a mature man ( 1 Corinthians 12:12-30, Ephesians 4:1-24 ) .
In CHRIST JESUS, to lead; to be a leader, is never to be taken as meaning that a man himself is The Leader. In CHRIST JESUS to be a leader means to lead by the example, and The Example To all in all matters Pertaining to GOD is The LORD JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF.
The correct understanding of Hebrews 13:17 is speaking to all, 'obey those who lead by The Example...', or, 'Yield to those who lead by The Example...', or, 'Be persuaded by those who lead by The Example...', or, 'Be convinced by those who lead by The Example...'. Each of these four examples being of the same meaning. The obedience suggested is not by submission to the authority of men, but resulting from persuasion which has been by The Example, WHO Is JESUS CHRIST; The Official Authority.
Obedience is of the conduct, faith is of the heart, and only The faith that is in CHRIST JESUS and obedience to It Saves To Eternal Life.
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for The LORD rather than for men; knowing that From The LORD you will Receive The Reward Of The Inheritance. It is The LORD CHRIST WHOM you serve. For he who does wrong will Receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality." Colossians 3:23-25.
"If anyone serves ME, let him follow ME; and where I Am, there shall MY servant also be; if anyone serves ME, The FATHER Will Honour him." John 12:26.
To understand Hebrews 13:17 as meaning other than what it means contradicts what is written elsewhere in The Holy Scriptures ( and we know that GOD'S Infallible Word holds no contradiction ), and even, in verses 7 & 8 of Hebrews chapter 13, if one was to understand verse 17 as meaning we simply 'obey those that have rule over us', then they misunderstand because,
"Remember those who led you, who spoke The Word Of GOD to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. JESUS CHRIST Is The Same Yesterday And Today, And Forever." Hebrews 13:7-8.
These two verses say, verse 7, 'Be mindful; recollect, bring to mind those who lead with The Official Authority, who have spoken, preached with you The Word Of GOD; and beholding, observing attentively their behaviour, mimic their reliance upon CHRIST.' Verse 8, 'JEHOSUA MESSIAH Does Not And Cannot Change.'
"If therefore there is any encouragement in CHRIST, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship Of The SPIRIT, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in Spirit, intent on one purpose ( 'If' there are these qualities, then show it by your living thus; 2 Peter 1:1-11 ) . Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each one of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in CHRIST JESUS, WHO, Although HE Existed In The Form Of GOD, did not regard Equality With GOD A Thing to be grasped, but emptied HIMSELF, taking the form of a bond-servant, being Made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as A Man, HE Humbled HIMSELF By Becoming Obedient To the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore also GOD Highly Exalted HIM, And Bestowed On HIM The Name Which Is Above every name, that at The Name Of JESUS every knee should bow, of those who are in Heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that JESUS CHRIST Is LORD, TO The Glory Of The FATHER.
So then, my Beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your Salvation with fear and trembing; for It Is GOD WHO Is At Work in you, Both To Will And To Work For HIS Good Pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing; that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children Of GOD above reproach in the midst of crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as Lights in the world, holding fast The Word Of Life, so that in The Day Of CHRIST i may have cause to Glory because i did not run in vain nor toil in vain." Phillipians 2:1-16.
After observing what is written in the preceeding verses of whom it is that we consider the conduct of; those who are leading by word and deed, and if they are true of The Way, Hebrews 13:17 Says,
'Be convinced by those who lead by The Example ( JESUS CHRIST ), moreover surrender yourself to those who represent the likeness of The Official Authority ( JESUS CHRIST ), these are watching over your souls, for in That Manner ( JESUS CHRIST ) they must give; perform communication. That they may abide thus with cheerfulness, and not with grief for this would be gainless for yourselves.'
"Be imitators of me, just as i also am of CHRIST." 1 Corinthians 11:1
"For whom HE Foreknew, HE also Predestined Conformed To The Image Of HIS SON, that HE might be The First-Born among many Brethren;" Romans 8:29
'...And Calling them To HIMSELF, JESUS Said To them, "You know that those who are recognised as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. "But it is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall become your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. "For even The SON Of Man did not come to be served, but To Serve, And Give HIS Life A Ransom For many." Mark 10:42-45.
"Therefore i exhort the elders among you, as fellow elder and witness of The Sufferings Of CHRIST, and a partaker ( associate ) also of The Glory That Is To Be Revealed, shepherd the flock Of GOD among you, exercising oversight ( looking diligently ) not under compulsion ( repression, restrictive condition ), but voluntarily, According To GOD; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it ( controlling ) over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples ( a die, model of imitation ) to the flock. And when The CHIEF SHEPHERD Appears, you will Receive The Unfading Crown Of Glory..." 1 Peter 5:1-4.
"But thanks be to GOD, WHO Always Leads us In HIS Triumph In CHRIST, and Manifests through us The Sweet Aroma Of The Knowledge Of HIM in every place. For we are a Fragrance Of CHRIST to GOD among those who are being Saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an Aroma from death to death, to the other an Aroma from life to Life. And who is adequate for these things? For we are not like many, peddling ( corrupting ) The Word Of GOD, but as from sincerity, but as From GOD, we speak In CHRIST In The Sight Of GOD.
Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you? You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being Manifested that you are a Letter Of CHRIST, cared for by us, written not with ink, but With The SPIRIT Of The Living GOD, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts. And such confidence we have through CHRIST toward GOD. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as from ourselves, but our adequacy Is From GOD, WHO also Made us adequate servants of A New Covenant, not of The Letter, but Of The SPIRIT; for The Letter kills, but The SPIRIT Gives Life." 2 Corinthians 2:14 - 3:6.
"Test yourselves if you are in The faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that JESUS CHRIST Is in you - unless indeed you fail the test?" 2 Corinthians 13:5.
..."But do not be called Rabbi; for ONE Is your TEACHER, and you are all Brothers. "And do not call anyone on earth your father; for ONE Is your FATHER, HE WHO Is In Heaven. "And do not be called leaders; for ONE Is your LEADER, CHRIST. "But the greatest among you shall be your servant. "And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted..." Matthew 23:8-12.