Biblical Foundation of Servant Leadership: An Inner-Textural Analysis of Mark 10:41-45

  • Jada Pasquale Yengkopiong, PhD Catholic Education Western Australia
Keywords: Servant Leadership, Relational, Ethical, Toxic Leadership, Egocentric, Abusive
Share Article:


Servant leadership is a holistic style of leadership where the leader engages with followers in a relational, ethical, emotional, and spiritual manner. The leader empowers the followers and allows them to grow into what they can become. The leader develops the followers because of his or her altruistic and ethical orientation. The aim of the study was to understand the biblical foundation of servant leadership by analyzing Mark 10:41-45. Through the study of the text, it is reported that Jesus urged his disciples to be servants and to provide for the needs and well-being of their followers. The Gospel of Mark was set in a time when the Jews were under tremendous political and social upheaval. Like any people in the same predicaments, they began to yearn for a strong, political leader to save them from the tyranny of the Roman Empire, and the scripture had foretold of his coming. Instead, Jesus, a humble leader, came as a servant and a shepherd for all. The disciples did not understand the Messianic mission of Jesus. Mark used James and John to show how the struggle for earthly power is dominant in the world. In contrast, Jesus rejected the type of leadership because it is toxic. He rebuked the Pharisees and the Scribes for having seated themselves on the throne of Moses but failed to care for their people


Download data is not yet available.


Adiguzel, Z., Ozcinar, M. F., & Karadal, H. (2020). Does servant leadership moderate the link between strategic human resource management on rule breaking and job satisfaction? European Research on Management and Business Economics, 26, 103-110.

Bell, M. R. (2019). What’s not Christian Leadership? Learning from Jesus’ Condemnation of Toxic Leader Exemplars in the New Testament. Theology of Leadership Journal, 2(1), 56-72.

Ben-Hur, S., & Jonsen, K. (2012). Ethical leadership: Lessons from Moses. Journal of Management Development, 31(9), 962-973.

Cessario, R. (2013). Introduction to Moral Theology. Washington D.C., USA: The Catholic University of America Press.

Chiniara, M., & Bentein, K. (2018). The servant leadership advantage: When perceiving low differentiation in leader-member relationship quality influences team cohesion, team task performance and service OCB. The Leadership Quarterly, 9, 333-345.

Cushman, B. (2020). What Aren’t Christian Leadership Outcomes? An Expansion of Bell’s Theoretical Model of Christian Leadership. The Theology of Leadership Journal, 3(1), 34-50.

Ekeke, E. C. (2012). Persecution And Martyrdom Of Christians In The Roman Empire From Ad54 To 100: A Lesson For The 21st Century Church. European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 8(16).

Eva, N., Robin, M., Sendjaya, S., Dierendonck, D. V., & Liden, R. C. (2019). Servant Leadership: A systematic review and call for future research. The Leadership Quarterly, 30, 111-132.

Fryer, J. L. (2007). Jesus as leader in Mark’s gospel: Reflecting on the place of transformational leadership in developing leaders of leaders in the Church today. Lutheran Theological Journal, 41(3), 157-166.

Greenleaf, R. K. (2002). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press.

Gunter, N. H. (2016). For the flock: Impetus for shepherd leadership in John 10. The Journal of Applied Christian Leadership, 10(1), 1-18.

Hall, K. S. (2019). A biblical foundation of cross-cultural Christian leadership: An explication through Pauline leadership in Acts. The Theology of Leadership Journal, 2(1), 7-20.

Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2017). The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations. Hoboken, New Jersey, United States of America: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Liden, R. C., Wayne, S. J., Zhao, H., & Henderson, D. (2008). Servant leadership: Development of a multidimensional measure and multi-level assessment. The Leadership Quarterly, 19, 161–177.

Ling, Q., Lin, M., & Wu, X. (2016). The trickle-down effect of servant leadership on frontline employee service behaviours and performance: A multilevel study of Chinese hotels. Tourism Management, 52, 341-368.

Lythreatis, S., Mostafa, A. M., Pereira, V., Wang, X., & Giudice, M. D. (2021). Servant leadership, CSR perceptions, moral meaningfulness and organizational identification- evidence from the Middle East. International Business Review.

Mizzell, N., & Huizing, R. L. (2018). When servant leadership fails: The importance of aligning values. Journal of Biblical Perspectives in Leadership, 8(1), 12-24.

Montag, C., Sindermann, C., Lester, D., & Davis, K. L. (2020). Linking individual differences in satisfaction with each of Maslow’s needs to the Big Five personality traits and Panksepp’s primary emotional systems. Heliyon, 6, e04325.

Okesson, G. A. (2004). The Image of God in Leadership: A Contextual Exploration in Theology of Leadership. Africa Journal of Evangelical Theology, 23(1), 21-46.

Ortega, A. C. (2017). Academic Libraries and Toxic Leadership. United Kingdom: Chandos Publishing, Elsevier Ltd.

Russell, R. (2003). A Practical theology of servant leadership. Servant Leadership Research Roundtable (pp. 1-9). Virginia: Regent University.

Singh, N., Dev, S., & Sengupt, S. (2017). Perceived toxicity in leaders: Through the demographic lens of subordinates. Procedia Computer Science, 122, 114-121.

Stollberger, J., Heras, M. L., Rofcanin, Y., & Bosch, M. J. (2019). Serving followers and family? A trickle-down model of how servant leadership shapes employee work performance. Journal of Vocational Behaviour, 112, 158-171.

Temin, P. (2006). The Economy of the Early Roman Empire. Journal of Economic Perspective, 20(1), 133–151.

Thompson, B. (2015). Servant, Leader, or Both? A Fresh Look at Mark 10:35-45. The Journal of Applied Christian Leadership, 9(2), 54-65.

Torrell, J.-P. (2006). St. Thomas Aquinas: Theologian and Mystic. Nova et Vetera, English Edition, 4(1), 1-16.

Worley, J. T., Harenberg, S., & Vosloo, J. (2020). The relationship between peer servant leadership, social identity, and teamcohesion in intercollegiate athletics. Psychology of Sport & Exercise, 49, 1-9.

Yavas, A. (2016). Sectoral differences in the perception of toxic leaders. Procedia - Social and Behavioural Sciences, 229, 267-276.

15 May, 2023
How to Cite
Yengkopiong, J. (2023). Biblical Foundation of Servant Leadership: An Inner-Textural Analysis of Mark 10:41-45. East African Journal of Traditions, Culture and Religion, 6(1), 40-55.