A Second Look: Hebrews 13:17

Reading in Hebrews today, a scripture appeared as I read from chapter 13:17;

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. 

It seems as though I remember this verse being taught over and over again that is meant to obey our societal authorities, but what authorities?

Would we be mandated to submit to authorities who were corrupt and harming innocent persons?  Would authorities mean anyone who is an authority but who is not a believer?

But then as I read over this verse, I realized that this verse does not talk about authorities in our country, for example.  It is speaking about our pastors and others who are “keeping watch over our souls”. 

Authorities in the world are not necessarily Christians and so are not “keeping watch over our souls”.  It is the Christian’s who teach us who either watch over their flock and teach them the right road to walk down who have the ability to “watch over our souls”.

False teachers are not “keeping watch over our souls”, either.  They take us down the wrong road with their teachings that go against the true teachings of the Bible.  They also will not be enabled to “give an account”, presumably to Jesus over how well they watched over us and gave us the right teachings.

False teachers will lead us astray and we don’t follow them, or we will be walking away from the teachings of the Lord.