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late 14c., "act of governing or ruling;" 1550s, "system by which a thing is governed" (especially a state), from Old French governement (Modern French gouvernement), from governer (see govern). Replaced Middle English governance. Meaning "governing power" in a given place is from 1702.
(1 Cor. 12:28), the powers which fit a man for a place of influence in the church; "the steersman's art; the art of guiding aright the vessel of church or state."