Sunday, July 22, 2007

Does Ephesians 5-6 Outline Male Headship?

Actually, it doesn't. When a word is used in metaphor or analogy it is used outside of its usual meaning. There is never a standard metaphorical usage in that there is only one metaphorical usage. Sometimes a metaphor is repeated often, but that does not constrain it as the only possible metaphorical use. The meaning of a metaphor MUST be determined in the context. In Ephe. 5:21-33 we have a metaphorical use of “head of” and “body of” inferring an element of husband wife relationship. Chapter six speaks of parenting (although Paul points to a failure of fathers) which we know holds an element of authority. Also chapt. Six speaks of the relationship between master and slave. Both children and slaves are under authority; a child to both parents, and slaves primarily to the husband, but in daily life the wife. The husband and wife relationship stands distinct from the other two by the metaphor of “head of” and “body of”. All three speak to the elements in a type of household of that era. Not all households had slaves, but when they did the responsibility of running the masters slaves fell to the wife who was to oikodespoteo them. 1 Tim. 5:14

Oiko - home
Despoteo – rule, manage (our word despot was transliterated from this word)

So what is the difference in the husband wife section of 21-33? Husband and wife are to become as one flesh. It is not one over or against the other. Many who have acknowledged the metaphor have still only paid heed to the “head of” tweeking it to mean “head over”. But the metaphor is not about the husband as "head" or “head over” and “body under”. There was a metaphor used occasionally in the OT of “head and tail”. That metaphor usually held the meaning of leader and follower; the head lead and the tail trailed obediently behind. That is not the metaphor here. Note that the husband is not told to be a “head” and the wife is not told to be a “body”.

So what does “head of and body of” have a meaning of in this place? It is defined in the context. The two elements leading up to the discussion of husband and wife are sacrificial love (vs. 2) and mutual honoring submission (specifically vs. 21 but encompassing 18-21). First the wife is mentioned that she is to extend the self instigated (verb form of upotassoMENOI) mutually honoring submission of verse 21 to her husband. The idea is that such respect (see vs. 33) does not stop at the door to the marriage. The wife is further admonished to mirror the trusting submission that all believers have toward our Lord (who first loved us and gave His life for us see vs. 2 again). Then the husband is told to sacrificially love their wife like Christ (vs. 2 again). Paul describes what Christ did in hopes of having a bride, sacrificing Himself and nourishing, caring for His potential bride. Then Paul says that a husband is to love (agape not eros) his wife and care for, nourish her as if she were his own body.

Thus the picture is that the wife is to honor, trustingly yield and receive from the husband as if he were “head of” her and the husband is to sacrificially love, nourish, and care for his wife as if she were “body of” him. The “head of” and “body of” metaphor is to tie them together to picture life’s union of “one flesh”. Husband and wife are to become as one flesh. Without the head the body dies, without the body the head dies. They are intimately dependent upon one another.

Had we been speaking of “head and tail”, that would not be the case, since any animal can get along without a tail. But Paul is painting a picture to teach us how to maintain real godly life in a marriage.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

LET the woman LEARN!

It has been a traditional belief that women are NOT permitted to teach men because to do so would usurp a man's authority,

1 Tim. 2:8 I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; 9 in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. 11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to usurp authority over a man, but to be in quietness.

1. men should pray lifting up their hands without wrath and doubting
2. women should adorn themselves modestly
3. LET a woman LEARN! ( notice the shift from plural to singular- Paul may be referring to a particular woman) (this is the beginning of the sentence and the primary command to which the rest must link)
4. In quietness and submission (this is a phrase used of students and reflects the proper attitude of a student)
5. I do not permit (this is different from quoting or making a command from God – it is Paul who is advising Timothy how to handle a situation and Paul is taking the responsibility for it by saying it is he who does not permit, rather than advising Timothy to not permit it.)
6. a woman to teach (who is Paul speaking about – he did not say, women are not to teach men)
7. OR to usurp authority over a man (this is an implication that some woman was authentein a man and Paul is saying he does not want it to continue)
8. But to be in quietness (a reference back to letting a woman learn in quietness which is the proper attitude of a student)

What is NOT said is that to teach a man usurps his authority. Rather Paul is admonishing that woman to LEARN, and not to teach OR usurp a man’s authority. The OR separates the two thoughts so that to authentein a man is not the same as teaching a man. The OR also does not say that to teach automatically results in to authentein. The woman is to neither teach nor authentein A man (possibly the teacher that she is to LEARN from in quietness and submission).

Hesuchia means quietness, peaceable. It is the same word used in verse 2, “lead a quiet and peaceable life”.

Acts 22:2 (English Standard Version)
2And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language, they became even more quiet. And he said:

2 Thessalonians 3:12 (English Standard Version)
12Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.

2 Thessalonians illustrates the attitude of hesuchia. Thus Paul wants everyone to lead quiet peaceable lives, the men to lift their hands in prayer instead of wrath, the women in like manner to adorn them selves modestly (perhaps thinking of a gentle spirit) and THE un-named woman to LEARN in like manner – in a quiet and peaceable attitude.

A Conversation ~ About Being Born First and Authority

I am posting a conversation with a person who claims that he does not believe anyone can solidly prove that Junia was a woman. His mode of proving that she cannot be a woman is 1 Timothy 2:11-12. I've changed the quotes so as to make them generic.

Paul's statement and reasoning about not allowing a woman to teach a man OR TO USURP HIS AUTHORITY proves that Junia could not be a woman apostle. The reason? BECAUSE ADAM WAS FORMED FIRST...

OK let’s look at this reasoning. IF taking this piece of a sentence,” I do not permit a woman to teach or to usurp authority over a man”, means what you think it means; and the reason you cite is what follows, then you have a problem. You have a few problems. Not only must vs. 13, be part of the reason, but verses 14 and 15 also are specifically linked and therefore must fit in with this idea.

1. you say that being born/created first gave the man authority over who came second, namely the woman. Yet, there is no Scriptural evidence to support a law or rule of the first born always legally being given “rulership”.
2. The woman being deceived and the man deliberately sinning would make an interesting rule for leadership. All who deliberately sin are better equipped for leadership and anyone who has ever been deceived is automatically disqualified. Ever seen a Biblical rule like that? I haven’t.
3. And how does verse 15 fit in with being a reason for women to be forbidden to teach men? Most theologians struggle with the significance of this verse in what it says and why it is being said.

Basically, this interpretation does not work, does not fit with the rest of what Paul is saying and does not fit anywhere else in Scripture. This interpretation is a result of helicopter theology, swooping down pulling out a piece of a sentence and reforming it into a predetermined bias.

AND we are still left with the problem of a silent rule that has never been put into effect for 4000 years. You want to say that God laid down a principle that would affect all men and women in their relationships, but God didn’t tell us about it at all. He let His people go on and live otherwise for 4000 years. I repeat – 4000 years. And still Christ didn’t even mention it in His ministry. In fact God never did tell us that He forbade women to teach or lead. You say that one sentence in a private letter to Timothy, where Paul was advising Timothy about a problem that Timothy was privy to, that God inspired Paul to IMPLY a principle that was supposed to have been instigated at creation, that no one ever knew anything about until just then. And you want to say that such implication upon implication implies that it would be sin for a woman to teach right doctrine to males or lead people in Godly ministry.

That is both preposterous and incredibly illogical.

Being born first does not grant one person authority over another person.

It is CLEAR from Scripture (and Paul testifies to this that ADAM WAS CREATED FIRST), that man ruled or reigned over creation.

The man did not rule over creation alone. Dominion over the creation was given to two, which in effect translated to the entire human race. It is humanity that has been given the dominion of the earth, not male humans.

Gen. 126 Then God said, “Let Us make man (humanity) in Our image, according to Our likeness; let THEM have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man (humanity) in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed THEM, and God said to THEM, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

As you can see God gave rule/dominion of the creation to THEM, THE MALE AND THE FEMALE HUMAN.

Thus far you have not been able to Scripturally prove that the man was entitled to dominion over the woman in the creation, neither from being created first nor by being given sole rulership of the creation.

Because you cannot establish this in Scripture, then we must conclude that you are incorrectly inserting assumptions into the 1 Tim. verses that pull this section away from Paul’s intentions. IOW you are incorrectly interpreting this section of Scripture.

Bottom line is that if you wish to prove that Junia cannot be a woman by this approach, you have failed.

Also, you need to prove that Miriam was not a leader in Israel of any kind, that God did not send her or choose her to stand before His people. You must prove that Deborah was not called of God, that she did not judge Israel for 40 years by God’s directions. You must prove that Huldah was not a prophet of God and did not lead the nation back to God by her instructions on the meanings of the discovered scrolls. You must prove that Priscilla did not actually teach Apollo. You must prove that Phoebe was not really a minister of the church of Cenchre, was not given authority, and certainly would not be entrusted with the epistle to the Romans since that responsibility carried a certain authority with it. And then you must actually prove that Junia was not a woman, rather than trying to say she just couldn’t be.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Submit or Obey ~ part 2

Ephesians 5:15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.

22 Wives, (submit) to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body,[d] of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband."

The main issue of upotassomenoi is voice. If I tell someone to submit, I am commanding they come under me (coming under, or yielding is the main meaning) , my authority, my desires, my wishes (the tone and part of the meaning of upotasso is respect, see verse 33). But the ending menoi or mai that is added to upotasso in the instances we are discussing (Ephe. 5:21) bring a whole new picture. Instead of men commanding women to come under their authority, or even one man commanding women to come under male authority, we have something else that changes the tone and the picture. We have Paul first telling all brethren, male and female of all ages, to yield themselves to one another. Specifically, the tone is that each person is to command themselves (that takes away the issue of others taking authority over) to take a respectful attitude toward each other. It becomes self telling self to mold oneself under instead of exalting oneself over. Then we have Paul turning to the wives and saying, 'and you too' toward your husband, as if to say, this attitude includes the arena of marriage.

So because Paul is saying to control self, there is no issue of anyone taking authority over anyone else.

There is also no mantle of leadership given to husbands as some like to read into this section. When Paul tells wives to respect their husbands in the same manner as they do the Lord, he also turns around and tells husbands to respect their wives as their own body, without which they would have no life. The body does not live without the head, and the head does not live without the body. The picture Paul is trying to paint is one of a unity of respect and honor, not only of the whole body, but of all our intimate relationships: marriage, children, slaves.

If one reads the entire chapter we can see that first Paul tells all to love one another sacrificially (including spouses to one another) in verses 1-2. (walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.) Then he bookends this in verse 21 by telling all to respect one another and yield, honor, make room for the other by telling them to submit one to another (including spouses). I use the term "book end" because those exact two issues Paul addresses to both parties in the three groups from various angles. Thus he has laid out the picture of loving and respecting, with the verses 1-2 and 21, and inbetween those verses he goes into some detail into how that is accomplished: staying in the light and the fruit of the Spirit, redeeming the days with wisdom, being filled with the Spirit, praising God, always giving thanks, etc. It is that entire picture that we are to carry over into each of those relationships and which EACH PARTY is to live toward the other.

This leaves no room for one having the attitude of taking authority over but rather changes the attitudes (especially of those culturally given authority) to one of how can I benefit my spouse, my parent, my child, my master, my slave. And how can I do this giving honor to Christ.

Is it Submit or is it Obey

22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

The word submit put in here in this translation, does not exist in the original. It actually reads,

“Wives, unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.”

The verb for verse 22 is borrowed from the preceeding verse 21, “submitting to one another” (not obeying one another), thus forcing the careful reader to carry over the tone and the context as well. So Paul in effect is saying that we are all to submit to one another and that includes wives to husbands. So what is the context? Can we “obey” one another? No, we cannot, because then no one gets to give the orders. The verb upotassomai is used in a form that calls the submitter to order himself into a proper attutude of respect, honor and support of the “one anothers” that he is to be submissive towards. It is this attitude that is to be carried over into the marriage relationship and actually ALL relationships though that will be worked out differently depending on the relationship.

While uptoasso CAN mean to order someone to subordinate themselves to them IF the CONTEXT is that "I am telling you to submit to me", but that is not its only meaning. All words have a range of meanings determined by context.

The word upotasso has different tenses in Greek. Upotasso is indeed often used as one commanding another and expecting them to comply to them.. However, that is not the tense or the manner that Paul used it. Every word has a range of meanings determined according to context and word tense and form.

The word used to mean “obey” throughout the N.T. is (h)upakouo. It is also used to mean “listen, heed” (Vines Expository Dict.). It’s a fairly precise word for the meanings: listen, heed, obey, obedience, obedient. The verb is derived from akouo and was very commonly and frequently used in secular Greek. And generally this obedience includes submission to authorities and leaders.

As a side note some might find it interesting, that in the Greek translation of the O.T. this was the word used when Abraham listened to Sarah and did what she asked of him. He listened and obeyed. ☺

The conclusion one cannot help but reach is that if Paul had meant obey or obedience in the places he used (h)upotasso or more specifically (h)upotassoMAI, then Paul would have used hupakouo instead. Fact is he did not.

The Greek words (h)upotasso and (h)upotassoMAI(menoi) are more complicated.

The base word upotasso means to arrange oneself under, more similar to our word subject, perhaps. It is usually used of one commanding another to “submit”, yield, come under them in some manner. However, in the N.T. Paul uses it almost extensively in the form of upotassoMAI(menoi) and in the sense of a humble attitude, support, and arranging in unity, comformity. Ephesians 5:21 and 1 Pe. 5:5 show it best.

Ephe. 5: 21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

I Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

Inserting the error of upotassomai meaning obey would make these two verses read that in Ephesians we are all to obey one another, and in Peter we are to first obey our elders and then obey everyone. Just doesn’t work does it. That is because upotassomai does not mean obey. Pure and simple.

The way Paul uses the word almost extensively throughout the N.T. is in that middle voice form. The middle voice is something we don’t have in English and thus have difficulty grasping. But it is when one orders oneself at ones own discretion. This way he is requesting that we all voluntarily, willingly, actively arrange ourselves to yield, support, and fit in to ONE ANOTHER at our own instigation. When Paul uses the verb in verse 21 and then omits the verb in verse 22 to the wives, he is effectively carrying over this attitude and saying of a sort , “wives you too”.

In addition, those who think it means submit to authority of another, there are much better and more precise words available that say exactly that, which Paul did NOT use. That would have been a form of archo (ruler) or despotes (master).

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Is Personal Autonomy Sinful?

1. independence or freedom, as of the will or one's actions: the autonomy of the individual.
2. the condition of being autonomous; self-government, or the right of self-government; independence: The rebels demanded autonomy from Spain.
3. a self-governing community.

Mirriam Webster
1 : the quality or state of being independent, free, and self-directing
2 : independence from the organism as a whole in the capacity of a part for growth, reactivity, or responsiveness

n 1: immunity from arbitrary exercise of authority: political independence [syn: liberty] 2: personal independence [syn: self-direction, self-reliance, self-sufficiency]

So thinking about autonomy, no one is completely autonomous. We are not autonomous from the local governments. We are not autonomous from God's Will. We will suffer the consequences when we do not line ourselves up with God's Will. We are not fully autonomous from the needs and desires of our families.

However, everyone experiences a large degree of personal autonomy. We get up and go to bed when we want, have the job we have decided upon, wear the clothes we choose, eat the food we want, live in the house we want, all from the choices available. That is a lot of personal autonomy. Personal autonomy is not bad provided we use this freedom wisely. Those who do not use their freedoms wisely may end up in jail, ostracized from friends and church, etc.

It is personal autonomy used wisely that brings us opportunities to witness about God to nonbelievers, to do good to others, to spend time in the presence of God and therefore be blessed by His presence, and so on.

Children grow up from little personal autonomy to greater degrees of personal autonomy as they mature into the capacity to make wise decisions, at least that is the idea in raising one's children. Unfortunately, many parents give their children too much personal autonomy before they are wise or mature enough to handle it. And of course, schools often encourage more freedom among children then they are really ready for.

And so on......

Those who want to say that autonomy is sinful are drawing from a disagreement on the meaning of 1 Cor. 11 where Paul is saying the woman is to have authority on her own head. The traditional interpretation is that the woman is to have "a symbol of" authority on her head. The problem is that those words are added in by misguided translators. The new tactic by traditionalists is to make accusations that any woman wanting to be responsible for her own life and decisions is wanting more control than women should have, and she is being rebellious.

But it is God's desire that every Christian believer grow and mature into the fullness of the Man Christ Jesus. This maturity is not only for men but for women also. God wants a healthy body of believers. We need to grow in wisdom because some day we will all be judging the angels.

1 Cor. 6:3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?

Jason David BeDuhn
"'Because of the Angels': Unveiling Paul's Anthropology in 1 Corinthians 11."
Journal of Biblical Literature

Once again, Paul's basic point is clear: women must have, that is,
_exercise_ authority over their heads. _exousia_ can only mean that
the women themselves possess this power of authority. The long-
forwarded notion that it means that women's heads are under _someone
else's_ authority is linguistically unsubstantiated. _exousia_ is
otherwise unattested in Greek literature with the meaning "a sign of
someone else's authority." Paul _always_ employs the term to mean
authority held by the subject: the individual's right and freedom to
act, the individual's control over objects, persons, or situations,
and by extension as a title of individuals who exercise such
authority. In fact, Paul is concerned throughout 1 Corinthians with
the issue of "authority" precisely in the sense of rights or freedoms
claimed by his readers which he seeks to have them voluntarily
subordinate to broader community values. I must emphasize the
absolutely clear linguistic force of this term, no matter what
difficulty it gives us in understanding Paul at this point, because
_most_ interpretations of 1 Corinthians 11 are based on the reversal
of that linguistic force and cannot be substantiated without such a

"This sense for _exousia_ in 1 Cor 11:10 as one's own right and
authority, not subjection to someone else's, is supported by Paul's
use of _opheilo_ in the same verse, "for in Paul this does not imply
external compulsion but obligation." Paul_always_ employs _opheilo_
with the sense of performing one's duty and acting upon one's own
responsibility and commitment, and the substantives based onthe verb
likewise all carry the meaning of a responsibility, obligation, or
moral debt of the individual. The language Paul chooses in v. 10,
therefore, only could have been understood by his readers and hearers
as referring to the responsibility women hold in the situation under

Kephale Meanings

Lets look at 1 Cor. 11 and it’s usage of kephale. The questions arise as to what in this application is kephale meaning metaphorically. “kephale” properly translated as “head”, metaphorically has meanings ranging from pre-eminant, origin, source, “in front”, and less rarely a type of dignity.

Gordon Fee says in his book on First Corinthians (pg. 502 & 503)
“Indeed, the metaphorical use of kephale to mean “chief” or “person of the highest rank” is rare in Greek literature------so much so that even though the Hebrew word “ros” often carried this sense, the Greek translators of the LXX, who ordinarily used kephale to translate ros when the physical head was intended, almost never did so when “ruler” was intended, thus indicating that this metaphorical sense is an exceptional usage and not part of the ordinary range of meaning for the Greek word. “

OK, so the listings in 1 Cor. 11:3 are not in the order of a hierarchy of authority, kephale is not normally used to mean a ranking anyway, so what in that listing CAN you see, that flows without changing the order and that flows with the normal range of meanings of kephale. Look again.

In humanities creation the first event spoken of was the creation of the human, and it is Christ through whom all things were created. The second event is that the woman was drawn forth from the first human. (this is further discussed in verses 8-12 giving credence to this observation), and the last event in the creation of humanity is that God brought forth the God-Man, the “last adham”, the Messiah – Christ.

Not only does that sense fit without changing anything, but it is confirmed in six of the verses following verse 3. (keep in mind that verses don’t really matter since the Greek was not written in verses or even sentences, but in groups of thoughts.... IOW no grammatical divisions). And nothing following verse three shows any relationship to a hierarchical concept. (Verse 10 does not have the words “a symbol of” in the orginal Greek).

So, then the next question is, is what was Paul bringing to our attention with these comparisons. And that is another post. In brief, I belief he was pointing us all to give honor and respect, in particular wives to not fail in this when in public services.... Preaching/prophesying and praying/worshipping.


Author: Gilbert Bilezikian
Title of Book:Beyond Sex Roles, pgs. 277-78

In order to understand the meaning of "head" as used by the apostle Paul, it is helpful to determine its meaning within the language spoken by Paul. The authors of works such as A Greek-English Lexicon by Henry G. Liddell and Robert Scott (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1968), or Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, edited by Gerhard Kittel (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1965, 10 volumes) have thoroughly investigated biblical and contemporary extra-biblical writings and reported that the word kephale was used in the secular and religious Greek contemporary to Paul, with the meaning of source, origin, sustainer, and not of ruler. The second century B.C. translation of the Hebrew text of the Old Testament into Greek provides a case in point. The Hebrew word for head (ros), commonly used for leader, ruler, or supreme is translated in the Septuagint by a Greek word other than "head" (kephale) over 150 times. It was much later that the word kephale began to be used as "authority" under the pressure of Latin usage, as evidenced in the writings of some post apostolic church fathers. For Paul and his correspondents the use of the word kephale as a synonym for ruler or authority would have been as meaningless as attempting to do the same today with tete in French, or Kopf in German.


Author: David Scholer
Title of Book:Women, Abuse, and the Bible, pgs. 42-43

What is the result of this two-decades-long debate within evangelical circles over the meaning of kephale, and how does it relate to the interpretation of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 and Ephesians 5:21-33? It is not likely that any further progress can be made now in the analysis of the Greek word kephale; the evidence is in and has been sifted from various perspectives. It seems clear to me that the evidence shows the metaphorical meaning of kephale can be varied, including "authority over", "preeminence", and "source." It is, however, especially important to note that the Septuagint evidence rather clearly indicates that the Greek kephale was not normally used to translate the Hebrew rosh when the Hebrew term meant a ruler, leader, or someone in authority. This considerably weakens the argument that kephale in Hellenistic Greek means "authority over" or "ruler." In my judgement, Bilezikian and Crain have made this case especially well. Rather, it seems clearly established that kephale can mean "source", as many (such as Kroeger, Fee and others) have shown. Perhaps Fee has given the most succinct statement of the basic evidence.
However, and this is a very important point that so much of the kephale debate seems to ignore or to put aside, the determinative evidence for the meaning of kephale is its use and function in particular contexts. Thus, proving a range of meanings for kephale is important, especially against the undue limits argued by Grudem, but the critical issue is how kephale functions in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 and Ephesians 5:21-33.
Although 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 (especially in the allusions to Genesis 2 in verses 7-9) does reflect to some degree the traditional Jewish understanding of androcentrism, the passage as a whole provides considerable support both for an understanding of kephale as "source" and also for a genuine equality and mutuality between men and women in the church. The christological issue in the words "and God is the head of Christ" (11:3 NRSV) is better served in Pauline theology by the understanding "source" rather than by "authority over". Further, even the Genesis argument (11:7-9) fits very well with understanding kephale as "source."

Ezer Kenegdo

Let’s look at the Hebrew word “ezer” which some have been translating as a diminuitive help-er.

(Hebrew = azar)
azar = prime root: to surround, ie, protect or aid: help, succour
Gesenius adds that the primary idea lies in girding, surrounding, hence defending
(Hebrew = kenegdo) corresponding to, counterpart to, equal to, matching

The traditional teaching for the woman as help (meet) is that of assistant or helper subservient to the one being helped. This definition would appear to line up with Strong's definition of the word. However, if you look at the context of every other use of the word ezer in the scripture, you will see that ezer refers to either God or military allies. In all other cases the one giving the help is superior to the one receiving the help. Adding kenegdo (meet) modifies the meaning to that of equal rather than superior status. God says just what He means.
(Fr. God's Word to Women —

Exodus 18:4
And the other was named Eliezer, for he said, "The God of my father was my help (ezer), and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh."

God as our ezer is not following our lead by helping us. He is being our strong ally. When God reformed the woman from the very tissue of the man, she was to become the strong help that he needed as one who is like him yet different. Help in what? Help in his aloneness.

Gen. 2:18 And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”


The literal meaning of the Hebrew word “kephele” is the head on ones shoulders. Metaphorically, it can be used in a variety of ways (to be determined contextually) or it can mean literally the head on one’s shoulders.

Gordon Fee pg. 149, “Discovering Biblical Equality”.
Kephale in 1 Cor. 11:3, Paul metaphorical use of “head” in verse 3 ………………
1. This is both its first occurrence in Paul’s writings and its only appearance in a context where “the body” is not mentioned or assumed. Later when Paul speaks of Christ as “head” in relationship to the church (Eph. 4:15-16; Col 2:19) it is a metaphor not for “lordship” but for the supporting, life-giving role that in ancient Greek thought the (literal) heas was understood to have in relationship to the physical body.
2. ……….at issue, finally, in this whole passage is the nature of the relationship perceived between God and Christ.
3. What we know from the evidence is that when the Jewish community used this metaphor, as they did frequently in the OT, it most often referred to a leader or a clan chieftain. On the other hand, although something close to this sense can be found among Greeks, they had a broader range of uses, all of which can be shown to arise out of their anatomical understanding of the relationship of the head to the body (its most prominent or important part; the “source” of the body’s working systems, etc).
4. The earliest extant consistent interpretation of the metaphor in this passage is to be found in a younger contemporary of Chrysostom, Cyril of Alexandria (d.444?), who explicitly interprets in terms of the Greek metaphor: “Thus we can say that ‘the head of every man is Christ’, for he made by (dia) him…as God:’but the head of the woman is the man’, because she was taken out of his flesh…Likewise ‘the head of Christ is God, because he is of him 9ex autou) by nature” (Ad Arcadiam et Marinam 5.6). That is , as with Chrysostom’s understanding of the two pairs (God-Christ, Christ-man), Cyril is ready to go this way with all three pairs because of what is said in ver 8: that the woman was created from the man. Not only was the idea that the head is the source of supply and support for all the body’s systems a natural metaphor in the Greek world, but in this case it also supported Cyril’s Christological concern (not to have Christ “under” God in a hierarchy), just as it did for Chrysostom.

To put an interpretation of “authority over” for the man toward the woman in 1 Cor. 11, is to do the same with God and Christ, which was a heretical understanding which Athanasia fought hard against.

Does Naming Give One "Authority Over"?

The naming idea is a huge stretch. God named them both adham (Gen. 5:1-2) God named their gender, male and female. When God presented her to the man it is more likely that God said this is from-adham. And the man did not actually give her something we can consider a real name until after they were expelled from the Garden.

a. Ish and ishah are nouns, not names. Adham was simply recognizing in poetic form that the woman was from himself, a fact God had to reveal to him first.
b. When an official act of naming occurs, there is a distinctive formula. It is employed in Gen. 5:2 where it is shown that God named the two of them Adham. It is found in 2:19-20 where the man names the animals. It appears in 3:20 where the man renames the woman Eve.
c. God never instructed the man to name Eve.
d. Since God already named them both, no naming was necessary. We could think of them as the Adams, or Mr. and Mrs. Adam. That was their name, given to them by God, their creator.
e. The fact that the man renamed her Eve after they were expelled from the Garden, confirms that the man did not consider ishah a formal name, which it wasn’t.

Does the fact that the man named the animals, the means to which he was granted or given dominion over the animals? It cannot. God assigned stewardship dominion of all the creatures of earth to BOTH the man and woman before He even created them. Thus, naming anything is not a means to obtain rulership of any sort.

Why 12 Male Apostles?

Many think that one of the biggest arguments AGAINST women apostles was the fact that Jesus never picked one.
In order to read symbology anywhere in Scripture one needs to have some reference points IN Scripture, not just in ones imagination. There is no indication that the reason God choose only males for the original 12 was because He preferred men over women. God also choose men from a particular region, all Jews, all single (except Peter) . Likely there were other similarities too. So do we conclude that God prefers Jews over all other nations and people? No, they were the people that God created through the seed of Abraham in order to lay the foundations of truth for the rest of the world. Do we say that God prefers the unmarried? No. Do we say that only people from that region could be called to serve God as apostles. No. Scripture does not verify those ideas any more than it verifies the idea that God chose 12 men because God prefers using men instead of women.

But Scripture does give an indication of what the true symbology should be in what He did choosing 12 Hebrew men for His first apostles. They represented the 12 tribes of Israel. Tribes were always represented by the patriarchs they sprang from. Thus the 12, though not the original patriarchs for the tribes, represented them spiritually in the New Covenant.

Revelation 21:14
Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Revelation 21:12
Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:

Equal in Being, Unequal in Role....

Rebecco Groothuis in Chapter 18, “Equal in Being, Unequal in Role”, pg.303+ from Discovering Biblical Equality.

“although evangelical patriarchy is similar to traditional patriarchy in key respects it also trades heavily on the distinctive and historically novel claim that women are ‘equal in being but unequal in role’. In other words, women are the equals of men spiritually and in their ‘being’, but when it comes to living out the meaning and purpose of manhood and womanhood, women must submit to male rule. This distinction between being and function ——or ontology and role —— is fundamental to the doctrine of male leadership today. ------------
The ‘role’ relationship of woman’s subordination to man’s authority is typically presented as a matter of ‘complementarity’, mutual interdependence’ and ‘beneficial differences’ between the sexes, without any implication of woman’s inferiority. The carefully chosen terminology serves to make this position appear plausible and persuasive to modern ears…………..
But what if it is not logically possible for the same person to be at once spiritually and ontologically equal and permanently, comprehensively and necessarily subordinate? What if this sort of subordination cannot truthfully be described as merely a ‘role’ or ‘function’ that has no bearing on one’s inherent being or essence.
The purpose of these consideration will be to show that evangelical patriarchy neither respects women’s equality nor limits women’s subordination to a merely functional role. Instead, the nature of women's inequality in “function” implies by logical necessity women’s inequality in being”

The entire chapter can be found here:

What many in the hierarchical camp of thinking do not realize is that when you put limits on a person's entire life that are considered permanent, by reason of unchangeable conditions such as gender or race, you are speaking of their essence and speaking in prejudicial terms, a preference for something other. Thus when we say that African Americans should not be ____(enter any denial of freedoms), BECAUSE they are African Americans, then we are prejudically determining them to be inferior by reason of their race.

Anyone who is functionally limited without exception because of their essence (race, gender, etc. which cannot be outgrown or changed) is not equal at all.