Head – Kephale

What sort of headship is in view in Ephesians, Collosians, and 1 Corinthians? The options are usually framed as either authority or source. Both words are of some help, but neither is adequate. Ephesians gives several pictures of Christ’s headship before chapter 5. This is nicely discussed by Thomas R. Yoder Neufeld. In 1:10 we see God’s plan to “sum up” all things in heaven and earth in Christ. The term for “sum up” is cognate with the Greek word for head, and this passage implies bringing all things under the headship or “heading” of Christ. At the end of chapter 1 we see the risen exalted Christ as a two-fold head. He is seated above all rule and authority and power, which has been subjected to him. He is given as head over all things to his body, which helps him fill all things. Chapter 2 speaks of believers sharing in Christs reign by being seated with him. Chapter 4 shows Christ as the head who supplies what is needed for the bodies growth through each member of his body, so that the whole can grow up into the head.

If we are to draw ethical implications from this for marriage it would highlight the husbands responsibility to care for, give to, empower, and equip his wife. It also suggests that he represents the pair in their shared dominion and reigning with Christ. While Christ reigns over his church, Ephesians put equal emphasis on the church sharing in the reign of Christ over all things.

Head Links in Scripture

“Head” is used in the Septuagint to refer to the capital city in a country and the king located in that city. (Isaiah 7:8-9)

Colossians: Used of Christ

Ephesians: Used of Christ and husbands

1 Corinthians: Used of God (The Father), Christ, and Men/Husbands

Ephesians 1:20-23; Colossians 1:15-18

Ephesians 4:15-16; Colossians 2:8-19

Ephesians 5:22-30; 1 Corinthians 11:3-12

[compare headship ideas in Ephesians and women passages in other epistles]

This podcast has a great discussion of the head passages in 1 Corinthians 11 and Ephesians 4-5. Though I wish it brought in a few more things.