Andreas Kostenberger, on his blog, Biblical Foundations, 06-09-06 wrote,
- While the senses “source” and “pre-eminent” have been proposed for kephalē, no passage is extant where that sense is favored by the context. In fact, every time one person is referred to as the “head” of another person in both biblical and extrabiblical literature, the person who is the “head” has authority over the other person and kephalē conveys the notion of authority.
For further study see my forthcoming commentary on the Pastoral Epistles in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary Vol. 12 (Zondervan); God, Marriage & Family; and my various other publications on Gender and Family.
- I once looked up over 2,300 examples of the word "head" (kephal¯e) in ancient Greek. In these texts the word kephal¯e is applied to many people in authority, but to none without governing authority:
- the king of Egypt is called "head" of the nation
Here is the quote about the king of Egypt,
- the whole family of the Ptolemies was exceedingly eminent and conspicuous above all other royal families, and among the Ptolemies, Philadelphus was the most illustrious; for all the rest put together scarcely did as many glorious and praiseworthy actions as this one king did by himself, being, as it were, the leader of the herd, and in a manner the head of all the kings. Moses 2:30
Now let's see how else Philo uses the word kephale.
- If, then, any one proves himself a man of such a character in the city he will appear superior to the whole city, and if a city show itself of such a character it will be the chief of all the country around; and if a nation do so it will be the lord of all the other nations, as the head is to the body occupying the pre-eminence of situation, not more for the sake of glory than for that of advancing the interests of those that see.
For continual appearances of good models stamp impressions closely resembling themselves on all souls which are not utterly obdurate and intractable; (115) and I say this with reference to those who wish to imitate models of excellent and admirable beauty, On Rewards and Punishment 114
- For virtue and goodness are judged of not by quantity but by quality, for which reason I look upon it that even one day spent with perfect correctness is of equal value with the entire good life of a wise man.
What does all this have to do with kephale in the Bible? Is God the model for Christ and the husband the model for the wife? I don't see the connection myself. Unlike Grudem and Kostenberger, I see no way to derive an interpretation of the kephale passages of the scriptures from these citations.
However, I wish Grudem and Kostenberger would face up to the facts. The premiere example of kephale meaning governing authority speaks only of the wise and virtuous man who is a model of excellence. What a lesson has been missed. They seek power and are blind to virtue.