I would also like to make an attempt to put the answer to three of the points in this letter in a fairly simple form, and have people respond to this.
1 Kephale [head]
Dr. Grudem writes,
Specifically, we cannot find any text where person A is called the “head’’ of person or persons B, and is not in a position of authority over that person or persons.
One occurrence of kephale that Dr. Grudem often cites is,
- The King of Egypt is called "head" of the nation in Philo, Moses 2.30, "As the head is the ruling place in the living body, so Ptolemy became among kings."
- 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
Philadephus was, for two years, a co-regent with his father, but he was not the authority over his father. This passage also refers to the descendants of Philadelphus, who were kings and queens after him. The king of Egypt was not the "head of the nation" as Dr. Grudem cites, nor was he the authority over the kings that he was head of.
We can rightly say that,
- Person A, Philadelphus, was called the "head" of person B, Ptolemy Soter, and Philadelphus was not in a position of authority over his father, Ptolemy Soter.
Dr. Grudem writes,
Will you please show us one example in all of ancient Greek where this word for “be subject to’’ (hypotassō, passive) is used to refer to one person in relation to another and does not include the idea of one-directional submission to the other person’s authority?
Here are two clear examples,
1 Clement 38.1:
- “So in our case let the whole body be saved in Christ Jesus, and let each man be subject (ὑποτασσέσθω) to his neighbor, to the degree determined by his spiritual gift,”
- ”[King Antiochus Eupator] got word that Philip, who had been left in charge of the government, had revolted in Antioch; he was dismayed, called in the Jews, yielded (ὑπετάγη) and swore to observe all their rights, settled with them and offered sacrifice, honored the sanctuary and showed generosity to the holy place.”
We can rightly say that (hypotassō, passive) is used to refer to a Christian in relation to his or her neighbour and it does not include the idea of one-directional submission to that other person’s authority.
3. Authenteo - 1 Timothy 2:12 "to have authority" or "to dominate"
Dr. Grudem writes,
Our problem is this: we have never seen any clear example in ancient Greek literature where authenteō must mean “domineer’’ or “misuse authority." Whenever we have seen this verb occur, it takes a neutral sense, “have authority’’ or “exercise authority,’’ with no negative connotation attaching to the word itself.
It was originally thought that there were two occurrences of authenteo preceding the epistle to Timothy. Here is the first one,
- Philodemus (1st cent. BCE): “Ought we not to consider that men who incur the enmity of those in authority (συν αυθεντουσιν) are villains, and hated by both gods and men”;
The only other occurrence of authenteo during this period is provided by Grudem as,
- BGU 1208 (27 BCE): “I exercised authority (Καμου αυθεντηκοτος) over him, and he consented to provide for Calatytis the Boatman on terms of full fare, within the hour.”
Here is a clearly negative use of the word authenteo from the 2nd/3rd century,
- Wherefore all shall walk after their own will. And the children will lay hands on their parents. The wife will give up her own husband to death, and the husband will bring his own wife to judgment like a criminal. Masters will lord it over their servants savagely, and servants will assume an unruly demeanour toward their masters. Hippolytus, On the End of the World 7.
We can rightly say that the word authenteo has a negative connotation attaching to the word itself.