What does it mean, "For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church"?


Ephesians 5:23

NKJV - 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.

Clarify Share Report Asked April 22 2023 Mini zaldy Javier

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Mini Paula Fether Lifelong student of the scriptures
The passage you refer to is Eph. 5. The Greek word for head, kephale, had both literal and figurative meanings, just as the modern English word "head" does today. But when these words were written, kephale had no meaning of hierarchy or authority. Rather, it referred to either the first soldier to go into battle (certainly not the king or general), or to the source of something (e.g. the head of a river). Verse 21 is the key to the meaning in this passage.

Certainly Jesus is in absolute, divine authority over the church, but as Savior he is the originator or source of the church, his (figurative) body. This passage (Eph. 5:21ff) is all about mutual support, with specific instructions for problems facing the church in Ephesus. Notice that v. 25 begins a pericope (a section begun and ended with the same thought) specifically about how husbands must love their wives. Women then were utterly dependent upon men for basic living, so for a Christian husband to be harsh or controlling would not be proper. Rather, Paul teaches that the example should be that of Christ sacrificing himself for his church. It’s that kind of love, not control, that husbands needed to learn.

So as "head", the husband is to love and defend his socially-disadvantaged wife, and she in turn was to support him as all Christians are to support each other. We err if we read scripture in a cultural and linguistic vacuum.

April 24 2023 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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