MEANING OF KEPHALE AFTER 30 YEARS
by Wayne Grudem
Conclusion of this paper:
7 of 7 Gk lexicons now give “authority over, ruler” as a meaning of kephalē
0 of 7 now give “source” as a meaning of kephalē (w/ correction from ed. of LS)
0 of 7 have ever given “prominent, preeminent” as meaning of kephalē
In all of ancient Greek literature, in every example that takes the form, “Person A is the kephalē of Person or Group B,” Person A has authority over Person or Group B.
56 examples have been discovered showing kephalē w/ meaning of “authority over, leader, ruler”
0 examples have ever been discovered where the sense “source without governing authority” would fit the context.
0 examples have ever been discovered where the sense “prominent or preeminent person without governing authority” would fit the context.
No one has yet produced one text in ancient Greek literature (from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD) where a person is called the kephalē (“head”) of another person or group and that person is not the one in authority over that other person or group. The alleged meaning “prominent without authority,” like the meaning “source without authority,” now 30 years after the publication of my 1985 study of 2,336 examples of kephalē, has still not been supported with any citation of any text in ancient Greek literature. Over 50 examples of kephalē meaning “ruler, authority over” have been found, but no examples of the meaning of “source without authority” or “prominent person w/o authority”
In spite of this overwhelming weight of evidence, several commentaries and reference works continue to argue for “source” or “preeminent person” instead of “authority over” in key texts on marriage, including esp.:
1 Cor 11:3: “I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God.” (1st cent. A.D.).
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
(Eph 5:22-24 ESV)
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