Does head mean boss when it is connected to the body?

Does head mean boss when it is connected to the body?

This is the first in a series about marriage and the connection between marriage to women’s gifts in the church.

Some people in an effort to keep women’s ministry gifts away from the benefit of men, teach that the term husband as the “head of the wife” means that men are to have authority over women and this eliminates women as having any kind of teaching authority in the body of Christ.

So does the term “head” mean “boss over” or “authority over” when it is connected to the term “body”? Also is the purpose of the head as one who holds back the body? Let’s do a biblical search to find out what God means so that we can fill in this sentence: The purpose of the head is to _______ the body.

In Colossians 2:19, Paul gives us a great word picture to show the relationship between the head and the body.

Colossians 2:19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.

Notice it is “the head from whom the entire body being supplied“…. The purpose of the head is to supply the needs of the body. This is a service to the body not a withholding from the body.

In Genesis we can clearly see this when the man became the first source of supply for his wife. Adam’s body was used by God as the source of the flesh and bone that was used to make the woman. When the man first sees his flesh and bone mate, he identifies her as his very own. He is the source of her body and she is the fulfillment of his own flesh.

Genesis 2:23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”

The woman was taken out of man and this makes her unique among all of God’s
creation. God then tells us what is to happen because of the intimate relationship
between the husband and his wife.

Genesis 2:24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

We are told “for this reason” a man is to leave his home and join himself with his wife. For what reason? It is for the reason that God created the man and the woman to be joined together as a one flesh union. For this reason the husband is the one who leaves and cleaves. He is the one who joins himself with his wife. He is the one who sacrifices of himself to come to her. She is the body and he as the head that joins himself to her so that they become a true one-flesh union. A man has a great responsibility to initiate, establish and nurture this one-flesh union.

This is the beauty of the original creation. Yet there are those who see the distorted relationship between husband and wife after the fall as an extension of the original creation. Nowhere do we find the man ruling over his wife in the original creation. The original creation is the reason for unity. Rulership of one human over another was the result of sinful and selfish desires distorted by the fall. Genesis does not say that a man shall leave his father and his mother and rule over his wife. His purpose was not to rule over her but to cleave to her. The Hebrew word for “be joined to” or “cleave to” is the word “dabaq” and it means to stick strongly together like two pieces completely glued together. The meaning is intended as a complete unity. The man gives himself up and leaves his place to join himself to his wife. The purpose of the head is to join himself with the body in order to have a one-flesh union. The result is unity and intimate fellowship.

In this unity, a man will not hold his wife back from serving God with her gifts. He is to supply what she needs in order for her to use her gifts and to become the best that she can become. He is to open the doors for her so that she can serve without opposition. Marriage is not a hindrance to ministry. Marriage should be a way for a woman to be nourished so that she is able to minister in the body of Christ.

12 thoughts on “Does head mean boss when it is connected to the body?

  1. Excellent Observation Cheryl, I had always wondered why, as claimed by the scholars at CBMW, that if male federal headship was established by God prior to the fall, the woman is not commanded to leave her parents and cleave unto the man? As the text reads it’s the other way around. The text does not support a linear male hierarchy at all. If anything the text shows that this original beauty is based on matrilineal kinship. And incidentally? Despite all their Talmudic posturing (Rabinical tradition) about the filthiness of women, whether one is a Jew or not is determined by whether or not one’s mother’s bloodlines are Jewish.

  2. Good point, Greg, I hadn’t thought about that. Timothy’s mother was a Jew and that made Timothy Jewish.

    The point about the man cleaving to the woman had always seemed a contradiction to me too because it didn’t fit with the mandated women’s submission role that CBMW says is biblical from creation.

  3. Consider also the biological machinery of human reproductive systems. Sperm is cheap whereas eggs are dear. How is this significant? Does it have any bearing on the promise of Messiah to Eve? We know that Jesus’ blood was not tainted by human male DNA at conception. Is there a connection to what transpired at the beginning other than the patently obvious?

  4. In my understanding, Timothy was not considered Jewish, that is why he was circumcized in Acts 16, so he would be. As a God fearing gentile, he could only get up to the gentile barrier in the temple area; but as a Jew he could get to where any Jewish male could get.

    IIRC, Jews switched from tracing thru males to tracing thru females due to the high number of rapes and therefore lack of assurance of paternity.

  5. Marriage and divorce (the other side of the coin) is one of my focus study areas so I am looking forward to what you have to say also.

  6. Don,
    Yes, you are right in that being Jewish had as much to do with circumcision as it did with the blood line. In my reading in the Talmud I came across the Pharisee idea of hell. All uncircumcised men went to hell and no circumcised (Jewish) man went there. However if a Jewish did something really bad to his Jewish brother when he died in the afterlife he would have his foreskin sewed back on so that he could be sent to hell.

    I haven’t done a research project yet on the paternity issue so I don’t know first hand how or why they would go through the woman’s line. It all sounds very interesting.

    It took me a long time to get to the issue of marriage regarding women in ministry. I originally didn’t want to deal with it however it is so interconnected with the subject of ministry and it is used as a emotional argument to stop women from using their God-given gifts for the benefit of men, that I could not forever stay away from the issue of marriage. i.e. if you let women minister in church then men will no longer have a loving/obedient wife at home and they will have lost all “control”. It is about time that we seriously talk about what “control” that God has ordained and if he has ordained it, to what extent does it exist? Should be fun as we pull back the blinds and have a peek behind the source of these traditions and what is and isn’t scriptural. I hope that we can do this with much gentleness and grace yet without sidestepping any truth from scripture.

  7. Do you have a reference for the statement on Jewish men who are circumcised going to heaven always. I’m doing a study in Romans and would love that information.


  8. Tiro,
    I will have to find my Talmud studies to get the quote and book/page number for you. It might take me some time to find it but I will look as I have time.

  9. Cheryl,

    as much as some try to separate ‘headship’ in marriage from the issues to do with ‘women in [public] ministry’, they are ultimately inextricably tied together. Either God has specific ‘roles’ for men and women, or he doesn’t… if these so-called ‘roles’ are grounded in ‘creation’ as patriarchalists claim, then they surely cut across EVERY area of our life/being. I continually see the biggest challenge with the patriarchal stance as being their inconsistency on how they ‘apply’ this so-called equal (in value) but ‘different’ (in role) theology.

    … looking forwards to what you will be posting on this topic.

    many thanks

  10. Kerryn,
    This is the big thing that is the downfall of complementarians. Not only are they inconsistent, but they have no “rule book” to be consistent with. There is no “Christian Talmud” that gives all the things women can do and the things that women cannot do. CBMW has certainly tried to created a “Christian Talmud” but they have failed in that they still see many things as gray and even they do not have any clear-cut answers. In the meantime, the inconsistency grows.

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