by Kristen Rosser ~ aka: KR Wordgazer
The question being asked in Part 1 was:
Doesn’t the Bible say the man is the head of the woman and that the husband is the head of the house, the instrument of God for directing the family? Isn’t he God’s designated authority, the one God holds responsible for all decision-making on behalf of the couple and their children?
With the understanding from Part 1, of how the covenant community of the church fits into the Bible’s Great Story as a redeemed spiritual family– a family in which all Christians are brothers and sisters and God is our Father– let’s begin now to examine some of the passages that refer to men as “head.” As discussed in “Quiverfull and the Bible,” we will look at the cultural assumptions that would have been shared between a writer of a New Testament Epistle and the original audience, in order to see how the message might have been heard differently by them than it sounds to us today.. Hand-in-hand with this, we must look carefully at what the original audience would have understood the Greek word translated as “head” to actually mean.
Beginning, then, with the most frequently cited “headship” passage, Ephesians 5:21-22:
“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.”
In the Epistle to the Ephesians, Paul’s big theme is who the church is “in Christ.” The first three chapters are about the church’s salvation, adoption, spiritual position and unity. In the fourth and fifth chapters he goes on to speak of how unity is to be maintained in the way individual members relate to one another. It is into this context that he places the section on how members of individual households are to relate to one another. This type of teaching has come to be known as a “household code.” The passage on husbands and wives is part of this code. (See Michael Kruse, “Household of God” online series, “Household: The Household Code,” http://krusekronicle.typepad.com/kruse_kronicle/2007/07/household-the-h.html )