While I was doing some research for a high school Bible lesson on gender roles, I ran across this article at the Council for Biblical Equality. The article includes this:

Theologian Wayne Grudem wants us to believe that the Greek word kephale (translated into English as “head”) always means a “person in authority over.” His premise is that words have one fixed meaning, the context does not matter. Virtually all linguists are of another opinion. Any given word has a range of meanings and the context is the most important indicator of that meaning.

This really bothered me, and not because of the apparent comma splice. I’m certain Grudem does not take it as a premise that “words have one fixed meaning.” No theologian and exegete of his stature could. This straw man argument was a reminder to me to try to be fair toward my theological opponents. That means, ideally, understanding their position as well as they do. Ouch. That’s part of the calling of a scholar.

You can see for yourself whether the author was fair to Grudem by reading Grudem’s article on kephale.

Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.


  1. Duncan on January 21, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Mark, it seems your link to Grudem points to the CBE article by Giles.

  2. Mark L Ward Jr on January 21, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    Fixed! Thanks!

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