Beware of Greeks bearing gifts--especially when those “gifts” are strange new definitions for old familiar words. It s always a good idea to proceed with caution whenever you hear someone say, “What you’ve always heard about such and such is all wrong; what it really means is . . . .”
A good case in point is what has happened in recent years with the Greek word which means “head” (kephale -- keh fah LAY). Beginning with an article in a scholarly journal in 1954, it was asserted that in ancient times “head” did not normally mean “ruler,” but rather it meant “source” like the source of a river. This assertion was repeated without further investigation in various books and commentaries.
At this point the Christian feminists grabbed hold of this new definition and rushed to Ephesians 5:23 to show that a husband is not the “ruler” over woman, but is rather her “source” (in the sense that Eve was made from Adam’s rib). An article in Christianity Today in 1981 by a husband and wife team gave the idea wider currency. It has been frequently quoted in Restoration circles and even cropped up in 1988 in The Christian Standard.
But, wait! Hold the horses! A careful analysis of 2,336 times the word is used in 36 different ancient authors shows that not even once does kephale mean “source”! (Cf. Wayne Grudem in Trinity Journal, 1985.) Quite regularly the word means “ruler,” just as anyone would know who has read Ephesians 1:22. Conclusion? A husband (Eph. 5) is to exercise the same kind of loving “headship” as Jesus did (Eph. 1).
Further conclusion? Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.