By Charles H. Welch
Head. The word "head" is usually the translation of the Hebrew rosh in the O.T. (Chaldee resh in Daniel) or the Greek kephale in the N.T. Both words occur too many times to allow the printing of a concordance here, but the complete occurrences of all the forms of kephale in Paul's prison epistles may be of service. There are seven references as follows:
In addition to these seven occurrences of kephale, two other forms of the word must be given:
(See the article GATHER for notes on Ephesians 1 :10.)
Where, in other callings, Christ is given the title "King" or "Prince", "High-Priest", "Captain" or "Bridegroom", He has the all-embracive title "Head" in the dispensation of the Mystery. In harmony with this, the church of the Mystery is called the "Body", and the individual believer is likened to a "member" of that body. It is very certain that in some passages the Greek word kephale means the "sum", even as in such a passage as Colossians 2:17 the Greek word soma, usually translated "body", means substance, for it is opposed by the word "shadow"; but it is fantastic and unscholarly to assume that every occurrence of kephale should be translated "sum" and every occurrence of soma should be translated "substance" . It was John the Baptist's HEAD, not his substance, that was carried on a charger. The hairs of Mary's HEAD wiped the feet of the Lord. The enemies of the crucified Saviour wagged their HEADS, not their substances, in their derision.
The figure of the "body" is supplemented by the figure of "members", and we are not left guessing what those members are. They are specified in 1 Corinthians twelve as foot, hand, ear and eye, and these figures refuse to be retranslated out of recognition.
Again, if we appeal to the use of kephale in classical Greek, we find that the first meaning given by Liddle and Scott is the head of man or beast "from head to foot", and not until near the bottom of a long list do we come to the meaning "sum". Let us prove all things and hold fast that which is good.
In Colossians we learn that Christ is also Head of all principality and power, thereby linking the Church of the One Body with their heavenly associates. Paul, in Colossians traces all defection and failure to "not holding the Head". We have in Christ the Head all that Israel will find in Him as their Shepherd; we have all that the Hebrews find in Him as their great High Priest, and all and more than all that is found in His other titles, King, Prophet and the like. In Ephesians 1:22 there is a suggestion that the relationship that now exists between the Church and Christ the Head, is an anticipation of the goal of the ages, when all things shall be subject unto Him. Ephesians 1:22 does not teach that at the present moment Christ is Head over all things, but that He has been given as Head over all things to the Church which is His body. Where other callings have their spiritual gifts, their healings and their tongues, we find our all in Christ the Head. The union of Head and member is so complete, the flow of life and power, direction and growth so intimate, as to rule out the more spectacular manifestations of the Spirit.