1 Corinthians 11:2 – 16 (The meaning of “head” and a detour into Ephesians 5)


1 Corinthians 11:2-16 is filled with difficulties, and perhaps the most important one is its teaching that a man is the “head” of the woman (or, better translated, as in the ESV, the husband is the “head” of the wife).

(1Co 11:3 ESV)  3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. 

Important to understanding this passage is Ephesians 5 —

(Eph 5:23-33 ESV) 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.  

24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.  25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,  26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  

28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,  30 because we are members of his body.  31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”  32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.  33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. 

This familiar passage is often studied and taught in our Sunday School classes, most often when marriage is being studied. In fact, I have observed that those teaching this scripture in the context of how to have a good, Christian marriage often interpret it differently from those who are teaching regarding the role of women in the church. Certainly, we must understand it the same way in both contexts.


Before interpreting the passage, we must first come to an understanding of the meaning of “head” in 5:23. In First Century Greek, what might “head” — kephalē in the Greek — mean when used figuratively of a person?

Now, in the literature on the role of women, the scholars love to debate whether kephalē means “ruler” or “leader” or “source.” Some argue that “head” just obviously means ruler. Others says the kephalē never means ruler in First Century Greek.

After some years of consideration, I’ve concluded that neither meaning is sufficiently well established that either side can insist on that meaning just from the choice of the word. There are other possibilities in the lexicons. Nor is it even essential that the meaning of a metaphor be found in a dictionary, as Paul is quite capable of creating a new metaphor to suit his purposes.

The Septuagint argument

The Septuagint is a translation of the Old Testament into Greek issued in parts from the mid-third century BC to the mid-first century BC or so. Paul typically quotes the Old Testament from the Septuagint, so he was clearly very familiar with its wording.

The Hebrew word ro’sh means both the head of a person and a ruler or leader — as is true of “head” in English. If kephalē had the same double meaning in Greek, you’d think the translators of the Septuagint would have chosen kephalē as the customary translation of ro’sh.

There are 16 places where the Hebrew ro’sh is translated kephalē and means something like “ruler” or “leader.”

(Deu 28:13) The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.

(Deu 28:44) He will lend to you, but you will not lend to him. He will be the head, but you will be the tail.

(Jdg 10:18) The leaders of the people of Gilead said to each other, “Whoever will launch the attack against the Ammonites will be the head of all those living in Gilead.”

(Jdg 11:8-11) The elders of Gilead said to him, “Nevertheless, we are turning to you now; come with us to fight the Ammonites, and you will be our head over all who live in Gilead.” 9 Jephthah answered, “Suppose you take me back to fight the Ammonites and the LORD gives them to me–will I really be your head?” 10 The elders of Gilead replied, “The LORD is our witness; we will certainly do as you say.” 11 So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them. And he repeated all his words before the LORD in Mizpah.

(2Sa 22:44) “You have delivered me from the attacks of my people; you have preserved me as the head of nations. People I did not know are subject to me,

(Psa 18:43) You have delivered me from the attacks of the people; you have made me the head of nations; people I did not know are subject to me.

(Psa 110:6) He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.

(Isa 7:8) for the head of Aram is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is only Rezin. Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people. 9 The head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son. If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.’ “

(Isa 9:14) So the LORD will cut off from Israel both head and tail, both palm branch and reed in a single day; 15 the elders and prominent men are the head, the prophets who teach lies are the tail.

(Lam 1:5) Her foes have become her masters;
her enemies are at ease.
The LORD has brought her grief
because of her many sins.
Her children have gone into exile,
captive before the foe.

However, there are a total of about 180 places in the Septuagint where ro’sh means something like ruler or leader. (Berkeley and Alvera Mickelson, “What Does Kephalē Mean in the New Testament?” Women, Authority & the Bible, 97-117, cited by Osburn, Women in the Church, at 164 ff.) Of these 180 uses, only 16 use kephalē . The rest are generally translated with archon or the like, words that mean “ruler” or “leader” but not a person’s head.

The four uses of kephalē in Deut and Isaiah therefore don’t really change the conclusion, because the translators could hardly have used archon and preserved the contrasting metaphors of “head” and “tail.” Hence, 164 out of 176 uses (about 93%) fail to use kephalē to mean ruler or leader. Plainly, at the time the Septuagint was translated, the translators did not consider kephalē to obviously and naturally mean boss or ruler. The meaning was certainly possible but not idiomatic — that is, the reader would only take “head” to mean “ruler” if the context made the metaphor clear. The meaning could not presumed.

On the other hand, it was certainly possible — just not conventional or typical — for kephalē to mean ruler or leader, and Paul would have surely been aware of that usage.

The use of kephalē as “ruler” or “leader” in other sources

It has now been shown beyond reasonable argument that kephalē is used to mean “ruler” or “leader” in many non-Biblical Greek sources, particularly the Patristics. It is further convincingly argued that kephalē often means “beginning” but virtually never means “source.” The arguments and evidence have been gathered by Wayne Grudem in two articles published here and here.

But then, Paul was free to coin any metaphor that suits his purposes. But for “head” to mean “source,” the context would have to make that meaning clear. This is not the sort of usage where dictionaries rule.

Of course, “beginning” and “source” can be virtual synonyms in some contexts, and Grudem concedes that the meaning “source” is possible in a context where “beginning” can mean “source.” But if “beginning” doesn’t fit, “source” is not to be assumed.

Hence, while we can’t treat “ruler” or “leader” as foreign to kephalē, we must also consider the possible meaning of “beginning.”

Another common meaning of “head” in the Greek, per Grudem, is “life” (432), citing the Liddell-Scott Dictionary‘s definition of kephalē (quoted in full here).

Hence, we seem to see a shifting of the usage of kephalē, where it was not routinely used to mean ruler or leader before the New Testament, but that metaphor became much more common afterwards, with the New Testament being written during a transitional period. Indeed, Grudem shows that pre-First Century lexicons do not include “ruler” or “leader” as possible meaning of kephalē, whereas lexicons based on the Patristics do.

Application to the New Testament

Manifestly, context matters. Kephalē did not have one unique metaphorical meaning in the First Century. One cannot presume the meaning of “ruler” but neither can the meaning be excluded as impossible. Moreover, we don’t simply plug in meanings out of a dictionary and pick the one that fits our preferred outcome best.

Consider the line from the psalm: “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.” Go to a dictionary and try to fit the various meanings of “pasture” into the poem to see what “pasture” means in that sentence. Strong’s Dictionary says,

a home; fig. a pasture:–habitation, house, pasture, pleasant place

But that hardly tells you the psalmist is saying. That’s not the ultimate thought. Manifestly, you won’t fully retrieve the author’s intent by this means. Figurative language just isn’t that mechanical. Context rules. Always. Regarding of the dictionary and regardless of whether someone has use the word metaphorically the same way before.

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About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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18 Responses to 1 Corinthians 11:2 – 16 (The meaning of “head” and a detour into Ephesians 5)

  1. You said: “Hence, 164 out of 176 uses (about 93%) fail to use kephalē to mean ruler or leader.”

    We can’t really use this fact in the way that you seem to use it. For example, if I were going to say that someone was head of a company, I would use “jefe” in Spanish, because you don’t use the actual word for head in that language. Coming back to English, I would translate “jefe” as boss almost every time. That says nothing about how I view the word “head.”

    Failure to use the word kephalé all of those times doesn’t tell us anything one way or another about the meaning of kephalé.

  2. R.J. says:

    In context, the Eternal Christ comes from the bosom of the Trinity. Man(Adam) comes from Christ on day 6(or the sixth epoch) of creation. Woman(Eve) is beautifully fashioned by Christ out of man’s rib. Based on this, I see “Kephale” as chain of derivation and source-not positional authority.

  3. Dwight says:

    Ray I think you have made this a little too complicated when the meaning is explained by the related text itself. You relate I Cor.11 to Eph. 5:23-33 where the same word is used, kephale. In Eph it says, “For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”
    The definition of the head is given right there as it relates the husband to the wife as Jesus to the church. And this is adds dimension to the I Cor.11 where it states that “God is the head of Jesus, Jesus the head of man and man the head of woman.” Jesus submitted Himself to God even as we are supposed to submit to Jesus and woman to man.
    So in this sense it is almost less about one ruling over the other as the head, but rather one submitting themselves to the rule of another due to ther position as the head. Or maybe both.

  4. JohnFewkes says:

    It is unusual, if not unheard of, for the Bible to speak only once upon subjects of importance to the Christian’s conduct and worship. However, even if spoken of only once it must be taken seriously and more so if the matter seems to be one which must be understood properly before a believer can begin to live or worship acceptably. That is the case here. There can be some case made for kephale to be (or including) a sense of modesty (more below), or the sign of submission to her husband, or perhaps in view of the discussion of meats — not offending the cultural sensibilities of the Christian’s Corinthian neighbors (well pointed out in previous postings)

    A. There are those who would retain the principle of male authority in the home and in the church, but would regard the whole question to be contingent upon local customs.

    B.There are those who believe the principle of patriarchal authority to be transcendent / permanent, and must / could / should be celebrated / recognized by the covering of the woman’s head, but that the style or form of covering may be varied.

    C.There are those who say that the custom described is to be followed precisely. This would require that we know precisely what style of headgear was worn by women in the ancient Greek culture so that such items could be duplicated for modern use. (Probably a rare view in our culture, but still reflected in Mideast dress, esp. among Muslim)

    D. There are those who see the entire passage as an unfortunate accommodation to outdated, patriarchal ideas, which society has since outgrown. This option is taken by many of the “evangelical feminists,” whose views on this seem consistently to be more feminist than evangelical. Therefore, both the custom the patriarchal ideas behind it should be abandoned together.

    Views A & B recognize a continuing principle (male spiritual patriarchy), but see accommodation to culture (altering or discarding the custom). The difference is the degree to which Paul’s words are seen as culturally conditioned.

    As Jay points out, everybody knew the circumstance of the problem in Corinth, which we cannot know (at least yet — archeology may find something to enlighten). We are reading someone else’ letters (and we are invited to do so by Paul). The letters have eternal principles, but they MAY use illustrations (metaphors if you please) that are limited in application to a then present culture.

    The customs of Corinth, as well as those of “the churches of God” (v.16), were well known to the Corinthians and we are left to puzzle over the language in order to try to grasp the situation.

    They knew whether the word kephale (head, verse 3) meant “source” or “chief” or “ruler”, and what length of hair was considered too “long” for a man, and likely in what sense “nature” taught this to be shameful (v. 14){cross dressing?}. They also knew whether “no such custom” (v.16) meant the custom of women covering or that of women uncovering their heads. 2000 years later we have a great difficulty knowing these things.

    (More to come)

  5. JohnFewkes says:

    The singularity and lack of clarity in this passage calls into question if it was God’s intent for Christians of all times and places to observe what seems to be Corinthian customs, about which we do not have clear information.

    After a very full and lengthy discussion of kephale in classical, OT, LXX (Septuagint) and NT, The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament concludes:

    “We may thus understand the passage. Paul presupposes that man and woman are distinct by nature. This is rooted in the fact that woman is by nature referred to man as her basis (in a twofold sense). This distinction is expressed in the veiling of her kephale, in the non-exposure of her head before God and Christ, whose presence in worship is indicated by angels. It would be for Paul an abandonment of the foundations of creation if charismatically gifted women — the reference is to such in contrast to 1 Cor 14:33 ff. — were to pray or prophesy with their heads uncovered like men. It would be an offense against their head (in the twofold sense) if they were not to cover themselves. As the Corinthians themselves may see, the necessity of covering is indicated by nature or custom (phusis) which regards long hair as suitable in women for a covering.

    Both the independence of Ephesians and its dependence on Paul and Colossians are seen in the three (kephale) passages, in literary terms most clearly in Eph 4:15 … and Col 2:19). The (pre-)Pauline motif of the subjection of the cosmos . . .and of Christ’s exaltation over everything determines the cosmic-ecclesiological (kepahle) Christology of Eph 1:22.. . . In 5:23 also, where the dominance of the husband over the wife (cf. 1 Cor 11:3 finds its analogy . . . in the relationship of Christ to the Church; kephale is intended to express sovereignty “ Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament.

    Kephale: Metaphorically, anything supreme, chief, prominent; of persons, master, lord: . . ., of a husband in relation to his wife, 1 Cor 11:3; Eph 5:23; of Christ, the lord of the husband,”
    Thayer’s Greek Lexicon,

    However we might wish to view the meaning, the idea idea of source seems to come through . . .

    But what does Paul mean by “covering”? Two words are found in the Greek text. In verses six and seven, we find the verb “cover” with reference to the head- i.e. it is proper for the woman but not for the man to “cover” the head when praying or prophesying. This verb in the Greek is katakalupto , which Strong’s [2619] renders “to cover wholly.” The word is of two parts. The first, kata [2596], properly means “down.” The other part is kalupto [2572], for which the given meaning is: “to cover up, hide..to wrap around, as bark, skin, shell or plaster.”

    The other word Paul uses is the noun peribolaion in verse 15, where Paul says a woman’s long hair is given to her for a “covering.” The meaning of this word is given as “something thrown around one, i.e. a mantle, veil.”

    Whatever else may be considered, the words suggest Paul he had in mind more like a wrap-around shawl, which covered the whole head (and possibly the face). This leaves room to consider /suggest that a woman’s modesty was the object of Paul’s concern, more so than of a merely symbolic ritual. We don’t know how immodestly the “priestly prostitutes” dressed, but
    perhaps Paul is sharing something akin to Peter’s admonition regarding “dress codes”(1Pet 3). That is a message truly need in our churches today.

    The meaning and application of verse 16 may wait for Jay’s next post, I presume

  6. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:


    You can’t compare languages that way because the Septuagint was translating from Hebrew into Greek, translating ro’sh to some Greek word. Unlike Spanish, where jefe does not mean the literal head and the idiomatic leader, ro’sh carries that same double meaning, just as in English. Therefore, you’d think kephale would be the routine translation, if kephale carried the same double meaning.

    This can be tested by comparing a translation of ro’sh into English. In Accordance it’s easy to see, although the counting is a bit tedious. In the NIV, ro’sh is translated “head” hundreds of times, at least half of the 537 occurrences. Far, far more than the 12 or 16 or so of the LXX!

    Why? Because the words are extremely parallel in English. Hebrew has far fewer words than English, and in English there’s a preference for not using the same word too often, and so the translators often translate ro’sh “head” and then “chief” in the same verse with the same intended meaning.

    And yet despite having about 100x more words to choose from and a preference for a variety in translation, the English translation uses “head” many, many times more often than the LXX uses kephale.

    So thanks for pushing me to do a sanity check, but my theory checks out.

  7. JohnFewkes says:

    Having followed the link Jay reference to Grudem and Grudem’s dismantling of Kroger’s view, I think my brief comment on “source” would need further clarification, to see the source of authority, but Grudem seems very badly to want to equate kephale with arxn. Why I am not sure, but another time I’ll try to finish his appraisal. The extensive examination of Chrysostom seems more to denigrate Kroger (properly so from what I’ve read so far) than to actually work through kepahle. The idea of “beginning” seems tenuous.

  8. Dwight says:

    The ironic thing is that we choose this section out of the whole of I Corinthians to not apply or attach a meaning of custom to as opposed to both lettes of the Corinthians that was sent to the Corinthians. If this is a matter of custom, then all of I Corinthains is a matter of custom and then every letter written is a matter of custom, except the letters were from what we are told were circulated among the other cities and applied there as well and taken seriously as if the letters had been written to them. The path of thought changes from one covering to another by the changes in the actual words for the coverings and the context explaining such. There is no hint of a cultural leaning and the context of headship from God on down to woman explains that this was not cultural, but a concept of Godly order. Modesty isn’t even brought up, but rather the order of headship. Here is a case where we have picked the context apart to hide the simple message that was intended to be applied and then we move to the next section dealing with the LS and aggresively apply it. This shows how we pick and choose our scriptures and applications.

  9. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    John F,

    The Kroegers have routinely committed exegetical malpractice re the role of women, and are justly criticized by Grudem. They should never be relied on. Sadly, the publishers still publish their books.

    Grudem overstates the case when he says arche (a synonym for kephale) is never used in the NT in way that might mean source. Consider —

    (Rev 3:14 ESV) “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning [arche] of God’s creation.

    Here the idea is that Jesus is the source of creation, not at all that he was first created!

    (Rev 21:6 ESV) And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.

    Not quite as certain, but the “end” is telos, meaning the completion or the end goal. Jesus the end of the great story of scripture — of the cosmos! And he is also not only part of the beginning and present at the beginning, he is the source. He started it and he finished it. It proceeds from him and returns to him at the end.

    (Heb 7:3 ESV) He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.

    Of course, synonyms are rarely exact, especially when it comes to dual meanings. Reasoning from arche is a bit of stretch, regardless of your side.

    I find “ruler” or “chief” impossible because, as my posts will explain shortly, Jesus was subordinate to God while on earth, but now he is glorified and has “all authority.” He gave up “equality” with God to come to earth (Phil 2) and now has been restored to his former status — with greater glory. Therefore, he now equal with God.

    There are plenty of passages that show him subordinate during his earthly ministry. It’s a major theme of John’s Gospel. But that is not now or when 1 Cor was written. Now,

    (1Co 15:27-28 ESV) 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

    Notice that v.28 says that Jesus “will also be subjected to [God]” at the end of time — not now. Therefore, God is not presently the boss of Jesus. While the passage presents all sorts of difficulties, we must recognize that the relationship of Jesus and God changed at the Ascension and will change again at the End of Time.

    It’s not that Jesus is free to disobey God. They are One. They have a common will. But for now, Jesus has “all authority” – beyond dispute. And so does this mean that women, being in relationship to men as Jesus is to God, have “all authority”? You see, it’s not easy when you’re required to be consistent with Philippians 2, Matthew 28, and most especially 1 Cor 15.

    Even if you take “ruler” as the meaning, saying Jesus is merely God’s viceroy or vassal, then man is Jesus’ vassal (fair enough) and woman becomes the vassal of man — a vassal given dominion over the world for man. It just doesn’t make sense.

  10. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    John F,

    In a future post, I quote recent research showing that Roman wives (not women, but wives) were expected to cover their hair with a shawl sort of veil. Greeks were different, but Corinth was a Roman colony and more Roman in its culture.

    And it seems the Jews had a similar practice — meaning that the earliest congregations doubtlessly expected wives to cover their hair.

    For both Romans and Jews, it was a question of modesty — and this makes a lot of sense of that element of the passage.

    For a married woman to reveal her hair would be like a modern woman being bare breasted at church — or nearly so. The difference is that a single woman was unveiled. A Roman wedding was called the “veiling” of the bride.

    The ancients saw a woman’s hair as sexually alluring (who would argue?), and so it was impermissible for a married Roman woman to unveil in an assembly.

  11. JohnFewkes says:


    We can (and should) distinguish between “custom” and “command”. Do we really think that “greet one another with a holy kiss” is mandated for all time in all places? (Still practiced in the Mideast in places). Or is the “warm handshake” or the “holy hug” the cultural equivalent, honoring the principle- “be kindly affectioned toward one another” Rom 12:10 KJV? Paul praises the Corinthian church for recognizing apostolic tradition (not man made traditions) which in my view is continually authoritative and exemplar in verse 2 (outside of Jay’s discussion on the meaning of “head” but well worth serious discussion). Biblical principles do NOT change with time, Biblical practices based on Biblical principles may change without ill effect. For example, the early church likely used largely monotone chanting in their singing — (similar to a Gregorian chant).. Is it the chanting itself that continues to be apostolically authoritative or the singing community that reflects the principle of Heb 13:16 “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”? NASU Elsewhere I have posted a suggested “hermeneutic” that recognizes and honors apostolic practices as precedent for the church. As such the demonstrate the practical application of the spiritual principles underlying them — the outworking of an understanding of faith expressing itself in love. And of course, if we need NOT listen to the apostles (who were given direct instruction concerning the kingdom (Acts 1:3) by the resurrected Lord, we may as well listen to Rome or Constantinople or Leningrad or Washngton D.C.or just ourselves. :). My then five year old grand daughter, great theologian that she is, said, “It’s easy, Grandpa. Just do what I want!” I don’t think God works that way (neither does Grandpa).

    While the principle Paul discusses: (God > Christ > husband > wife) [that’s a bit of short hand I know, how we understand the “great mystery} remains, the specific way that principle is honored and respected and practiced over time may change, but the principle of servant headship continues and should be reflected in our current practices. The great problem (as I think Jay has pointed and alluded to) is when culture (especially Western, which is our base) intrudes into Biblical principles. If we do not think that is true, we are delusional. 🙁

    As disciples we are privileged with a message of redemption and reconciliation. WE as ambassadors (2Cor) are not “authorized” to change the terms of peace.

  12. JohnFewkes says:

    Unless I have missed something, the only other place in Paul’s writing (or in the NT if I dis my search properly) where kephale (head) is used with “be subject to” (hupostassw) is in Ephesians
    1:22 where, remember, it says he put all things in subjection . . . I therefore suggest that that any conclusion on “headship” particularly with the God > Christ > husband (man) > wife must include the consideration of “hupostassw”. Elsewhere is pointed out the servant nature of the relationships, though at least I do not see “direct” servant hood of God (as in Thayer’s lexicon — that which is supreme.

  13. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    John F wrote,

    I therefore suggest that that any conclusion on “headship” particularly with the God > Christ > husband (man) > wife must include the consideration of “hupostassw”.

    Posts written regarding exactly that point. Coming soon.

  14. R.J. says:

    So God the Father and Spirit are exempted from the phrase…

    “having everything in subjection”?

    And why does Paul say Jesus will give up the kingdom when elsewhere it plainly states that his kingdom shall have no end?

  15. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:


    (1Co 15:24-28 ESV) 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

    God has given over the cosmos to Jesus. But upon completing his mission, subjecting the powers to himself, Jesus will give the cosmos back to God.

    The Kingdom will continue, but God will reign from within it.

    (Rev 21:1-4 ESV) Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

    (Rev 22:3-5 ESV) 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

  16. R.J. says:

    True…but it says that the Lamb will still reign from his throne with the Father in Revelation after the restoration. Is 1 Corinthians only speaking of his mediatorial reigns?

  17. Grace says:

    God has allowed Satan to operate in this world within the boundaries He has set for him.

    1 John 5:19 We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.

    2 Corinthians 4:4 Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.

    In 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 Paul notes that the time will come when Christ will hand the kingdom over to His Father by destroying every hostile rule, power and authority in existence. The time will come where all the kingdoms and authorities that oppose Him will be completely abolished when Jesus returns and God’s reign will be established on the entire earth. For now, God has permitted the existence of powers and authorities that oppose Him to flourish. But when Jesus returns to rule on the earth all of these powers will then come to an end.

    Psalm 110:1 The LORD says to my Lord: Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.

    Hebrews 10:12-13 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, then to wait until his enemies should be made a stool for his feet.

    Matthew 25:31-32 But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

  18. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:


    “Mediatorial reign”? New term to me.

    God cedes authority to Jesus. At the end, Jesus steps aside and returns authority to God, but God establishes a co-regency, quite common in the ancient world.

    I don’t spend much time worrying about these things, because God the Father and God the Son are triune — having an overlapping existence. It’s no surprise that these things are clearly explained. Simplicity is not possible for a God in Three Persons.

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