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Holman Bible Dictionary

Head of the Church

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A title for Christ (Ephesians 4:15 ; Colossians 1:18 ). In Ephesians, the metaphor of Christ as head of His body, the church, is carefully developed. Headship includes the idea of Christ's authority (Ephesians 1:22 ; Ephesians 5:23 ) and of the submission required of the church (Ephesians 5:24 ). More is in view than a statement of Christ's authority. The focus is on the character of Christ's relationship with the church. Unlike self-seeking human lords (Luke 22:25 ), Christ exercises His authority for the church (Ephesians 1:22 NRSV, NIV), nourishing and caring for the church as one cares for one's own body ( Ephesians 5:29 ). Christ's headship also points to the interrelationship of Christ and the church. The mystery of husband and wife becoming “one flesh” is applied to Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:31 ), which is “the fullness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:23 ). In Colossians 1:18 , the idea of Christ as head is again complex, including not only the idea of head as authority but of head as source (Colossians 1:15-20 ). The church is called to follow its head and to rest secure in its relationship with Him.

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Head of the Church'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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