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Men's Minisodes 16: What Does Male Headship Actually Mean?


JJ Tomlin

Join JJ as he goes step by step through scripture and reasoning to figure out what male headship actually means within marriage. 


  • Egalitarian: They believe in the equal worth and value of all individuals, regardless of gender, race, or social status. In the context of Christianity, egalitarians advocate for the equal treatment and opportunities of women in all areas of church leadership and ministry, including the ordination of women as pastors and priests.
  • Traditional Complementariasm / Patriarchal: Complementarians believe that men and women have different but complementary roles in the family and in the church. 
  • Where it gets a little dicey is that they can believe that men have been given a leadership role in the family and in the church, while women are called to be supportive and submissive to their husbands and male church leaders. 
  • Roles of men and women are established by God and that any attempt to change or challenge these roles is a violation of biblical authority. 
  • They also argue that the submission of women to men is not a sign of inferiority but rather a reflection of the divine order established by God.
  • Ephesians 4:15-16
  • Colossians 2:19 
  • Ephesians 5

What does the “Head” reference mean?

  • Egalitarians will say that contextually in this time the way they thought is this. The heart was the governing center of the body. But then later establishes that the head is the reasonable, logical, ultimate decision maker. Heart is near the head, but the head makes decisions. The head was the source of life as the body. Christ is the source of life for the body of Christ, so the husband is the source of the. 
  • Maybe they just thought the head was simply the source of life, as Eve was created from Adam, so the husband is the source of strength, nutrition of the wife. 
  • Historically, there is actually lots of evidence to suggest that the brain and head were actually the decision making, reason and common sense. Not the heart or chest. They shockling had a great sense of this time about the nerve system, actions and speaking were controlled by the brain and head.

What does the “Head” reference mean in terms of authority?

  • There is an argument that there is no authority indicated, regardless of the medical terminology.
  • Ephesians 1:22 - Christ is giving to be HEAD of all things. Jesus is raised over creation, far above kingdoms and principalities. He has authority over everything. And then Jesus is specifically the head of the church, which is the source of life of the church. If Christ is over everything to the Church and the source, the nutrition. It’s clearly both for me.
  • Ephesians 4:15 
  • Ephesians 5 - If the husband does have authority. It’s always bad, it’s abused. Therefore it cannot be authority. Can you love and exercise authority? Did Jesus live a life of authority and love? Yes, he lived a life of a servant, with authority, and love.  

Conclusion on the Biblical Headship

  • For many people, the concept of headship can be a difficult one to understand. It's often associated with negative connotations such as control, domination, and patriarchy. If we look at it through this lens. It is an abhorrent model of marriage. I truly think it does not shatter the heart of the Father, it disgusts him. It is the opposite of what Jesus did.
  • However, when understood in its true biblical context, headship can actually be a beautiful and miraculous aspect of relationships. That has been modeled and the only way it works is if the head follows the only design. Any deviation is chaos, is miserable and is a failure.

Headship is not about superiority or control.

  • One of the biggest misconceptions about headship is that it's all about the husband having authority and control over his wife. However, the biblical concept of headship is very different. In Ephesians 5:23, it says, "For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior." This verse is often misunderstood as meaning that the husband has complete control over his wife. However, if we look at the context of the passage, we see that the emphasis is actually on love and sacrifice. Just as Christ sacrificially loved and gave himself up for the church, so too should husbands sacrificially love and serve their wives.

Headship is a position of responsibility and care.

  • Another important aspect of biblical headship is that it's a position of responsibility and care. Just as a physical head is responsible for directing and caring for the rest of the body, so too should a husband be responsible for directing and caring for his family. This means taking an active role in leading and guiding his family, but also providing for and protecting them. It also means prioritizing the needs and well-being of his family above his own desires.

Headship is about mutual submission.

  • Finally, it's important to understand that biblical headship is not a one-sided relationship. In fact, in Ephesians 5:21, it says, "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." This verse makes it clear that submission is not just for wives, but for both spouses. Both the husband and wife are called to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. This means that the husband should listen to and consider his wife's opinions and needs, and the wife should respect and support her husband's leadership.
  • It's not about control or dominance, but about sacrificial love, responsibility, and mutual submission. By embracing biblical headship, husbands and wives can create a healthy and fulfilling relationship that honors God and strengthens their bond that is greater than any other union on earth. It is a supernatural and divine model. There is nothing like it.

Practical Ways the Husband can Lead as the Head

  • From Allan Parr - here are 5 ways husbands can effectively lead WELL!! 
  • Now you tell me… Where are we asking the wife to submit to executive decision making authority..? Where in these following examples would egalitarians push back and say that is an overstep of the husband? The wife is better to own and lead in these buckets?? 
  • 1. Trained with excellence according to God’s word, God’s will, God’s purpose, God’s intent. How? Quite literally studying and consuming the scripture with tenanicity. When you read 1 Corinthians 7, when you read Ephesians 5 do you know it as head knowledge?? The do’s and don’ts of a husband? Or has the core of your being, your heart, your soul been arrested by the truth of God’s word? Has it saturated and given life to your spirit? Have you read and re-read? Sometimes we kinda want to be great husbands, but we dont know how. To this I would say… Do you REALLY want it? As much as you want to breathe, eat, sleep. 
  • 2. Be her example. Wives crave this. 1 Timothy 4:12. What we say, how we speak to others, how we live, with passion and vision, not stumbling into purpose, how we love, unconditionally and patiently, demonstrating our faith, living it out loud, witnessing to others, praying for others walking in purity, massively.. purity in thought, actions, behind close scenes. The person we live out in PUBLIC is the same person in PRIVATE. That’s character. Husband in public = the husband in private. 
  • 3. Pray with her. Not just for her in quiet, but with her in person out loud. Ask her, how can I be praying for you in this season? At this time? Then DO it!
  • 4. Initiate Spiritual Discussion. Discuss the sermon, discuss the devotional you just read. Talk about what is on your mind and on your heart. What is God doing in your life?
  • 5. Establish a routine devotional time. Does Not have to be everyday. Point is to unite over scripture and discuss what is God highligihting for you. Your marriage is built on the foundatiion of eternal fellowship with God, this is one of the best ways to continually set yourself and spouse up for success. 

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JJ Tomlin

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JJ Tomlin is a missionary kid born in Belgium, originally from Tennessee, and currently residing in the OC. He currently works in Gaming/E-Commerce, enjoys watching his Tennessee Titans on Sundays with his Goldendoodle Teddy and loves working with Christian men to raise the bar in singleness and dating.

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