Exploring the biblical theology of Christian egalitarianism

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Introduction: A Rare Word

I find it interesting that two of the most crucial texts in the Bible that influence our understanding of the status of women in marriage and ministry each contain a keyword that occurs nowhere else in Scripture.

In the New Testament, which was originally written in Koine Greek, 1 Timothy 2:12 contains the unique word authentein, a word I have already written about several times.

In the Old Testament, which was originally written (mostly) in Hebrew, Genesis 2:18–20 contains the word kenegdô, twice. This word is usually translated into English as “suitable for him,” “meet for him,” “corresponding to him,” etc. (Kenegdô is a prepositional phrase with three components but, for the sake of simplicity, I will refer to it as a word.)

When a particular word is used in only one biblical text, and there is no other usage and context we can draw on for comparison, it can be difficult to determine with certainty what the biblical authors meant when they used that particular word. Nevertheless, in this article, I look at what kenegdô might mean.

My Hebrew is basic and I am much more comfortable with Greek, so as well as looking at what Hebrew experts say, I am also using the Septuagint, the ancient Greek version of the Old Testament (also known as LXX), to explain the meaning of kenegdô.

meaning kenegdo genesis 2

The Hebrew word Kenegdô in Genesis 2:18–20

In Genesis 2:18–20, God speaks and says that he will provide an ezer kenegdô for the solitary human he has created. This ezer kenegdô will provide a level of companionship that the animals are incapable of, and she will alleviate the human’s unsatisfactory (“not good”) solitude (Gen. 2:18).

The Hebrew word ezer is used elsewhere in the Old Testament and always refers to a strong, rescuing kind of help. The Greek translation of ezer in the LXX, which is boēthos, has the same strong sense. Because ezer and boēthos occur elsewhere in Scripture (and in other ancient literature) we can see how the words are used, which helps our interpretation and comprehension.

The meaning of the word kenegdô is less clear. Kenegdô comes from the common word neged. The Hebrew lexicographers Brown, Driver and Briggs (BDB) give the primary meanings of neged as “in front of,” “in sight of,” or “opposite to” when the word functions as a preposition (or adverb), as it does in Genesis 2:18 and 20.

But the word in verses 18 and 20 isn’t simply “neged”; the word has both a prefix at the beginning and a suffix at the end.

The כּ (kaf) prefix (= “k”) is an inseparable preposition which is typically translated as “like,” “as,” or “according to,” and it affects the meaning of neged.[1] The kaf  (“k”) prefix means that “opposite” is an unlikely sense of kenegdô.

The pronominal וֹ (holem vav) suffix is equivalent to the pronoun “him.”  So the word kenegdô is effectively made up of two prepositions plus a pronoun; it is a prepositional phrase.[2]

BDB go on to give the definitions of  kenegdô as “to what is in front of = according to,” and they translate Genesis 2:18 as “I will make him a help corresponding to him i.e. equal and adequate to himself.” (My underline.)[3] 

The definitions of  kenegdô in Holladay’s lexicon are, “like his counterpart = corresponding to him.”[4]

The Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon notes that while kenegdô is not used elsewhere in the Bible, it is used a few times in Rabbinic texts (with or without a pronominal suffix) where it “is often used of things which are like one another.”[5]  So, in Rabbinic texts, the word means “similar.”[6]

A Helpmeet?

The King James Bible translates ezer kenegdô as “an help meet for him.” “Meet for him” is a somewhat adequate translation of kenegdô. (As an adjective, “meet” means suitable, right, proper, fitting.) However, many have misunderstood “an help meet for him” and inferred from this expression that God made the woman to unilaterally serve or assist the man, and even be confined to a subordinate or domestic role.

Walter Kaiser addresses this misunderstanding.

“… the woman was never meant to be an assistant or ‘helpmate’ to the man. The word mate slipped into English since it was so close to Old English meet, which means ‘fit to’ or ‘corresponding to’ the man. … What God had intended then was to make a ‘power’ or ‘strength’ [i.e. ezer] for the man who would in every way ‘correspond to him’ or even ‘be his equal.’”[7]

Similarly, Carrie Miles notes that in using the words ezer kenegdô, “God says that the lonely ha’adam [human] needs a source of strength on the same level, face-to-face—not a housemaid.”[8]

The Greek Translation of Kenegdô in the Septuagint

The Hebrew inseparable preposition kaf, at the beginning of kenegdô, has a somewhat similar range of meanings to the Greek preposition kata (when kata is used with an accusative, as it is in Genesis 2:18). And in Genesis 2:18 of the LXX, kenegdô is translated into Greek simply as kata (plus the accusative masculine pronoun auton, “him.”)

In verse 20, however, the translator has chosen to use a different word to translate kenegdô. He has chosen the Greek word homoios which means “similar” or “having the same nature” (plus the dative masculine pronoun autō, “to him.”)[9]

It seems the translator used two different words, kata and homoios, to express the breadth of meaning of kenegdo. I think this is an excellent and helpful translation choice. Gesenius comments that the LXX translation of kenegdô in Genesis 2:18 and 20 is “well rendered.”

Thus, in the LXX we have boēthon kat’ auton (“a vital help corresponding to him”) in verse 18 and boēthos homoios autō (“a vital help similar to him”) in verse 20.

I have read some books and articles on Genesis 2:18 and 20 that highlight the meaning of “opposite” in the word neged, but “opposite to him,” or “in opposition to him,” does not seem to be a meaning of kenegdô or the meaning of the Greek translation. Rather the ideas expressed are of “similarity” and “correspondence.”

These ideas continue with the man’s description of the first woman who was formed from a side or part taken out of his own body: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” (Gen. 2:23).[10] The man noticed the similarities, that they had the same nature, that the woman was his “counterpart, complement, companion and partner.”[11]


There is nothing whatsoever in the expression ezer kenegdô that implies the subordination of the woman in Genesis 2. Instead, it has the meanings of strength and similarity. Each of the creation accounts in Genesis chapters 1, 2 and 5, highlight the similarity, unity and equality of men and women, and tell us that their joint task involves being God’s regents of the world he created; this includes ruling the animals (Gen. 1:26–30).

There is nothing in Genesis 1 or 2 that supports a hierarchical ideology of gender. Men and women have some differences, but we are also very similar. “Similar to him” and “corresponding with him” are the meanings of kenegdô, the word God used when making the woman in Eden.


[1] Allen P. Ross, Introducing Biblical Hebrew (Baker Academic, 2001), 47.

[2] To clarify: The word kenegdô contains a kaf prefix, followed by the main word neged, plus the holem vav suffix which has an “oh” sound. Adding the prefix changes the syllables and vowel sounds so k+neged+ô becomes kenegdô.

[3] Francis Brown, The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (BDB) (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2007), 617.

[4] William L. Holladay (ed.), A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 226. (Google Books)

[5] Friedrich Wilhelm Gesenius, Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures, German to English translation by Samuel Prideaux Tregelles (London: Samuel Bagster and Sons, 1857)  (Blue Letter Bible)

[6] Gary Rendsburg notes that “the various manuscript readings of Mekhilta Pisḥa reveal the interconnectivity and semantic equivalency of multiple terms meaning ‘similar to,’ including the biblical ke-neged.” 

Oxford Bodl. Or. 150 (= Neubauer, no. 151): אמר לו רבו יש לי כניות כמותך (His master said to him “I have others servants like you (ke-motka).”)
Oxford Geniza fragment c. 18/9: אמ’ לו רבו יש לי כניות כנגדך (His master said to him: “I have other servants equal to you (ke-negdeka).”)
Munich Cod. hebr. 117, fol. 2r: אמר לו רבו יש לי כמותך כיוצא בך His master said to him: “I have like you (ke-motka) and similar to you (ke-yoṣe bak).” (Source: Torah.com)

[7] “Genesis,” Hard Sayings of the Bible by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Peter H. Davids, F. F. Bruce, Manfred Brauch (InterVarsity Press, 1996), 94.

[8] Carrie A. Miles, “Gender,” The Oxford Handbook of Christianity and Economics, Paul Oslington (ed.) (Oxford University Press, 2014), 608.

[9]  The Vulgate translates kenegdo in Genesis 2:18 and 20 as having the sense of “similar” or “like”:

Genesis 2:18: adiutorium similem sui (“a help like unto himself”)
Genesis 2:20: adiutor similis eius (“a helper like himself”).

[10] “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” may be an extension of a Hebrew idiom which refers to a close bond, or close relationship, and signifies loyalty. The Hebrew idiom occurs in the following verses.

In Genesis 29:14 where Laban says to Jacob, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh!” (Hebrew)
In Judges 9:2 where Jerubaal sends a message to the leaders of Shechem and says, “Remember that I am your bone and your flesh.” (Hebrew)
In 2 Samuel 5:1//1 Chronicles 11:1 where all of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “Look, we are your bone and flesh.” (Hebrew of 2 Sam. 5:1 and of 1 Chron. 11:1)
In 2 Samuel 19:12 where David sends a message to the elders of Judah which includes, “You are my brothers; you are my bone and my flesh.” (Hebrew)
In 2 Samuel 19:13 where David continues, “And say to Amasa, ‘Are you not my bone and my flesh?” (Hebrew)

The same Hebrew words for “bone” and “flesh” are used in all these verses, including Genesis 2:23. (Hebrew) The Hebrew idiom has a similar sense to the English idiom “flesh and blood,” so some English translations of the verses I’ve cited have “flesh and blood” rather than “bone and flesh.”

[11] Derek and Diane Tidball, The Message of Women: Creation, Grace and Gender (InterVarsity Press, 2012), 37.

© Margaret Mowczko 2014
All Rights Reserved
Last edited August 18, 2023

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Postscript: May 10, 2023
Neged, Nagad, and Nagid

The Hebrew noun נֶגֶד (neged) which is a component of kenegdo often means “in front of.” The related verb נָגַד (nagad) typically means “to be conspicuous.” In his 2023 book, The Bible vs Biblical Womanhood, Philip B. Payne makes the following comment about a closely related noun נָגִיד (nagid) which usually means “leader” or “ruler.”

Nagid means ” the person in front.” It identifies “the leader of Israel, appointed by Yahweh” [HALOT 2:668] and describes Saul’s, David’s, and Solomon’s rule over Israel in 1 Sam. 9:16; 10:1: 13:14; 25:30; 2 Sam. 6:21; 7:8; and 1 Kings 1:35.
Payne, The Bible vs Biblical Womanhood, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2023), 4. (Amazon)

You can see all occurrences of nagid in the Hebrew Bible here. I’m not suggesting that kenegdo implies leadership or prominence. I’ve added this note to simply show that there is nothing in this family of words which indicates a lowly or subordinate position!

Explore more

Kenegdo = Equal to Him (Genesis 2:18 & 20)
A Suitable Helper (in Hebrew)

A Suitable Helper (in the Septuagint)
Ezer Kenegdo does not mean “a helper subordinate to him”
Do women have a special obligation to be helpers?
The Holy Spirit and Eve as Helpers
Teshuqah: What is the Woman’s “Desire” in Genesis 3:16?
All my articles on ezer kenegdo are here.
All my articles on gender in Genesis 1–3 are here.
All my articles on 1 Timothy 2:12 are here.

artigos em portugues sobre igualdade entre homens e mulheres no lar e na igreja

48 thoughts on “Kenegdo: Is the woman subordinate, suitable, or similar to the man?

  1. Thanks for this very helpful post, Marg. I’ve been thinking a lot about this verse and this is really insightful.

    1. Thanks Bev. The verses about gender in Genesis are so important. We need to get the interpretation right.

  2. Thanks for your work in this area. I really appreciate your tone and detail. I have recently started following your blog and have really enjoyed the challenges it has presented to me.

    This post helps make greater sense to the result of sin where in Genesis 3 the man will rule over the woman. If she were already subordinate, ruling over her could not be a result. Sin broke the order of the original creation. So I wonder if, as part of the curse God spoke in the garden, woman is to be ruled over (a new order per God) or is it more of a prophecy that sin will lead to this because people will assign blame and punishment?

    1. Hi Deb,

      Only the serpent and the ground are cursed by God in Genesis 3. I think God is foretelling what things are going to be like now that humans have sinned.

      Sin has marred the harmony and affinity of the first man and woman, and sin will mar and ruin many other relationships. Men ruling women (i.e. patriarchy or a gender hierarchy) is the result of sin.

      1. I’m so happy to not have to point out the fact that the humans weren’t cursed! 😉

  3. In respect to:Deuteronomy 18:22

    “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass , that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken , but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.”

    As an aside to the idea that Genesis 3:16 is a prophecy/instruction FOREVER…and considering that prophecies that are not fulfilled are not of God, we have to conclude that Gen. 3:16 was not a prophecy FOR US at all. Why? Because throughout history men simply have not always ruled over women. There will always be a number of homes where women rule over men.

    I prefer to say it might have been a unique prophecy for Eve, alone, but to say it was a prophecy for all time is simply not fulfilled and therefore Deut.18:22 applies.

    1. Almost all ancient cultures are patriarchal, so I think if Genesis 3:16 is a prophecy it has been fulfilled. The number of homes in ancient times where wives ruled their husbands are few and far between.

      I’m particularly struck by patriarchalism when I read the Old Testament. Jesus, however, came to redeem us from the curses and consequences of sin. Genesis 3:16 need not apply to redeemed followers of Jesus.

      Not all prophecies are “forever.” Some serve as warnings (e.g., Jonah’s prophecy).

      1. I have been pondering the number of times patriarchy is undermined in the Old Testament. I believe it was a social custom which God accommodated during the process of educating people about how they should treat each other. To make it something that God ordained is so sad.

        1. I also believe that God accommodated patriarchy (as he accommodated polygamy, for example) but these social dynamics are far from his ideal and have no place in the New Creation.

  4. On Gen 3:16, “… and he shall rule over you.” is not a command to the woman nor to the man, although some commenters claim this. What I see this as is a warning about what the woman is to expect from being married to the deliberate sinner that tried to blame her. The word rule is the normal word for rule, it includes both good rule and poor rule, and again this is not what some commenters teach.

    1. Yes, There is no “I will . . .” in this part of God’s statement, or any indication that this is his command.

      Genesis 3:16b does contain the common word for “rule”, and yet nowhere else in all of (Protestant) Scripture does it say that men (or a husband) should rule women (or his wife.)

      It doesn’t even say that men or husbands should rule their own households, unless you count the decree by the pagan king Xerxes in Esther 1:22.

      I believe God’s intent is that men and women rule the animals (Gen. 1:26, 28), but not each other. Ideally, humans should live as friends. Friends don’t need hierarchies and rulers to live peacefully and productively.

      1. Yes, my point is that some claim that the rule of the husband is harsh rule or bad rule, but that is not the meaning of the word, it is just all kinds of rule, harsh or kind, good or bad.

        And just as it is fine to work but not sweat and so roll back the effects in Gen 3, so it fine to roll back the effects of a husband’s rule.

        1. . . . and provide pain relief for women in labour.

          1. Marg, so it is okay to roll back the effects given to us (pain in labor) biblically?

            I always wondered if people who protested using the epidural were going off anything real in scripture.

          2. I had no pain whatsoever with the birth of my first child, and I know of other women who had the same experience. I had pain with the birth of my second child, but was given and accepted pain relief.

            I think it’s important to offer and provide relief for whatever painful situations this broken world may bring.

            In the past, some rigid and uncaring people thought it was unbiblical to give mothers pain relief in labor. I’m surprised that a few people still think this way. I personally think this attitude is ridiculous.

            Another consequence of sin and brokenness is hard work, or “painful toil” as some Bible translations have it (Gen. 3:17-19). Yet we should alleviate this too where possible. I applaud people who are trying to put an end to exploitive “sweat-shops,” child labour, and the kind of indentured labour which is tantamount to slavery.

            Mercy and love, healing and wholeness, should be the lenses through which we interpret God’s dealings with his people, especially his instructions. However, pain in childbirth and pain in work are not instructions, but consequences of a world marred by sin.

            PS. God does not punish Christians, either for our sins or for Adam and Eve’s sin, because Jesus has taken care of our punishment on the cross.

  5. Thank you everyone for your replies. I am so glad I posted my thoughts.

  6. Wonderful post – thanks! I have never come across kenegdo being a prepositional phrase, which if I understand you correctly reinforces the word ezer. It is also interesting that the Psalms use the noun and verb to describe Yahweh Himself; does that make Him subordinate to us…?

    1. Hi Mark, it doesn’t exactly reinforce ezer, rather the prepositional phrase kenegdo connects the noun “help” and pronoun “him” (which is itself incorporated in the word kenegdo). The prepositional elements of kenegdo say something about the relationship between “help” and “him.”

  7. Husband and wife are one flesh to work together in a ministry…just like Priscilla and Aquilla teaching together Acts 18:22-26 and in their church ministry in Romans 16:3-5

    1. It seems that most people in ministry in New Testament times worked with a partner, or a group of colleagues; they rarely ministered alone. However, we only have a little evidence of married couples working together. Men worked with men (e.g., Rom. 16:21), women worked with women (e.g., Rom. 16:12), and men and women worked together (e.g. Rom. 16:7), each according to their gifts, abilities, and means.

      My husband has different ministry gifts to me, so we often do not serve together, but our marriage bond, our exclusive one flesh relationship, remains.

  8. Meet, which means ‘fit to’ fits with complementary function. Like nuts and bolts. mutually supportive. That fits with how the minds and bodies function too. You can see this in nature too. male and female, it’s just humans that get that superiority thing going. Yet Paul wrote about headship and Jesus is the head. But Jesus is perfect and men are not. God listens and is willing to reason with us. As Christ loved the church so men should love their wives. I once heard a Rabbi say it means to oppose when wrong and support when right. Jesus even taught to rebuke your brother when he sins against you. The law says to know the law and not agree to sin with anyone. Abigail saved her house when her husband offend David etc. both male and female are in the image of God

  9. Well true there’s little evidence of a married couple working together in ministry in the bible. I like to compare how adam & eve were to be by each other in an assignment of ruling the earth with work, along with partners that were in different orders in the New Testament….to compare how a wife assisting with her husband in ministry is important as well. Men and women have different talents and color, and as being one flesh in preaching the word that can develope a ministry with power…. my pastor and his wife both pastor in the church I attend. I see both preaching in achord to us all and running the house(church) with many activities.

  10. Aquila and priscilla in Romans16:3-5 is what I see of a married couple running a church. Even though it doesn’t say more than just “Their church”…. Just by knowing how they’re a couple having their own ministry together based on this verse should give some exppectations of being a married cople working together in the church. An example of them working together by teaching is in Acts18:24-26, I see it somewhat like this. But the Lord inspires in many ways..its all in his calling

    1. Yes, I am sure God does call some couples to minister together. 🙂

  11. How can humans, who are similar, make such a mess out of what dissimilar animals do every day? i.e.

    “SYMBIOSIS – the intimate living together of two dissimilar organisms in a mutually beneficial relationship; especially : mutualism”

    Why is AUTHORITY, HIERARCHY and POSITION so important to humans?…no wonder the scriptures tell us we must ‘die’ to self…if this were true of us all, then this whole discussion would be moot and there would be NO “Christian” Complementarians insisting on their exclusive ownership of particular roles…they would learn to share the labour in a mutually beneficial way. Is it really so difficult to give one another the liberty to be led exclusively by God in God’s Kingdom and to function only according as God has given us gifts for the good of us all?

  12. Besides loving the content of this article, I love the “click to tweet” insert!

    Thanks for making tweeting so easy.

    1. Hi Kathryn, it’s easy to install.

  13. Hi, I enjoy reading about the ezer kenegedo, and your post is great. However, ezer is usually a term that describes God or a military ally. I read there are two roots for ezer which mean resucer or strength. I think a strong ally is a great translation for this word. I read kenegedo is in the substantive meaning a preposition that can stand alone as a kind of noun. In other words, kenegedo can be translated “as the (one) before him. Eve could be described “a strong ally as the one before him”. How is she before him? I think the best translation is “face to face” because, unlike the animals, Eve is the only one who could stand before Adam and communicate face to face. Neged comes from a root that means “to tell”. At the same time, ke in kenegedo can mean “like”. What if Ezer Kenegedo is translated ” a strong ally like the (one) before him”. That puts a different spin on things because Eve would be like the one before him instead of as the one before him. Other than Eve, who was the one before Adam in a face-to-face relationship? That would be God himself. Eve was a strong ally like the one (God) before him (Adam). Maybe this phrase is supposed to describe Eve’s likeness to God instead of her relationship to Adam. Just my thoughts.

    1. And yet when Adam saw the woman he described her as being like himself: bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. Moreover, God doesn’t say I will make a help similar to “me” (1st person), he says I will male a help similar to “him” (3rd person). The cholem vav suffix “o” in kenegdo functions as a pronoun and means “him” in Genesis 2:20.

      Having said that, I have no doubt that the first humans were like God in some way. We still are his image-bearers.

  14. This is quite interesting reading. Love it! I must tell you, however, that a couple of years ago (in a Mother’s Day message) our pastor actually spent time speaking to married women, not necessarily as “mothers”. The congregation is an older one with a number of widows, and a lot of women long past childbearing days. These are all mature women. At the end of the service, I rushed out to the car to have a meltdown. He said that women were to be SUBSERVIENT to their husbands. Not submissive, not subordinate, but SUBSERVIENT. He said it twice. Normally he has his head screwed on straight and is a good Bible student, but something went wrong here IMHO. My husband asked him about it the following Sunday in a friendly casual kind of way, and he still stood by the subservient role of women. This whole thing greatly saddens me. Sometimes I sit and wonder just “who” I am. Nobody seems to know. Put 10 major Greek and Hebrew scholars together, and I’ll bet you won’t get a strong majority opinion.

    1. Hi Jo,

      I just finished reading an excellent, well-researched paper on the household codes, but throughout women were referred to as subordinate, not just submissive. By the end I felt thoroughly deflated. The message, whether intentional or not, was that women were inferior to men. On the other hand, when I read the New Testament I am empowered and revitalised. I am a child of God, an heir of God and co-heir with Jesus. My fellow male Christians are my brothers, not my superiors. And we all are to follow Jesus’ example and humbly serve one another.

      I know what you mean about there not being a majority opinion. There were a variety of opinions and practices about women’s roles in the church in the first two centuries too. But, unfortunately the male-only clergy model prevailed and women were squeezed out of many ministries.

      Subservience and the subordination of women hurts women. It also hurts men, marriages, society, and the ministries and mission of church. Whereas, mutuality (or equality) allows everyone to use their gifts and function at their best.

      1. i agree totally—these pat/comp believers do a disservice to the word of god, others and themselves when they insist that scripture says women are in a subservient/submissive role and must always be under male headship—-thes following questions arise from that statement—no they do not need an answer except from pat/comp blelievers who usually block me after I ask them for answers to these situations.
        1- who is woman’s head before she marries? dad? What if she moves away from home and has a job? of course that presupposes that family allows a daughter to leave the home and go out on her own, which many pat/comp teachings do not allow.
        2-what if the woman’s father dies or divorces the mom and moves away from the home ? who is her headship then?
        2-so a woman on her own under the headship of christ as a single woman, then she marries. she is now supposed to give up headship of christ to a fallible man? that is so unfair to the man who can never live up to christ.
        3- what man becomes her headship after her husband dies? her pastor? does her pastor want to be her headship and answer all her questions and direct her life–does he have time to do that especially if there are several single women in the church? does the wife of the pastor want her husband deciding all sorts of things for these single women?

  15. Our Savior said, these who obey Me are MY brothers, sisters and mothers. Also He said, don’t exercise authority over or have dominion. Too many are listening to these men who exercise dominion and don’t respect the older ladies as mothers. Think about what Jesus said, call no man on earth father, don’t be called rabbi or master. Don’t listen to people do not do these basics the Savior Himself taught. Paul wrote we are coheirs. In the kingdom of God they are not given in marriage. In fact God Himself says in the image of God he made them, later He tells Israel not to make a false image of God, God is not male or female nor like the animals. God said He made them male and female but He also makes us tall, short, dark or light. Your sex is one part of the human experience. Paul wrote in the church there was Jew nor Greek, male nor female…… everybody first needs to be obeying God before we tell others what to be or how to act.

    1. I completely agree, Dale. Many Christians ignore the basics and focus on the obscure. And many forget that kindness is always key.

      1. The male dominated ministry also ignores what God inspired Paul to write in Titus 2:3 let the older women teach the younger women. And the Savior’s teaching that all that are taught by God come to Jesus. God is our Father. Which little brother would dare to get in their Father way? Prov 31 woman teaches her maids and the law of kindness is on her lips. Prov says don’t forget the teachings of your Father remember the law of your mother. Much of the modern ministry is a state supported job that gets in the way of fathers and mothers. Jesus, Paul and John all wrote don’t listen to their teachings, their doctrines, but do listen to the true “shepherd and bishop” of your souls.

        1. Hi Dale,

          I don’t use Titus 2:3-5 to support the idea that women should teach, because the topics of the teaching listed in this passage are almost identical with what older pagan women taught the younger ones. Paul is not writing here that older women should teach younger ones Christian theology. (More on this here.)

          I do however, use Proverbs 31, especially the first nine verses, as well as other passages from Proverbs, which indicates that mothers taught their sons, even their grown sons. More in this here and here.

          I love your statement that much modern ministry is a paid job that gets in the way of “fathers” and “mothers.”

          1. I guess this gets to the point of the various limits and bounds people have in life. Whether God in His word sets these for us or society. God gave Adam and Eve basic instructions, but they sinned. Which get to the current point of are we following the Christ or the traditions of humans?


  16. I’m sorry, but this article just simply leaps over numerous other scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments that clearly lay out an authority structure that is ordained by God. For instance, it is laid out about as clearly as it possibly can be in 1 Cor 11 (forgive me if I’ve got the reference wrong).

    The authority structure is plainly stated as God -> Christ -> Man -> Woman

    This says nothing, nor changes anything about the woman’s equality before God as a person, or moral agent, but in the matters of church, and marriage (the latter is the model of the former) there is a clear and plainly and consistently given structure, throughout scripture. God is the head of Christ. Christ is the head of Man. Man is the head of Woman.

    It means nothing outside of Church, or Marriage, in which cases, women are the equal of men.

    Thus, I do not complain, nor have any qualm about my boss at work being a woman. She does a fine job and I am happy to submit to her and be the best servant I can to her. My every thought is “how can I help her do her job in such a way that HER boss praises her?”

    But in the church and in the marriage, these things are models of the heavenly hierarchy of things, and God is abundantly clear in that regard.

    I do not have the mind of God that I might explain why he has made it that way. But he clearly has.

    1. Hi Robert,

      The article on this page is about the meaning of the Hebrew word-phrase kenegdo which is found twice in Genesis 2. The content of this article focuses solely on this topic and I haven’t discussed verses that do not contain kenegdo.

      1 Corinthians 11:3, which Paul wrote in Greek, does not change the meaning of a Hebrew word-phrase written centuries earlier. But since you have brought up 1 Corinthians 11, here are another couple of verses Paul wrote in this passage:
      “Nevertheless, in the Lord, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man (cf. Gen. 2:21-23), so also man is born of woman (cf. Gen. 4:1 NIV). But everything comes from God” (1 Corinthians 11:11-12).

      There is mutual interdependence in the relationships of those of us who are in Christ, as we all are brothers and sisters, with God as both our source and our authority.

      Is God not the authority of men and of women, of husbands and of wives? Is Jesus not the authority of women and wives?

      Here is something else Paul wrote:
      “For there is one God and one mediator between God and people, the human being Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people” (1 Timothy 2:5-6).
      No one should come between Jesus and another believer.

      I don’t discuss 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 in this article but I do here: https://margmowczko.com/category/1-corinthians-11-2-16/

    2. And if the woman does not have a husband or he dies, what man is her head?

      You say you have no problem with a woman being your boss but there are Christians who say different—that a women should never be boss over a man at work or anywhere. So who is right?

      That is the problem with patriarchy—> all the different applications, approaches and rules that come from a few verses taken out of context—

      The only problem I have with differing opinions is that the pat/comp groups say their interpretations, rules, applications are right and everyone else’s is sin. And those “biblical” rules put before the wife that make her more godly and earn more of God’s brownie points. The lists vary from what to wear, how to raise the kids, how to approach her husband to way out wacko things that say women should only vote the way her husband does and horrible stuff like he can spank her when she disobeys. All this based on scripture.

      btw, something I just read elsewhere–and it is very telling along with being funny—> If Man is the head and woman is the body, who has the genitals?

  17. Hello! I found this article when researching the word “ezer.” I appreciate the depth behind the meaning of the original words and how they were used especially since I do not know Hebrew or Greek.

    Everything was well explained but I did have a question about the ending of your article. You wrote, “I have read some books and articles on Genesis 2:18 and 20 which highlight the meaning of “opposite” in the word neged; but “opposite to him”, or “in opposition to him”, does not seem to be a meaning of kenegdo or the meaning of the Greek translation. Rather the ideas expressed are of “similarity” and “correspondence”. ”

    It seems like other texts use the opposite meaning of your meaning…. ie. “opposite” or “in opposition to him” verses “similarity” and “correspondence.” Those are total opposites from the same word. Can you elaborate more on this?

    I know that we all can find texts that support our preconceived ideas and stances. I appreciated how you brought in what other research says…but more elaboration on why it doesn’t fit might be useful, if you wanted to go there. I hope that I would use the whole Bible to help me define and expand upon the meaning and use of words verses not also including our whole view of God based on the totality of the Scriptures. It seems like you do this from how you explain the definitions.

    Thank you for your work.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Sejena.

      The Hebrew word neged can have the sense of “opposite to.” But the word used in Genesis 2 is not just neged, it is kenegdo. The “k” (kaf) prefix at the beginning of the word makes “opposite” an unlikely sense of kenegdo.

      This is what I wrote in the article above, but I appreciate that it is a little tricky to understand:
      “But the word in verse 18 and 20 isn’t simply ‘neged‘; it has both a prefix and a suffix. The כּ (kaf) prefix is an inseparable preposition which is typically translated as “like”, “as”, and “according to”, and it affects and alters the meaning of neged.”

      I’ll add a sentence or two to make it easier to understand.

  18. Marg thanks for your article. Working for the truth from South America

  19. Writing with Genesis 1 in mind, John H. Walton writes,

    “We must take the text on its own terms … God has chosen the agenda of the text, and we must be content with the wisdom of those choices. If we attempt to commandeer the text to address our issues, we distort it in the process. …
    Sound interpretation proceeds from the belief that the divine and human authors were competent communicators and that we can comprehend their communications. But to do so we must respect the integrity of the author by refraining from replacing his message with our own.”
    Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One (2009) p.19.

    This principle applies to Genesis 2 also.

  20. […] Now let’s dive into the word kenegdo. Technically, kenegdo is not one word. It is a word that “has both a prefix at the beginning and a suffix at the end. The כּ (kaf) prefix (= “k”) is an inseparable preposition which is typically translated as “like,” “as,” or “according to,” and it affects the meaning of neged.[1] …The pronominal וֹ (holem vav) suffix is equivalent to the pronoun “him.”  So the word kenegdô is effectively made up of two prepositions plus a pronoun; it is a prepositional phrase.[2]” – Marg Mowczko, “Kenegdo: Is the Woman Subordinate, Suitable, or Similar to the Man?”. […]

  21. […] Kenegdo: Is the woman subordinate, suitable or similar to the man? […]

  22. […] Kenegdo: Is the woman in Genesis 2 subordinate, suitable, or similar to the man? […]

  23. […] The senses of kenegdo are “similar to him,” “corresponding to him,” and “equal to him.” The woman was neither superior nor inferior to the man; their relationship was one of equality and mutuality.[2] The Nuwe Afrikaanse Vertaling explicitly conveys this meaning with the use of the word gelyke (= “equal”). It’s a shame most English Bibles do not convey this meaning more clearly. […]

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