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1 Clement of Rome mutual submission Apostolic Fathers

An Introduction to First Clement

First Clement is one of the earliest surviving Christian documents that we have apart from those in the New Testament and possibly the Didache. The letter has traditionally been given the date of circa 92–99 which would make it contemporary with the Revelation. The last line of the letter identifies it as “The letter of the Romans to the Corinthians,” though some say the letter was written by Clement of Rome who is regarded as the first Apostolic Father.[1]

The letter from Rome is an “appeal for peace and concord” in the Corinthian church. As in the New Testament letters, in 1 Clement we see that jealousies had resulted in factions in the Christian community at Corinth (cf. 1 Cor. 1:10ff). It seems that a faction of younger men had deposed some of the church elders. 1 Clement draws heavily on Old Testament scripture, early Christian writings and traditions, as well as secular sources to make its appeal. One of its sources is Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.

In this post, I want to highlight just two points from 1 Clement. I want to show that the word kephalē (“head”) is used in the letter in the context of mutual submission, and I want to show how the authors regarded women. I briefly compare these points with Paul’s use of kephalē and how Paul regarded women.

I read 1 Clement from The Apostolic Fathers, The Greek Texts and English Translations (3rd edition) edited and translated by Michael W. Holmes (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007), 44–131. All quotes are taken from this edition. A different translation of 1 Clement can be read online here.

Kephalē in First Clement

Many English–speaking Christians assume that “head,” apart from its literal meaning, has the metaphorical meaning of “leader” or “a person in authority” in the New Testament. However, in original ancient Greek texts (that are not a translation from another language), including the New Testament, kephalē (head) rarely, if ever, has the metaphorical meaning of “leader”.

Kephalē is used in a number of different contexts in Greek. For instance, it can be used as part of a head–body metaphor that signifies unity (cf. Eph. 4:15–16; 5:23; Col. 1:18a; Ign.Trall. 11:2). In 1 Clement, kephalē (head) is used in a somewhat similar way (cf. 1 Cor. 12:12ff). Note that “head” and “feet” in this passage refer, metaphorically, to people with high and low social statuses. Nevertheless, all these people were to mutually submit to one another which was not at all how the ancient Roman world worked!

Let us take the body as an example. The head without the feet is nothing, likewise, the feet without the head are nothing. Even the smallest parts of our body are necessary and useful to the whole body, yet all the members coalesce harmoniously and unite in mutual subjection, so that the whole body may be saved. So in our case let the whole body be saved in Christ Jesus, and let each of us be mutually subject to our neighbour, in proportion to each one’s spiritual gift. The strong must not neglect the weak, and the weak must respect the strong. Let the rich support the poor, and let the poor give thanks to God because he has given him someone through whom his needs may be met. . . . 1 Clement 37:5–38:2a.

This passage in 1 Clement is not about leadership or authority, even though the word kephalē (head) is used. In fact, if “head” is inferred as meaning “leader” the sense of unity in this passage will be lost. Similarly, I believe that the meaning of some passages in Paul’s letters are lost when “head” is presumed to mean “person in authority” (e.g., Eph. 5:23; 1 Cor. 11:3).

Rather than authority, this passage in 1 Clement is about mutual submission, unity, and harmony in the church. It’s also about the more socially advantaged people helping the disadvantaged, the weak, and the poor. The authors, however, do not go as far as Paul does in his teaching about body ministry. They seem to perpetuate social distinctions whereas Paul aimed to lessen the distinctions between the haves and have-nots and he aimed to lessen the potential for abuse that comes with power. Paul’s goal was equality (Gal. 3:26–28; 1 Cor. 12:13; 2 Cor. 8:14 NIV cf. Acts 4:32ff).

The overriding aim of 1 Clement was to resolve issues about leadership in the church at Corinth. Yet, nowhere in his letter is the word kephalē (head) used in the context of leadership.[2]

Women in First Clement

The passage quoted above is addressed to “men brothers” (andres adelphoi) (1 Clem. 37:1). In fact, most of the letter is addressed to andres adelphoi rather than using a more gender-inclusive phrase.[3] Unlike Jesus and Paul, the authors of 1 Clement were not champions of women. However, they recognised and honoured Bible women such as Rahab. They devote a chapter to Rahab and conclude with, “You see, dear friends, not only faith but also prophecy is found in this woman” (1 Clem. 12:8).

The authors also speak well of Christian women tortured for their faith, who they refer to as “Danaïds and Dircae” (1 Clem. 6:2).[4] 1 Clement 55:3 states, “Many women, being strengthened by the grace of God, have performed manly deeds [or, courageous deeds – andreia].” They then go on to mention Judith (1 Clem. 55:4–5) and Esther (1 Clem. 55:6).[5] These women all have one thing in common: they were all heroic in the face of danger and were prepared to risk their lives. (Lot’s wife and Miriam are also mentioned in less flattering terms.)

On the other hand, the mundane instructions in 1 Clement concerning wives closely match the language of Titus 2:4–5. There is a concern about the social conventions of that time which meant keeping wives confined to domesticity (1 Clem. 1:3b). And the men are told to guide their women toward what is good. These “good” things are purity, gentleness, silence and, specific to the current situation of jealousy and factionalism, love without favouritism (1 Clem. 21:6b–7). In accord with the customs of the day, but quite unlike Paul, 1 Clement holds husbands responsible for the behaviour of their wives.

The scope of 1 Clement is limited. The primary concern was for harmony and peace in the Corinthian church and, to that end, it encouraged mutuality and mutual submission among the men. It is apparent, however, that the authors did not regard women as the equal of men or as colleagues in Christian ministry. This is in contrast to Paul. The letters that Paul wrote to churches were not addressed to the men only. Women were included in instructions for mutuality and mutual submission (e.g., Eph. 5:21). Moreover, many of Paul’s ministry colleagues were women. Paul mentions over a dozen women by name in his letters and he sometimes addresses them personally or sends greetings to them.

1 Clement is an interesting read, albeit long-winded at times, as it gives us a glimpse into church life at the end of the first century, but, because of its male bias, I am glad that it was not included in the New Testament. On the other hand, I am very glad that Paul’s letters—with his encouragement of mutual submission among all believers and support of women ministers—were considered inspired and authoritative, and were included, even if some verses in them are genuinely difficult to exegete.

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[1] The letter is anonymous and does not bear Clement’s name. Tradition, however, ascribes it to Clement who was bishop of Rome in AD 92–99.

[2] Kephalē (head) is used in three verses of 1 Clement: “they shook their heads” 1 Clem. 16:16; “The head without the feet is nothing, likewise, the feet without the head are nothing” 1 Clem. 37:5; “let not the oil of sinners anoint my head” 1 Clem. 56:5. In 16:16 and 56:5 “head” is used literally, in 37:5 it is used metaphorically.

[3] “Andres adelphoi” is a formal way of addressing a crowd and does not necessarily exclude women, but it is an expression that does not intentionally include women. This expression is also used in several public speeches recorded by Luke in the Acts of the Apostles. I look closely at Luke’s use of this expression in a footnote here.

[4] Christine Trevett briefly explains Clement’s reference to “Danaïds and Dircae.”

The humiliation of arena victims was the norm and the crowd was entertained by having victims enact, pantomime-like, scenes from mythology. . . . In the case of the Danaïds, then, helpless Christian women may have been pursued by “suitors” or else forced to re-enact the punishment of Tartarus [filling bottomless barrels with water] . . . As for being like a Dirce, in the mythology, Dirce was wife to Lycus, king of Thebes, who had a slave girl called Antiope, a Theban princess.  Dirce treated her cruelly, but Antiope was avenged by the son she had had to abandon.  Dirce’s fate was to be tied to the horns of a bull and dragged to death as punishment for her cruelty. Christian victims did suffer a “dragging” in the arena, and this would be the point of [Clement’s] analogy.
Trevett, Christian Women and the Time of the Apostolic Fathers (AD c.80–160): Corinth, Rome and Asia Minor (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2006), 52–54.

[5] The Greek word andreia is used in Proverbs 12:4 and 31:10 of the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) of both valiant and virtuous women.

First Clement mutual submission women church


The Martyrdom of Clement of Rome by Italian painter Bernadino Fungai (b. 1416) (Wikimedia)
A Christian Dirce by Polish painter Henryk Siemiradzki (b. 1843) (Wikimedia)

Explore more

Mutual Submission in Early Christian Writings
Gender Equality in Second Clement
An Overview of Paul’s Use of Kephalē (“Head”)
Kephalē and Male Headship in Paul’s Letters
4 Reasons “Head” Does Not Mean “Leader” in 1 Cor. 11:3
Paul’s Personal Greeting to Women Ministers
“Equality” in Paul’s Letters
Female Martyrs and their Ministry in the Early Church
The NT Household Codes are about Power, not Gender
More articles on 1 Clement are here.
More articles on kephalē (“head”) are here.

29 thoughts on “Kephalē (“Head”) and Mutual Submission in First Clement

  1. This is very enlightening! Thanks for your study and hard work on this. I also noticed that Clement had to use “andres adelphoi” to specifically mean “male brothers” as distinguished from just “adelphoi” which is “[gender inclusive] brothers,” or “brothers and sisters.” It does make me wonder about the people who are so up in arms about that word “adelphoi” in the New Testament needing to keep being translated “brothers” rather than “brothers and sisters.” Obviously if adelphoi meant “male brothers,” Clement wouldn’t have had to use “andres adelphoi.” Interesting that Paul didn’t use “andres adelphoi.” It sure didn’t take the church long to move away from Paul’s inclusive message!

  2. Hi Kristen, 1 Clement definitely has a male bias. 2 Clement, written a few decades later, is much more gender inclusive and simply addresses readers as adelphoi. (The two epistles were not written by the same author.)

    In fact, 2 Clement chapter 12 is startling with its message of gender “equality”; or perhaps “neutrality” would be a better word (cf. Gal 3:28c)? Chapter 14 also has some interesting concepts regarding gender. I may post something about this some time this week.

  3. This is an excellent resource for a fuller understanding of “kephale”. Thanks for raising awareness to these writings.

  4. Hi Heather, the main problem addressed in 1 Clement is younger men ousting older men (“elders”) resulting from factionalism. But even if the problem was only among the men it still doesn’t explain the androcentricity of the letter. However, women were probably part of the problem, or compounding the problem, by showing favouritism (1 Clem. 21:7b).

    I don’t think we can draw a strong conclusion about Clement’s use of kephalē but I did want to draw attention to it as I think it weakens the case that it commonly meant “authority”.

  5. Do you think that maybe he only addressed the men here because they were the ones causing the problems within the church he was writing to? Just a thought …

  6. How sad, that the church moved away from the message of Jesus so quickly…

    Great work, Marg!

    “…let the whole body be saved in Christ Jesus, and let each of us be mutually subject to our neighbour…”

    Does Clement use the word “hupotasso” where the English is “be subject”? That will strengthen the case too…

  7. Retha, yes, it’s the usual Greek word for submission: the cognate noun of hupotassō is used in 37:5, and the (3rd person singular present middle imperative) verb is used in 38:1.

    Polycarp (69-155), bishop of Smyrna, in his letter to the church at Philippi (10:2), writes similarly: “All of you be subject to one another . . .” This part of Polycarp’s letter only survives in Latin (and not in Greek) however.

  8. I have read 1 Clement mostly for insight into the ecclesiology of the early church. A term that I sometimes use to describe relationships in the church is, “interdependent.” As Clement says (echoing Paul), the different parts cannot exist without each other. Separated they lack life and lack purpose, brought together they have being and function.

    A bishop, for example, is sometimes thought of as the head of a metropolitan group of churches. One meaning of this role is that he or she is the figurehead or sign of the Church’s unity. A second meaning is that he or she is responsible, on behalf of Christ, for making sure the parts of the body are nourished regularly, usually through the use of assistants or ministers. Here, the function of headship is unity for the sake of life and health. This is how I once heard Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, describe his “job” to a questioner from the audience on the radio.

    Churches without bishops still need this unity to function. Mutual submission is one way unity is expressed and maintained for the sake of growth in these churches. I’m glad that Clement is so clear on this point, even if it seems that he was unable to accept biblical equality when it comes to women.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Dan. Very interesting!

  9. Marg,

    I started to read this post, but stopped so I could look up 1 Clement in my Bible. I couldn’t find it in my Bible. I have several versions that I read, but this one is NKJV.

    Because I couldn’t find 1 Clement, I looked for it by searching the Internet. Eventually, I found a site that said the book was eliminated from today’s Bible because it is thought to be uninspired. The reason is thought to be uninspired is because Clement wrote of the mythical creature called a phoenix.

    I don’t know the context of this reference to the phoenix in his writing. Who knows Clement could have used the phoenix for some sort of figurative illustration! I know that there were probably a lot of political reasons for eliminating certain books from the current Bible that I not aware of.

    Could you share any background or history that will help me understand why this is a credible source? I love all of what you write and believe that you have high standards for the sources you use. Thus, I want to be clear that I am not making this request out of a lack of confidence in what you have written. I am making this request out of my own ignorance.


  10. I found a great article discussing the meaning of “head” which supports what you are saying in this blog post.

    Here is the link: http://www.redletterchristians.org/really-men-are-the-spiritual-head-of-the-home/

  11. Hi Shannon, Yes, 1 Clement is not part of the New Testament. I allude to this in my opening paragraph. There are numerous documents written by Christians that didn’t make it into the New Testament canon for one reason or the other.

    I’m not exactly sure what you mean by “credible”, but 1 Clement is a real letter sent by the Roman church to the Corinthian church some time at the end of the 1st century. It is genuinely ancient and was known to the early church. It may have been penned by Clement of Rome, in his role of secretary or bishop of Rome, but we cannot be 100% sure about this.

    I certainly make a distinction between the works in the Bible and those that didn’t make the canon. While some of the works that didn’t make it into the Bible are weird and heretical, others, such as 1 Clement are respected as authentic early Christian letters.

    1 Clement, and the other works by “The Apostolic Fathers”, give us glimpses into early church life, some of these glimpses are valuable.

    The main reason I use 1 Clement in this article is because some Christians who argue that “head” means “leader” do not know how “head” is used in ancient Greek literature. Because 1 Clement was written only a few decades after Paul wrote his letters it is useful to compare how the writers used the word “head”, and it is useful to compare their views on relationships within the church congregation.

    As I say in the closing paragraph of the article: “. . . I am glad that [1 Clement] was not included in the New Testament. On the other hand, I am very glad that Paul’s letters–with his encouragement of mutual submission among all believers and support of women ministers–were considered inspired and authoritative, and were included . . .”

    This article (using 1 Clement) is just one of several I have on this website which looks at the word “head” and what it meant in New Testament times. Look at the “Related Articles” section above if you’d like to read more about kephalē (head).

    Thanks for the link.

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more, Marg. The contrast is worth pointing out even as you provide another case of kephale being used to mean the physical head, not leader, in the context of a call for harmony.

    2. I dug around and found this for free online.


      Is this a good copy of first Clement in Greek?
      Personally I find the spiritual elements of first Clement extremely enriching. For example the way he deals with renewing the image of God in the redeemed person. It’s true that there aren’t any women coworkers in ministry except perhaps the women martyrs in it but I still think it’s extremely important. Plus it’s a wellspring of apologetic and historical information about early Catholicism/Christianity

      1. Yes, this Greek edition is fine. https://scaife.perseus.org/library/urn:cts:greekLit:tlg1271.tlg001/

        It’s been a while since I read 1 Clement, but from memory, I did not find any hint in this document that women were involved in recognised, official ministries in the church in Rome or in Corinth. The men have seemingly taken over.

        I have little doubt that at this time (circa AD 90) some women were still ministering as leaders and teachers in some churches, such as the church in Smyrna, but this doesn’t seem to have been the case for the church in Rome. What we see in Romans 16, and the 10 women, is no longer the case.

        Documents that mention ministering women may well have been lost. I sometimes wonder about lost letters written to Priscilla and Aquila. This couple were close friends of Paul, and it makes sense that he would have sent at least a short letter from time to time.

        This quotation from Andrew S. Jacobs’ essay, “Christianizing the Roman Empire: Jews and the Law from Constantine to Justinian, 300–600 CE,” explains why we have a biased record of the post-apostolic church.

        Our Christian evidence from the 2nd and 3rd centuries is a product of 4th-and 5th-century processes of selection and preservation…. Much of what we know about the first three centuries of Christianity is distorted by the determined efforts of Christian writers of the 4th and 5th centuries to tell a specific story about the triumphant rise of a holy, unified, apostolic Church.

        Rebekah Mui has written about this here: https://medium.com/@rebekahmui/the-early-church-women-and-historical-revisionism-aebe5decfad1

        1. Unfortunately I think this saying “absolute power corrupts absolutely” is verified in my and too many of our experience(s) of church leadership.

          I would be cautious with attributing too much of our history of Christianity (200s AD) to political editorializing. It’s true that there is a more of it than Trent Horn and other Catholic apologists argue there is, but it’s also true that the Catholic Church has a divinely ordained fetish for keeping records. And what a blessing they are. Believe me if the Church had a diabolical scheme to rewrite history had we wouldn’t have 1000 year old women’s ordination rites in our library records. Thank you for sharing your Greek and other scholarly expertise.

          Even as I praise God for my own discovery of women in ordained ministry I also bear in mind that the complementarians also make valid points. Even though God can indeed admit women to ordained ministry we don’t want to fall into the same pattern of being corrupted by a drive for power and recognition.

          1. The Roman Catholic Church, and other religious and political groups, have ignored, banned, and destroyed documents they didn’t agree with. So I have no problem whatsoever believing that documents from the early church (including some from the 200s) that didn’t line up with certain ideas of orthodox beliefs were ignored, banned, or destroyed.

            Most of the ignored documents deteriorated over time and are lost forever, while a few were discovered centuries later. Quite simply, documents that did not appeal to wealthy religious leaders or benefactors, and were not deemed to have value, were not recopied and therefore saved.

            However, I do not for one minute think intentions were necessarily diabolical. Some people would have banned, hidden, or destroyed documents thinking they were doing a good thing. The church has a history of burning books (cf. Acts 19:19).

  12. Eusebius states in book 3 of church history that clement of Rome was the fellow laborer of Paul mentioned in phillipians.
    What worries me is clements view of women in corinth… clement knew Paul personally so wouldn’t he show the same heart Paul did towards women?

    1. There have been plenty of Christians who had a low view of women. Thankfully their letters and sermons and essays didn’t make it into Scripture.

      Also, Eusebius may be mistaken that Clement of Rome is the same Clement in Philippians 4. And Clement of Rome may not have been the author of First Clement.

  13. The Early church fathers seem to take Paul literally. Is there any evidence that they misunderstood Paul? Like I said Clement worked with Paul and I’m guessing when you work with someone you usually get to know their views. Sure the early church fathers aren’t scripture but they definitely view scripture on women in a literal sense not cultural. Ex. Tertullian said that not only Greece but Africa has women covering their heads.

    1. I take what Paul wrote literally.

      To say that the early church fathers seem to take Paul literally is a broad statement, and I’m wondering what you base this on. There are a variety of views expressed by the early church fathers, and a lot of it has nothing to do with Paul one way or the other. I can’t help you with this. Sorry.

  14. Thanks Marg! This is a very interesting and enlightening article, and I hope I can use some of your findings in an upcoming sermon about Eph 5:15-32.

    I wonder if you have overstated your case, though. The quote in 1 Clement XXXVII does use Kephale as the literal head, not metaphorical, but it directly follows an example that is quite clearly authority-oriented (quote below). He talks of authority — generals and soldiers or “great” and “small” — then draws an analogy to the human body, also contrasting “head” versus “smallest”. Clearly there’s a hierarchy in Clement’s thinking.

    The larger point is a plea for unity in the church, that ALL the parts of the body (or of a military unit) are interdependent and EACH is valuable, and we should not consider the one in authority (military) or “head” (body) to be more valuable than another part..

    1 Clement XXXVII and XXXVIII:
    “Let us then, men and brethren, with all energy act the part of soldiers, in accordance with His holy commandments. Let us consider those who serve under our generals, with what order, obedience, and submissiveness they perform the things which are commanded them. All are not prefects, nor commanders of a thousand, nor of a hundred, nor of fifty, nor the like, but each one in his own rank performs the things commanded by the king and the generals. The great cannot subsist without the small, nor the small without the great. There is a kind of mixture in all things, and thence arises mutual advantage.(161) Let us take our body for an example.(162) The head is nothing without the feet, and the feet are nothing without the head; yea, the very smallest members of our body are necessary and useful to the whole body. But all work(163) harmoniously together, and are under one common rule(164) for the preservation of the whole body.

    Let our whole body, then, be preserved in, Christ Jesus; and let every one be subject to his neighbour, according to the special gift(165) bestowed upon him.”

    1. Hi Rod, I think, like the strong and the rich, “head” is about a higher social status.

      Even though Clement believes in an ecclesial hierarchy of sorts, and is concerned that the young Corinthians have ousted their older leaders, I am not convinced he uses kephalē to support a hierarchy. Rather he uses kephalē in his comments about mutuality and interdependence.

      Even his comments on “great” and “small” (not terms I imagine Paul would have used to describe people) are given in the context that they cannot exist without one another, and Clement notes, “There is a certain blending in everything, and therein lies the advantage” (1 Clem. 37:4b). Mutuality, reciprocity, “blending”, rather than rigid hierarchical relationships is surely the ideal in the church.

      It appears we are relying on different interpretations and translations of the text.

      N.B. I use “Clement” as a metonym for the Roman church, the author of 1 Clement.

  15. 1 Clement definitely reads differently than Paul’s letters, especially about women! But there was something I noticed that I was curious about. In 1 clement 21:7, it mentions women showing moderation of their tongues. The linked translation, and two others I was able to find, said they should show the moderation of their tongues by their manner of speaking and not silence. Do you know if there’s a reason for the differences in translations? I also noticed Clement said women should “live in the rule of obedience.” I was curious, what do you think that means?
    It’s also really great to see other ancient writings mentioning mutual submission! It’s good to know that it’s not a modern idea.

    1. Hi Taylor,

      I’m away from home and don’t have access to the Greek text of 1 Clement, so I can’t see what the original wording is.

      The three English translations of 1:3 that I’ve looked at online (just now) all have “rule of obedience,” so “obedience” is probably a correct translation from the Greek. Clement was not an egalitarian when it came to male-female relationships and he expected women to abide by repressive social expectations.

      I’m currently working on an article that will argue that Peter also exhorted his readers to be mutually submissive (1 Peter 5:5 NKJV).

      1. I was thinking a bit more about this, and I had a question that I would appreciate your thoughts on. I was reading some of Dr. Payne’s work on 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 being an interpolation, and he made the point that the first reference to it was by Tertullian in AD 200. However, I thought about 1 Clement 21:7 and wondered, if the correct interpretation/translation is that the women should be silent, could that be an early allusion to 1 Corinthians 14:34-35? I know that the contexts and points being made in those passages are different, but I couldn’t help but wonder if it could be a subtle allusion to it.

        1. Hi Taylor,

          There are plenty of Greek texts that mention the silence or quietness of women, but the language in 1 Clement 21:7 is not at all similar to 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. In fact, there is no Greek word for “silence” in 1 Clement 21:7 despite Lightfoot’s translation.

          to epieikies tēs glossēs autōn dia tēs phonēs phaneron poiēsatōsan

          My literal translation:
          “let them make manifest the moderation of their tongue through their voice”
          Though I would render it (in better English) as:
          “let them show moderation of their tongues by [moderating] their speaking”
          (In Greek, body parts that humans only have one of, tongues, hearts, etc, are written in the singular, not the plural, even when referring to the tongues, hearts, etc, a group of people.)

          Hoole’s translation is good: “Let them make manifest by their conversation the government of their tongues” but he doesn’t include a translation of the phrase dia tēs phonēs: “by the voice”.

          Roberts-Donaldson’s translation is fair: “let them make manifest the command which they have of their tongue, by their manner of speaking …”

          Lightfoot’s translation seemingly interprets “voice” as “silence”: “let them make manifest the moderation of their tongue through their silence …” “Silence” seems unwarranted.

          The word Greek word epieikēs, which I’ve translated as “moderation” has a sense that doesn’t translate well by one English word. It is used in Philippians 4:5 where Paul is saying that he wants the Philippians to be known for having the highest levels of ethical conduct and adhering to the highest moral principles while waiting for Jesus’ return to earth. Epieikēs is translated as “gentle” (NASB), “considerate” (NLT), having “moderation” (KJV), or “forbearance” (Young’s Literal Translation) in Philippians 4:5.

          Epieikēs “and its cognates are used in the LXX [Septuagint] and Josephus mostly of a quality of God or some human ruler who possesses sovereignty but chooses to display mildness and leniency. In the NT the noun form is used of Christians who are associated with the divine King, but must also display his gentleness to others. In Phil 4:5, Christians have a special incentive to display the royal virtue because the Lord is at hand and their promised glory will soon be manifested.” (H Preisker, TDNT, 2.588-590.)


          1 Corinthians 14:34-35 has similarities to the speech Livy recreates of M. Porcius Cato who didn’t like women getting involved in politics and business. See especially 9a which I’ve italicised.

          “[1] If each of us, citizens, had determined to assert his rights and dignity as a husband with respect to his own spouse, we should have less trouble with the sex as a whole . . . For myself, I could not conceal my blushes a while ago, when I had to make my way to the Forum through a crowd of women. [8] Had not respect for the dignity and modesty of some individuals among them rather than of the sex as a whole kept me silent, lest they should seem to have been rebuked by a consul, I should have said, ‘What sort of practice is this, of running out into the streets and blocking the roads and speaking to other women’s husbands? [9] Could you not have made the same requests, each of your own husband, at home? Or are you more attractive outside and to other women’s husbands than to your own? [10] And yet, not even at home, if modesty would keep matrons within the limits of their proper rights, did it become you to concern yourselves with the question of what laws should be adopted in this place or repealed.’ [11] Our ancestors permitted no woman to conduct even personal business without a guardian to intervene in her behalf; they wished them to be under the control of fathers, brothers, husbands; we (Heaven help us!) allow them now even to interfere in public affairs, yes, and to visit the Forum and our informal and formal sessions.”
          Livy, History of Rome 34.2.1, 8-9

  16. […] A head-body metaphor with the sense of unity is used elsewhere in Ephesians and in Colossians, as well as in other Greek literature (Eph. 4:15–16; Col. 1:17–18a; 2:19; 1 Clem. 37:5–38:1-2a; Ign.Trall. 11:2; Plutarch’s The Life of Pelopidas 2.1, etc). The “head” is usually a person of higher status than the “body.” Christ has a higher status than the church, and first-century men had a higher status than their wives. Paul, however, wanted husbands to relinquish the privileges that came with status. […]

  17. […] Kephalē (“Head”) and Mutual Submission in First Clement  […]

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