March 12, 2016 Matt Pennock

ἐξουσία, Authority

“Exousia authority” is more explicitly defined as having power over, the right to decide, or the liberty to do whatever one pleases. A centurion soldier said to Jesus,

“I also am a man under [exousia] authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes…” (Matt. 8:9)

Paul in his letter to the Romans describes the relationship between a potter and the clay,

“Or does not the potter have a [exousia] right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?”(Rom 9:21)

Biblical manhood and headship are most definitely not exousia authorities. See Headship, kephale. The woman is not the property of the man, nor do men have the right to do whatever they please because they are men. Exousia authority is a power that comes only from God. Jesus said to Pilate,

You would have no [exousia] authority…unless it had been given to you from above. (John 19:11)

All authority and all strength belongs to God and are currently in possession of Jesus:

And Jesus came and said to them, “All [exousia] authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.(Matt. 28:18)

When God is removed from the equation, dictatorship and abuse of strength and power inevitably result. This applies to every man that ever existed. The Apostle Paul writes,

There is no [exousia] authority except from God… (Rom. 13:1)

Strength does not mean authority. A father and  husband is held responsible as the leader of his wife and children because they are the “weaker vessels.” (1 Pet. 3:7) Men are held responsible throughout the Bible not because they have authority but because they are men. It is only natural and fitting for the stronger to be held responsible for the weaker. Think, for example, of how unnatural it would be for children to be held responsible for their parents. Think of how a boy grows up with a natural and healthy respect for his dad simply by virtue of his dad having tons of strength over him. It is a healthy “fear” to learn as the child knows that if he does something he shouldn’t, he’s going to be disciplined by him. To his wife a man’s strength provides safety and security. He does not exercise discipline on his wife because she is not his child but his companion. (Mal. 2:14) Interestingly, the only place exousia authority is discussed in the man-woman context is in the letter to the Corinthians. And Paul teaches that they both have it over each other:

For the wife does not have [exousia] authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have [exousia] authority over his own body, but the wife does. (1 Cor. 7:4)

Johann Albrecht Bengels Gnomen expounds, “(Ἰδίου, of her own) This word with the phrase, she has not power, makes an elegant paradox. The rights of both are equal.”

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