Who Is the Head of the Church?

Biblical Authority Devotional: Authority and the Church, Part 1

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Chuck McKnight, AiG–U.S., shows why Jesus Christ is considered the Head of the church.

And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:18)

Today’s big question: who is the Head of the church?

As we begin a new series of devotionals on biblical authority and the church, it is important that we start with the proper foundation. Jesus Christ, the Head of the church, is that Foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11).

The Bible often uses the image of a cornerstone—the first and most essential stone laid in the construction of a building—to refer to Christ. Literally translated, this word means “the head of the corner.” Throughout the Old Testament, we are given prophecies of this coming Head.

The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. (Psalm 118:22–23)
Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily.” (Isaiah 28:16)

In the New Testament, Jesus quoted the prophecy from Psalm 118 and applied it to Himself (Matthew 21:42). Both Paul and Peter later affirmed that Christ is this Cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20, Acts 4:11, 1 Peter 2:4–8).

Christ fulfilled the prophecies and became our Cornerstone by dying for us and rising from the dead (Ephesians 1:20). He is therefore “head over all things to the church, which is His body” (Ephesians 1:22–23). Clearly, the head is crucial for the health of the body. Your body would be lifeless without your head, and in the same way it is from Christ that we, the church, are to live and grow (Ephesians 4:15–16; Colossians 2:19).

The head is the source of commands and decisions that affect the rest of the body. Likewise, Christ guides and directs the church. In Scripture there is also a parallel between Christ as the Head of the church and the husband as the head of the wife (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:22–24). The wife is therefore to submit to her husband, just as the church is to submit to Christ.

Jesus Christ, though rejected by the world, is our Cornerstone—He is our Head and our Foundation. He is the reason the church exists, and everything we do must be based on Him. Christ is to have preeminence in the church, our lives, and all things.

Today’s big idea: Jesus Christ is the Head of the church—our Cornerstone.

What to pray: give Christ the preeminence in your life that He deserves.


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