Q: Where in the Bible does it tell husbands and fathers that they are to be the “priest” or even “High Priest” of their home? You often hear this from preachers. Thank you.
A: As of yet, I have never found in Scripture where the husbands and fathers were being referred to as the “priest” or “High Priest” of their home. I have read that they are the head of the wife, but not as “priest” or “High Priest.” “Head” points to the fact that Adam came first before Eve in creation, and if the principle applies that the first shall be last and the last first, it also points to him becoming last as a servant (minister) to his wife where out of love he prefers her over himself and exalts her needs over his (Matthew 20:16, 25-28; Romans 12:9-10; 1 Corinthians 11:1-3; Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Peter 3:7).
Christ is the head of His body and leaves us with the example of love that is expressed in servitude, preference, and sacrifice. We are to grow up in Him as the one who influences us in our thinking, attitude, actions and conduct (Ephesians 4:15-17). According to the Vine’s Expository, “head” points to leadership by example. Jesus first loved us, leaving us an example so we will choose to love Him. When washing Peter’s feet, Jesus became the Servant to servants. As a voluntary sacrifice on the cross, He became the greatest example of love that prefers His people, His church, His bride over Himself as a means to redeem those who are His. As man, He humbled Himself, came into submission to the Father’s plan for our greater benefit and then consecrated His will on the night of judgment to carry out the plan of redemption on the cross (Matthew 26:29-45; Luke 9:56; John 13:2-15; 1 Peter 2:21-24; 1 John 4:19).
It is important to point out that in marriage Jesus’ Lordship is brought out in relationship to a wife’s submission to her husband, as is submitting or “giving way” to the Lord in all she does, where Jesus’ sacrifice is used in relationship to the husband’s responsibility towards the wife. Submission to that which is excellent for the benefit of others is a type of godly love, and sacrifice in preference to others is an act of love. That is why in Paul’s instruction to believers, before he spoke of marriage in Ephesians 5:22-33, he gave this instruction, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:21).
The Apostle Peter stated that all believers make up a priesthood in 1 Peter 2:5-9. After all, each believer is a distinct temple of the Holy Spirit and that we are also a spiritual house under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. As part of the priesthood, we are instructed to offer up acceptable sacrifices to the Lord. These sacrifices come in the form of praises and good works (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; Hebrews 3:1-6; 5:1-6; 7:25-27; 13:15-16).
It is important to point out there is only one master, one head over a body, one Lord over the household, and one High Priest over a priesthood at a time. After all, we can only serve one master at a time, and Jesus who is our owner is to be Lord over the spiritual household of Christians (Matthew 6:24). We are clearly told that as High Priest, Jesus is our intercessor and mediator and Paul makes it clear in 1 Timothy 2:5, there is only one such mediator between man and God and it is the man Christ Jesus. This pretty well means that Christ is the only High Priest of His temples, the only Lord over His household, the sole head over His church, and the only master we must follow in example and teaching.
To me if something is not in the Bible, we must avoid the temptation to take liberty with titles and conclusions that sound good, but are not backed up by Scripture. I believe much pressure is being put on Christian men with titles that they are not called to fulfilled; therefore, they are not being equipped by the Spirit to walk in them.
Sadly, this has caused rigidness that ends in tyranny, frustration that ends in apathy, and anger that turns into disillusionment and unbelief. The Bible is clear about our different positions in Christ, in marriage, and in the church. We must not exaggerate, read into, or fit something into Scripture that has not otherwise been clearly defined as being so. To do so is adding to His Word and the Bible is clear about that in both Deuteronomy 4:2 and Revelation 22:18-19 which states, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”