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Category: 1 Corinthians 11

Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free? to enter the digital future

Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free? to enter the digital future

WIM digital

Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free? will soon be available online!

I am working on a new video project at the moment, but I am also working to convert each of the 4 DVDs of Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free? to a lower quality online downloadable product. We are working hard so that those with computers around the world may also have access to the DVDs.  The entire set will be available for purchase online or each DVD in the 4 DVD set will be available individually as a video download.  We have upgraded the security on our website and we are presently working through all of the logistics to make this all possible.  it is a huge step forward for our ministry.  If all goes well, we will start offering the downloadable version this fall (2012).  Please watch this blog for further information for the launch of the downloadable version.

The DVDs also include audio bytes from those who disagree with women in ministry and we break down the arguments and compare the arguments to the Scriptures.

The 4 DVDs are broken up into scriptural passages as follows: 

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Guest post: Does head mean authority over?

Guest post: Does head mean authority over?

Man as Sovereign on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

 

This post is the second part in a “first” for Women in Ministry blog.  I have never before taken the writing of a complementarian and posted it on my blog.   However in order to facilitate dialog, I have agreed to post Mark’s articles so that we can have a jolly good discussion/debate with those who care to participate on the issue of what “head” means.  The first part of Mark’s article dealing with the context of 1 Corinthians 11 is here.   These posts are actually a carry forward from a previous post that had a lot of good discussion regarding my youtube videos on the issue of women in ministry.  If you would like to get a good idea of where this discussion comes from, I refer you back to the post called Women on Trial.

Mark is a complementarian from Australia.  

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A complementarian view of 1 Corinthians 11 and the meaning of head

A complementarian view of 1 Corinthians 11 and the meaning of head

Debate on Women in Ministry - Cheryl Schatz blog

This post is a first.  I have never before taken the writing of a complementarian and posted it on my blog.   However in order to facilitate dialog, I have agreed to post Mark’s article so that we can have a jolly good discussion/debate with those who care to participate on the issue of what “head” means in the context of 1 Corinthians 11.  This post is actually a carry forward from a previous post that had a lot of good discussion regarding my youtube videos on the issue of women in ministry.  If you would like to get a good idea of where this discussion comes from, I refer you back to the post called Women on Trial.

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Does a woman need a spiritual covering?

Does a woman need a spiritual covering?

umbrella2 on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

Does a woman need a human spiritual “covering”?

Submission and authority are a big issue in the church today.  Closely tied into the issue of authority is the teaching that women need a spiritual “covering.”  Men, we are told, are to be the spiritual “covering” to provide protection and to allow the man to have the accountability. But is a human “covering” a Biblical teaching?  There is no New Testament concept of a human “covering” and only one clear human “covering” in the Old Testament

There was a tradition in the Old Testament of the kinsman redeemer who would “redeem” a widow by marrying the widow of a deceased relative.

Ruth 3:9  He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth your maid. So spread your covering over your maid, for you are a close relative.”

Ruth 3:10  Then he said, “May you be blessed of the LORD, my daughter. You have shown your last kindness to be better than the first by not going after young men, whether poor or rich.

Ruth 3:11  “Now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence.

Ruth 3:12  “Now it is true I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I.

Ruth 3:13  “Remain this night, and when morning comes, if he will redeem you, good; let him redeem you. But if he does not wish to redeem you, then I will redeem you, as the LORD lives. Lie down until morning.”

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Do the genders have different functions?

Do the genders have different functions?

I am creating a new post to continue the great discussion that we have been having on a previous post while I am out of the country.  The original discussion is on this post http://mmoutreach.org/wim/2009/07/05/wayne-grudem-part-2/ and since we have grown to over 240 comments, I would ask that we continue our discussions with Mark the complementarian here.

Evaluating the Schatz/Seaver debate

Evaluating the Schatz/Seaver debate

Evaluating the Schatz/Seaver debate

 

On July 27th, 2009 Mike Seaver and I started a 10 session debate on Women in Ministry where I was able to ask Mike questions on his position, he answered my questions and then we each had one response.  Mike is still considering whether he will continue with another 10 sessions where Mike will ask me questions and I get the privilege to answer his questions on women in ministry.

Today I would like to summarize the 10 sessions that I had with Mike.

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Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 9

Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry 9

Does God Contradict Himself?  Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz discuss/debate women in ministry

This is question #5 of a 10 question discussion/debate between Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz on the issue of women in ministry.  The discussion will take the form of five questions posed by Cheryl Schatz with answers by Mike Seaver and then five questions posed by Mike Seaver with answers by Cheryl Schatz.  Each question and answer session will be followed up in the next post by one response each from both Mike and Cheryl.  Links to the questions and the responses will be at the bottom of this post.

Question #5 by Cheryl Schatz:

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Ask John Piper – Do some complementarians deny women opportunities?

Ask John Piper – Do some complementarians deny women opportunities?

John Piper picture on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

On John Piper’s web site is posted a question that someone asked of him about the application of complementarianism that affects women.  The question is:

Do you think complementarianism is so important to some people that they deny women more opportunities than the Bible denies them?

I was shocked at John Piper’s response.  You really need to listen to it for yourself.  Click on the link above to hear an audio version or see the video clip. 

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New blog conference on women in eldership

New blog conference on women in eldership

I have been invited by Pastor Dave Woolcott to participate in a new blog conference on women’s eldership in the church put on by the Ryde Presbyterian Church in Ryde, Sidney, Australia.   The blog address for the conference set for September 1 – 15, 2009 is http://www.achurchinryde.com/blog/ The blog is on line now and active and I invite you to participate by commenting on Dave’s blog.

There is a thought-provoking article on “Should a Pastor Rule Over You?”  It is very appropriate to the issue of women in ministry and what the real issues are.

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Wayne Grudem's "An Open Letter to Egalitarians" and "Six Questions"

Wayne Grudem's "An Open Letter to Egalitarians" and "Six Questions"

wayne_grudem on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

In 1998 Wayne Grudem wrote “An Open Letter to Egalitarians” and in the letter he gave six questions that he said have never been satisfactorily answered.

This is the first in a six part set of posts addressing Mr. Grudem’s questions.

First of all I will reprint the “Open Letter” that is found on Mike Seaver’s Role Calling blog.  Right after that comes the refutation of Mr. Grudem’s question #1 by Suzanne McCarthy and after that I pose my own question to Complementarians on the error of their teaching that there is an eternal subordination in the nature of the Trinity.

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Who dared to contradict Paul?

Who dared to contradict Paul?

Many people have a big problem with Paul because they think that he was sexist.  I would like to change that point of view by looking carefully at the text so that we can fully appreciate Paul for who he was, not the false impression that we have of Paul.  Under God’s inspiration Paul refuted faulty tradition and that faulty tradition included sexism that was prevalent during his day.  Let’s have a look how Paul did that.

In the book of 1 Corinthians, Paul responded to a letter written to him by the Corinthians.  In 1 Corinthians 7:1, Paul says:

1 Corinthians 7:1  Now concerning the things about which you wrote….

Paul then quotes from the letter written to him and every time he quotes the letter, Paul contradicts the Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 7:1….(Corinthians) it is good for a man not to touch a woman

1 Corinthians 7:2 (Paul) But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife and each woman is to have her own husband.

1 Corinthians 10:23 (Corinthians) All things are lawful  (Paul) but not all things are profitable.  (Corinthians) All things are lawful (Paul) but not all things edify.

1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 (Corinthians) The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper (filthy) for a woman to speak in church.

1 Corinthians 14:36 (Paul) (What!?!) was it from you that the word of God went forth? (What!?!) has it come to you only?

In verse 36 Paul starts each statement with the Greek word “n” which isn’t always evident in the translations as some completely ignore this word.  It is a term used to show that the question implies a negative answer – a negation of something that has just proceeded it.  It would be the equivalent of stating a false statement and then saying “Bunk!” or “Horse feathers!” or “You have got to be kidding!”  So what Paul is doing here is negating what was just quoted.  Since Paul cannot negate himself, it is evident that the quote from verses 34 & 35 is a quote from the Corinthian letter to Paul.

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Two heads one master

Two heads one master

While Paul said that the husband is the head of the wife (1 Cor. 11:3) with this metaphor implying that the wife is the body of the husband, scripture also tells us that Jesus is the head of the body of Christ and the believing wife is part of that body too.  This means that the metaphor of head/body is used both of a physical relationship between husband and wife and a spiritual relationship between believers and Christ.  But does head mean master?

Many believe that head means one who has authority over another.  Some believe that a woman is not allowed to teach the bible if her husband does not give her permission to do so.  In essence he is her master and she must obey what he tells her.  But if head means master, then scripture contradicts itself because the bible says that we have only one master.  In John 13:13 Jesus says that he is that Master.

John 13:13  Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.  KJV

The word translated as “master” is didaskalos and it means teacher, instructor, master.  Jesus then goes on to show that we are all brothers and only one is our master/teacher.

Matthew 23:8  But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
Matthew 23:9  And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
Matthew 23:10  Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
Matthew 23:11  But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.  KJV

Jesus also taught that no one can serve two masters:

Matthew 6:24  “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.

The word for master here is kurios and it means lord, master, owner.

It is impossible for “head” to mean “lord, master, owner”.  Jesus is both head and Master because he alone is God.  No husband is to be in the position of master because we are to have only one master and that is Jesus Christ.

It is a wonderful thing when a husband agrees that his wife should teach the bible.  However his agreement should have no bearing on the obedience of a servant of the one and only Master.  There is only one spiritual head and only one Master.  The husband is in a one-flesh union with his wife and together they should work out their marriage relationship.  But scripture never gives the husband the position of master over his wife and scripture never tells the wife that she must obey her husband as her master, for no one can serve two masters.

Satan the liar or truth teller part 2

Satan the liar or truth teller part 2

We have been looking at Jesus’ words in John 8:44 which says that there is no truth in satan.  We are comparing this to satan’s words through the serpent in Genesis 3:5 and God’s words in Genesis 3:22

Genesis 3:5 “For God knows that in the day that you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and  you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:22  Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; …”

Let’s compare the words in these two verses.

Genesis 3:5 the serpent said that God knows.  God knows what?  The serpent gives a time frame “in the day that you eat from it”.  What will happen on that day?  Their eyes will be opened (this is presented as a good thing) and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

Here we have the serpent saying that Adam and his wife will become something that they are not now and it will be a good thing.  It will make them “like” God.  The implication then is also that God experiences both good and evil.  But does he?  The word for “knows” and “knowing” is the Hebrew “yada” and its primary meaning means to know relationally and experientially.  What the serpent is saying is that God experientially “knows” evil as well as good.

Now let’s see what God says that is different from what the serpent has said:

In Genesis 3:22 the English is opposed to the original Hebrew and the most authentic versions.  The Hebrew “hayah” (English translated as “has” become) is the third person preterite tense, and signifies was, not is.  The same tense is translated in the Samaritan text, the Samaritan version, the Syriac, and the Septuagint.  Adam Clarke says that “These lead us to a very different sense…”  God is saying “Behold the man was like one of us…”  God is not agreeing with satan that the likeness with God came on the day of their eating the fruit but the likeness started on their day of creation.  They were like God in the beginning.

The distortion here is in the time frame and the grammar.  The serpent said that they will become like God on the day they eat the fruit.  That is a lie. God said they already were like him…until they ate the fruit.

Adam Clarke says that there is “an ellipsis of some words which must be supplied in order to make the sense complete.”  This apparently is not uncommon with Hebrew where the basic information is given and you complete the sense.  Adam Clarke goes on to quote a very learned man who fills in the blanks this way:

“And the Lord God said, The man who was like one of us in purity and wisdom, is now fallen and robbed of his excellence; he has added “ladaath” to the knowledge of the evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live for ever in this miserable state, I will remove him, and guard the place lest he should reenter.”

The deception was that there was something more in store for them to be like God.  But God does not experience evil.  Instead of finding themselves like God, they became very much unlike him because they added evil to their experience of good.

So it is true what Jesus said that there is no truth at all in satan.  Even though he comes as close as he can to the truth, he twists it and distorts it so that it says something completely different.  Adam and his wife did not become like God on the day that they ate the fruit.  Their sinless existence was shattered and they became very much unlike God in their experience.  Their eyes were opened as the serpent said they would be, but the opening of their eyes was to evil and not to a new dimension of Godhood.

Authority and Created order

Authority and Created order

In this fourth part of my response to Matt Slick’s article called “Genesis 2, Adam and Eve, and Authority”, I am going to deal directly with Matt’s comments regarding authority and created order. Matt writes:

Still, the egalitarians will object and say that an absolute and total equality in all things exists between men and women in the church and the created order and Adam’s naming animals and naming Eve has nothing to do with it. But, is that what is implied in Paul’s words in 1 Tim. 2:12-14? “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression.” Notice that Paul says he does not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man because Adam was created first, then Eve. Obviously, in the mind of Paul the issue of authority is tied to the created order. This is not merely a cultural phenomenon.

Notice first of all that Mr. Slick uses the words “imply” and “implied” in his article. The reason that he has to do this is because scripture does not directly say that Adam had authority over Eve or that the man is to have authority while the woman is not. While 1 Timothy 2:13 does say that Adam was created first, the direct connection is to deception and “not deceived” not authority. While Slick says “Obviously, in the mind of Paul the issue of authority is tied to the created order” he cannot tell us what is in the “mind” of Paul other than what Paul actually tells us. Paul does not use the “normal” word for authority in 1 Timothy 2:12 which is “exousia”. “Exousia” means permission, authority, right, liberty, power to do something. Instead of the “normal” word for authority that Paul uses in his epistles, what Paul prohibits in 1 Timothy 2:12 is “authenteo” which is not even close to being a “normal” word for authority. In fact this unique word is never used again in the New Testament and Paul never gives males the right to “authenteo” anyone. So while Mr. Slick can believe that Paul is talking about a male right to have authority, Paul does not tie the prohibition into a “right” that belongs to someone else. Rather than tying the prohibition into a “right” that is withheld from women and given to men, Paul says nothing about anyone’s right to have authority. Instead, Paul ties the prohibition into the deception of the second one created and the non-deception of the first one created. The prohibition has everything to do with deception, not a right to authority.

Notice in Mr. Slick’s comments above that he does not comment on verse 14. He fails to tie the prohibition into deception and he makes it appear that Paul is giving the male the right to “authenteo”. This argument is seriously flawed because he does not reveal that neither Adam nor any man is given a right to “authenteo” any person either in or out of the church. What is forbidden to “a woman” in verse 12 is not given as a right to anyone else either.

Next Mr. Slick leaves “authenteo” aside and he tries to tie “exousia” from 1 Corinthians 11:10 to males alone. 1 Corinthians 11: 8-10 says:

8 For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; 9 for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake. 10Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

Mr. Slick comments about these verses:

Authority is a huge issue with him. Notice that Paul says a woman is to have a symbol of authority upon her. Why? Because Adam was created first. Primacy in origin is related to authority.

Is “primacy in origin” related to authority? Not at all. First of all, Paul is not talking about “primacy” in origin in these verses. In the 1 Corinthians 11 passage, Paul is talking about equality and not primacy because in verses 11 and 12 which Mr. Slick has failed to include in his quote, Paul says that men now come from women. There is no primacy of one over another, but rather the primacy belongs to God:

1 Corinthians 11:11 However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.

1 Corinthians 11:12 For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.

Secondly, Mr. Slick says that a woman is to have “a symbol of authority” upon her showing the male’s primacy of creation, yet 1 Corinthians 11:10 says nothing of the sort in the Greek. The words “symbol of” have been added to the English however they are not in the original. The inspired word is not a “symbol” but “exousia” (authority). The woman herself is to have “exousia” or “authority”. The term “exousia” is never used in the New Testament as a term where a person is under someone else’s authority. Rather it is always used for the person’s own permission, authority, right, liberty, power to do something. Zodhiates WordStudy Dictionary says that this word “denies the presence of a hindrance, it may be used either of the capability or the right to do a certain action. The words exesti and exousia combine the two ideas of right and might. As far as right, authority, or capability is concerned, it involves ability, power, strength.”

So Paul in the inspired text is saying that the woman has the right, authority, ability, power and strength to make the decision over her own head, because of the angels. Why on earth would Paul give the woman the right and the authority to make her own decision regarding her own head and tie this in with the angels? All we have to do is go back a few chapters to what Paul has already told us about the angels and it becomes very clear. Paul said earlier in chapter 6:

1 Corinthians 6:1 Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints?

1 Corinthians 6:2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts?

1 Corinthians 6:3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?

Paul gives the woman the authority to make the decision about what she wears or doesn’t wear on her head because she will also be judging the angels in the next life. If she will have such weighty responsibility because she too will be judging the angels in the next life, surely she should have the responsibility and the authority in this life to make the decision over a relatively minor “matter of this life” decision regarding what she does or doesn’t wear on her head.

Rather than Paul saying that she is under someone’s authority and that she has no decision making authority because she was created second, 1 Corinthians chapter eleven requires that the woman is to have authority over her own head because of her equal position in the next life as one of the saints who will judge the angels.

I will continue the refutation of Matt Slick’s article in the next post. For previous blog posts regarding the refutation of this same article, see:

Did the naming of Eve come from God’s command?

Special Authority to Adam, was it Given by God?

Was Authority Withheld from Eve?

Is "a woman" representative of "all women"?

Is "a woman" representative of "all women"?

This post is an answer to Matt Slicks article called “1 Timothy 2:9-15 “a woman” is representative of all women as “a man”represents all men”.

Matt has been trying to answer my arguments on 1 Timothy 2:111-15 and his article is an attempt at trying to prove that the Greek”gune” or “woman/wife” represents all women.

Matt says:

“As we have seen in the chart in the article The use of the phrase “a woman” in the entire New Testament, Paul uses the phrase “a woman” to refer to only a particular woman 11% of the time while he refers to women and wives in general 77% of the time.”

The first thing that we can note is that Matt didn’t do a chart using the Greek word “gune” but the English word “woman”. This allows Matt to miss some instances of “gune” which is what Paul uses in 1Timothy 2:12. This is because “gune” does not necessarily mean “a woman”. When “gune” is used, it can mean generic woman, but it is not required that it means all women. There is no indefinite article in Greek such as in English where we have indefinite articles a and an. When “gune” is used in the Greek it is possible that “a woman” is meant, but it is also just as easily possible that “the woman” is meant or even “a group” that is qualitatively female, that is “women”.  In Greek, the use of the definite article means the noun is definite, but even if the definite article is not used, it doesn’t mean that it must be indefinite.  It just means that there are 3 possibilities to the meaning , including the possibility that it is meant as a definite.  This is the case of the anarthrous nouns.  See Wallace “Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics” on anarthrous nouns (anarthrous means without an article).

While Matt makes a big deal about percentages, this doesn’t mean much.  Percentages can be interesting, however percentages cannot determine the meaning of a word in a passage.  It is the context of the passage that will determine the meaning not percentages.

If Paul was giving a general prohibition to Timothy that would affect all Christian women for all time, his grammar in verse 15 does not match a general prohibition. Paul on the other hand has used the term “a man” Greek “anthropos” where the context clearly shows that Paul is not talking about a generic man. For example in 2 Corinthians 12:1-21, no matter how high the percentage is that Paul uses “anthropos” to mean generic man, Paul is not talking about men in general in this passage. Paul also did not identify a man who was living with his father’s wife but called him “someone”. This obviously was not about generic man either. The key to understanding Paul is to look at the context, not how many times Paul used “aner” or “anthropos” to mean a generic man rather than a particular man.

Matt says:

“we conclude that the mentioning of Adam and Eve and the created order is dealing with men and women in general, not with a particular woman or just wives.”

If Paul’s mention of Adam and Eve along with created order and deception was about men and women in general, then should we be concluding that all men are not deceived and all women are deceived like Eve? There is more to see in the context of this passage that brings out the importance of Paul’s mention of creation, deception and Adam and Eve.  Paul’s meaning has to be about something other than all generic man and woman.

What Matt misses is that the created order is about deception, not authority. Paul does not say that the man is to have authority over women, but that Adam was not deceived, while Eve was deceived. Paul connects the deception to the prohibition in verse 12 but he also connects it to the solution in verse 15. Paul says neither that Adam is given authority over humanity nor that he is given authority over Eve. We would have to ignore the context in order to make Adam’s authority the subject. Paul connected Adam to the state of “no deception” but Paul did not connect Adam with authority. There is not even one word in this passage that says that Adam had authority or that the man is to have authority over the woman.

Additionally, what does authority have to do with verse 15? How would man’s authority (which is never mentioned in the passage) fit in with the salvation of the single “she” mentioned in verse 15? Even if one could make a single “she” and a plural “they” mean the same thing (i.e. all women), how would man’s authority fit in with this verse? It doesn’t fit. What does fit into the context is the subject of deception. Because of deception a prohibition is given. In spite of her deception “she” will be saved (in the future)… if… Does Paul’s concern about her salvation fit into the context of deception? Or does a concern about salvation fit with all women? Women’s salvation is never questioned in scripture so all women do not fit well with verse 15.

Some take the “salvation” spoken of in verse 15 as been “saved” from dying in child birth but this would break the connection between verses 11-15 and it is not a promise that has been made and kept by God for all godly women. Where is the connection between child birth and the stopping of “a woman” from teaching “a man”? Why would Paul all of a sudden talk about women giving birth to children when he is connecting each verse together with “but” (verse 12) “for” (verse 13) “and” (verse 14) and “but” (verse 15). The flow from verses 11 – 15 is connected from one verse to the next and if we break the connection with verse 15 we have lost the end result that Paul gives because of the command to learn (verse 11) and the prohibition (verse 12).  If she learns the truth and she stops teaching the error, she will be saved out of her deception if she stays in that truth, stays in the truth faith and in her love for God.  Her self-control is needed to stay away from error and deception.  This is how a deceived person will be saved.

Matt concludes with this statement:

“Since Paul mentions the order of creation regarding Adam and Eve in 1 Tim. 2:13 after he mentions authority and again that mentions authority with the created order in 1 Cor. 11:8-10, we can see that there is a pattern Paul teaches that is applied generically in the church.”

There are several very glaring errors in this concluding statement of Matt’s. The first error is that Matt is connecting “authority” with the order of creation when Paul is connecting “deceived” and “not deceived” with the order of creation. The word “authenteo” (verse 12) is a unique word in the scriptures and it is a hotly disputed word never used for spiritual authority elsewhere in scripture. Paul never gives men permission to “authenteo” anyone and so to connect this word with permission for men to “authenteo” women or anyone for that matter, is reading into the passage.

Secondly Matt connects the order of creation with “authority” mentioned in 1 Corinthians 11:10. This is another error of Matt’s since 1 Cor. 11:10 does not have men in authority over women. The Greek word used in verse 10 is exousia and it is the authority that the person has themselves not an authority that is over them. It is never used in scripture to mean that the person is under authority. The words “a symbol of” in verse 10 are not in the original manuscripts but have been added by the translators. The inspired word is that the woman is to have authority over her own head. She is to have authority to make a decision because of the angels. Paul’s use of “because of the angels” is clear when we go back to his reference of the angels earlier in his letter to the Corinthians.

1Co 6:2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts?
1Co 6:3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?

Since the saints will judge the world and they will also judge angels, the woman is to have power to make her own decision concerning what she does or doesn’t wear on her head because in the next life she will also have the responsibility to judge the world and the angels. There is no reference to a man having authority over the woman in this verse at all.

But what about the reference to creation in 1 Cor. 11:12? Is this about the man having authority over the woman as Matt has said? When we test all things, we can see that this is not true.

1Co 11:11 However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.

1Co 11:12 For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.

Paul says that neither the man or the woman is independent of each other. Just as the woman originated from the man so now the man has his origin through her. But neither one is preeminent over the other because God is the ultimate origin of all.

These passages say not one word about the man having authority over the woman. In 1 Timothy 2:13, 14 the reference to creation is about deception and in 1 Cor. 11:12 the reference to creation is about the equality of the man and the woman in that both are dependent on each other and the preeminent one is God. There is absolutely nothing that says that the man has authority over the woman in these passages.

While Matt has been trying to provide a reasoning in 1 Timothy 2 for Paul to be stopping the biblical teaching of all women to all men, he has not given a reasonable explanation for verse 15 which has specific grammar that gives the boundary or “fence” as to how far we can apply verse 12. Without the ability to apply “she” and “they” from verse 15 to something other than the exact same thing (i.e. Matt makes “she” and “they” to mean the same thing), Matt has ignored the boundary markers that force us to go back to find out who the “she” is that Paul is giving the prohibition to. “She” will be saved, Paul says “if”… Paul applies the prohibition to “gune”, and he stops her from teaching because of the verses that follow. It is because of deception, then Paul brings out that her salvation out of that deception is dependent on what “she” and “they” do to make sure she doesn’t fall back into deception. The list of things is the same as what Paul said the deceived teachers fell away from.

1Ti 1:5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
1Ti 1:6 For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion,

This is why Paul said that “they” must continue in these things (verse 15). Those who stray from these things, Paul said were falling into deception.

What we don’t have in the passage is Paul saying that “a man” or “any man” is to have authority over “gune” (a woman, wife or the woman) or over another man. Instead we are to serve one another and never lord it over others in the body of Christ.

Is short hair a sin for a woman?

Is short hair a sin for a woman?

Continuing on with our verse by verse discussion through the section of 1 Corinthians 11 about women, we come to verse 13:

1Co 11:13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?

Paul is asking the Corinthians now to make a judgment call regarding the evidence that he has brought them. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? What evidence has Paul brought that should cause the Corinthians to say “yes”?

1. Paul says that the woman is the glory of the man. Glory is never to be hidden from view. When Moses went in to speak with God, his face shone forth with the glory of God. Exodus 34:35 shows that Moses did not hide the glory of God from the Israelites.

Exodus 34:35 …the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone

It wasn’t until the glory was fading away that Moses would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites could not see the fading of the glory.

2 Corinthians 3:13 …and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away.

Jesus said that our light was not meant to be hidden:

Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see you good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

We are meant to shine forth God’s glory and that glory is not to be hidden. Also Moses himself took off his veil when he was in the presence of God. Is this not a powerful argument that women who are also the glory of God should also be unveiled when they come before God in worship?

2. Paul said that the woman has authority over her head (1 Cor. 11:10). If she has the authority and the right to make a decision regarding her own head, then is it not also right for her to make the decision to uncover in worship as she comes before God?

3. If the man has the preeminence in the creation and the woman has the preeminence since the creation, wouldn’t their interdependent equality make them equal in worship before their maker? Why would must one be forced to cover their glory while the other must uncover their glory? Shouldn’t the man and the woman both uncover their glory before God? Also if we interpret Paul’s writing to say that a woman must cover herself in coming before God, then how can we say that men and women are equal before God?

Paul has carefully crafted his argument concerning the issue of glory by showing that women too have glory. Glory is always to be uncovered. Where does God ever tell us to cover up the glory? He doesn’t.

Next Paul appeals to the fact that a woman has the right to made her own decision regarding her own head. Then Paul appeals to the equal premeninence of man and woman and their interdependent equality. Now we are at the point where Paul makes his appeal using one last argument from nature showing the equality of men and women regarding their hair. The NASB renders verses 14 & 15 this way:

1 Corinthians 11:14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him,
1 Corinthians 11:15 but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering.

However the ISV renders these verses very differently and without the question mark:

1 Cor. 11:14, 15 (ISV) Nature itself teaches you neither that it is disgraceful for a man to have long hair nor that hair is a woman’s glory, for hair is given as a substitute for coverings.

In order to understand these verses properly we need to understand a couple of very important things about these verses. The first thing is that the Greek was written without punctuation. Whether these verses are a question or a statement has to be determined by the context. The punctuation that we have in our bibles are there because of the translator’s interpretation of what Paul is saying but not all agree that Paul is asking a question.

Let’s look at the context to see if Paul’s words should be taken as a question. Does nature teach us that men should have short hair and that women should have long hair? No, nature doesn’t teach us that at all. The hair on a boys head grow just as the hair on a girls head. Nature does not teach us that there is a difference. Does nature teach us that it is a shame for a man to have long hair? How could nature teach us that? In many cultures men have long hair and they are not ashamed. Nature does not teach them to be ashamed. Why not? Because a man’s hair is designed to keep growing unless it is cut off.

Now we can see that God has designed some hair to show that these hairs are different. Look at the hair on your arms. Does your arm hair keep growing until you cut it? No, it doesn’t. The reason is that God designed the hair on our arms to be different than the hair on our head. But there is nothing in nature that allows us to see a difference in God’s design for hair on the head of a little boy and the hair on the head of a little girl. Each of them has hair that keeps growing until the hair is cut. There is no difference in nature. In nature, the hair on boys and girls are equally growing and nothing in nature shows that there is shame involved regarding the length of their hair.

This brings us to the second thing that we need to know about this passage. We need to know that the glory of hair belongs to “himself or herself” not to just “women”.

1 Corinthians 11:15 (ISV)…nor that hair is a woman’s glory, for hair is given as a substitute for coverings.

Each one of us male and female has been given hair by God for a covering so hair is not a glory just for a woman. Neither male nor female is required to have any outside covering on their head when they come before God.

So are men to be ashamed to have long hair? How can that be? Orthodox male Jews let the sides of their hair grow long and they believe that the bible tells them to leave the corners of their hair long.

Jeremiah 49:32 “Their camels will become plunder, And their many cattle for booty, And I will scatter to all the winds those who cut the corners of their hair; And I will bring their disaster from every side,” declares the LORD.

longhair1.jpg Here is a picture of an orthodox Jew. The “corners” of his hair are left long and he is not ashamed of his long hair.

Does nature teach them that men are to be ashamed of their long hair? No, not at all. The only command that God had regarding the length of one’s hair was the nazirite vow (Numbers 6:2-18). Both male and female were required in this vow to grow their hair out and when the vow was over, both men and women were required to shave their hair off and offer it as a peace offering to God. Since God required equal rules about hair for both men and women, (both had to have long hair and later both had to shave their hair completely off) how could God then have inspired a passage to say that nature showed that it was a shame for a man to have long hair? Nature says nothing of the sort and God said nothing about long hair being a shame so the words of Paul must be taken as a statement and not a question otherwise we have a contradiction with scripture as well as an illogical argument.

God has designed through nature that the hair on both men and women will grow until it is cut. God has a requirement for both men and women to grow their hair long in the nazirite vow. There is nothing in God’s requirement that would even hint that nature teaches us that it is a shame for a man to have long hair or that it is a shame for a woman to cut her hair.

If we take verses 14 & 15 without the question mark as the International Standard Version does, then it makes sense with the “nature” argument. Paul is arguing for our equality once again. Both men and women are to come before God without a head covering because they both already have a natural head covering and nothing more is needed. Paul isn’t saying that only a woman has her hair as her glory. Hair has been given to both male and female and nothing more is needed when we come before God. Again here we have Paul’s argument as equality between men and women.

Paul then sums up his argument regarding our equality in Christ and our equality in head coverings and hair. Paul says in verse 16 in the International Standard Versions:

1 Corinthians 11:16 (ISV) But if anyone wants to argue about this, we do not have any custom like this, nor do any of God’s churches.

Paul says that if one is inclined to argue about the matter – the matter of head coverings and the length of one’s hair – that one final proof that the head covering is not needed is that none of the churches of God have a custom of head coverings or a requirement for the length of one’s hair.

The NASB adds the word “other” to the passage … (we do not have any “other” custom)…but the word “other” is not in the original inspired Greek. The inspired word is the Greek word toioutos which means “of this sort”. Paul is saying that we do not have this sort of custom (head coverings and rules about the length of one’s hair) and neither do any of God’s churches.

The glory of God belongs to men and women alike. Both are to shine forth the glory of God and women are also to shine forth the glory of man. The glory of hair belongs to men and women alike and God’s only command regarding the length of hair shows equality for men and women alike before God.

Is Paul using this passage to force women to hide their glory with a veil and to force women to leave their hair uncut? Not at all! In fact, his arguments are completely opposite to the human tradition that forces the segregation of men and women. His arguments are also opposite from those who say that only men have  glory and women do not. This inspired passage is rather a tremendously powerful passage supporting men and women’s equality before God and their interdependence with each other. This is God’s way. God is not prejudiced preferring men over women or women over men. God wants us united together in the body of Christ giving each other equal respect as “sons” of God and fellow members of the body of Christ.

Interdependence in the Lord

Interdependence in the Lord

In our verse by verse through 1 Corinthians 11, we now come to verse 11:

1 Corinthians 11:11  However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.

Paul once again breaks with tradition.  Paul gives the woman the right to make her own decision in verse 10 about what she will or won’t wear on her head when he says the woman ought to have “authority” (exousia) on her head.  Although the cultural tradition gave a woman no authority to make her own decisions, Paul dismisses that tradition as a non-Christian tradition.  However Paul quickly follows the woman’s authority to make a decision (exousia) with the qualifier “however”.  However, Paul says, “in the Lord”, woman is not independent of the man.  She has the right to make her own decision but she is not independent of the man.  In what way is she not independent of the man?  She is not independent of the man in the exact same way that the man is not independent of the woman.

Paul gives the reason for the interdependence in 1 Corinthians 11:12 –

For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.

Paul makes use of the Greek word “gar” (for) which is a primary particle; properly assigning a reason  for his argument.  The woman is not independent of the man Paul says, because the man is the original source of the woman and she wouldn’t exist without him.  Paul also says that the man is not independent of the woman because the woman is the original source of all men since her creation.  No man would have his existence now without her.  Adam’s position of primacy as the first one created and his being the source of the woman is balanced out and equaled with the woman’s primacy as the source of all men.

Paul sums it all up by saying that the woman is dependent on the man and the man is dependent on the woman but the ultimate source is not man and it is not woman either.  The ultimate source is God.

So how does this all play out regarding decision making?  The woman has the right to make her own decision, but since she is also joined in a one-flesh union with the man, she must consider her husband and his conscience with the issue of the head covering because what she decides to do may bring his weak conscience deep shame.  The cultural tradition of the head covering which brought shame to a man whose wife was uncovered in public needed the time to be exposed and accepted as a faulty tradition.   Instead of bringing the man shame, Paul said that the woman is his glory.  The decision is now in the hands of the woman with her full knowing that she is not completely independent of the man.  As a Christian wife she is to respect her husband and to consider his conscience in her decision.

The woman is the only one given a choice regarding what she will do regarding the head covering.  The man is never told that he can choose to wear the head covering or not.  For him, the decision has already been made because there is only one who is shamed when he wears the head covering.  The cultural tradition that brought shame to Christ is to be abandoned.

Next post we will get into the “hairy” issue of the length of one’s hair in 1 Corinthians 11:13-16.

Shaming the head – 3

Shaming the head – 3

Continuing our verse by verse through 1 Corinthians 11, we come to verse 6:

For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head.

We have already discussed that the cultural view of women’s hair coverings is “covered” in verse 5. We have also seen that Paul takes a non-traditional view of women by telling the men that his wife is his glory. Paul reveals that the tradition of women being covered is not God’s way of dealing with glory. Glory is meant to be shown or revealed and not covered up. Just as a man reveals God’s glory and is not to cover his head, so a woman reveals the glory of man and she too should be uncovered.

Women whose husbands are Christians and who understand the women’s freedom in Christ to reveal the glory of the Lord just as men reveal the glory of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18) will have no reason to insist their wives cover themselves because of man’s tradition. So Paul says that “if a woman does not cover her head” then “let her also have her hair cut off”. Here Paul is talking about a woman’s freedom to have her hair cut. Is it wrong for a woman to get a hair cut? Is it wrong for her to have short hair? Paul says the tradition of not cutting one’s hair is in the same category as the tradition that women must wear a head covering.

The woman is her husband’s glory and as such she should be free from the tradition of having to cover her head. Covering the head symbolized both modesty and shame. See the previous post about what the culture thought was the woman’s shame. Once a woman is free from the tradition of covering her head, she is also free from the tradition that a woman must have long hair. She may cut her hair and this act is not breaking God’s law. This tradition is not God’s tradition. Why is that? We know that God does not forbid a woman to have her hair cut because God had regulations for a Nazirite vow that required men and women to grow their hair out when they took the vow and then later when the vow was finished, both men and women were required to shave their hair off. So if God required the woman who takes this vow to shave her hair off, then it could not be against God’s law for her to cut her hair.

If a Jewish woman who had become a Christian wanted to take a Nazirite vow, when the vow was finished, she would be required by God to shave off her hair. If a woman who had shaved off her hair was in the congregation without a head covering, she may experience shame because she had no hair. Paul made allowance for this last “shame” and he said that if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut or her hair shaved off, then she was allowed to cover her head if she had a bald head or her hair had not yet grown out. Paul gives her permission to cover her head by saying “let her cover her head”. Paul never demands that she cover, he just gives her a choice to cover.

The rules for the Nazirite vow are in Numbers chapter 6.

Numbers 6:2 Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When a man or woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to dedicate himself to the LORD,

Numbers 6:5 All the days of his vow of separation no razor shall pass over his head. He shall be holy until the days are fulfilled for which he separated himself to the LORD; he shall let the locks of hair on his head grow long.

Numbers 6:13 Now this is the law of the Nazirite when the days of his separation are fulfilled, he shall bring the offering to the doorway of the tent of meeting.

Numbers 6:18 The Nazirite shall then shave his dedicated head of hair at the doorway of the tent of meeting, and take the dedicated hair of his head and put it on the fire which is under the sacrifice of peace offerings.

The man or woman who had taken a Nazirite vow was required to shave off their hair and put it on the fire as a sacrifice. Both men and women then who had taken this vow would be bald. Men would not experience shame from being bald, but many women would experience shame from their baldness.

Paul allows a woman who has a bald head and who would experience shame because of her bald head to cover her head with a head covering. Paul has given two reasons for shame in chapter 11 that a woman may want to continue to wear a head covering. The first reason was that she may bring her non-Christian husband shame if she is caught in public without her head covering, since he may divorce her for defying the cultural tradition of the head covering.

The second reason that a woman may be covered is because of her own shame. If she was bald or if her hair had not yet fully grown out after she had taken a Nazirite vow, Paul allows her to cover her head. Paul gives a woman permission to veil because of two possible kinds of shame, but Paul never gives the man permission to veil since the culture of the day did not bring shame to a man who had a bald head and the only cultural reason for a man’s head covering shamed Christ.

Paul’s purpose in the discussion of the head covering is to bring Christians to a biblical view of our reflected glory and to discard the faulty cultural view of shame. Paul shows us in 2 Corinthians 3:18 the importance of the unveiled face:

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

While some have seen 1 Corinthians 11 as a mandate for women to wear the veil, a close inspection of the passage shows that Paul is advocating the exact opposite. He is not upholding man’s tradition, but blowing that tradition out of the water. Paul shows that it is God’s will that glory is to be uncovered not hidden, and man’s tradition of forcing the woman to be covered because her uncovering shamed him, is the complete opposite of what God teaches. The woman is the man’s glory not his shame. And as the man’s glory she is to be revealed not hidden.

Since we have already covered verse 10 in a previous post, the next post will pick up at verse 11 and discuss the importance of origins and interdependence.

Here are links to the posts in this series:

Shaming the head 1

Shaming the head 2

Shaming the head 3

Shaming the head – 2

Shaming the head – 2

Several posts back we talked about how Paul shows in 1 Corinthians 11 that the head covering shamed Christ. This post will discuss why a woman without her head covering shamed her head. Let’s start again with 1 Corinthians 11:4, 5 –

Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head. But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved.

Paul has identified the man’s head as Christ and the man who had his head covered during his praying and prophesying shamed Christ. Paul also identified the woman’s head was the man. When she prayed and prophesied with her head uncovered she shamed her head which is her husband (verse 3). Paul doesn’t say why going without a head covering shamed the woman’s husband since the Corinthians would have understood the cultural reason. However we need to do some research to find out why a husband would experience shame when his wife exposed her head in public.

Both the Greek women and the Jewish women wore head coverings in that day but the Jewish women had a stricter standard that punished them if they were caught without their head covering. John Lightfoot gives us a glimpse into the mindset of the Jewish culture of that day. Lightfoot was a Hebrew Scholar who lived from 1602 to 1675 and during his day there was a revival of the study of the Hebrew Bible as well as other Jewish works. Lightfoot’s scholarly writings produced several volumes called “Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica”. In these volumes Lightfoot discusses the reasons why married women wore the head covering.

On page 231 of Vol. 4 Lightfoot writes

“It was the custom of the women and that prescribed them under severe canons, that they should not go abroad but with their face veiled. If a woman do these things, she transgresseth the Jewish law; if she go out into the street, or into an open porch, and there be not a veil upon her as upon all women…”

On a woman’s wedding day she was required to veil herself. The Jewish law was that women who were married were required to cover their hair. The Talmud interprets this custom as a sign of a woman’s shame – guilt for Eve’s sin. Lightfoot elaborates:

“And they fetched the shame of the woman thence that she first brought sin into the world.”

That was their view – that the woman brought sin into the world and her veiling at her marriage was a sign of shame, because they said the woman led the man into sin. The Talmud said that as a result of Eve’s curse women must go about covered as mourners. In the Jewish culture when a woman got married, from that day on she was under compulsion to veil herself and if found in public without her veil, the Talmud prescribed strict consequences.

If she was found without the veil in public her husband could divorce her without payment of her dowry. Without her dowry she would be destitute.

The Talmud explains the reason for the shame of a uncovered head. The husband considered the hair on a woman’s head to be part of her sexuality so the public viewing of her hair was a great shame.

“Some rabbis considered the exposure of a married woman’s hair to the exposure of her private parts since they felt that a woman’s hair could be used for erotic excitement. They forbid the reciting of any blessings in the presence of a bare headed woman.”

Lightfoot goes on to explain that although women wore a veil in public, they unveiled for worship.

“But however women were veiled in the streets, yet when they resorted unto holy service they took off their veils and exposed their naked faces; and that not out of lightness, but out of religion.” Vol. 4 pg 231

 

Wouldn’t this have shamed their husbands by exposing their hair publicly? No, because no man would have seen them because in the synagogue the women were kept separate. Lightfoot continues:

“…that women should sit by themselves, divided from the men, where they might hear and see what is done in the synagogue, yet they themselves remain out of sight…when the women therefore did thus meet apart, it is no wonder if they took off the veils from their faces, when they were now out of sight of men, and the cause of their veiling being removed, which indeed was that they might not be seen by men.”

So the veiling was a sign of shame before men but worshipping before God she was to go with a bare face.

In Paul’s writings we find that Christians are meant to reflect the glory of God. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 3:17, 18

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all with unveiled face, beholding in a mirror the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”

Men and women were both meant to reflect the glory of God and both were to come with unveiled face before in worship. Yet for those Jewish women whose husbands were not yet saved and who had not yet come to understand the glorious liberty we have in Christ, these women were in a predicament. The problem came when Christians met in homes where the men and women were together. If a Jewish woman whose husband was not a Christian found out that she had unveiled in public, he could divorce her, often at the insistence of his family for her public shame.

Paul could not tell her that she needed to unveil in worship in the Christian congregation because that would have infringed on many of their marriages. So although men were forbidden to wear the veil of shame and must pray and prophesy in public without a head covering, women were allowed to make a choice when they prayed and prophesied. Next post we will discuss more about the woman’s choice and the third reason for shame that might require a woman to veil.

But for now let’s talk about the culture that promoted the cultural sign of shame. Paul in this passage rejects the cultural sign of shame. Instead Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:7 –

“For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.”

Do you see that? The woman is the GLORY of man. As his glory she brings him honor. As his glory she needs to be uncovered so she can shine forth his glory. Just as the man is to shine forth the glory of God, so she is to be allowed to shine forth the glory of man. Do you see that Paul is dispelling the myth that the woman is the shame of the man? Do you see that Paul is dispelling the myth that the woman is to be hidden and kept away from the congregation and hidden and kept away from men? Paul is telling the men that the woman, his wife, is to be his glory. He is not to be ashamed of her. She is not his competitor, she is not to reflect shame – she is to be his glory!

What a marvelous freeing word from Paul! Paul hasn’t used this passage to say that women are not in the image of God nor is he saying that they are not the glory of God. He is comparing one glory with another glory. The Corinthians should be able to see that the man is God’s glory and as God’s glory he is not to be covered. Men are to be uncovered in worship in order to shine forth God’s glory. In the same way they are to see that the woman in the very same way is the husband’s glory. As the husband’s glory she is not to be covered instead she is to shine forth the man’s glory. As the glory of the man, the glory is to be barefaced and he is to be proud of her not ashamed. The culture had taught them that the woman was not the man’s glory, but Paul’s correction changed all that. Now they knew that God intended the woman to be the outshining glory of the man!

Have you ever wondered why Christian women do not wear head coverings? Now you know.

Here are links to the posts in this series:

Shaming the head 1

Shaming the head 2

Shaming the head 3

Paul refutes a faulty tradition

Paul refutes a faulty tradition

Paul refutes a faulty tradition

In the last post we discussed that the man is the image and glory of God and Christ is his head. Why does Paul emphasize that the man is the image and glory of God but he says nothing about the woman having God’s glory? It is because Paul is working on a contrast that will blow the lid off a faulty tradition.

In Corinthians 11:3 Paul had just taught the Corinthians that Christ is the head of man. In verse 4 he relates that the one who is the head is not to be dishonored. How is it that a man can shame Christ? The head covering was used historically to show reverence for God and unworthiness to come into God’s presence because of the shame of one’s own sin (see this previous post for the discussion on the historical meaning of the head covering). When a Christian wears something that symbolizes the shame of his sin and his unworthiness to come into the presence of God, Christ is shamed and dishonored for it was Christ himself who died to take away our shame and to be the door of righteousness that takes us into the presence of God. By wearing a reminder of the shame of his sin, the man dishonors Christ. Instead of focusing on his sin, the man is to bring honor to Christ because Christ died to take away the shame of sin, and the penalty that it caused. The man is to respond by bringing honor and glory to Christ, his head. So when a man comes publicly before God through prayer and prophesying, he is to reflect the glory of God.

Now let’s skip down to 1 Cor. 11:7 to see the connection between Christ and the man, and the man and woman.

For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.

Paul is saying that just as the man is the glory of God, so the woman is the glory of man. Now remember, Paul isn’t saying here that the woman is not the glory of God, but he is going to draw a specific comparison for a specific purpose. The woman is the glory of man, Paul says. This means that what she does brings him glory. She was created to be his glory. He is not to be intimidated by her nor should he consider her to be his competitor because she is his glory. Verse 8 says:

For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man;

Woman originated from the man and because of that she is to be his glory. Verse 9 says:

for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.

The man had a need and the woman was created to meet his need. Woman is man’s glory. The word glory means reputation, praise, and source of honor and glory.

Paul was saying something that was totally counter-cultural. The culture of that day did not believe that the woman was the glory of the man. They believed that it was a shame for her to be in public. They also believed that for her to be unveiled in public brought great shame to her husband. They did not believe that she was his glory. In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul dismantles this false tradition.

Paul teaches that glory is meant to be shown not hidden. Glory is meant to be revealed and to be proud of because it brings honor. Just as the man is not to hide the glory of God, but to fully reveal God’s glory so also the woman is not meant to be hidden by a veil because she is the man’s glory.

But why then does Paul allow a woman to be veiled, if she really is the man’s glory? The answer is all about cultural shame. More in the next post.

The man is the image and glory of God

The man is the image and glory of God

Last post we discussed how the head covering shamed Christ.  Before we carry on with 1 Corinthians 11:5 in our verse by verse discussion, I want to skip over to verse 7 to discuss the second reason that a man is not to have his head covered and this has to do with honoring his head.  1 Corinthians 11:7 says:

For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God…

The man is not to cover his head when he prays or prophesies because the covering of the head hides the glory and the glory of God is not to be hidden but to be reflected.  Matthew 5:14-16 says:

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

The glory that shines through us is not to be hidden.  The glory properly reflected glorifies the Father in heaven.  2 Corinthians 3:18 says:

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

Do you get these points?  The man’s head is Christ.  He is not to have a head covering that signifies the shame of his sin (see last post) because Christ has died to take away that shame.  He is not to cover the head because he is a reflection of Christ’s glory and he is to bring glory to Christ through his being transformed into Christ’s image from glory to glory.

Now does this mean that the woman is not the glory of Christ?  No not at all.  2 Cor. 3:18 says that we all are to be with unveiled face.  We all shine forth the glory of Christ.  So why does Paul emphasize the man as the image and glory of God?  He does so to teach an extremely important lesson that will help to get rid of a faulty tradition concerning women.  More in the next post.

Shaming the head – 1

Shaming the head – 1

1 Corinthians 11:4-6 lists three “shames” and verse 7 lists two glories. Two of these shames and glories relate directly back to the “head” and one shame relates to the person themselves. Let’s find out about the contrasting “shames” and “glories” because they are vital to understanding this difficult passage.

1 Corinthians 11:4 says:

“Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head.”

“Every man” refers back to verse 3 where Paul said that Christ is the head of “every man”. Since Christ is the one who is the head of “every man”, Christ is the one who is shamed when men wear a head covering during the time that they are praying or prophesying. Notice that it isn’t just anytime that a man wears a head covering that Christ is shamed. It is only during the time that he is praying or prophesying.

Why would Christ be shamed if a man prays and prophesies with a head covering on his head? The reason is found in both the historical meaning of the head covering and also in Paul’s reference to honor in verse 7. John Lightfoot a Hebrew Scholar (1602-1675 AD) explains the historical reason for the head covering during worship and prayer. For the Jews, the covering symbolized their unworthiness to look upon God because it symbolized the shame of their sin. Are we unworthy to look upon God and are we to wear something that symbolizes the shame of our sin? Paul says no way. In 1 Corinthians 11:7, Paul says:

“For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God…”

The reason is simple – we are to reflect the glory of God not the shame of our sin. Jesus died in our place to cleanse us and to reconcile us to God. If men continue to wear the sign of the shame of their sin, they are disregarding Christ who died to take away that shame. Keeping a sign of the shame of our sin during worship shames Christ because it puts the emphasis on our sinful condition instead of our restored position in Christ. A man who wears a symbol of the shame of his sin shames Christ by holding onto a symbol of what was done away with in Christ when he should be bringing honor to Christ by reflecting the glory of his and head which is Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says:

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

Our purpose is to reflect the glory of the Lord, not hold onto the shame that has been removed in Christ. Reflecting the glory of the Lord brings Jesus honor and “every man” is to bring honor to their “head”.

In the next post we will see how Paul contrasts the honor that is due to the man’s “head” with the woman’s position with her “head”.

Links to Shaming the head articles:

Shaming the head 1

Shaming the head 2

Shaming the head 3

Is there support for universal male headship?

Is there support for universal male headship?

Before we continue with our verse by verse discussion through 1 Corinthians 11, I wanted to add a note about what some consider to be the universal role of male headship. In universal male headship the male is the head over every woman. Recently I got an email from a male apologist named Sandy Simpson who believes this way. He directed me to his online article that in part reads:

THE HEAD OF EVERY WOMAN IS THE MAN, THE HEAD OF EVERY WIFE IS THE HUSBAND

This verse is talking specifically about the husband and wife. But in a larger sense the head of the man is Christ, the head of the woman is man. The Bible teaches that Christ is the first head over man, the Christian husband the second head under Christ, with the elders of the church the third authority in the life of every Christian woman.

1 Corinthians 11:3 Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

Now I do respect Sandy a lot as he has worked hard to expose the aberrant teaching and false teachers that have crept into the church. Anytime someone has a heart for the body of Christ and wants to protect the sheep from being led astray by the wolves in our midst I can applaud them in their ministry. It is a thankless job and I appreciate Sandy for the hard work that he is doing. I have especially appreciated the DVDs that he has produced through his ministry one in particular called The New Apostolic Reformation which is a multi DVD set documenting the teachings and influence of the International Coalition of Apostles (New Apostolic Reformation) which came out of the Latter Rain movement and has infiltrated into our churches. The clips in the DVDs showing the teaching of the new “Apostles” and “Prophets” of this movement are eye-opening. My only criticism of the series as a DVD editor myself, is that some parts of the commentary are in need of good graphics, a change of scenery would also be helpful to keep it flowing and it needs a more eye-pleasing way to present some of the quotes. The words of the commentary are often scrolled in a single line across the bottom of the picture at a fast pace and it is impossible to read without getting sea-sick.

However, while I appreciate Sandy as a brother in Christ, I strongly disagree with him when he writes on his web site that 1 Corinthians 11:3 teaches that a man is the “head” of every woman. Sandy makes it specific by applying this to the church where the elders of the church are each to be the head of every Christian woman.  Here is how that would come across as a picture:

Womens heads

But scripture doesn’t say that a woman has more than two heads. Jesus is her head as Jesus is the head of every member of the body of Christ and her husband is her head. Does scripture say that an unmarried woman has as her head every male? No it doesn’t. Does scripture say that an elder or leader in the church is the head over every woman? No, not all. To say “yes” would be reading into scripture. The “head” is a very special relationship and to put every male or every Christian male into the special “head” position with a female actually takes away that very special and unique relationship that the husband has with his wife.

One Pastor told me that he is the “covenantal head of the (local) church”. I was floored when I heard that! I asked him to show me from scripture where a Pastor was ever called the “head” of the church let alone the “covenantal head”. The “head” is indeed a covenant relationship but the covenant is with the bridegroom and his bride. Our bridegroom, Jesus Christ is in relationship with his bride as head and no human should ever claim that relationship even in a local church.

I asked this Pastor to show me from scripture where any man other than a husband or Jesus Christ, the husband of the church, is ever called “head”. I am still waiting. I don’t think he will find a scripture because I have never seen it.

Last post we talked about the meaning of “head” from 1 Corinthians 11 and how important it is to understand the meaning from the context. I would like to add that the importance of “head” in association to the “body” is always one of relationship. I sincerely believe that when men try to insert themselves by calling themselves “head” of all women when they are not in relationship as the woman’s husband, they have stepped outside the boundary of scripture.

If scripture wanted to tell us that a man is the head of all women, then Paul certainly would have said that. Instead Paul said “the man” is the head of a singular “woman“. Universal male headship may be a tradition, but we must test all of these traditions by scripture and this tradition is found without scriptural support.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;

1 Corinthians 11:3 and "head"

1 Corinthians 11:3 and "head"

In the last post I summarized the foundational points from chapter 10 that is necessary to the understanding of chapter 11. If you haven’t read it already, it can be read by clicking here. In this post I will continue our verse by verse discussion from 1 Corinthians 11:3. I will be using the New American Standard Version for most of these posts unless otherwise indicated. I Corinthians 11:3 –

But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.

In 1 Corinthians 11:3 Paul commended the Corinthians for holding firm to the traditions that he had delivered to them and now Paul is going to help them to understand some of these traditions. In the fall of 2006 I heard a Pastor give an excellent sermon on the traditions that the Jewish people hold to this day that actually symbolize the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus even though they do not even know what they are doing with their traditions. At Passover they take a piece of unleavened bread and fold it into a white napkin and then they hide it in their house for 3 days. When the 3 days are over, the children look for the napkin and when they find it they bring it out and uncover the bread. They keep the tradition but never understand what the tradition is all about. The tradition of the unleavened bread in the white napkin being revived after 3 days is symbolic of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. In verses 2 and 3, Paul says that the Corinthians were holding to the traditions that he gave them but he wanted them to understand what the traditions meant.

There has been much scholarly debate about the meaning of the word “head” in 1 Corinthians 11:3. Some have given a meaning to “head” as “authority over another person” or simply “boss” as in a hierarchal order. Others say that “head” means source or origin. However the only way that we can know for sure is to read the context surrounding verse 3 as well as to pay close attention to the inspired word order regarding “head”.

In verse 3 Paul sets up the order of the relationships that he lists in a very unusual order if he had meant a hierarchal ordering. If we come to the passage with the presupposition that God has completely inspired it including inspired words, inspired grammar and inspired word order, then we can clearly see a different pattern presented. If Paul had wanted us to believe that he was constructing a hierarchal ordering, then he made a grave error. He should have listed man as head of woman first, then Christ as head of men second and lastly God as head of Christ. The hierarchy would be woman at the bottom with man over her, Christ over all men and God over Christ.

Yet this is not the way that the word was inspired. Instead we have Christ listed first as head of all men, then the man head of woman, then God head of Christ. In this ordering we have God as Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end and an ordered list of origins. In the ordering we have Christ as the origin of all men, the man as origin of woman, and lastly Jesus Christ (as the one born through a woman) having his origin through God.

It isn’t just the order that tells us that “origins” not “hierarchy” is the meaning of the word “head”. The context of the passage also tells us that Paul is referring to our origins.

1 Corinthians 11:8 says:

“For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man;”

Here Paul teaches about the origin of woman. Woman originates from the man. This fits perfectly with verse 3 where the man is the “head” of woman.

1 Corinthians 11:9 says:

“for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.”

Here again Paul is referring to origins and the reason for the woman’s origin.

1 Corinthians 11:12 says:

“For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.”

Paul repeats the fact that woman originates from the man (remember that Paul said that repetition is for our safety – Philippians 3:1) and he sums it up by saying that all things originate from God. This is the Alpha and Omega of origins. Christ is the source of all men (He is the Alpha) and God is the source of Christ (the Omega). All things begin and end with God as the ultimate source.

However if we are to interpret “head” as “authority over” or “boss of” in a hierarchal ordering we will find no repetition of this concept in the passage. In this passage Paul is silent regarding any authority that the man has over the woman or any authority that the Father takes over Jesus Christ. Why is that? It is because the interpretation of “head” as “authority” or “boss” is completely out of step with the rest of chapter 11 and it is something completely out of kilter with the subject of the passage.

Confused

Confused
If we interpreted it this way, we are left scratching our heads wondering what Paul could possibly mean by sticking verse 3 in amongst this passage. We could be left thinking, “What does authority or being boss over someone have to do with this passage? What has this to do with the price of rice in China?” It is completely foreign to the context.

Instead of trying to force the text to mean what we would like it to mean, we must let Paul define his own terms for himself. When we come to the passage with a hierarchal mindset, we miss Paul’s connecting the relationship of man to woman with the importance of origins. There is also more to see about the importance of origins that we will be discussing later on in the chapter.

The next thing that we need to pay attention to is the inspired words of verse 3. Here Paul uses the word for man twice which is “aner”. Let’s look at the second phrase…the man is the head of a woman. Now if we interpret it as “origin” or “source” as Paul repeats in verses 8, 9 and 12, we can understand that Paul is talking about the first man “the man” Adam and the first woman – Eve. Eve literally had her origin from the side of the man. Also wherever man and woman are placed in a relationship to each other in a biblical passage it is a sound practice to interpret this as husband and wife not just any man as head over any woman. That it is the husband that is the head of the wife is repeated by Paul in Ephesians 5:23 so we can know by repetition that this is what Paul is talking about. Paul said:

“For the husband is the head of the wife…”

Now the curious thing about this verse is that the inspired word used in the first relationship is that Christ is the “head” of every “man”. Man here is “aner” meaning a male or a husband and it is not the generic word for mankind. This is the inspired word used and it is not by accident that God has inspired it this way. If “aner” means husband in the second set of relationships, then we can logically give the same meaning to the first set of relationships where the very same term “aner” is used.

Christ then is the “head” of all husbands. Christ is the “source” or “origin” of all husbands. Now Paul is not saying that Christ is “head” only of men or husbands because Christ certainly is “head” of the wives too, but I believe that Paul is emphasizing a special relationship between Christ and the husband. We will talk more about the implications of this later, but for the time being perhaps you would like to give your thoughts on why God inspired the word “aner” to be used twice in verse 3 instead of the generic term for mankind that would normally include women.

Next post we will be discussing the cultural and spiritual “shames” that are brought about by the “head” relationships.

Verse by verse through 1 Corinthians 11

Verse by verse through 1 Corinthians 11

Because I have received several questions posed to me on 1 Corinthians 11, I think it best that we go through the passage verse by verse and that should help deal with each question in context. As we go through each set of verses, please feel free to comment or ask questions on the section that we are covering. This should keep our discussions focused and keep each post and each set of questions separated.

The first thing that we need to note is that 1 Corinthians was not written with the chapter and verse divisions. Instead Paul wrote it as a complete letter to the Corinthians. The chapter and verse divisions were added later by translators for our benefit but these divisions are not inspired. Verse 1 of 1 Corinthians 11 is then a continuation from chapter 10. When Paul says in verse 1:

“Be imitators of me just as I am an imitator of Christ”

he is summing up what he has just told the Corinthians throughout chapter 10. In 1 Corinthians 10:23 Paul said:

“All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.”

Paul then gives a principle of behavior in verse 24:

“Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.”

This is an important point to note as this thought will be carried on to chapter 11. Paul is saying that we are “allowed” to do many things, but not everything we are “allowed” to do will be helpful or good for our neighbor. Paul then goes on to give examples such as eating meat. One is allowed to eat meat that has been offered to idols, but will our eating stumble our brother? We are to do things with deliberate thought. We are not just to do things for our own benefit but also for the benefit of our neighbor.

Then in verse 32, Paul gives another statement that is very important to pay attention to because this thought will also be carried forward to chapter 11. Paul says:

“Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God”

There are three types of people mentioned here that have traditions that can be offended. The Jews can be offended, the Greeks or Gentiles can be offended and the church of God can be offended. This is a very key point so keep it in mind as we dive into chapter 11. Next Paul says:

“just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.”

Paul is concerned that men are not offended and he tells the Corinthians that he lives his life in such a way that he is not seeking his own profit but the profit of others (Jews, Greeks, the church of God). The reason that he is seeking their profit is so that there will be no offense brought to the gospel of Christ. Now verse 1 of chapter 11 will make more sense when Paul said:

“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.”

We are going to look at 1 Corinthians 11 with an eye of understanding as to what Paul has already been teaching throughout chapter 10. Paul is talking about not giving an offense to anyone and not doing things for one’s own profit but seeking the benefit of others. With that in mind let’s look at what Paul says next. In verse 2 and the first part of verse 3 Paul says:

“Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you. But I want you to understand…”

Paul is saying that the Corinthians have been holding fast to the traditions that Paul had given them, but Paul now wants them to do more than just hold fast to these traditions. Paul wants them to understand these traditions.

This is the foundation that chapter 11 is built on. Next post we will continue on with verse 3.

Why was the woman created for the man?

Why was the woman created for the man?

One question that was posed to me last week was on 1 Corinthians 11:9 regarding the creation of woman for the man. Does this mean that the woman is somehow inferior to the man because she was created for him? Let’s have a close look at the passage starting with verse 7 of 1 Corinthians 11:7:

7. For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.

8. For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man;

9. for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.

10. This is why a woman should have authority over her own head: because of the angels. (International Standard Version)

11. However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.

12. For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.

In this passage Paul is talking about origins and the glory that goes with these origins. Paul highlights the origin of mankind in such a way that it ultimately brings us back to God as the ultimate first cause even though there is a mediator of sorts that is used in the creation of the woman. Let’s see how Paul does this and how this ties in with the point that Paul is making about the creation of the woman for the man.

In verse 7 Paul writes that the woman is the glory of man. The Greek word used here for glory primarily means thought or opinion, especially favorable human opinion, and thus in a secondary sense reputation, praise, honor. Woman is the reputation, the praise and the honor of man. He can glory in her because her very nature brings him honor. The true value of a woman to a man is the recognition that she is of equal worth and equal value and the glory that she shines forth reflects the man that she was created for. He is not in competition with her, instead she is someone to be proud of because she reflects the very best in him.

Because woman is the glory of man and because her very being brings him honor, Paul says in verse 10 that she is to have authority over her own head. The Holy Spirit has inspired the Greek word for authority that means permission, authority, right, liberty, power to do something. This word for authority always means that the person themselves has the power or authority to do something. Paul is saying that because the woman is the man’s glory and because she was created for him, she has the power to carry out her mandate by growing with the man in the maturity of Christ. As a mature Christian she is to make her own decision over her own head. Why does Paul say that she has this authority? She has this authority because she too will be judging the angels in the next life (1 Corinthians 6:3; 1 Corinthians 11:10). In this life men and women are to grow up and be mature so that we can all make wise decisions in this life (1 Corinthians 6:2) and in the next life our maturity is required to make wise decisions regarding judging the world and the angels (1 Cor. 6:2, 3) For more information on the issue of authority on the head and angels see my post at http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2007/05/02/1-corinthians-11-and-paul/

Since maturity in the image of Christ is of utmost importance to Paul, as we are all to reflect the glory of Christ with unveiled faces (2 Corinthians 3:18) please note that Paul nowhere says that the woman was created to be the man’s servant or that she was created for the man to rule over her. She is not a burden to him as a child would be who needs someone to supervise them and monitor their every move. Paul says that she is his glory and she together with the man will rule the world and will judge the angels.

Man’s tendency since the time of Adam’s sin has been to try to subjugate the woman and push her beneath him as he rules over her. In contrast, Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 11 that the woman was not created in this way. She was created to be the glory of the man and as she shines with her gifts and with her abilities, the man is to be proud of her and to see her as shining forth the praise and the honor of man. When men finally understand this, there will no longer be a book of lists outlining all that a woman is forbidden to do. No longer will she be forbidden to lead in prayer or forbidden to be an usher or forbidden to preach the good news. The glory of the church must be a united glory with all of us shining forth the glory of our Savior. All of us were created in God’s image and all of us are to once again shine forth his glory as we are knit together into one body. Understanding this will certainly help to keep us from competition and jealousy because when one member is honored in the body we should all rejoice (1 Corinthians 12:26). The purpose is that there should be no division in the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:25).

The next post will deal with some of Kerryn’s questions on the 1 Corinthians 11 passage.

Paul and the "head" from 1 Corinthians 11

Paul and the "head" from 1 Corinthians 11

1 Corinthians 11 has been a hotly disputed passage regarding the meaning of “head”.

While some have seen a hierarchy of authority in this passage,

q_head_1.jpg

others say that Paul is explaining the importance of origins.

q_head_1a.jpg

Is it possible that those who see male authority in the metaphor of “head” are bringing their own presupposition of male superiority to the text? There is only one way to find out and that is to examine the text carefully to see what evidence Paul gives for his own definition of “head”. Before we discuss this passage, it would be a good thing to lay out the presuppositions that I bring to this text.

The first presupposition I have is that I come to this passage believing that it is fully God breathed. I believe that God inspired its content, word usage, grammar and word order.

The second presupposition of mine is that I believe Paul is consistent in repeating himself and defining his own terms. Paul let us know that repetition is very important to for our safety. Paul said in Philippians 3:1 –

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.

Repeating the same things over again in a slightly different way is a safeguard for us because it helps us to understand what is being said. Repetition lessens the problems of miscommunication. Paul said that it was no trouble for him to repeat himself because it was for our benefit. So if Paul thought repetition was a good thing, we can expect that Paul will define his terms by repeating himself in a slightly different way to enable us to understand this important teaching.

Let’s look at the original reference to “head”

1 Corinthians 11:3 But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.

Now there are three things that we can note from this verse:

1. Christ is the “head” of every man

2. The man is the “head” of a woman

3. God is the “head” of Christ

Where are these things repeated in the passage? It is in verse 12.

1 Corinthians 11:12 For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.

Here Paul says the same thing in a slightly different way. Man is the beginning point of origin for the woman because the very first woman, Eve, came through the body of Adam. As the man was the originating point for the woman, the man now has his origin through the woman. Christ himself became human through the woman but his ultimate origin is of God.

What is Paul’s application? Paul tells us in verse 11.

1 Corinthians 1:11 However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.

There is to be no competition between men and women because God has overridden any advantage that one has over the other. Men and women are interdependent (verse 11) because in the beginning God created man to be the source of the woman but since then woman has been the one to produce the man. However God is the ultimate source not any man or woman because all things originate through Him.

Christ received his humanity through the woman, but his origin was from God and as God he is the origin of all things and of all men.

So where is Paul’s reference to a hierarchical order? Where is the man said to be the authority of the woman in this passage? Where does the passage say anything in reference to Christ being an authority of every man or that God is to be an authority over Christ? Unfortunately for those who come to this passage with a bias already in place towards male superiority, Paul defines the meaning of “head” in verse 12 and this meaning has everything to do with “source” or “origin” and nothing whatsoever to do with authority of one person over another.

The original source is God and men and women are interdependent regarding one another.

 

man_woman_christ_god.jpg



1 Corinthians 11 and Paul

1 Corinthians 11 and Paul

1 Corinthians 11 has been a difficult passage because of several elements that have been hard to interpret.  Some of the disputed elements are the meaning of “head” in verse 3, whether head coverings are necessary in verse 5, the woman being the glory of the man in verse 7, the reference to angels in verse 10 and long hair for a man being an issue of shame in verse 14.

In this new series of posts, we will be discussing the meanings of the difficult verses and how to understand Paul.

The best way that I know how to explain Paul’s method of teaching doctrine is to reference Paul’s own words in Philippians 3:1

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.

Paul had a habit of repeating himself so that when we see a word or concept that seems difficult in a verse, we need to look back in the book to see where Paul either originally explained his meaning, or we need to look forward in the book to see where Paul explains what he means. If we keep this in mind, Paul is much easier to understand.

Take for example the reference to the angels in verse 10 of 1 Corinthians 11. Now there has been much speculation regarding what Paul meant by saying “because of the angels” however we don’t need to speculate because Paul has already told us what he means. When Paul says “because of the angels” we can know that he is repeating what he has already said. Paul said that repetition is for our safety. A phrase thrown out without a reference point is not safe.  Paul is the original “Safety Man” so let’s get started to see how Paul keeps us safe.  Let’s go back into 1 Corinthians to find out the original reference to angels.

When I was first studying 1 Corinthians 11, I decided to work my way back through Paul’s epistle to find out what he meant by referring to the angels.  There was no other reference to angels in chapter 11 so I went back further. There was nothing in chapter 10 or 9 or 8. One thing that we have to remember is that when Paul originally wrote the book of 1 Corinthians it did not have chapters and verses. Paul was writing a letter to the congregation in Corinth and his entire letter was meant to be read at one time. Reading the book this way, it becomes much clearer what Paul meant by the reference to the angels.  If you keep going back and back you will eventually go back to chapter 6.  Here Paul said:

1 Corinthians 6:3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?

Paul had been discussing the problem within the congregation where Christians were taking matters that should have been dealt with among the Christian body and were bringing them into the worldly courts. Paul chides the Christians by telling them that the Christian church should be able to judge matters within their own Christian community. Paul asks if there isn’t one who had some wisdom to make a judgment. Paul then asks them if they are aware that in the next life, they will have the responsibility of judging angels. If they are going to judge angels, Paul says, surely they should be able to judge the matters of this life.

So Paul’s original reference to the angels is about maturity, responsibility and our duty in the next life regarding judging the angels. Now let’s take that original reference and go ahead to where Paul repeats himself in 1 Corinthians 11:10. The International Standard Version renders it this way:

1 Cor. 11:10 This is why a woman should have authority over her own head: because of the angels.

The International Standard version along with the KJV, Literal Translation of the Bible, Modern King James Version, Messianic Renewed Covenant Bible, World English Bible, Webster’s Bible, Darby Bible and Douay-Rheims Bible all translate this verse without the additional words “symbol of” that is not found in the original text.  Let’s follow this verse from the original text without the addition of uninspired words.

Next let’s look at the Greek word for “authority”.  The original word is exousia and means “Permission, authority, right, liberty, power to do something”.  The WordStudy Dictionary says regarding this word,

“As (exousia) denies the presence of a hindrance, it may be used either of the capability or the right to do a certain action.”

The word exousia never means that the person themselves is under someone else’s authority. Instead it always means that the person has the right, permission or capability to make the decision or do the action.

So Paul is saying in verse 10 that the woman should have “the capablility or the right or the liberty” over her own head (regarding whether she wears a veil or doesn’t wear a veil, whether she cuts her hair or she doesn’t cut her hair); because in the next life she will also be judging the angels. Paul is repeating what he has already said in 1 Corinthians 6:3. He is saying that in this life we need to learn to make our own mature decisions. After all, Paul said, we will be making some very important decisions in the next life because we will be judging angels. Since women will also be judging the angels, she should have the right in this life to make the decision about what she does or doesn’t wear on her head.

Unfortunately when translations add words that are not in the text, they can distort what the scripture actually says. Verse 10 does not say that the woman is under someone else’s authority, neither does it say that she must wear a veil. It does say that the decision is hers regarding her head. It says that the decision over her own head is in her own authority and her own right to act and her own liberty because she too will be judging the angels. Does this make sense?

Next time we will be discussing the meaning of “Head”. Once again Paul is repeating himself so that we don’t need to guess what he means. Paul tells us in the passage. Stay tuned for the next blog entry.

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