“AND EVERY WOMAN WHO PRAYS OR PROPHESIES WITH HER HEAD UNCOVERED DISHONORS HER HEAD…IT IS JUST AS THOUGH HER HEAD WERE SHAVED. IF A WOMAN DOES NOT COVER HER HEAD, SHE SHOULD HAVE HER HAIR CUT OFF; AND IF IT IS A DISGRACE FOR A WOMAN TO HAVE HER HAIR CUT OR SHAVED OFF, SHE SHOULD COVER HER HEAD.” 1st Corinthians 11:5-6 NIV
At our last church bible study our pastor who was the teacher was attempting to make a point about how many people felt that Paul was contradicting himself in this book written to the Corinthians. In chapter 11 he mentions women prophesying and in chapter 13 he states a woman should be quiet in the church. If you take these verses out of context to the happenings of the day and time period in which Paul was speaking about you would come up with many different assumptions of what Paul was saying about women at that time. However during that time that Pastor was trying to make his point a controversy arose out of the above scripture and a slight debate occurred. It took us off the point that pastor was trying to convey to us and thus myself and another Elder of the church was given a written assignment to clarify the scripture for the knowledge of the whole body. So being the big mouth that I am and with little time to write another page I realized that September’s entry was passed do and so with that said I can do two things at once….(see I am getting smarter in my old age!!!) So our bible study series for this month will be on the “Propriety in Worship”. I highlighted the scripture that I needed to write on but as I started to study the passage I soon realized that we had to go back to the beginning. Just what is Paul attempting to convey to the people in Corinth. Paul begins with the following “FOLLOW MY EXAMPLE, AS I FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST.” 1st Corinthians 11:1. Paul wanted all believers to follow Christ’s example and become a “Christlike person. He was telling them that they need to follow his example as he followed Christ’s example. By following Christ we become Christ like by becoming his likeness. To be Christ likeness is to first and foremost have a true love for God and others. As believers our love for God motivates and directs our love for others. Just as our Lord Jesus’ love was always toward God our Father first and his love for others subordinate to and based on that love that he had for His Father. Next Jesus’ love for Father God was revealed in his concern for God’s Glory. We see this love for God by his williness to do his word, and will to carry out God’s plan by him sacrificing his life for our redemption. Last Christ’s love for us was seen in his compassion. These are the things that Paul was trying to get the people at Corinth to understand and incorporate. He went on with verse 2 “I PRAISE YOU FOR REMEMBERING ME IN EVERY THING AND FOR HOLDING TO THE TEACHINGS, JUST AS I PASSED THEM ON TO YOU” The teachings that Paul was talking about were instructions relating to doctrine, moral standards and codes of conduct that Paul delivered to the churches by the authority of Christ. These teachings were instructions of God’s will on such matters as outward dress, modesty, appearance and proper conduct. Paul did not want the Corinthians to be taught that God is concerned only with the inner attitudes and not with externals. He wanted them to understand God’s clear revelation in scripture. To dress properly and modestly is a biblical principle of lasting validity. Paul’s concern is about the proper relationship between men and women, and he seeks to uphold that relationship as ordained by God. Verse 3-4 states “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. EVERY MAN WHO PRAYS OR PROPHESIES WITH HIS HEAD COVERED DISHONORS HIS HEAD. ” Paul wanted the Corinthians to understand that in Christ there exists a perfect spiritual equality among men and women as heirs of God’s grace however it is an equality involving order and submission with respect to authority. Father God is the head of Christ, Lord Jesus is the head of man, and man the head of woman. What we must understand is that the word “Head” seems to express both authority and divine order. Paul bases the husband’s headship not on cultural considerations but on God’s creative activity and purpose in creating the woman to help the man. We are to understand that submission is not demeaning to one’s person, for it does not imply suppression or oppression. What it does mean is that the husband must recognize the worth God places on the woman and that his responsibility involves protecting and leading her in such a way as to fulfill God’s will for her in the home and the church. Likewise Christ is not inferior or second-class because father God is his head. In God’s kingdom leadership never implies being “greater”. Servanthood and obedience are the keys to greatness in the Kingdom of God. Now last but not least Pastor I get to the verses that have me writing this paper in the first place!!! “AND EVERY WOMAN WHO PRAYS OR PROPHESIES WITH HER HEAD UNCOVERED DISHONORS HER HEAD…IT IS JUST AS THOUGH HER HEAD WERE SHAVED. IF A WOMAN DOES NOT COVER HER HEAD, SHE SHOULD HAVE HER HAIR CUT OFF; AND IF IT IS A DISGRACE FOR A WOMAN TO HAVE HER HAIR CUT OR SHAVED OFF, SHE SHOULD COVER HER HEAD. ” 1st Corinthians 11:5-6 We must always remember that Paul was talking to the people of his day. During that time in Hebrew history the woman covered their heads in order to show modesty and submission to their husbands. It also demonstrated their dignity. The veil meant that she was to be respected and honored as a woman. Without a veil she had no dignity and men did not respect women without veils because they were in effect flaunting themselves publicly and shamefully. Thus the veil served as a sign of the value and glory of woman hood as God created her. That is the reality of Paul’s day however the principle behind the wearing of veils is still needed today. A woman of Christ should dress in a modest and careful way, with honorable and dignified attire that allows her to go anywhere with security and profound respect. When she dresses modestly and properly for the glory of God she enhances her own God-given place of dignity and worth. Moving on to verse 10-13 ” FOR THIS REASON, AND BECAUSE OF THE ANGELS, THE WOMAN OUGHT TO HAVE A SIGN OF AUTHORITY ON HER HEAD. IN THE LORD, HOWEVER, WOMAN IS NOT INDEPENDENT OF MAN, NOR IS MAN INDEPENDENT OF WOMAN. FOR AS WOMAN CAME FROM MAN, SO ALSO MAN IS BORN OF WOMAN. BUT EVERYTHING COMES FROM GOD.” During Paul’s day the veil in public for a woman was a symbol of “authority” on her head. The phrase “because of the angels” may refer to the fact that angels are concerned with proper order and are shocked at conduct that is not in tune with God’s will. Paul also wanted them to know that according to our Lord man and woman were not independent of each other. He notes that woman did come from man (Eve was made from the rib of Adam) however man was born of woman (women giving birth to male children) but the main point was and is that we all come from God. It is He that we must pay homage to in all our ways and deeds. ” DOES NOT THE VERY NATURE OF THINGS TEACH YOU THAT IF A MAN HAS LONG HAIR, IT IS A DISGRACE TO HIM, BUT THAT IF A WOMAN HAS LONG HAIR, IT IS HER GLORY. FOR LONG HAIR IS GIVEN TO HER AS A COVERING.” 1st Corinthians 11:14-15. The physical differences between men and women is a desire of God that must be observed. At this time Paul is using hair as an example stating that the length of the hair of men and women should be such as to distinguish between one and the other. Really it’s not the length that’s important but the fact that you will be able to see the person and know that the person was male or female. Another important fact about the Corinthians during Paul’s day was that long hair on men was a sign that the man was a pagan male prostitute and short hair on a woman was a sign that she was a pagan female prostitute. These prostitutes stayed at the temples of the pagan gods and were used by the people for sexual favors. Paul wanted the Christians to represent Christ internally and externally. He wanted them and us now to understand that the ultimate head of all of us is God our Father and that we that are in Christ and being Christ like are his representatives.
This concludes this months bible study. As always read these passages for yourself. Ask our Lord to lead you to all truth. Speak to your pastors and leaders to help you understand these verses. Also you can always leave a question or comment for us to answer. Continue to share this blog site with others. We thank you for your continued support and we are still climbing in our readership. As for my pastor this is my paper for bible study as well. I invite you to read this blog and see what your favorite minister is up to…ha,ha,ha…yes that was a good joke!!!