Those veiled women of Corinth–by Gary Shogren

Sometimes the thought crosses my mind, “Are you just making all this stuff up about men and women working together as co-equals in the church? Who do you think you are? You aren’t qualified to make judgments about the Scriptures–you don’t have any training in these areas.” And it’s true. I don’t. So  I love to have the help of theologians. When Gary Shogren contacted me a while back and said, “If I may offer, I do a great deal of work in the Greek New Testament (my field – my PhD is from Aberdeen University) and I would be very happy to serve as a resource if you have any issues dealing with exegesis or early church history,” I took him at his word. Gary and his wife are missionaries in Costa Rica and professors in a Bible College and Seminary. Here’s the latest Gary sent me on the thorny question of veiled women in 1 Corinthians 11:

Part of Bible study is not just understanding what the author was teaching, but what problem the Scripture was intended to solve, and also to apply his teaching in a context today. In this case, we live in a culture that is far removed from first-century Corinth:

…every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. (1 Cor 11:4-6)

My interpretation of this section is:

Paul taught all his churches that in a worship service both men and women are free to pray aloud and to speak prophetically to the congregation. Men should pray and prophesy with their heads bared; women, who arrive already wearing a veil — like a shawl on their head, as dictated the local culture — should continue to wear it throughout the meeting. This rule was given for several reasons: it reflected the created order as described in Genesis; because it was “natural”; because to do otherwise would bring cultural shame. But later on, some Corinthian women wanted to shed the veil. Paul perceives that, while the veil in itself is not a fundamental issue of the faith, the motivations for rejecting the veil were questionable: to declare independence from men/husbands; to reject the relevance of cultural mores for a Christian; to act as if gender differences did not exist. For these reasons he reaffirms that women and men must maintain the status quo that he has established for Christian meetings.

Those women who wish to pray without a veil need to realize that they are obligated to glorify God in part by honoring “the men,” that is their brothers in Christ. Neither man nor woman in Christ is an individual unit; each must come to Christ through serving the other. Thus Paul also reminds the men: if you are tempted to lord it over women, remember that you came from a woman (11:8) and that you too have to answer to a head, that is Christ, and to make very sure that you are reflecting glory to another, not to yourself.

Clothing in some societies conveys strong signals about social position, self-consciousness, and gender. For example, not many generations ago, when a girl reached a certain age and started wearing her hear bound “up,”she was signaling that she was available for marriage. For boys, the purchase of their first pair of long pants was an anxiously-awaited step toward manhood. In Roman society, a respectable married woman or widow went out in public with her hair worn up and covered with a veil or shawl as a sign that she was faithful to her husband and not sexually available to men she encountered. This is not the Muslim purdah, nor is it designed to cover the face — only the top of the head and the hair and back of the neck were covered. A woman without veil and with hair unbound was “loose.”

Therefore, according to apostolic custom, a meeting of the church, though in a private home, was considered a public meeting to which people would walk. A woman would arrive with her head covered; she should stay that way. To remove her veil would embarrass all the men, and her husband, if she were married.

The idea that even in the church women should be women and men should be men may offend some modern people. But let us look positively on what Paul is saying: in the church, women and men remain women and men; husbands and wives remain such. Being in Christ, though guaranteeing equality among believers, does not mean the end of gender nor of marriage, both of which were part of God’s creation before the Fall. One implication is that there is therefore no need for women to assume that being independent or more mannish will in some way make them more Christian. A Christian woman, dressed appropriately, can pray and prophesy aloud, shoulder-to-shoulder with any male in the congregation.

Every human society has social signals, mute messages that help its members to communicate things about themselves. These change radically from culture to culture and over time and place. They can be very useful: they save billions of hours in unnecessary explanation:

  •  It used to be normal for widows to wear black. Likewise, men would wear black armbands. By this they showed their respect for the dead. It also signaled to others, I am mourning a loss; don’t interact with me as if things were normal.
  • In some cultures, a wedding ring is a signal to others that we are romantically unavailable. In North America, beginning in the 20th century, men as well as women might wear them. People who remove their rings in order to hide their married state are considered deceitful.
  • As a North American, I had to relearn certain signals when I moved to Costa Rica. For example, I had to be told that it was rude in Latin America to make eye contact with young women on the street. My own birth culture had taught me the opposite, that it is improper not to smile at and greet everyone I see.
  • There are myriad signals that we communicate via tattoos; earrings, and on which ear; hairstyle; T-shirts; our manner of speaking.

I have taught in churches where women had to wear veils during the church service. My own take is that no Christian women today in cultures where veils do not convey the same message — for example, in Muslin lands — is obligated to wear the veil; but all Christians, although citizens of heaven, still live in the world, and we must pay attention to our social signals so that they reinforce the gospel we want to honor. Our Lord himself was famous for breaking some conventional rules, and sometimes we should as well (see Mark 7:2, 5; Luke 15:2; John 4:27; even John 2:10). But he always did so for a purpose: to serve the Father better, not to prove that he was “free” and that society could not rein him in. Like him, let us send a clear message to those around us, whether it is by word, action or mute signal.

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Photo by Richard Mortel

30 thoughts on “Those veiled women of Corinth–by Gary Shogren”

  1. I appreciate the way you showed how we deal with our culture and how we ought to serve others for their good, not just to score points, as it were. There is no place in the community of faith for using our gifts to show others up.

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  2. Another interpretation of these verses is that Paul was simply quoting the opinion of some from a letter he had received from the Church at Corinth. Multiple times Paul addresses a letter he received previously from Corinth. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:1 “And now about those matters you wrote to me in your letter.” Paul then quotes their letter and then gives his opinion, which contradicts the Corinthian opinion. Another example is 1 Corinthians 11:18 where Paul writes “I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it.” Yet another, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 where Paul responds in verse 36 with the disjunctive particle “Utter rubbish!” refuting the statement made by some at the Church in Corinth.

    Evidence that Paul is quoting some in the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 11:3-8 is that he refutes this position in verses 10 to 16. For example, verses 3 and 7 to 9 establish hierarchies between men and women. However, verses 11 and 12 institute equality, instead positioning God as the only authority. Verses 4 through 7 regulate head covering. However, verses 10 and 13 through 15 establish the woman as the only authority over her head. Attempting to reconcile these verses as all originating from Paul is impossible; understanding they are opposing views make perfect sense. Head covering is an issue isolated to the assembly at Corinth; no other assembly that Paul was involved with had this problem. The word translated in verse 16 as “other” should be translated “such.” Verse 16 should read “But if anyone is inclined to be obstinate about this, let me say we have no such custom, nor do any of God’s assemblies” (The Source). Once again, Paul sides with freedom despite cultural pressures to the contrary.

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    1. Jeffrey, this is a great interpretation. I’ve often used the idea that 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 is a quote, but not applied it to these verses in chapter 11. Good thoughts!

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  3. 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.

    5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her

    head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

    6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be
    shorn or shaven, let her be covered.

    7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of
    God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

    8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.

    9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

    10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

    [1 Corinthians Chapter 11:4-10 kjv.]

    The versions that speaks about a wife in these verses are mis-leading and deceptive.

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      1. Felicity, I have no doubt many would; but felicity, many theologians also agree with me. I believe more agree with me that those who disagree.
        However, it seems that those who disagree are more vocal and aggressive.
        But truth, crush down will always rise again.

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      2. It seems to me, when theologians have no clear consensus on the meaning of a particular Scripture that you take the overall tenor and trend of the Bible as your guideline–in particular, looking at the life of Jesus. Jesus is the image of the invisible God, and his attitude to women was not one of limitations and rules.

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      3. “…..tenor and trends” are subjective. Many are using trajectory argument to justify role reversals and homosexuality. But however you choose to look at trends and tenor, if they contradicts the Written Word and it’s meaning, it is wrong. Jesus , never did anything contrary to the Father and His instructions and design for men and women in relationships both in the home and the Church.
        The problem with your views is that it seeks to fit God’s Kingdom principles into a changing culture, when Jesus Himself fought against cultural trends and that cost Him His Life.
        Jesus Never conform to the culture. And He Never appoint any woman to any positions of Authority in the Home nor the Church,. That’s consistent with the Father and His design for Family and Church. Role reversal is antithetical to that design. It will lead to confusion and it is what we have and see today in many homes and Churches.

        Blessings!

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      4. Wit, now put this in the context of what God is doing around the world. In a church planting movement in a Buddhist nation with over 100,000 new believers in the past 10 years, 75% of the church planting trainers are women. In a CPM in various Middle Eastern nations (around 12,000 churches), 70 percent of the leaders at every level are women. In China, around 70% of the leaders are women.

        Here in the West, we are not seeing the kind of growth these nations are seeing. Nor, in the majority of churches, are we allowing women to lead. Would you rather the women didn’t lead in these other nations because “Jesus didn’t appoint women to positions of authority?” You would stifle much of the church growth that is going on.

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      5. Sis. felicity, happy thanks giving to you and your family.
        The issue is not what God is doing or not doing. God have always used people, for He has no other hands but our own.
        I have read of women missionaries who had to fill in and carry on the work until a man can be found when their husband passed.

        The issue was is & will always be what God has said in his written Word. It is the Word that was challenged First by the master deceiver.
        The problem with your views is that you and many others are twisting God’s word to fit your world-view , ideology and theology. You are trying to use the written word to justify a desire, and will be confronted by the Written Word. Instead of humility, too many Christian women see “equal Rights” as the trump card to do and be what ever they “feel” like. And will try to force God’s Word to conform to their view. I strongly disagree with that approach.

        A woman Evangelist came to our church and made it clear that she is under the Authority of her husband and will come under the authority of the Set Man of the House = the Pastor. And she wore a gown and she said, ” I realized that I am a woman in the pulpit and lest my curves and shape will cause some “weak person” to missed what I am saying , I choose to wear a gown.” And she did bless many. But I must confess, she is in the minority. Not very many women acknowledge that at all….

        I also know that God will accomplish what He pleases, for His word will not return void. God honours the Preached Word. Be it by a woman or a man. For it is the Preaching of the Word that will convict and convince people of Sin. Even at the expense of the messenger. Which , including me, have to be careful, that when we preach all into the Kingdom, we be a cast away.

        I also know that until ALL have heard, the Word must be Preach before the Son of Man Cometh again.

        So I Praise God for what is done in those places and Even in North America. [ we have a world missions department in Cog G TN,]
        But again the Issue is in the proper interpretation of God’s word as it relates to women and their Roles in the Church and Family.
        And I contend that God’s Word does not Change nor comply with or conform to Culture.

        It is a bad comparison to use women & what is taking place in the East to American Women’s faulty desire to in Authority Positions in the Church and Home, in light of much debate and exposure to the Word.

        Again Happy thanks giving… Blessings.

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      6. Hi Wit, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. I think our disagreements may be over a faulty view of authority and leadership in the body of Christ. As far as I can see, Jesus made it clear that servants are the leaders. Apostles and prophets are foundations–trodden on and unseen. True leaders are those who have died to the limelight and to their own ambitions. I love submitting to my husband and he loves laying his life down for me. It’s a race to go lower.

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      7. I agree with you, the view of “authority and leadership” is faulty. However, who has “authority over who” is spell out Chrystal clear in the Scriptures.
        God is one of Order, it is His Nature. Obviously, that issue He Himself took care of by assigning “Men” as the head in the Church and the Family. He did not leave that up for debate and chance, as a Wise Designer He Himself gave the instruction…. that’s why I will contend for this view, and advocate for “men” to be the Head He desires of them to be, which is antithetical to the culture. We [including you] need teach boys to be wise , godly Heads of Families and the Church, it their God given Calling

        It is unfortunate, that , “sinful” men Abuse their God given Authority, to Lead in Servant-hood manner. That manner , also requires the man, to administer correction to those He is to lay down his life for…. indicative of Christ’s Love Sacrifice and correction. [Heb.12:6] [Prov,3:12]..

        It is also unfortunate, that so many Christian women continue to be deceived, using the same Line of Reasoning, that the serpent used,” did God really said?”…. and many are applying “equal Rights” as a determining factor to deliberately disobey God’s Written Word.
        The result is hardship in relationships and a distortion of what God’s design was and is for His Creatures [ males & Females]..

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      8. Wit, I respect your position (one I held myself for years until I studied the Scriptures in more depth) and respectfully disagree. We are not likely to come to consensus on this one.

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    1. The KJV is one of the few versions that translates verse 16 correctly stating “But if any man seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.” Many versions translate the word “such” as “other” inferring that universally women were meant to wear head coverings. However, the KJV correctly illustrates that the problem with head coverings was limited to the Corinthian church, hence, Paul cannot be making a universal declaration regarding the station of women. Instead, the verses you site are not Paul’s words but the quoting of the Corinthian position. Paul’s thoughts are expressed in verses 10 through 16 which refute verses 3 through 9, equate men and women, establish “all things of God” (verse 12), and give women the authority of whether or not to cover their own heads.

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      1. Jeffrey, thanks for your response: I think you should re-read my comment. I said
        quote ” The versions that speaks about a wife in these verses are mis-leading and deceptive.”

        Your response seems to contradict felicity’s article for she keep saying “wife,” rather than “woman” as you are pointing out.

        For the record, I did not give an explanation or interpretation of the verses I provided. I simple wanted the readers to see that the verses were speaking to and about women and not wives as per felicity’s article.

        I understand the confusion with various version… it is theological chaos, for we are tampering with a foundation of doctrine, usually to conform to the culture. ….how can we stand on a shifting foundation?
        That’s one reason I always quote from the kjv and i am glad that you agree the kjv has it correct. The NIV is a bad version and filled with contradictions within it’s pages and is in many ways contradicts the KJV. I choose KJV.

        >V16 proper context is in respect to “contentious” therefore “such” contention or argument about the covering is not of their’s nor the Church custom, for the Head of His Church- Christ, is NOT the Author of Contention or confusion.
        If we use “other” [as in NIV] we are implying that contention and confusion is a practise… but this is Anti- the Church of Christ.

        “Other” and “Such” is not referencing the covering, for Paul is saying that “covering” is Nature, and Natural,[v14-15] and not a “Corinthian custom ” for Corinthian women for that time. That will not be a proper exegesis of that verse.
        The hair was given as a covering and glory as representing the Glory of and as the Bride of Christ. And Covering is also symbolic, of a woman being under the covering and authority of men and in respect to a wife,her husband. as the Bride of Christ the Church is under the protection of Christ the Head of the Church.
        The Covering is Universal and was meant to be so for all perpetuity.

        God’s word does not refute or contradicts itself. Let every man be a Liar and God’s word be true.[Rom:3-4]

        Jeffrey : There are many things you said that I disagree with, but I am too tired to respond further.

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      2. Dear Wit, I hope this response finds you well rested. Paul is clearly referring to the “custom” of head covering that the Corinthian church is “contentious” over, and Paul refutes it in several ways in verses 10 through 16. Verse 10 designates the woman as having authority over her own head, not the man. According to The Source by Dr. A. Nyland, regarding the word “authority” in verse 10, “the possessive pronoun is omitted, thus the authority is the woman’s own according to normal rules of Greek grammar.” Verses 11 and 12 establish the fact that men and women are equal and originate from each other; “but all things are from God” (vs. 12) clearly contradicting the position posed by the Corinthian church in verse 8. In verses 13 through 15 Paul claims that a woman’s hair is all the covering she needs refuting the Corinthian argument posed in verses 5 and 6. Finally, Paul states that this “custom” only existed in Corinth; no other church had this “custom.” Since the whole emphasis of this dialog is “head covering,” the “custom” Paul is referring to has to be “head covering” and not “being contentious.”

        Apparent contradictions exist in the bible (1 Corinthians 14:34-35; 1 Timothy 2:11-12 among others); the article and my commentary are two ways to explain the contradictions away since “God’s word does not refute or contradicts itself.” Please enlighten as to what your interpretation is and why it is correct, or at least give a description of when and where head coverings are required and how serious the sin is by those who break the commandment. I may need to purchase an appropriate covering for my wife and daughters.

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      3. Thanks for your concern;I am fine. Jeffrey; when interpreting the scriptures it is important to allow the scriptures to interpret itself. I believe in the sufficiency , inerrancy and authority of the Scriptures and believe that they are NO contradictions in the Word of God. God don’t make mistakes…..Your view that Paul ,. “ refutes scriptures” tells me that Paul is at war with His Own writings.
        But This is Confusion, and a very low view of God’s word. But this is your opinion to which I disagree.

        Paul stated in His discussion the Authority Structure of Relationships [V3].

        In [v10 kjv] “For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head
        because of the angels.”>>>, we must ask, what “cause” is Paul speaking about? When we look at v9 and the discussion of the creation purpose &, male authority in the preceding verses we understand the “cause”. That [cause] is the “fact” that the woman was Created for the Man- to be His helper to accomplish the task given to Him by the Creator. The cause is to “Help” and to be under His Headship authority.[power, dominion, rule]. [Genesis ch 2 affirms Adam’s dominion over Eve.]

        “The Power on her head” is symbolic , represented by a type of head covering. It is the alignment of authority that She MUST voluntarily
        come under so that the Assigned Angels [ which each of us is given] will see that she is in line with her Head, as her head is in line with his Head –Christ; not be rebellious against God’s instruction to her as was the case with women of the culture. [men or in the case of a wife , her husband] as her Head. correction was & is necessary then as now, for women to be in a submissive role to men.
        The important point is ; that she displays an attitude that she is under a man’s headship and authority. She is to be in line with God’s requirement for her. [V3]

        Angles are in a constant state of Submission to their Creator as they function. . But if She is out of alignment and not under the authority of men; as a symbol of obedience to God’s Word as the angles are, then they [the angels] won’t act on her behalf. As was done to and for Holy women of old.

        V10. Is symbolic and is consistent with other verses in the Bible that speaks about a woman’s submission and a man’s headship over her. This Headship , is to imitate Christ. [V1] followers of Christ.

        If the authority on the woman’s head – means that she has NO head authority over her-‘but herself’ , then it is contradictory; but rather that Power in Context means, protection and coverage, that’s why it is symbolic.
        v10 can be read, for this cause a woman ought to have protection and coverage on her head because the angels recognizes symbols of kingdom alignment.

        If you interpret it to mean that she is her own authority and her own Head, then that interpretation contradicts v3 and other verses that speaks about men Headship and a wife’s submission .
        It is not a proper exegesis of that verse. It is an attempt to please women who finds submission difficult to accept and who resent a hierarchical structure of relationships. But this is God’s word and God does not conform to please woman’s resentment. The “power on her head ” is the man’s over her.

        Quote,” Verses 11 and 12 establish the fact that men and women are
        equal and originate from each other;” >>> men and women are equal in
        worth and value in their different roles, to God. This is important, they roles are different but equal to God. May not be so to man and their views. But it is for God’s kingdom that we are to be more concern about and not Self-Centeredness, or equal rights to be what one “feels’’ and want. This is not a “fair” game. This is a sovereign God making and giving instructions.

        It is erroneous to say that men and women originates from each other. [V11], say the woman was created, originated from the man. The Genesis account affirms this to be true. Paul is correct and is consistent with the creation narrative.

        V12; transistions from a specific discussion to a general “fact” that we were born “by” the woman. But in the discussion of authority , the man , born of a woman is to be the Head of the woman. For it was Adam[=man] who came first and was given headship over the woman. Hence, Paul reminded them and us that she was created or originated from him and as a result should have the Man’s Headship over her.

        Quote,” , “Paul states that this “custom” only existed in Corinth; no other church had this “custom.” >>Jeffrey, where did Paul states this, which verse.
        The head covering is symbolic and was culturally accepted to wear something. But the “hair” considered a covering from “nature” or “Natural” thing. [V14] and was the glory for the woman and of the man. That’s why she is not to shave her hair, it’s her glory for him. But most importantly the symbolism is to be in the heart, the outward adorning is secondary.

        Quote< “I may need to purchase an appropriate covering for my wife and daughters.”
        Jeffrey, no need to- but let and or teach them to develop a submissive heart, where the adorning of the inner person is more important that
        the outer , which is precious in God’s sight. [1Peter 3].

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      4. Dear Wit,

        Thank you for explaining your interpretation of these verses. Now the readers have three different ideas on how these verses can be read. I concur completely with you that “when interpreting the scriptures it is important to allow the scriptures to interpret themselves.” However, there are no other verses in the New Testament that deal with head coverings. Even Paul acknowledged that “we have no such custom, neither the churches of God” (1 Corinthians 11:16). This is an isolated conflict in a specific church that needed a specific solution. The main issue was the use of a head covering, comparing absence of one equivalent to a woman with a shaved head. The interpretations of Gary Shogren and me allow for this to be an isolated problem and not a universal one. Dr. Shogren’s interpretation interprets it in the light of the Corinthian culture. My interpretation is that Paul is refuting a pharisaical mindset that is predominant in the Corinthian church in which Paul quotes a letter from Corinth then gives his response. This pharisaical mindset is also evident in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 in which the law is quoted as the reason for restricting women from speaking (there is no Hebraic law that prevents a woman from speaking, only oral tradition).

        You, however, have turned this entire passage into a universal hierarchal command that places all women under the authority of men. You use terms like “headship” and “authority” that are absent from the text. The Greek word for “head” is ‘kephale’ and it does not carry the definition “authority” in the original Greek. Only when it is translated into English can it be converted into a term that indicates authority. Instead, the Greek word kephale has five meanings: 1) the literal head, with hair, eyes, etc.; 2) a wig or headdress; 3) the source of something/someone; the life (i.e. to put one’s head on the chopping block); metaphorically, the end point, sum, conclusion. The subject matter is clearly source.

        When allowing “scriptures to interpret themselves,” the entire writings of Paul must be considered in interpreting these verses. There is only one verse that Paul writes which describes authority in the context of marriage, that being 1 Corinthians 7:4 “The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” A mutual authority exists in the marriage of oneness. Likewise, Ephesians 5:21-22 encourages a mutual subjection, “be subject to one another, wives to your own husbands as to the Lord.” Paul acknowledges a female deacon – Pheobe (Romans 16:1), a female apostle – Junia (Romans 16:7), female coworkers – Euodia and Syntyche (Philippians 4:2). He expects women participating in the church (1 Corinthians 14:26, Colossians 3:16), accepts women teachers – Priscilla (Acts 18:26) and accepts women prophets (1 Corinthians 14:39). Galatians 3:28 removes any barriers between men and women stating “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

        Simply disagreeing with you does not make my exegesis “a very low view of God’s Word.” If you are wrong in your interpretation, you have silenced half the priesthood, enslaving them under the dictatorial authority of a fallen vessel. You have removed freedom (Galatians 5:1) and placed women in a state of condemnation (Romans 8:1). My interpretation enables the entire body of Christ to function, frees women to share their portion of Christ, encourages oneness in marriage, energizes church meetings, removes condemnation and is consistent with the gist of Paul’s writings.

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      5. Jeffrey, you ended your last post by saying you will need to buy hats for your wife and daughters: I responded by saying NO! No need to… for the issue is NOT the wearing of Hats, but that of a Heart of Submission and humility. Wearing of a Head Covering was and is a Jewish Custom for a Woman to demonstrate that she is under the authority of her husband and also for a Jewish man to show “humility” to God. These are “symbols” that Paul is up holding as a Custom,[v6]. A woman can wear a hat and still be a rebellious defiant Christian wife.The issue is in the heart….

        Base on the understanding of the symbolism of the Head covering, I must disagree that it was a Corinthian instruction.[ Paul spoke in general terms= a woman and not a Conrithian woman]. Hence, we look to other Scriptures that speaks about Headship and submission and we will see that the woman is to be under the headship of men, and not the reverse. The Bible does reinforce this practice of Headship and submission as Paul spoke about.[ Ephesians 5, 1Peter 3; Titus2, 1Timothy2]

        Corinthians added another dimension as to how that headship and submission is displayed out for ALL to see, A woman’s head covering was one way to do that. Today, a bride still wear a head covering , although the meaning is convoluted and misunderstood, but that Practice came from the Bible and the instructions given by Paul, to demonstrate respect and submission to her Head, her Husband.

        “You use terms like “headship” and “authority” that are absent from the text.” >> Jeffrey you need to re-read by post and the Chapter 11 and you will see that Apostle Paul states clearly in v3 the Headship that I referenced and what you say is not in the text. You need to read the text slowly. It is written in the text.

        Headship in the Greek also means Authority over. See Dr. Wayne Gurdem’s research on Greek usage of the word “Kephale”. http://www.waynegrudem.com/does-kephale-head-mean-source-or-authority-over-in-greek-literature-a-survey-of-2336-examples/

        “Even Paul acknowledged that “we have no such custom, neither the churches of God” (1 Corinthians 11:16).”>>> Again I disagree with your view, the “custom” was in respect to “confusion and contention”. How can it be that Paul is up holding and instruction [v6]to women concerning head covering and still say he has no such practice as he is instructing? This is confusing. ” But if she is not covered, let her be shoven, but since it is a disgrace to shave her hair[her glory] let her be covered.
        That is an instruction to be made a practice.

        Pretty obvious that you have egalitarian views of Gender roles. As is typical of many to mis-quote AND wrongly apply Gal.3:28. I believe God made males and females differently with different but equally important roles to HIM, NOT to Us, But to HIM. When egals stop seeing self, and see God and others it will HELP them to see it is not about self exaltation and equal rights, but obedience to God and RESPONSIBILITY to carry out His bidding and instructions so the Whole [ family] is benefited by His word.

        But it requires a lot of twisting and cherry picking to maintain your views.

        God Himself assigned Roles and He gave the Headship authority role to men, not to Men and Women, but to Men and men alone. This is how Order is maintained, when there is a clearly defined line of authority and responsibility. Only in marriage relationships, this is rejected, no other institution is subjected to so much attack and redefinition. It’s satanic…..
        However, Headship functionality is also spelled out for us and it is GOOD.

        ‘”….. Likewise, Ephesians 5:21-22 encourages a mutual subjection, “be subject to one another, wives to your own husbands as to the Lord.” >>> the proper context for v21 is found in v15 and the use of “fear of God”.

        It is a Kingdom walk principle, to demonstrate humility by ALL believers. But what is very interested, is Paul specifically speaks to the wife to submit herself to her own husband. Even after giving a general instruction. He NEVER did the same to the Husband. There is NO instruction in the Bible, that says, husbands submit to your wife,, it is NEVER written. But He singled out the wife for further reinforcement of her submissive role.

        Jeffrey, let the scriptures speak, don’t twist it … just let it speak……

        “….and placed women in a state of condemnation (Romans 8:1).” >> this is strong language, a characterization to which I disagree and rejects. God’s word does not condemn, our sin and disobedience does.

        Your conclusion is rhetoric…. not base on biblical data but on a plea to allow “equal rights …
        Less you forget, the Church of Christ have come through much dangers and challenges through out the centuries , with Men in Authority Headships positions in the Church.
        We are passing on a suberverted , confusing faith, when we are admonished to contend for the Faith, ONCE delivered….[Jude 3]
        quote, “My interpretation enables the entire body of Christ to function,…” Jeffrey this is a lofty opinion of self-exaltation. I must let you and other readers know, that it is the enabling Power Of the Holy Ghost, that enables the entire body of Christ Church to Function and Function effectively. Not your interpretation…. ok Jeffrey. Try elevating and obeying God’s words, not self or what other professors say that makes you feel good.

        Blessings!

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      6. Dear Wit,

        Galatians 3:28 lists “Jews nor Gentiles . . . slave nor free . . . male nor female.” To infer that this does not mean that men and women are to function equally in the ecclesia is to infer that Jews and Gentiles are not to function equally in the ecclesia. This, however, was the exact problem that Paul was addressing to the church in Galatia in this letter. In the same way that Jews and Gentiles are to be equal in the ecclesia, men and women are to be equal. If this makes me an egalitarian, I wear the moniker with honor.

        1 Corinthians 11:3 lists “Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.” To infer that “head” means ‘authority’ is to infer that as Christ is the authority of man, man in the same way is the authority of woman and God in the same way is the authority of Christ. This is ridiculous to believe that a man could be to a woman what Christ is to a man! It is equally preposterous to suppose that in the eternals before time Christ and the Holy Spirt have always been in a subordinate role to the Father!

        “Head” means ‘source’ (please read Laurie Fasullo’s article http://www.searchingtogether.org/kephale.htm which also refutes Wayne Grudem’s position). Verse twelve puts verse three in the proper context; verse 3 discusses what the source of something was while verse 12 discusses from where it originated (please see my other posts detailing how verse three was a Corinthian position while verse twelve was Paul’s answer).

        Now if, as you say, “there is no instruction in the bible that say husbands submit to your wife” then I fear you are a legalist. There are abundant verses: Lappidoth was submissive to Deborah (Judges 4:4); Shallum was submissive to Huldah (2 Kings 22:14); Aquilla submitted to Priscilla (Acts 18:26); Ephesians 5:25 – “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (love requires a submissive heart); bearing (Ephesians 4:2); forgiving (Colossians 3:13); longsuffering (Galatians 5:22) and the list goes on. I hope you are submissive to your wife and are teachable by her.

        In fact, there are no specific verses that tell a wife to submit to her husband! Granted, finding the translation that supports your paradigm is possible (i.e. KJV), but that is not what is written in the Greek. Dr. Ann Nyland notes regarding Ephesians 5:21-22 “The word, erroneously appearing as an imperative, is in fact a participle and is in verse 21: ‘supporting one another.’” There is no verb in verse 22 and should be read “wives, with your own husbands, as with the Lord.” The verb ‘support’ is inferred from verse 21, thus making these two verses intimately connected. Even if you believe the verb should be ‘submit,’ verse 21 encourages a mutual submission, thus husbands should ‘submit.’ The only time authority (exousia) is exercised in the marriage relationship is 1 Corinthians 7:4 where a mutual authority is encouraged.

        Within my paradigm, the Holy Spirit is allowed to “enable the entire body of Christ,” both male and female, “to function and function effectively.” My paradigm allows for Junia (Romans 16:7) to be an apostle, Philips four daughters (Acts 21:8-9) to be prophets, Priscilla to teach Apollos (Acts 18:26), Phoebe to be a deacon (Romans 16:1), women to teach in the assembly (1 Corinthians 14:26), as well as Felicity’s examples (75% of the church planting trainers are women in a Buddhist nation; in various Middle Eastern nations (around 12,000 churches), 70 percent of the leaders at every level are women; in China, around 70% of the leaders are women). You have to distort the scriptures to support your paradigm. Who is sinning in these examples? For example, does Priscilla sin when she teaches? Does Apollos sin when he learns from Priscilla? Does Aquilla sin by letting Priscilla teach? I could ask similar questions for each scenario. In your paradigm, someone is disobedient which results in condemnation; in my paradigm, the Holy Spirit is free to function.

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      7. Jeffrey, remember, let the scriptures speak for themselves… scripture must interpret scripture, not how you feel , cultural or equal rights ideologies.

        > your view of Galatians 3:28 is Flawed- it is not speaking about function. It is speaking about the Grace of Life, for where as we [ Gentiles] were Once far off we are now heirs and sons of God. [Rom.8:17]

        [v26] we are ALL children of God by Faith, where by we received the Same Blessings of Abraham as the Jews. This is a spiritual issue, and Not a Function of Being.

        Does a Pastor and a Member function the same in the Church?

        However, if you think there is no difference in function, then I challenge you to go the bank manger and tell him you don’t owe him any money base on your understanding, I challenge you to look at a woman and tell me if you don’t see difference, Next time Look at a Jew and then look at a non-jew and tell if there is no difference in function or culture.

        The apostle made this statement to counter the prejudice that some of the brethren [Including Peter] had towards gentiles , women and slave… different types of social class structure. But in Christ, we are ALL one none have special access to Christ. He die Once for ALL , so that ALL will come to the Saving Grace of the Death on the Cross.

        > Your view of 1 Corinthian is flawed as well…
        In the beginning God=[ Father Son and Holy Ghost] …. None of them are the Source of Any of them. There were in the beginning as Super-natural Beings.
        However, when God the Father Say Come Let Us… He is demonstrating Leadership and Authority to Function…. It was Not The Son say Come Let Us… Authority, set forth Order, with out it they will be Chaos. But God is one of Order.

        “This is ridiculous to believe that a man could be to a woman what Christ is to a man!= meaning to exercise authority over her? maybe ridiculous to you, but when God the Creator brought Eve, to Adam and Adam[man] named Her , Adam was exercising Authority Over Eve, in the Same Manner He exercise authority over the animals[ Genesis 2]. You say it is preposterous to think that the Holy Ghost and the Son will always be in a subordinate role to the Father, but the Jesus Submitted to the Will of the Father to accomplish the task of Salvation.[ Luke 22:42]. Jesus voluntarily choose to Submit to the will of the Father. A wife is to willingly do the same to her husband. Do you still think it is preposterous? You obviously have a warped view of Scripture.

        Authority is linked to Function, God the Father is NOT THE SOURCE OF GOD THE SON… what verse do you use to justify such a claim. Jesus Said I and the Father is One. Please provide that verse?

        > Judges 4:4[kjv] does not ask a man to submit to his wife…. however, Ephesians 5:22 asked a wife to submit to her own husband in everything. [2Kings 22:14] does not ask, instruct or command the Husband to submit to Hulda…. you are twisting scriptures , however
        NO SUCH VERSE EXIST… you are seriously flawed in you view of Scriptures.
        > no need to get personal and ask me about my relationship wit my wife. Those verses you quote , DOES NOT ASK A HUSBAND TO SUBMIT TO HIS WIFE. However, [Eph.5:21] say submit to one another, [v22], is implied that the wife is to submit to her own husband. The wife was specifically singled out [v22] [1 Peter 3:1]—and NOT THE HUSBAND.
        > You paradigm is skewed towards “equal Rights’ and not to a proper exegete of Gods word.
        Finally God the Father made Male and Female for His Glory so that they can show forth the proper Image of God’s Love for ALL to see. He gave different Roles to Male and Females, not me I did not do that, God did. I have tried to demonstrate to you that these differences exist to show the relationship between Christ and His bride the Church. We don’t we reverse roles , because culture has change.
        A submissive wife reflects Christ Submission to the Father, A husband as Head reflects God the Father to whom the Son willingly choose to submit to His will, and not His own.

        Blessings!

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      8. Dear Wit,

        Throughout our discourse, I have let scripture interpret scripture. I have provided example after example of women functioning in the bible, both Old and New Testament. I see a need to interpret scripture in a way that
        includes their functioning as the norm in the church and not the exception. You have not provided an explanation as to how these women are consistent with your biblical interpretation. Please explain to me how Priscilla could teach (Acts 18:26), Phoebe could be a deacon (Romans 16:1), Junia could be an apostle (Romans 16:7), Phillips four daughters could be prophets (Acts 21:9) and the Samaritan woman could evangelize (John 4:28-30).

        I have provided definitions to Greek words from Greek scholars to clarify passages. These words include “support” (Ephesians 5:21) and “head” (1 Corinthians 11:3). I have shown how Ephesians 5:21 and 22 are tied together since the verb in verse 22 is absent and has to be inferred from
        verse 21 making mutual support the key to this verse. I have shown how “head” cannot mean ‘authority’ but ‘source.’ I have also described how
        I believe 1 Corinthians 11:3-9 are not Paul’s words but Corinthian words he is quoting, and his response is verses 10-17. I have also said that 1 Corinthians 7:4 is the only place that authority is discussed in the marriage relationship and it is a mutual authority.

        You keep saying God is a God of order. The only reference I see to this is in 1 Corinthians 14:33, “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” This verse concludes a section that begins at verse 26 with the statement “What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation.” God’s order includes women singing, teaching, sharing a revelation and interpreting.

        I concur that women function differently than men. They give birth, they nurse babies and they share Christ differently. When women are prevented from sharing, half of the priesthood is silenced. And there is no way man can replace what is lost from the woman. This has nothing to do with equal rights; this has to do with acknowledging that women fully functioned in both the Old and New Testaments. Failure to include this in your paradigm risks following “the tradion of men” (Mark 7:8). I applaud Felicity for tackling this problem head-on.

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      9. Jeffrey, I must end this discussion, with this for the general reader.
        quote, “You keep saying God is a God of order The only reference I see to this is in 1 Corinthians 14:33, “>>> Jeffrey, in the Beginning there was Void, and confusion and Lucifer dwelt there.
        And God spoke into that Void and ORDER was put in place.
        We see that the Sun is to RULE by day and the Moon to Rule by night. We don’t see the Sun and Moon competing for rulership of their individual sphere. Jeffrey that’s ORDER. And ever God did, ORDER was put in place.
        And then God made man and Gave Man Ruleship over everything He created including Eve. That’s Order… the Bible is Filled with Order, the absent of Order is confusion.
        We saw that Lucifer desired to assent to beyond the Creator, and the Bible say that God show them out into utter darkness where Confusion and Void existed. God restored ORDER in heaven, the Master of confusion and 1/3 of the angels were thrown out of heaven.

        Jeffrey, everything God does is about Order. Just because one verse speaks about that Order it does not mean that He is NOT a God of Order. It is His Nature….
        There is a structure and method for everything that God does… it is not by Chance or by “feelings”. His Nature is Seem in the things He creates .

        Eph. 5:22 imply that the wife is to Submit to the Husband, for there is to be Order, Just Like Christ Submits to the WILL of the Father.
        You failed to understand that the Apostle Paul Singled out the Wife and NOT the husband to Submit. He NEVER did Single out the Husband, or imply it as you are suggesting. [v21] is about humility, and a wife is to Humble herself and Submit to her Own Husband in Everything. You are using faulty interpretation to infer the same to the Husband. But again
        NO Verse in the Bible has EVER Ask, command or instruct a Husband to Submit to his Wife. [v22] instructs the wife even though the word Submit is not in the original , the idea is implied and is consistent with other verses.
        Paul NEVER use the same reasoning for the husband.

        Felicity, is a Social activist, with an agenda and so are you.
        God is no respecter of persons, His written word stands above and transcend culture and Man’s intellect. Our ONLY response to God’s Written Word is Obedience.

        It is good to concur that women function differently than men. so that Your View of Gal.3:28 is Faulty. Now you need to concur that Jews and Gentiles, Slaves and Master do also function differently. And that Pastors and Members do Function differently in the Church. But NONE have any Special access to the Grace of Life found in Christ Jesus.
        you need to also concur that a Wife and a Husband have different Roles in God’s Family, but that each different ROLE is equally important to God.

        I will let you have the Last word….

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      10. Dear Wit,

        I am sorry that I have the last word, because you have never answered my question regarding how the examples I provided fit into your interpretation of the bible. So I will ask again, please explain to me how Priscilla could teach (Acts 18:26), Phoebe could be a deacon (Romans 16:1), Junia could be an apostle (Romans 16:7), Phillip’s four daughters could be prophets (Acts 21:9) and the Samaritan woman could evangelize (John 4:28-30).

        Regarding God’s created order, I fear you fail your own test: “when interpreting the scriptures it is important to allow the scriptures to interpret itself . . . not how you feel.” I provided a verse, 1 Corinthians 14:33 (“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace”) and showed how it is intimately related to 1 Corinthians 14:26 (“What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation”). I concluded that God’s order includes women singing, teaching, sharing a revelation and interpreting. You, however, described “how you feel” God’s created order is analogous with a husband in authority and a “wife is to humble herself and submit to her own husband in everything.”

        Somehow, in your world view, chaos exists if the man does not possess all the authority. I never said a woman should not have a submissive heart; I just said that a mutual submission must exist in the marriage relationship. I fear you do not understand the word submission. Submission is required in love, forgiveness, forbearance, longsuffering. A husband that never submits is a tyrant. Jesus, the Author of order, said “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28). This is biblical leadership, and a submissive heart is plastered all over the definition. In fact, by this definition, the most submissive person is the greatest leader.

        If, as you say, Felicity and I are ‘social activists’ (I am honored to be associated with her), then I offer you the advice of Gamaliel: “if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God” (Acts 5:38-39). I have enjoyed our dialog; it has caused me to examine scripture and brought me new revelation. Keep commenting on Felicity’s blog, but have an open mind that just maybe the scriptures can be interpreted differently than you have been taught. I am sure we will cross paths again.

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  4. Just as Jesus sometimes broke with convention, He also sometimes observed it. He was baptized by John, He paid the temple tax even though He was exempt, He taught in the synagogue, etc. This article provides an interesting perspective on this difficult passage, and highlights, at least in my reading of it, how love should be our guide in all things. Where convention breaks with love, let us break with convention. But where it does not, let us do so only cautiously!

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  5. verse 10: for this cause ought the woman to have a sign of authority on her head because of the angels. That is not cultural, that’s spiritual. Verse 13: Judge ye in yourselves: is it seemly that a woman pray unto God unveiled??

    Like

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