Our passage for today, 1 Corinthians 11, has been fuel for much debate.
Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but 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. For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God. Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.
So what’s the point? From Theopedia.com:
There are several incorrect misconceptions that are often brought to the text which must be cleared away before a true and basic understanding can be reached.
- “This passage is not about the subjection, submission, or subordination of the woman to the man or of the wife to her husband. If Paul had wanted this to be the subject of the passage, then he would have at least used one of those words and said so as he does in
- Ephesians 5:22 – Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
- Colossians 3:18 – Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
- Titus 2:4-5 – so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
- While submission is involved in headship, the point of the passage is not submission, but headship. The point of the passage is also not the headship of the man, but the headship and glory of Christ.
- This passage is not about man’s authority, but Christ’s authority as Head over the Church.”
- “This passage is not about when a woman can or cannot, or should or should not, speak. The point of the passage is the headship and glory of Christ.”
- “This passage is not about the relationship between the man and the woman or between the husband and his wife. This passage is about the role played by the man and the woman in declaring the headship and glory of Christ.”
- “This passage is not to be limited to the husband and the wife. Such an interpretation is too narrow and misses the point of the passage in declaring the headship and glory of Christ. While the words ἀνήρ and γυνή can be translated husband and wife, they are also translated (as in this passage) man and woman.”
- “The emphasis of the passage is not the head-covering, it is the headship and glory of Christ. The headcovering is merely the means by which His headship and glory are displayed.”
According to Jeff Tackes, “When we put the emphasis in the wrong place or emphasize the wrong thing, we completely miss the point of the passage. The point of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 is the headship and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.”