Summary: Have an opinion on head coverings? Paul did. or was it merely an opinion?
The shaved and shameful women of Corinth
Our scholars always find a way out of difficult Biblical passages. Verification of scholarly opinions is as varied as the scholars themselves, and often their conclusions come out very different from each other. So it is left for the believer to pick and choose the explanation that fits his taste, his culture, his preconceived ideas. Often pastors make their decisions based on what he is sure his church will be able to swallow.
If this sounds cynical to you, take a look at some of the findings of modern scholarship regarding the whole controversy swirling around the place of women in the church. Indeed, the even deeper question of authority and church government. But just before you do that, go to the original and perfect Scholar of the Church, Jesus Himself as manifested by His Holy Spirit, and as communicated in word form to one Apostle Paul. Read his words in I Corinthians 11 and 14, for example, with no commentary. No scholarship. I'll read it with you. Let's pretend we are supposed to read it as it is, and obey it as the writer intended.
No cheating now! Put Macarthur aside, though I know he is a heavyweight in the Scriptures. Put them all aside, and just read Paul. What do you get?
Do you get that Paul himself was a scholar? Schooled in the law of Moses? I think so. The Holy Spirit did not tell Paul to let Moses go in his thinking processes. We who are under the law of the Spirit have bought into all that God ever wanted from His people. Holiness and order are surely two of those things.
In dealing with women issues, Paul appeals to the creation and then the fall, as recorded in Genesis, a book which he includes in "the Law." Don't we also use these Old Covenant books as examples for issues we need to deal with on a regular basis? The courage of a David, the faith of an Abraham, the prophecies of Isaiah and the rest? Does God forbid or encourage use of the revelations before Jesus came to earth? I think the answer is obvious.
Most modern Western believers have given up on the idea of exclusive male leadership. Of those who remain firm on this issue, most have abandoned the head covering. I think it is safe to say that both teachings were united in Paul's mind. To have male authority is to have the wives of those men indicating their support of same by a visible symbol. Paul saw this as one issue, not two. Perhaps we should not divorce the two either.
What! Oh the groans coming up as a chorus from women of God. What!? Return to another century, when women were downtrodden and... Hold on, hold on. The only century I appeal to is the first century, the one when all the foundations were laid. Nor do I wish for women to be walked upon by men, only to return to a supreme respect of God-given authority and make that respect public.
Impossible! Women won't do it! Ask your wives this very day to start wearing a head covering in church. The response will be anywhere from ridicule to...You must fill in the blank.
But the question remains as to whether this teaching is from God, not whether a woman will yield to it. For there are women who do. In many nations. In some denominations. And individuals sprinkled here and there. Why do they do it? What translation are they reading?
Good that you bring up translation. Unfortunately, the translation you read about this matter, could be a determinant as to where you will go from here. KJV people, usually the most conservative of folks, point to I Corinthians 11:16, and end the matter right there. Does the Bible not say, did Paul not say, "Look, I don't want to argue about this, and I won't. No matter what I just said about nature and the book of Genesis and common sense and the angels and all the rest, it's really not that important, and none of the churches have made a rule about this, so go do what you want." ? (My paraphrase)
That surely is what KJV says, isn't it? This issue is dead. Not to be argued about. Just my opinion. Next issue, the Lord's Supper.
But what if the New American Standard Bible is true? This is Macarthur's favorite, and I think he is not alone in praising the accuracy of this translation. One word in the NASB is different. Only one. But if it is true, readers need to be going to the hat or scarf stores this very day.
The English word switches from such, "we have no such custom," to other, "we have no other practice."