Summary: More teaching on women in the Kingdom

I CORINTHIANS 11:2-16 02/07/94



Things that have changed their meaning over the years, some things even begin to mean almost the opposite of what they intended.

- Oh Canada - booed in Montreal on Ste. Jean Baptiste Day. - It was commissioned by the by the Ste. Jean Baptiste Society years ago because the Maple Leaf Forever was much too British - Oh Canada, now booed by Quebec Nationalists was written by a nationalist to be a nationalist song!

This passage will often get the equivalent to boos by liberated women, but it was written, not to keep women down, but in order to give women freedom to lead in worship, prayer and prophesy.


Cultural situation: Extremely low view of women

Biblical teaching: High view of women - created in God’s image - Gen 1:27, Jesus inclusion of women, the Spirit coming upon women, "Neither male nor female" - Gal 3:28

Problem: Women speaking without veils - appeared immoral may have been temptation to lust for men

Main concern in the passage is irreverence in worship - Women obviously take part fully in the worship - otherwise Paul would not have set out these prescriptions on how it should be done!

Return to the passage to deal with the "theology"

Reasons why to keep the veils on

Reason #1

"Head" vs. 3

Confusing, because Paul uses "head" literally, and metaphorically in this passage, also confusing because the meaning od metaphors change throughout the years.

we use the word to denote leadership - "head of state", head waiter, head of a company - as far as we can see, the word was never used this way in Bible times. The functions of the brain were not known to people when this was written, and many people felt that we thought with our midriff, not our head - the head was thus not the controlling factor.

We have put the wrong meaning onto this word for generations and thus taught wrongly that the husband is the lord of his wife, or that man is the lord of the woman - this verse does not say this.

What did it mean then?

"source", not "lord", but the "origin of her being." Reference is to the creation of humanity - Eve was created from a rib of Adam’s - he was her source of life

To translate the meaning rather than the literal words, would sound like this

"But I want you to realise that Christ is the source of every man, and the husband is the source of his wife, and God is the source of Christ."

We cannot see Christ as separate from God, nor can we see humanity as separate from Christ, because in him all things find their being, in the same way we should not see the wife as separate from her husband, or the woman separate from women.

In fact Paul teaches that we cannot see the husband as separate from his wife either, because in Christ they are not independent of each other (verse 11)

When we speak in the church, we speak in relationship with those who listen, not separate from them. Some men may have had a problem with lusting after an unveiled woman, some men would have been greatly offend by seeing an unveiled woman. Paul is saying that when you speak, you can’t just forget the men in the crowd - they are your source, so keep the veil on.

Today - speak to in relationship with the people in the church - do nothing that will offend, or draw them away from God, but things that will draw people to God.

Reason #2

Disgrace vvs.4-6, 13-15

We talked about this last weak - moral women wore veils, immoral women did not - to not have a veil on was disgraceful - in their culture for a woman to shave her head was also disgraceful - it often meant that she had been caught in adultery, or could mean that her children were rebellious - Paul is saying that if you are going to be a disgraceful as to take off your veils, why not go all the way and shave your heads.

13-15 "nature"

Some people think that in the temples to the fertility gods, the female prostitutes had their hair short, and the male homosexual prostitutes had their hair long, so Paul’s appeal to nature had to do with the unnatural acts that these people were involved with.

Today - veils do not mean the same thing - but we should dress modestly, especially when we speak in the Church, so that peoples eyes are not taken off Jesus, or so they do not get the wrong idea.

Reason #3

"Glory" or "reflection" vvs. 7-9

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