Men, Women, Authority, and Hair

 

 men women authority hair

Isn’t it obvious that it’s disgraceful for a man to have long hair? And isn’t long hair a woman’s pride and joy? For it has been given to her as a covering. (1 Corinthians 11:14-15)

Read: Nehemiah 12:27-13:31, 1 Corinthians 11:1-16, Psalm 35:1-16, Proverbs 21:17-18

Relate: When I first read this scripture, my immediate thought was, “Uh, uh. No way. I’m not touching this with a ten foot pole.” Then I thought. “That is exactly why I have to address it.”

React: Then I got thinking about a book I’m reading about community interpretation for scripture. It talks about the need to have many voices when approaching the Word of God to both broaden our perspective and to keep us from going too far adrift in our interpretation. So I’m going to experiment with what the author called this dangerous adventure.

Here’s your chance to interact. I know many of you already do, and I appreciate that. I know a lot of you who have been reading and following have some amazing blogs and insights. For everybody’s sake I would love to tap that wisdom and intelligence here. I know some who read this are Hindi, Muslim, Jew, “spiritual but not religious”, atheist, and all stripes between. I would love your insight too.

Respond: This poll is open ended. I’ve supplied a few answers, feel free to add your own. Comment on any answers, the text itself, other comments… whatever. All I ask is that all discussion make an attempt at remaining civil. Thank you all for the diversity of insight I am confident you will all bring to the table.

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65 thoughts on “Men, Women, Authority, and Hair

  1. I can’t wait to see your explanation. My in laws live in Romania and my mother wears a batik all the time as the Bijble saying to pray without ceasing. Therefore, on a practical level, you are always in the presence of God. I tried to explain to her the passage, but she concluded she would feel ashamed to pray before God without her head covered.

  2. I’m not one to undermine the authority of scripture, but this is something that has always sort of tripped me up in the reading. From what I understand, the Nazarenes in the age of the old covenant had their hair long, vis a vis Samson. I’m sure there was some sort of reason for that, but I digress. It simply seems to me that length of hair is something more or less inconsequential in the grander scheme. Did it serve some sort of cultural significance to the Corinthians? Would Paul have said the same thing to someone who lived in a culture in which the opposite tradition were upheld?

  3. Here’s my take on this “hairy” issue.

    It is important to understand that the make-up of the population in Corinth were Greeks, Romans and Jews. As with any metropolitan city, customs and practices sometimes crosses cultural boundaries. Therefore it would not be surprising to have people in the church from various ethnic background with varying “religious” customs. In other words, some may be adhering to the customs of head covering during worship, while others may not believe in doing so for whatever reason.

    Paul’s point here is neither for, nor against, head covering. You can see how verses 11 and 12 contradicted his own argument in verses 8-10.

    Looking at Paul’s other writings, especially in chapter 8, he makes a strong case against being obsessed with outwardly practices. In this case, eating food offered to idols. Paul is consistently telling the new Christians in Corinth what true faith means – believing in Christ, and not the adherence to man-made laws. (See also Col 2:6-26). Therefore, I believe Paul is not taking sides on this issue with head-coverings.

    So why did Paul raise this issue about hair and head-coverings? I believe Paul is saying simply,

    1 Cor 8:9 But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble.

    As Christians, we are not bound by human-customs. However, if a new Christian believes that a woman without head-covering is disrespectful, then we should not do it, less we cause the new Christian to stumble in his faith.

    I could go on, but in a nutshell, outwardly practices are not important – it is faith in Jesus that matters. However, don’t do anything that would cause a new Christian to doubt their faith.

    Hope that makes sense!

    • StephenWhoElse, I love your explanation as it makes perfect sense.

      As I read your response, the verse that came to mind was Paul’s instruction to his young son in the faith, Timothy, as recorded in 1 Timothy 4:12, “Let no man adespise thy youth; but be thou an bexample of the believers, in word, in cconversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” In some cases, we as Christians may be the only “scriptures”, as it were, that some people may ever read. That is why the scriptures admonish us, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). That is also why we should ” take heed lest by any means this aliberty of [ours] become a stumblingblock to them that are weak” (1 Corinthians 8:9). And again, the Apostle Paul gives this counsel to the Corinthian Christians, but his counsel is also pertinent to us who press to be Christians – disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ – today:

      Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: but in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; by pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; as asorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Corinthians 6:3-10).

      There is more that I could say along these lines, but I will let the Apostle Paul’s teaching sum up my thoughts for now. Said he, “Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him” (Romans 14:3).

  4. Another note that I might add to this, is that Paul is giving the same counsel to the Corinthian Christians as he gave to the church at Ephesus:

    Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing” (Ephesians 5:22-23).

    Please note that Paul is saying that wives are to be submissive, not subservient to their husbands. There is a tremendous difference, which sadly even some “Christian” husbands have yet to learn and fully comprehend. God’s design is that the man is to be the head of the home – the Priesthood authority – but at no time was it meant for him to lord it over his wife. Paul goes on to say,

    Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones” (Ephesians 5:25-30).

    Therefore, in the passage in Corinthians concerning the length of hair, the issue is not so much about the hair, as it is about the proper order and use of authority.

  5. I agree. Paul seems willing to look beyond the biological so often, referring to the spiritual beings we become in Christian faith. I think he mentions the physical aspects of believers only as a way to keep new or immature believers on the path.

  6. Love this!!! God listens to the prayers of His people in all languages because He cares for those who are in this world. Only God can see the reins of a man’s heart, it is true. The soul is the “true self”…that is what He reads…that is what He watches over, like a Heavenly Father. He sees us through eyes that are not of this world but of His realm…His Kingdom. His care is for us to enter His Kingdom through His son…Jesus. God’s heart has found a way to breach the “old covenant”, the very “laws” that He had set as measures to walk in His presence. Jesus became “the Way, the Truth and the Light” to enter God’s house…Holiness is in Jesus. In His holiness is our covering to be in the presences of God. He calls us to come to Him…come to Him as we are, for He requires only a heart that seeks Him, asks forgiveness of sin and loves Him. Everything after that is the wonder of walking in a personal relationship with Jesus in your life.

  7. So we have three things: God’s created order, tradition, and hair. I Corinthians 11:1-16 Paul’s main theme was about church order. There was a “dispute” as to whether or not a covering should be permitted as such was the case being it was a Greek tradition. I believe what Paul was trying to prompt them to see is whether or not the symbolism and tradition was in line or contradictory to God’s divine order; God made man and from man woman. In Christ both men and women are equal in the Lord and as man was made first he is the head as Christ is his head.

    In verse 14 Paul asked the question if it was natural for a man to have long hair then he proceeds to say the length of a woman’s hair is her glory and distinguishes her from the man. In other words look to nature to determine if it is right for a man to have long, flowing hair (emphasis mine). If both have long hair, where is the distinction?

    As Paul summed it up if anyone seems contentious there is no such custom. And the same applies today.

    • What perfect insight! Unless you don’t know how to differentiate right from wrong (a condition which is mostly experienced by people who take drugs or marijuana), it does not ‘click’ naturally to have a man wear long hair.

  8. Interestingly, Paul mentions that even a woman’s hair can be considered a covering. The Corinthian church was full of false doctrine and chaos, and in the entire letter, Paul addressed issue after issue. The passage concerning head coverings, while being a cultural thing or a custom, had more to do with order and authority, submitting one to another, women being women and men being men than it had to do with the tradition or custom of being covered or uncovered.

  9. Colossians 2:17, Hebrews 8:5, Hebrews 10:1:

    All of these refer to the Law being a type or shadow of the substance of Christ. If we look at how often the Apostles used, what to us is the Old Testament scriptures to prove their message that Jesus is the Christ and used it for teaching and instruction for all manner of things, I arrive at this conclusion: The Principles and laws and rules that God has laid down in creation for things to function all point us to heavenly things. In particular Christ, and the relationship and unity of the Trinity in which God the Father desire to include us. (The unity and relationship, not as an actual part of the Trinity.)

    So for me, the question about head coverings and long hair is not so much about whether it applies for today, but what is the principle that is being highlighted, and WHY is that principle in place. Other verses, particularly in 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and Ephesians 6 refer to further submission of women. As a previous commenter pointed out, not in a subservient way. But WHY did God set it up that way? What do we learn if we walk in proper relationship to one another?

    1) If I, as a husband, treat my wife in the manner to which I am called, she learns more of what it is to be the Bride of Christ and how to respond to Jesus as the Bridegroom. I learn the desires of the Bridegroom and how the Bridegroom desires us to respond to Him, so I can respond to Jesus as the Bridegroom of the Church.

    2) If I, as the leader of the home, teach my children the things of God as I should, and love them and train them the way I should, I learn more of the Father heart of God. I learn how deeply He loves us and teaches and draws us into deeper relationship with Him. My children also learn how to respond to God the Father in the proper way.

    3) As I and my wife, do the things we are called to and taught in scripture to do, not trying to be equals, but understanding that we are called and equipped for different, but mutually uplifting purposes, we see that as a Bridegroom and Son and a Father, I learn the heart of God the Father and of Jesus Christ as Bridegroom and Son. As a Bride, and a wife and mother, we see the encouragement and Comfort that a wife and a mother imparts to her family and we see the working of the Church and the Holy Spirit highlighted.

    In all, through walking in our proper places, we gain a much deeper understanding and appreciation for God as Father, Jesus as Son and Bridegroom, the Holy Spirit as Comforter and empowerment, and how they interact in unity and the Trinity and how the Church, as the Bride is accepted and drawn into that close relationship of love.

    And so, for me, the question is not, does this apply and what does it look like for today, but rather, WHY is God trying to highlight a principle, and how can I enter into relationship with Him by applying it.

  10. Wow. I had faith that you, the reading community, the church, would have some valuable and insightful things to contribute but only a day in and already you have gone well above my expectations. Thank all of you for your contributions and for those that haven’t yet, please do. In the council of many there is wisdom.

  11. 42 poll votes so far. The “other” comments don’t show up so I’ve added them here:

    I think it is in part about the times but also about roles and beauty.
    Paul’s warning about traditions, not of God!
    It’s plain and simple as those verses state word for word clearly.
    It isn’t clear to me.
    the shaved the head for sevice to the temple god. the covering covered the past.
    Women should submit to men unless it is in opposition to God’s Word.
    Wives submit to hubyss and hubbys submit to Jesus.
    A custom in the Corinthian church, but…
    That we need to be understanding of the cultures around us and sensitive
    Paul addressed a problem in Corinth, in their time and culture.
    I would say it’s cultural AND who knows.
    cultural thing, women submission, deeper thoughts.

    • Correct me if i am wrong. . . The shaving of these women’s heads denoted the worship to the temple god which also involved prostitution. This is why this issue was so important. The peoplein the church may have known these women accepted Christ, but when they walked down the street with their bare heads as they normally did, how did the men of the city probably react to them? I think there is a practical application which can be drawn from these verses. When we accept Christ, we are transformed into new creatures. Perhapsthere are some things we ought to give up so that friends and nieghbors can notice a difference. Its not a must, but i think it can be a good practical application.

  12. My Christian walk developed during the Jesus Movement of the early 70’s, at a time when hippies turned evangelists preached from pulpits and barefooted teenagers crowded into a sanctuary that often smelled of the beach and streets.
    Culture is everything when interpreting certain aspects of scripture, something most of us understand by now. Women submit to their husbands and all of us submit to God’s established authority. Hair is no more an issue today, or at least I hope not, than the need for a woman to cover her head.
    Our symbolism is different now, and our adherence to the Spirit of the Word, in this case, is one that reflects our reverence for the one true expression of God’s heart, jesus of Nazareth.

  13. Here is how I understand this text!
    1. The Koine Greek had no use of inverted comas (“…”). It plainly stated the quotes just as other sentences. (refer to any Koine Greek text for proof)
    2. While Paul wrote the letter to Corinthians, he also replied to some of their questions and arguments (ref. Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is well for a man not to touch a woman.” 2 But because of cases of sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. (1Cor 7:1-2 NRSV))
    3. The Church at Corinth had misunderstood the ‘law-free gospel’ preached by Paul (“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. (1Cor 6:12 NRSV))
    4. So the passage of the head-coverings should be understood in the following way putting the quotation marks wherever necessary.

    Paul:
    2 I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions just as I handed them on to you.
    3 But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the husband1 is the head of his wife, and God is the head of Christ.
    Corinthians:
    4 Any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head disgraces his head,
    5 but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled disgraces her head — it is one and the same thing as having her head shaved.
    6 For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, she should wear a veil.
    7 For a man ought not to have his head veiled, since he is the image and reflection1 of God; but woman is the reflection of man.
    8 Indeed, man was not made from woman, but woman from man.
    9 Neither was man created for the sake of woman, but woman for the sake of man.
    10 For this reason a woman ought to have a symbol of1 authority on her head, because of the angels.
    Paul:
    11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man or man independent of woman.
    12 For just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman; but all things come from God.
    13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head unveiled?
    14 Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him,
    15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering.
    16 But if anyone is disposed to be contentious — we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God. (1Cor 11:2-16 NRSV)

    Conclusion: Therefore, a proper reading with quotation marks suggest that the perceived anti-feminine thoughts is not subscribed by Paul, rather he corrects the arguments of the Corinthians. In verse 14, the Greek word ‘anti’ can mean ‘for/instead of’. If the second meaning is taken into account, it seems obvious that the hair is given to the woman not as a sign of her glory (in the arguments of Corinthians, her glory is her husband) but instead as a covering by nature.

    The other seemingly anti-feminine passages can also be better understood using this method (eg. 1 Cor 7:1-16; 14:33-36). Paul is not at all misogynist for he has a high regard for the woman co-workers he has and acknowledges their role in the church.

    A preliminary study of this passage is done in my blog. But that study was done in the initial stages of my biblical studies. You might have a look at it here.
    http://biblicalstudent.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/unbind-her-let-her-go-free/
    I hope to do a more detailed study soon.

  14. So, in answer to Paul’s question: no, nature doesn’t show this. Cultures all over the planet have long haired men and thought it was the dude’s glory! And by the way, what is “long”? is 2 inches? 4 inches? 6 inches? It’s football season and my boys all have buzzed hair – one inch would be long for them! Clearly the bounded understanding and culture of the human authors shows up in Scripture – like where Paul can’t remember who all he baptized. When we see that there are still lots of versions of Christianity around today (20 centuries later!) who are concerned about hair/head coverings, it helps us understand why Muslims are so big on Sharia, you know? It’s a particular way of reading and what you are looking for…

  15. The false and murderous apostle Psaul was simply jealous of Jesus’ long golden locks.
    Muhammad damned women for using hair extensions (it’s true; you just can’t make this stuff up)!
    I’m pretty sure only jealous, balding authoritaryan guys want to force everyone else to conform.

    So, if men were only supposed to have short hair, and women only long hair, then men would be genetically predisposed to only have short hair (like certain dog breeds have short hair,) and women to long hair (ditto, for other breeds of dog) but God gave each sex hair which grows long.

    It’s also possible Psaul was bribed and paid off by the ancient barber’s guild to say such things.

    😉

  16. I know this is a late response . . . but I’ve been traveling for a while and unable to respond.

    A fine little book on the issue of women in the Church is What’s with Paul and Women? by Jon Zens (http://www.amazon.com/Whats-Paul-Women-Jon-Zens/dp/0976522292/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1378389542&sr=8-1&keywords=whats+with+paul+and+women)

    Whenever someone uses Scripture to validate “lording it over” others . . . there is an equal but opposite push back that further damages both the Church and society. In the case of denying the voice of a woman . . . it fuels manipulation in the Church and feminism in the world.

    I’ve been blessed to visit and/or be part of almost every type of Christian Fellowship and I’ve visited fellowships where the women were not permitted to have a voice. What I found was that the women in these fellowships–often while outwardly complying–resorted to manipulation and behind-closed-doors maneuvering to still be “heard” in the meeting. How is this a good thing?

    Whenever any of us extrapolates (or lifts) meaning from verses of Scripture that stand in direct opposition to other verses on the same topic, something is off, and we need to honestly seek GOD’s intent, not our own.

    Paul (who some say called for “silence” from women) also said there was “neither male nor female” in Christ (Gal. 3:28) and asked that we “submit one to another” (Eph. 5:21). Jesus said that we ALL should take on the role of servants–not masters who demand the high spot in the room. There are not two classes of citizens in the Kingdom. True unity in the Body cannot be forced, but can only come through standing on the common ground of Christ (who left all the glories of heaven to take on the form of a servant).

  17. I have just been introduced to this blog spot. Love it. As to the issue addressed, I believe it is a cultural issue, but I cannot go so far as to say that there is something in the Bible that does not pertain to us; not this specific custom necessarily, but the principle and context of Paul’s teaching. I believe the principle has to do with reverence and modesty, especially in the house of worship…and worship is the context of this entire passage. Paul does not want customs and traditions to disrupt the reverence and unity of worship. That, too, applies directly to us, no matter the culture in which we live.

  18. Some more of the write in responses:

    Some tiny parts of Paul are proven to be forged maybe this is one?
    This is about self-respect and inherent gender differences
    Wives should submit to their husbands and husbands are to love their wives.
    It’s a culture thing that speaks (today) about compromise with worldly views.
    Head covering a personal choice, main issue is attitude before God
    It’s a cultural application of a general principle of submission
    Paul was envious of Jesus’ long golden locks.
    what’s “long”? And in response to Paul’s question: “no”, nature doesn’t
    It is a cultural thing, but it does speak to us
    “Its a cultural thing…” but we are to use it as an example for today
    This is about full submission to the authority of God the Father
    He’s talking about cultural norms of modesty that are no longer cultural norms
    It is about culture, submission and reverence; usually not taught correctly.

  19. Hmnn… “Let not woman’s voice be heard in church.” or similar, if I recall, is also to be addressed, no?
    I think I’ll stay with the hair…

    God provided it and it is His idea that it grows. Buzz cut to dreadlocks seem to be our contribution, a reaction to said growth. Jews wear hats in church, Christian men don’t but Christian women traditionally cover their hair there though that has faded. Muslim women cover it most places but home, though that’s not required by their holy writ.

    Believers accept Scripture as inspired; noting that what is known of it isn’t always in perfect grammar and usage. That suggests that it is as imperfect as anything else passing through human hands and therefore, must be used with care and thought. Hair covering has mostly departed Christianity from what I can see and there’s an end of it, at least for now. It’s proving hard enough to hang onto the Christianity in these decadent days.

    And yeah, St. P comes across as somewhat of a misogynist in our post-feminist society; likely not so much back in his time and place, right?

    • The muslim women do have to cover their hair “by holy writ” (Sura 33:59) which is pure slander against both sexes – it slanders women as sluts, for enticing men, and it slanders all men as uncontrollable horn-dogs (as Muhammad himself was). It also implies all male muslims have a right and duty to molest and rape all the infidel women.

      As for the overall “Men’s hair should be kept short – God says so!” meme of this post, male Jews are required to have long sidelocks, and Sikh males must NEVER cut their hair.

      And Psaul was indeed a misogynist!

      • Agree with both of you! Personally I think that if a man can’t speak to his god because he saw a woman with her hair down, then he isn’t really focused on god, or prayers, is he? He is being weak, and immoral – religious men just need to stop using women as an excuse for not getting closer to their god(s)… it’s their private parts stopping them! Besides, weren’t all Jews etc. in the bible long haired anyway? I kind of always thought that in those days hair wasn’t kept quite so short, for either men or women, or no?

  20. I love this post… and as you know, I am not one to draw conclusions. So, I will also refrain from doing so here since God’s many ‘graces’ can be understood or misunderstood by all, in any culture and during any space of time.. i.e. …ac, bc, ABC or NBC…
    I do observe however, that just like you, Paul is asking questions and not giving answers ‘per se’ nor dogmatically drawing conclusions to the matters or problems at hand.
    Paul is speaking truth and allowing the Spirit of Truth to interpret instances and examples of “truth” to all who are assembled, then and today including you and I.
    Paul may be suggesting that the Corinthians come to a “consensus as a whole” and not continue to disagree and argue over the “conclusions of a few” in their assembles?
    Might work well for us too.. what do you think?
    Again I say, I love the post.. good job and God’s blessings..

  21. I believe it has spiritual impact in the unseen realm as apostle Paul was spiritually discerned. We can pray that our own spiritual eyes be opened so that we can apply this verse according to the Holy Spirit and not according to our human carnal mind or culture/tradition or be politically correct. I pray that the spiritual meaning may be revealed to all of us. I pray that we seek to know more about God and like Jesus warning Peter, seek to set our mind on the matters of God (and not on man). Thank you for allowing me to share.

  22. Just as God knows the number of hairs on my head that he gave me, it is my choice to just praise God, lead my life in him, and deal with other “hairy” issues. Blog on. You always make me think!!!

  23. BJ, I seem to be quite confused with the scripture references you provided for the head covering reference. But this subject came to my attention recently in meditation and the verse that was emphasized by the Spirit of God was, “10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels”. The Word of God is a mystery, and at times when you spend time seeking God, he reveals things to you that will allow you to be drawn deeper into his presence. Revelations 8:4 and 5:8 speaks about the prayers of the saints and goes on to depict “Angels” being the ones handling or ministering to the “prayers of the saints”. So I think we ought to look at what happens with our prayers when they come forth from our hearts, uttered through our mouths and ushered into the presence of God, who we see in Revelation and throughout scripture as being Holy.
    With that being said, I think Paul is also giving us a clue or talking to us in parables that as Spiritual beings we ought to be aware that our angels, does surround us and they play an integral part in our fellowship with Jesus.
    The ordinary person who does not care about the deeper aspect of their relationship with God will look at this as psssh, but in reality, time spent “seeking” will be rewarded with secrets too marvelous to perceive.
    Thanks for stirring up the scriptures…Please clarify the other scripture reference.

  24. Covering: Her HAIR is her covering, she doesnt need to HAVE a covering. Take another look at the verse.

    And about submission, its dangerous for a woman to submit to a man who is not submitted to Jesus Christ. BUT. If Christ is the man’s head, then it’s a good thing for her to submit to her husband. It doesnt work if you have two people who are leaders, there can really only be one that leads.

    In some instances it might make more sense for the woman to lead. But that’s not the ideal, the ideal is that the man matures and grows up. But. Sadly. Some dont.

  25. What is amazing about this all is that you start from a premise that Paul is an apostle. Whereas there are in reality only twelve and aside from Paul’s personal claim, he is not one of them. He was tried at Ephesus and found to be a liar and a false Apostle, contrary to Christian tradition, Paul was rejected by the Ephesians and every other church in Asia as he himself says so. 2Tim 1:15 Ephesus was in Asia. So if Paul is false, then the whole controversy about hair is reduced to the ridiculous.

    • Your are taking that verse out of context and you know it. At least, I hope you have enough intellectual honesty to see that. In 2 Timothy 1:15 Paul says, “As you know, everyone from the province of Asia has deserted me—even Phygelus and Hermogenes.” What he is talking about is how his traveling companions, and those who came to visit him while he was in a Roman prison left him to return to Asia. Even within this chapter Paul begins by talking about the love and encouragement he has received from Timothy and ends by talking about the love and encouragement he received from Onesiphorus. Onesiphorus was a bishop in Colophon (Asia) and later died a martyr’s death in Parium (Asia near Ephesus). Timothy first comes on the scene in Lystra (Asia) and later becomes the bishop of Ephesus (Asia).
      Please do not create a false pretext by ignoring the true context of some scripture you pull out of a hat.

      • Now BJ
        Just what part of ‘ALL they which are in Asia be turned away from me.’ is taken out of context?
        The word ‘all’ in the Greek is ‘Pas’ which means everyone, the whole,
        Phygelius and Homogenes were among those of the whole that rejected Paul’s message of lawlessness. In clarity, the message that Covenant of Sinai was yoke of bondage Gal 5:1. The Covenant of Sinai as you know is the marriage Covenant and the words of the Covenant are the Ten Commandments. Exo 34:28
        In the Book of Acts you can’ find anymore than maybe 40 converts to Paul’s message whereas by this time the Apostle’s of the Lamb, i.e. the Twelve had many tens of thousands and they were all zealous for the Torah which certainly can never be said about the converts of Paul. You also have 3 different accounts of Damascus Road, none of which agree with the others. Is there just cause for seriously doubting Paul? His message is diametrically opposed to that of Yahshua.
        Yahshua commanded his followers to do the Torah and even goes so far as to say that those who do not keep Torah are utterly rejected by Him and the Father regardless of any signs and wonders performed. This of course includes Paul who uses signs and wonders to justify his apostleship, which Yahshua said would a key to those being deceived.
        Yahshua also commanded the keeping of the Commandments which Paul says are a ‘Yoke of Bondage.’

      • Dont bother with this discussion thread BJ. Mishayah doesnt believe that the OT + NT scriptures are the words of God. As he said, “aside from Paul’s personal claim, he is not one of them”.

        You won’t be able to convince Mishayah of anything, because he is not anchored to scripture. He can free float according to post modernism… its whatever he decides is true.

        Let if go bro.

        God bless,
        Mark.

  26. So Mark and I realize you won’t or an not answer this, but do you seriously believe as Paul contends that the Covenant of Sinai, i.e the Ten Commandments are a Yoke of Bondage?

    • Please don’t hijack the thread. You’ve said your piece, it was barely on topic but I responded. You’re no longer on topic. You have your own blog to peddle your views and if you have nothing to contribute towards 1 Corinthians 11 then move along. Thank you.

  27. Pingback: The End… And Then A Beginning (12/31/13) | The River Walk

  28. Pingback: John 8:13-18 (Jesus and Judging) | The River Walk

  29. Adam (male) is soul. Eve (female) is spirit. If Eve is not covered by Adam, and Adam is not covered by Christ, our being is out of whack–sinning. Rebellious and stiff-necked as the OT put it. I read everything as a single person since I am not married, and as me in relationship with God, not a physical male believer. If a man’s spirit (the mate to his soul) is not submissive to his soul (the male part of that “made in God’s image”) and his soul not submissive to God, it’s from the Garden we must go! But when all that’s in alignment again, we are on our way back home. It is through Jesus (who shows us how to overcome temptation in bodies) and the Holy Spirit (teaching our spirit that it is poor and needs God’s guidance and the will to obey God) that we make that alignment again and are saved. Whenever we get into physical details (should a woman’s head by covered by a piece of cloth) the contentious “woman” in us starts up and we argue and see things differently, maybe even kill each other over differences of opinion which is right where Satan wants us. Proverbs says it’s better to live in the corner of an attic than in a “lovely house with a contentious woman.” That’s about our spirit thinking it knows the truth apart from God’s Spirit and bringing the argument down to “earthly things,” which contaminate and blur the larger issues at hand: salvation and going Home to God individually, as we are all uniquely saved by Jesus, as the Ekklesia (the called out ONES).

  30. It is amazing you should mention this particular subject, with Paul addressing the Corinthians. In my opinion, this matter was geared to address the culture, and the era Paul was living. Although I still feel obliged to use some type of shawl to cover my head while I pray, out of reverence for my God. In fact, whenever I visit the Churches from my culture,(I’m from Haïti) if I don’t want to be summon to hell, I better show up with a hat or scarf. One day I recalled I was visiting a church driving directly from work, once I realized I did not have a scarf in my car, I was tempted to grab a few leaves to glue over my head. I didn’t feel like dealing with the judgemental stare, so I drove rithgt back home.

    I still recalled when I was called a backslider for wearing some pants, and for wearing my jewelry. My mom had an exocisc prayer group at my house. Now that I’m much older, Iooking back, I realize those judgemental Christians were more focussed on the outside appearnace. So to them, salvation meant for them to dispose of their jewelry, wear large hat, instead of seeking the inner beauty, the matters of love, and forgiveness; the intangible treasures.

    However, as Paul warned us: We who are free, are to be careful not to let our freedom in Christ become a stumbling block toward the weak minded. I still wear my pants and all the gold I can afford, whenever I’m among like-minded Christians. But if I were to visit the Old Holy Rollers, you will see me with my hat, and scarf. Sorry, I still can’t get used to wearing my dress below my ankle.

  31. Although I believe it is a cultural thing back in Pauls day, it also applies us today. I feel it is a reminder that there are things in today’s culture that we are not to be a part of if it takes our focus off of God. I do not the history of that time period, but could it be that men were more focused on their head coverings more than worship? Today are we more concerned with sports, our appearence, or giving in to staying home from church instead of going to church or a special place to worship our God? Not in depth, but I try and see what Paul was teaching the church today and how we can apply it to our lives today.

  32. In response to your question I would posit that the text is to taken culturally over and against universally. Why? Firstly, one should note that Paul was not writing to 21st Century Christians, rather Paul – or whoever (some scholars argue that the verses in question and others like it (see 1 Corin. 14:34-35) may have been inserted at an later stage – rather Paul and his audience are products of their particular culture that has different sets of rules that it is guided by. A cultural understanding alone should cautious all 21st century Christian readers when reading the particular text in their own context. Secondly, Paul in his letter is addressing a with particular problem in Corinth. It should be noted once again that 21st century readers of Corinthians are entering into a conversation between Paul and his audience. In this conversation we in the 21st do not know all the details. Christians must be weary not to universalize this situation for the 21st century. Thirdly, Paul in Corinthians is acting in pastoral role reminiding and counseling these Christian believers not to abuse their newly foud freedom in Christ. Hearing and accepting the gospel message in an extremely patriarcal society was absolutely freeing for women (and men), yet while this message extremely liberating to women it was simultaneously threatening to society at large – patriarchy was both accepted And embraced and women were expendable they had no value or whatever value that women had was given to them by their husband of father. It was only under the covering or headship of a man that women were protected and given a voice. Thus, a part from a man women practically had no worth. How does anti-patriarcal message of the gospel fair in a patriarcal culture? Well, not well! I posit that these women in Corinth (after hearing the anti-patriarcal gospel message) found their new freedom liberating in Christ. This propelled many women to extremely embrace that reality by taking of their veils which in a patriarcal culture had bad connotations. A women without a veil who let her hair hang freely was considered to be a ‘loose’ woman a ‘prostitute’. Even more, in taking off their these women were making declarations about their newly found freedom in Jesus the Christ. In response, Paul while agreeing on the fact there is no difference between seems to offer these women contextually pastoral advice. He seems to say, “Yes, you are free in Jesus and you are equal to your male counterpart, but (not the Christian community) the reality proclaimed by Jesus and experienced in the Christian community is not yet a reality in the greater society at large. Thus, not wearing a veil in denonstration of your freedom makes you seem loose.” Finally, the veil in my view is cultural and not universal. Those who vouch for a veil in Christian circles while not adhereing to other cultural admonitions by Paul, such as, the length of hair, jewlery, etc. These individuals pick and choose what cultural admonitions one chooses to abide by. More simply, if one adheres to Paul’s admonitions concerning the veil, then one must adhere to all Pauline admonitions. Grace and peace!

  33. Disclaimer: I wear long hair and I don’t believe in an outer God. My thinking is that this is part of the things that are not the initial teaching but the addition of men to the bible. Most probably out of fear of homosexuality. I would be curious to know when this text had been added and by whom.

  34. Sorry Bj. Here is my edited response! I posted the other in a hurry:

    In response to your question I would posit that the text is to be taken culturally over and against universally.

    Why? Firstly, one should note that Paul was not writing to 21st Century Christians, rather Paul – or whoever (some scholars argue that the verses in question and others like it (see 1 Corin. 14:34-35) may have been inserted at an later stage – and his audience are products of their particular culture that has different sets of rules that it is guided by. A cultural understanding alone should caution all 21st century Christian readers when reading the particular text in their own context.

    Secondly, Paul in his letter is addressing a community with a particular problem in Corinth. It should be noted once again that 21st century readers of Corinthians are entering into a conversation between Paul and his audience. Thus, Christians must be weary not to universalize this situation for the 21st century.

    Thirdly, Paul in Corinthians is acting in pastoral role reminiding and counseling these Christian believers not to abuse their newly foud freedom in Christ.

    Hearing and accepting the gospel message in an extremely patriarcal society was absolutely freeing for women (and men), yet while this message is extremely liberating to women it was simultaneously threatening to the society at large – patriarchy was both accepted and embraced and women were expendable – they had no value other than the value given to them by their husband of father. It was only under the covering or headship of a man that women were protected and given a voice. Thus, a part from a man women practically had no worth.

    How does anti-patriarcal message of the gospel fair in a patriarcal culture?

    Well, not well! I posit that these women in Corinth (after hearing the anti-patriarcal gospel message) found their new freedom liberating in Christ. This propelled many women to extremely embrace that reality by taking of their veils which in a patriarcal culture had bad connotations. A women without a veil who let her hair hang freely was considered to be a ‘loose’ woman a ‘prostitute’. Even more, in taking off their veil these women were making declarations about their newly found freedom in Jesus the Christ.

    In response, Paul while agreeing on the fact there is no difference between male and female seems to offer these women a contextually pastoral solution. He seems to say,

    “Yes, you are free in Jesus and you are equal to your male counterpart, but the reality proclaimed by Jesus and experienced in the Christian community is not yet a reality in the greater society at large.

    Thus, Paul’s advice would exist to protect the woman from negative associations in a patriarcal world.

    Finally, those who vouch for a veil in Christian circles while not adhereing to other cultural admonitions by Paul, such as, the length of hair, jewlery, etc. These individuals pick and choose what cultural admonitions one chooses to abide by.

    More simply, if one adheres to Paul’s admonitions concerning the veil, then one must adhere to all Pauline admonitions.

    Grace and peace!

  35. 1 Corinthians 11:3-15

    The Corinthian church was in the middle of a controversy about the roles of men and women and the proper order of authority within the church. In the Corinthian society, women showed submission to their husbands by wearing a veil. It seems that some of the women in the church were discarding their veils, something that only pagan temple prostitutes or other rebellious women would do. For a woman to come to church without her veil would be dishonoring to her husband, as well as culturally confusing. By the same token, for a man to wear a veil or to somehow have his head covered during worship was not culturally acceptable in Corinth.

    Paul appeals to biology to illustrate the appropriateness of following the cultural standards: women naturally have longer hair than men, and men are much more prone to baldness. That is, God created women with a “natural veil” and men with an “uncovered head.” If a woman spurns the mark of her submission (the veil), she may as well shave her head (verse 6). His point is that if the culture says a woman should not be bald (going without her natural covering), then why would she reject that same culture’s standard of wearing a veil (going without her cultural covering)?

    For the man’s part, it is unnatural for him to have “long hair” (verse 14). His hair is naturally shorter (and thinner) than the woman’s. This corresponds to the Corinthian tradition of men not wearing a head covering during worship. Paul urges the church to conform to the generally held ideas of male and female appearance.

    While hair length is not the main point of this passage of Scripture, we glean the following applications from it:

    1) We should adhere to the culturally accepted indicators of gender. Men should look like men, and women should look like women. God is not interested in, nor does He accept, “unisex.”

    2) We should not rebel against the culture just for the sake of rebelling, in the name of some sort of Christian “liberty.” It does matter how we present ourselves.

    3) Women are to voluntarily place themselves under the authority of the male leadership of the church.

    4) We should not reverse the God-ordained roles of men and women.

    Our culture today does not use veils or head coverings to indicate submission to authority. The roles of men and women have not changed, but the way we symbolize those roles changes with the culture. Rather than establish legalistic standards of hair length, we must remember that the real issue is our heart condition, our individual response to the authority of God, His ordained order, and our choice to walk in submission to that authority. Men and women have different God-ordained roles, and part of that difference is shown by their hair. A man’s hair should look masculine. A woman’s hair should look feminine.

    • Grace to you,

      Though Paul (or Psuedo-Paul) urges women to uphold the particular standards of his culture, I would posit that Paul gives such advice for missiological purposes or pastoral purposes.

      In a culture completely dominated by patriarchy, women who expressed their newly found freedom in Jesus by getting rid of their veils immediately looked ‘loose’ or like ‘prostitutes’. It should be noted that women did not all wear veils. While the majority of women wore veils, women who did not wear veils were mostly women classified as ‘loose’. Paul is not commenting as you suggest about gender, rather he is concerned with these women not being likend to a prostitute.

      Respectfully, lovingly & compassionately these applications are contradictory to the Spirit of the New Testament. In respect to your reference concerning male authority I provide a briefly small case and point where we experience the reverse:

      You comment:

      “Women are to voluntarily place themselves under the authority of the male leadership of the church.”

      In Paul’s letter to the Romans he makes mention to an apostle who is parricularly a woman – her name is Junia. Although some conservatives (especially conservative white males) try to make the case that Junia is a man, the scholarly consensus across the spectrum happens to believe that Junia was a female. If that be true, then Junia excercised a great amount of authority as an apostle in the Christian community – communities where there would be men and women involved. This would actually contradict what you have said above rather than support it – unless you are willing to say that Paul was her authority. However, even if you make this assumption one needs to be reminded that Paul considers Junia a fellow ‘compatriota’ not an inferior. Also, other verses in the Pauline corpus assume that women will teach (and were teaching) in positions of authority -positions where women excerised authority over men – in the Christian assembly. If this was not the case, then Paul would have no reasons to have put theses texts and many like it in the Pauline corpus.

      Secondly, these statement seems to favor patriarchy. What is patriarchy? According to webster’s dictionary patriarchy is:

      “Where a family, group, or government is controlled by a man or a group of men.”

      Again, Paul (or Psuedo Paul) does not condone patriarchy (as is indirectly suggested by your post) but rather he offers contextual pastoral counsel to women in a context where patriarchy dominates the culture.

      Note:

      A women in the patriachal culture of Paul cannot necesarily be a fully participating body without the consent of her husband, father or other male relative.
      Patriarchy like slavery formed part of the socioeconomic, political and religious fabric of society. These were systems and institutions that enabled bodies to move “to” and “fro” within Paul’s context. The son,daughter, wife and slave was enabled to move around by way of the father/husband/master. While patriarchy is illustrative of Paul’s culture, patriarchy (or headship) is not biblically mandated rather the biblical picture is one of mutuality and recipricosity among human bodies.

      Side note: Such presuppositions are extremely dangerous for not only do they condone patriarchy but they simultaneously condone – or at least uphold – the institution of slavery as a part of God’s ordained order. This way of reading the text is the same reading that was use to uphold the system of slavery. Such a position suggests that Paul’s was pro-slavery. Even more, it suggest that all readers should take up a soft (or hard) pro-salvery attitude. Reading these texts in the very way you have propsed was not only responsible for keeping the white Christian conscious clean during slavery in America, but such a reading of text ensalved millions of people in my colored community.

      Reading these texts in the way that you propose are questionable ethically and theologically.

      What do I mean?
      Theologically and ethically one has no basis to reject the institution of slavery (or the enslavement of people) and patriarchy. One can only posit that such systems are not intrinsically wrong – Even more, this viewpoint allows people to argue that God ordained such institutions.

      Next you speak about ordained roles and you comment:

      “We should not reverse the God-ordained roles of men and women.”

      I have yet seem to find these elusively neat ‘gender specific roles’ that you suggest were ordained by God.

      I make the assumption that these elusive ‘gender specific’ roles draw less from the biblical account and more from what your culture names culturally acceptable.
      Categories like feminine and masculine and define more or less by culture rather than NT.

      In terms of ministry:

      The NT speaks in terms of ‘gifting’. The NT clearly portrays the fact that the early church had a varied and faithful ministry arising from the fact that all of God’s people were “gifted” by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of building up one another (see, for example, 1 Corinthians 12:4–31; 14:1–19; Romans 12:3–8; Ephesians 4:7–16; 1 Peter 4:8–11). Any person could exercise ministry (which means, remember, service) who was called and gifted by God and affirmed by the body of Christ, the Church. Some were set apart in leadership positions and some were assigned specific tasks to accomplish, but the differences among ministries were not distinctions of kind.

      In terms of covenant partnerships the NT speaks of mutuality and recipcrosity.

      Ephesians presents a picture of mutual submission. Verse 21 sets up the framework for the flow of the rest of the text. Wives, therefore, are to submit to their husbands in the same all believers are to submit to one another. This text is not advocating a unilateral female submission to male authority. Rather, it is presenting the submission of wives as one application of the basic principle of mutual submission that is to be applied by all believers within the context of the body of Christ. The admonition to husband to love their wives and wives to submit to their husbands is balanced out by the command for all believers to submit to one another. The description of the husband’s role in Ephesians 5:25-31 indicates that the wife’s submission is not a one-sided submission, but a reciprocal relationship…to give oneself up to death for the beloved is a more extreme expression of devotion than the wife is called on to make. Culturally, the husband ruled the wife. But spiritually, he was to respect her as an equal, care for her as he cares for his own body, and nurture her as Christ does the church- all in context of a loving relationship of mutual submission. What Paul describes in Ephesians 5:21-33 is not a role relationship of two functionaries performing their respective job descriptions within a hierarchal authority structure. Rather, it is a relationship that flexes and flows with mutual, submissive love that follows always and only from husband and wife being filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18-21). Christian submission is rooted deeply within the verses preceding verse 21 and the verses that come after verse 21. Mutual submission is associated with the filling of the Spirit in verse 18. The command ‘be filled’ (v.18) is followed by a series of participles in the Greek: speaking (v.19), singing (v.19), making music (v.19), giving thanks (v.20), and submitting (v.21).

      Grace and Peace,

      • Rev. How
        I truly apologize for taking so long to respond to your reply to my comment on 1 Corinthians 11:3-15. As the title to my Blog page depicts, as an Ignorant Christian I feel it my sworn duty not to respond to comments until I have had the chance to study the comment and then do the research in order to respond to the comment with intelligence and fact. Not fiction. Does that mean what I research is totally correct and/or to the point of the original comment. No. But I don’t want to waste your time reading redundant materials you have already done studies on yourself.
        Unfortunately my research/studies have accumulated more information than I can put down in this little box. So I wrote out a Blog and posted it as of 2 hours ago. The title of the post is “The Conduct of Women in the Church”. And yes, it does address some of the comments you made on Aug. 18, 2016.
        I am not trying to out do or dispute anything you have said. All I was trying to do is research your comments and add my thoughts to come up with a composite picture to help me better understand the Word of God and how He thinks. Yes, I would appreciate your feedback. The only way I am going to learn and understand God’s word is by studying it and bouncing what I have learned off of knowledgeable individuals such as yourlelf with the hopes of a better understanding and closer walk with Him.
        I thank you in advance for your input. Again, thank you for your time and patience and I truly look forward to hearing from you at your convenience.
        God be with you in Peace and Love.

  36. Paul was addressing the Corinthians, not us. Also, he was no law-maker. Paul preached grace and Christians turn it into law. Christianity contradicts itself in that way. This is why I follow Jesus but do so outside of a formal religion.

  37. The way I understand this difficult passage, Paul was addressing cultural standards and the issue of respectability. The Church at the time was a persecuted minority in a pagan sea, and it would have been important for the early followers of Jesus to not give any ammunition to those detractors who wanted to dismiss their message because of social issues.
    It’s not that the length of a woman’s (or a man’s) hair is a spiritual issue, but that in that particular culture, long-haired men or women without head-coverings were shockingly non-normal. It would be like wearing a bikini to the mall.
    In that culture, good women had their heads covered as a mark of submission to a husband. Greek culture of the time seems to have been pretty patriarchal – one of the reasons the Scythians were such despised barbarians was that they let their women play the same sorts of social roles as their men. The issue of submission to male authority is related but separate; my own view is fairly definitely egalitarian; I think most of the passages supposedly teaching it are actually more about how to live for Christ in a fallen culture in which women were property. So in that culture, showing that you were a “good woman” meant having a head covering on. The issue isn’t the covering, or necessarily submission, it’s showing that Christians are good people and not immoral wretches bent on overturning social convention.
    Also, Hebrew thought expressed in the Bible seems to view women’s hair as an intrinsically sexual trigger (Rev 9:8, for instance); there may be an element of not putting temptation in people’s way, too. Or for men with long hair, not giving the appearance of a feminine sexuality. Which again, reinforces the “respectability” interpretation.
    Modern Western culture doesn’t have the same triggers (though there are cultures that do). We have to adapt the core message to our own situation, not try to mandate First-Century practices and culture.

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