1 Corinthians 11:2-16
2 Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to understand that <sup class="footnote" value="[a]”>[a]Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of <sup class="footnote" value="[b]”>[b]Christ. 4 Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head. 5 But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman <sup class="footnote" value="[c]”>[c]whose head is shaved. 6 For if a woman does not cover <sup class="footnote" value="[d]”>[d]her head, let her also <sup class="footnote" value="[e]”>[e]have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to <sup class="footnote" value="[f]”>[f]have her hair cut off or <sup class="footnote" value="[g]”>[g]her head shaved, let her cover <sup class="footnote" value="[h]”>[h]her head. 7 For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 8 For man <sup class="footnote" value="[i]”>[i]does not originate from woman, but woman from man; 9 for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake. 10 Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 However, in the Lord, neither is woman <sup class="footnote" value="[j]”>[j]independent of man, nor is man <sup class="footnote" value="[k]”>[k]independent of woman. 12 For as the woman <sup class="footnote" value="[l]”>[l]originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things <sup class="footnote" value="[m]”>[m]originate from God. 13 Judge <sup class="footnote" value="[n]”>[n]for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering. 16 But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no <sup class="footnote" value="[o]”>[o]other practice, nor have the churches of God.
Often times when I have been in discussions over this passage at least one of the women in the group will shut down when it comes to “The head of the woman is man” I always hear about how no man is over them and women should be strong and stand up for themselves.For some reason it seems like women have this unnatural fear of submitting to authority. I don’t know if it is because of the curse that was put on us when we sinned in the Garden, or if its something that has just developed over time but it always seems like women in today’s world feel like men are out to get them.
Here in this passage Paul is helping us to see what willing submission is. God is the head of Christ. God, Christ, Holy Spirit, all equally God, equally divine and holy. Yet, Christ willingly submits to God. And has since he gave up his place in heaven to come here to earth as a little baby. To live as a homeless man, wandering around the country side relying on the handouts from strangers, being followed, questioned time after time, and eventually betrayed by a loved one, sentenced for nothing, and finally dieing a horrible death. All the while Christ continued to willingly submit. Just as Christ is the head of man. It is the man’s responsibility to willingly submit to Christ. Man is to look to Christ for guidance on how to run his household, how to manage his finances, and how to live in today’s messed up world. Man is the head of woman. It is our responsibility to follow or husbands lead. It is our responsibility to pray for our husbands as he seeks God’s will and vision for our families.
God and Christ are equally God. One is not better, or stronger, or more powerful than the other. But there is still a line of authority that must be established in order to eliminate chaos. Men and Women are equal in God’s eyes. Men are not seen as better or more powerful than women. Men are not called to rule over women with an iron fist. We are to live together as equal partners in life but there is still a line of authority that must be followed. When you live in a world with too many chiefs and not enough indians resentment, anger, and maliciousness tend to set in.
When it comes to the section on head coverings and hair length this is a reminder that we need to be careful what messages we are sending out when we are in public. In the times that this was written women who went out without their head covered and women who had short hair were usually prostitutes. The Christian women who chose to go into the church in that fashion were sending a signal to the community that they were open for business, even when many of them may not have even lived in that type of lifestyle. It was very hard for them to be examples for Christ when most people say them as prostitutes just looking for the next bed. This is a reminder that we have to know what messages we are sending.
Are you calling yourself a christian but when out in public are you wearing t-shirts with ungodly images? Are you taking part in activities that aren’t uplifting? In general, what example are you setting? Are you shining for Christ? Or does your lifestyle say your couldn’t care less about the kingdom of God?
Paul isn’t trying to push women under mens feet. He is helping us to better understand the importance of masculinity and femininity. God, through Paul, is revealing his intent for both men and women, that we properly represent who He is. Men and women have different roles in God’s design but both are equally important. Women be women. Be soft and feminine and enjoy being beautiful.