Saturday after the Seventh Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 11:1-22 (NKJV)
1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. 2 Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. 6 For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. 7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. 10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.
11 Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. 12 For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God. 13 Judge among 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 anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.
17 Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse. 18 For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. 20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. 21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.
This passage has to do with headship. Not long ago this topic was never discussed, much less debated. But because of the “feminist movement,” and subsequent blurring of the sexes, Paul’s statements are considered not only outdated, but out of touch with present-day reality. Although it is true that customs change, the principle that St. Paul lays down is still in effect, that of headship.
The world’s conclusions are wrong because they read 1 Corinthians with pre-conceived ideas. The world would equate “head” with “boss” or “dictator.” The truth of this role could not be more different. Whereas the husband does take on the role of leader, that role is to be one of sacrificial love. Nowhere is this better outlined than in Ephesians 5, as husbands are told to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for Her. If such a role is properly assumed, the wife’s role of submission is a pleasant one.
So when Paul says in verse 3 that “the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God,” he is hardly making the point that Christ is “less than” or “inferior to” the Father. Paul says later in this same book: “Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28). We see that same word “subject” used in Luke 2:15, even as Jesus submits to His earthly father and mother.
Prayer: Gracious heavenly Father, may we always adhere to the Biblical understanding of headship and submission. Help us to properly understand and apply this doctrine, remembering its model of Christ and His Church. Amen.