TEXT: 1 Corinthians 11:1-12:
1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man.
9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible.” The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 246 messages in this series.
This is message #247 titled, Praying, Prophesying, and Order in God’s Church, Part 4.
In our last message, we saw that Paul established the reasons for men not to wear head coverings in public worship and the reasons for women to wear head coverings in public worship. The reason is because the man’s absence of a head covering is symbolic of his position of authority under Christ; and a woman wearing a head covering is also symbolic of her position of submission under her husband. Because the wearing or not wearing of head coverings carried this kind of weight in the culture of the Corinthian church, it was still appropriate for the Christian women of that city to wear a head covering in the church and outside of the church.
Of course, in the modern Western church, women do not typically wear headcoverings. Why is that? In his book, Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth, theologian Wayne Grudem writes: “Paul is concerned about head coverings because it is an outward symbol of something else. But the meaning of such a symbol will vary according to how people in a given culture understand it. It would be wrong to require the same symbol today if it carried a completely different meaning. No matter what people think about requiring head coverings for women today, all interpreters agree that head covering was a symbol for something else, and that Paul was concerned about it because of what that symbol meant.”
He goes on to say, “Whatever we think a head covering symbolized in first-century Corinth, it does not symbolize the same thing today. And that means if Paul’s concern was over what a headcovering symbolized, then he would not want women to wear a head covering in a situation where a head covering did not carry the same symbolic meaning. The very fact that it does not symbolize much of anything to people today, even to Christians, is a strong argument that Paul would not have wanted us to follow it as sort of a meaningless symbol. I think it also means that God Himself does not intend us to follow this practice today, in a society and culture where it carries no symbolic meaning.”
RC Sproul states in his article “Principle or Custom?”
“The great American author Herman Melville authored many works other than his famous Moby Dick. One of these novels, Redburn, tells the story of a young sailor’s voyage from Massachusetts to Liverpool, England. His father gives him a map of the Liverpool of his own youth but when his son arrives there, the map is hard to use as the town has changed much since his father’s day.
This scene illustrates the difficulty we can have when applying the Bible today. After all, Scripture was written thousands of years ago, to a world vastly different in its technological and scientific acumen. How, then, do we know how to follow this ancient text today?
Orthodox Christianity believes original meaning determines faithful application; therefore, we study the background of each biblical book. When we know the particular issues being addressed, we can better identify which teachings are principles and which are customs. Principles are God’s standards for all times and all places. For instance, “do not murder” remains valid today. Customs, on the other hand, are not eternal norms. Things like currency do not transcend time and space. Tithing as a principle, for example, holds true, and we must give money to the church today. However, the custom of paying with shekels is not the way in which we can be faithful to this principle in the United States today!
Unfortunately, distinguishing principle from custom can be difficult. Many believe women must continue to wear head coverings today because Paul apparently bases his teaching on the principle of a husband’s authority. Yet certain factors may indicate head covering is only a custom. Paul might have been trying to shield Christian women from charges of immorality since prostitutes in Corinth advertised their “trade” with uncovered heads.
In the end, we are not to separate from other professing believers regarding this particular issue. It is simply offered as an example to show that while we must obey the Lord’s principles, it is not always easy to determine what these principles are.”
While the head covering rule does not apply to us today, the discussion of the Biblical order of authority does. In this passage, Paul gives a further reason for the woman’s place in this order. He says, “For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” This is something that does not sit well with our modern culture. We are reminded often that, without women, none of us would be here. And that is true. But, the first woman was made by God from the man after the first man was made by God.
Furthermore, Genesis states that Eve was created as a “helper suitable” for Adam. The placement of man and woman in the Creation account informs our view of where men and women stand today in relation to each other and to God. Dr. Warren Wiersbe writes, “Priority does not imply inferiority; for Paul made it clear in 1 Corinthians 11:11-12 that there is partnership as well as headship in God’s creation. The man and the woman are spiritually one in the Lord, and one cannot do without the other.”
Then, Paul says, “For this cause [because of the order of Creation] ought the woman to have power [or a symbol of authority] on her head…” The woman’s head covering was a symbol of her obedience to God, her recognition of the authority of her husband, and her divinely-given role as a helpmeet. Dr. Mark Taylor writes, “The meaning is that she should exercise control over her own head by keeping it covered in the recognition that she stands in a particular relation to her husband in the light of creation. Both husbands and wives are to bring glory rather than shame to their ‘head.’” Our obedience always brings glory to God, and for the Corinthian believers, the cultural use of head coverings was a symbol of that obedience. Today, we bring glory to God by abiding in our God-given positions in the Biblical hierarchy.
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Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to GospelLightSociety.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.