As I began to study 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 in more depth after our writing team meeting, it became clear that even the theologians have struggled to completely understand this section of Scripture. And the ones that think they have it figured out differ from the others. It is comforting to know that I am not the only one who sometimes struggles with understanding, and we all pray for wisdom and discernment from the Holy Spirit when we write.

Pastor Esteban always reminds us of the context in which Paul was writing to the Corinthians. The church at Corinth was struggling with social mores and cultural traditions different from what was now expected of them as Christians. Professor N.T. Wright tells us, that the crucial issue for Paul was the public witness of the church. And that witness it seems was suffering in Corinth which led to Paul writing to the church regarding people wearing or not wearing head coverings, having long hair or shaving their heads, etc.

Paul wanted a very male authority-oriented and legalistic group to understand that while women should honor their husbands and in so doing, honor God, men should love their wives as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). Paul wanted women elevated from a “slave status” to one of equal importance not only as Christians but also in their culture.

Remember, the Corinthian church existed in quite a different culture and time. The main principle to me is in verses 11-12 which say, “In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, and man is not independent of woman. For just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman, and all things come from God.” In other words, within the community of believers, the idea is that there is equal standing, and both should honor God in their relationship with each other and with their Creator.

Genesis 1:27-28 tells us that “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them.”

God created people for His own glory and purpose. We are not to be an obstacle to anyone’s faith by what we wear or what we eat or what we say. We are to do all things as unto the Lord. (Colossians 3:23)

Lord, please help us to remember that you are the Creator of all, and we are here to bring you glory and honor in all that we say and do.

Deb Hill

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