As part of this training series, I’m going to hit on some of the hard points of Scripture. I like to explore the ideas behind something that in our society seems irrelevant or arcane. I’m taking a look at the heart of this passage. I believe God’s truths are timeless and relevant every day. So, I’m asking my dear readers to look at this through that lens. The topic I’m covering today is one that’s been widely debated. Debate is good; attack is not. We don’t know everything about the background of this passage, but we do know that Paul was seeking to educate in grace and love to God’s people. I ask that you do the same if you comment on this blog.
What’s Under the Head Covering?
I’m in a Bible study this year that covers the letters of Paul to the Corinthians, the Philippians and the Ephesians – all churches that Paul helped get started. He is praising them, correcting them and giving them instructions on how to do this Christian life the right way.
The Corinthians were a church that needed a good lecture. They were crossing lines and taking “liberties” with their freedom in Christ. I love how Paul gets the tough love part out of the way and then starts answering the “questions” or “objections” the Corinthian “children” have. Isn’t that so the way our kids treat us? They want to know where the loopholes are. Or maybe we all just need the guardrails to keep us on the narrow path.
I also love that he’s willing to deal with the hard topics. A woman’s place is something I argued with my own dear husband about this weekend. In anger, I pulled out that lovely line, “You just want me to be a submissive wife.”
I wanted my hubby to hear why I was upset. I wanted him to let me vent my frustration and not put up one of those guardrails of “Maybe, you’re not seeing this the right way.” (I really don’t like his use of rational thinking.)
God’s Place for You
I think that’s what Paul is doing in the 11th chapter of I Corinthians. He’s showing us that God has a place for everyone in His order. He’s the head of the entire Kingdom and Paul is using a contentious issue to show everyone how God views each “role” in His house. He writes, “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head (authority over) of every man, and man is the head of woman, and God is the head of Christ.” (I Corinthians 11:3 AMP)
Paul is using an accepted social standard of the day – women covering their heads in prayer and public – as an example of accepting and respecting your place in God’s order. I may receive some criticism for my analysis, but I’m not very concerned with what people think of me. I’m concerned with that throne I’m going to stand before one fine day (Romans 14:12). I’m concerned about what I’m going to say about the gifts I was trusted to nurture and foster to the One who gave them to me (I Peter 4:10).
My take on the head covering topic is this – it’s about respecting the life and role you were given. We can fight for what we think we should be or accept what He made us to be.
“All Things Are From God”
Isn’t that what this is really about? All things are from God. He created us. He wants us to know He created us for glory. And we ladies are for the glory of our husbands (I Corinthians 11:7). I want to be that woman.
When I respect my place as a daughter of the King and I respect my place as a woman who asked my husband to lead our family, I have freedom to be who I was designed to be.
Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God. (I Corinthians 11:11-12 ESV)
When I embrace my place as the heart of my family, I’m free and whole.
When I know that I’m showing my children how to embrace their purpose (head or heart of a home) with dignity and joy, I’m leaning into the head of my heart. He comes near to me when I come near to Him. (James 4:8).
Today’s Training Exercise: Do you know what your gifts are? (Here’s a quiz I like). Think about the time you felt most alive. What was your state of mind? Were you living His plan for your life? Write this down as a reminder to yourself when you get lost.
For Discussion: How do you apply Scripture with hard-to-comprehend concepts to your life?