Here at the beginning of 1 Corinthians 11, Paul’s letter begins to focus on some specific controversies in the Corinthian church that may seem rather puzzling in our 21st century context. But as in the earlier portion of the book, often the issue at hand isn’t the root issue at all. Perhaps Paul isn’t concerned so much with headgear and hairstyles as he is with authority: “the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3). Many of our hymns this morning declare the authority of God. We acknowledge Him as our King (O Praise Ye The Lord And Sing A New Song—Psalm 149; The Lord Is King; O Come Before The Lord Our King— Psalm 95). We ask Him to reign over us (Come, Thou Almighty King), to lead us (Jesus, Shepherd Of Thy People), and to cover our defenseless heads (Jesus, Lover Of My Soul). We promise to honor Him (Fairest Lord Jesus), and bend the knee in adoration (Holy God, We Praise Your Name). This attitude of humble obedience doesn’t always come naturally to our proud hearts, so we end the service with a prayer: “Teach me, O Lord, Thy holy way, and give me an obedient mind,” so that we may learn to walk in meekness with our God, and delight in His “sheltering care.”
—Henry C. Haffner
Key Words: Head, Glory, Symbol, Cover, Authority, Independent
Keystone Verse: I want you to understand, the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. (1 Corinthians 11:3)
1 Corinthians 11:2-16
Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, 5 but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. 6 For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. 7 For a man 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 was not made from woman, but woman from man. 9 Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of
man nor man of woman; 12 for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God. 13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. 16 If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.