Saturday, 8 November 2014
For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God. 1 Corinthians 11:12
This verse begins with “For.” Paul has taken a broad concept and is bringing it down to very specific points to be considered. Because of the delicate nature of this passage, it would be good to stop, go back, and review the main prepositions and conjunctions as they are given to show us the sequence of thought from the beginning of the passage.
Remember particularly that this is considered a “tradition” established through the apostles for the church. It is not merely a “cultural” thing which pertained only to the Corinthians, but it is an expected propriety during all of the church age. Note the main thought of verse 2 which is to “keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you” and remember it while considering each highlighted word while reading –
“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.
In the first half of verse 12, Paul builds on verses 11:8 and 11:11. In the second half of the verse, he reminds the Corinthians (and thus all readers) that both men and women are not independent of God, but are subject to Him as the creation is to the Creator. The mystery of God’s ways is demonstrated here. Eve was taken from Adam’s side, but man since then has come through woman.
A point that should not be missed is that even Christ came through a woman who came from both a man and a woman. Christ is the Head of man, but man fell and all who are born of man are fallen in Adam. However, because Christ came through a woman but not directly from man, the fallen nature of Adam was cut in Him. It is the fulfillment of the picture made by the rite of circumcision. The cutting of the male organ was a picture of cutting away the sin nature of man.
Eventually, Christ came and fulfilled that picture. Now, when one calls on Him, they move from Adam to Christ and thus the sin nature is likewise cut in that person. Therefore, Christ is our Head and therefore we owe Him the respect of staying within the parameters of what His word mandates for us. And so the coming verses concerning hair and head coverings are given to show us what is right and proper. Paul has shown in this discourse why it is so.
Life application: What may seem arbitrary and unnecessary in a command or exhortation is often not so when properly understood. Taking the time to review passages and looking for key markers within each passage will help us to solidify our understanding of why things are expected. In the end, it should always come back to what is honoring to our Lord.
What a wonderful thing it is to walk in Your presence O God! No matter where I am and no matter what I’m doing, I know that You are there with me. When the day is long and frustrating, if I just stop for a moment and remember this, things get easier and make more sense. When things are going well, the thought makes them even better because I realize that the blessings weren’t accidental, but really gifts from You. No matter what the situation, it is always better when I remember that You are right here with me. Thank You for Your gracious hand upon me heavenly Father. Amen.