Sunday, 9 November 2014
Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 1 Corinthians 11:13
Paul asks the Corinthians to judge, to make a correct decision, concerning this matter. When Paul says “judge among yourselves” he is asking them to see how obvious the matter is; there should be no question as to a right determination. Because of the context, he expects the reader to understand that it is not proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered. It is a rhetorical question which demands a “No” answer. A woman dishonors her head when she does so.
Going further, the petition isn’t merely to “judge” but to “Judge among yourselves.” An open judgment among the people will show what the individual heart may attempt to hide. As an example to understand the universal nature of this, or any such issue, we can look at the issue of abortion. People make claims about the propriety of abortion all the time. They even do it in public forums. However, if two or more people were in an honest debate on the issue – one without personal attacks or red herrings, the truth would come out.
If one were to ask, openly and frankly from a natural perspective (which is what Paul is doing concerning the issue he is addressing) as to the morality of removing a live baby from a woman and murdering it, the proponents of abortion would have no true argument. Unfortunately, the morality of the issue is never addressed in this manner. Rather “legality” or “personal feelings” are inevitably introduced and the abortion issue continues to cast its deathly pall over society.
Paul is using the same tactic here. He could ask, “Is it legal for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?” The answer, at least within Christian circles, is certainly “Yes.” He could ask, “How do you personally feel about the issue?” If he did, he would receive all kinds of responses and the most vocal group would prevail, regardless of propriety. However, he returns to the very basics of the issue. He first shows the nature of the Godhead itself. He then shows the nature of propriety within creation. And finally, he asks his question. He cuts out the argument before it begins and so his answer to their question will not need further clarification or explanation later.
If only we would follow the same pattern in our own moral decisions we would have them more in-line with what is right and proper in the eyes of the Creator. Unfortunately, Christianity in great measure has become a religion of personal likes and dislikes and of clinging to what is legal instead of what is moral. Rather than following these temporary avenues, the Christian should pursue personal (and corporate) obedience to God and to His word.
Life application: Am I discerning the obvious when I read the Bible and making correct decisions based on this discernment? Or am I overlooking exhortations which apply to me without giving them proper consideration? Am I trying to insert my personal likes and dislikes at the expense of right doctrine? If so, Lord – please change my heart.
Heavenly Father, please continue to instruct me properly in Your word. Help my moral choices to be based on Your right thinking rather than on the convoluted and unholy thinking which permeates the world in which I live. If I am to be a cast off from the world for sticking to Your word, at least I’ll have You there with me as I walk the lonely path to glory. Thank You for hearing my prayer. Thank You for being attentive to it. Amen.