Thursday, 30 October 2014
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. 1 Corinthians 11:3
What will be said for the next few chapters of instruction is given for order, propriety, and edification of the church. It is intended to keep things functioning properly and it is set doctrine which, if not adhered to, will lead to dysfunction, disorder, and eventually to chaos within the church. Some of the words which are coming are directed to proper male/female hierarchal conduct. The instructions are in no way intended to diminish the role of women in the church, nor to subjugate them in a merely “cultural” way. Rather, the words are intended to instruct on what is right and proper at all times during the church age.
In the preceding verse, it was noted that the Corinthians were to be praised for having kept “the traditions just as” Paul had delivered them. However, there were questions that had obviously arisen and he is now answering those questions for the proper functioning of the church. But instead of simply saying “women are to pray with their head covered” he starts with a much larger and broader aspect of the issue to which he will address. Thus, by showing the overall nature of hierarchy, his words will demonstrate why things work as they do and why certain things are proper and others are not. Therefore, we can draw accurate conclusions from the points which he provides.
And so he begins with, “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ.” The first obvious question which should arise is, “Is this referring to male-believers or all people?” At first, it would seem that this must be referring to all men because the next thought is “the head of woman is man.” This seems to be referring to all women. However, elsewhere in 1 Corinthians it says –
“As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.” 1 Corinthians 15:48, 49
This sets a clear delineation between believers and non-believers and indicates that those born only of the dust have Adam as their head. Therefore, Paul’s words are referring to those within the church. His next thought is, “and the head of Christ is God.” This leads to another obvious question which must be asked, “Is this saying that Jesus is not God?” The answer is, “No.” The Bible elsewhere indicates very clearly that Jesus is God. However, Jesus also subordinates Himself to the Father such as in John 14:28 –
“You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.”
Further, just because man is the head of the woman, it doesn’t mean that the woman isn’t a human. Therefore, we can see that there is a hierarchy within the Godhead itself and that there is a hierarchy within humanity as well. Again, the idea of a hierarchy within the Godhead is also confirmed in 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 –
“Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For ‘He has put all things under His feet.’ But when He says ‘all things are put under Him,‘ it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.”
Paul has shown that there is a great and eternal hierarchy within the Godhead. Though Christ Jesus is fully God, and though the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are co-equal within the Godhead, there is an order and a propriety in dealings between the three. In understanding this, we can then understand why there is also an order and a propriety in how men and women conduct their affairs within the church.
In Galatians 3:28, Paul says that, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Yes, this is true. It is also true that within the Godhead all are One. And yet each has its individual role and responsibility. And the same is true within the church. We are all one spiritually, but we are individuals who are accountable to staying within the parameters set down by God in His word.
Life application: When we violate the tenets of Scripture, for whatever reason, we usurp what God has intended. When we do so willingly, it is a direct slap in His face because we ignore what He has stated. And this is true regardless of how we feel about an issue.
Lord God, Your word has been given to us with such tender care and with such specificity that I really am without excuse when I act in a manner contrary to what it says. And yet, I tend to do so quite often, not because I purposely want to, but because of the battle raging in me. My flesh wars against my spirit. Help me to be victorious in this struggle and to stand fast on Your word. And above all, help me never to sin presumptuously. Keep me from that above all else and I’ll be sure to give You thanks, praise, and honor for Your kind hand upon me. Amen..