Saturday, July 26, 2008


I Corinthians 11 Verses 1-16

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, it is time for this topic to be addressed. Although we started out as Christian sisters who met the LORD in every topsy-turvey way one could imagine... we soon found out that we didn't stay that way!

There is order in the church... Scriptural order that must be followed. It is not optional.

Although no-one will hold a gun to your head if you refuse the head-covering, one thing is sure to happen: the continued refusal of the veiling will accomplish a few things in your life that you DON'T want to happen, if you are a serious Christian.

1) It will weaken your prayers.

2) It will allow more struggles to come your way, more wrestling with the flesh, and more struggles with applying Truth and discipline to your own life.

3) It will cloud your discernment and greatly decrease your ability to know HIS+ will for your life.

4) Your witness will be greatly impaired; your Light for CHRIST will be under a bushel, as it were.

5) Not to mention: dishonoring your head ( the husband or father... whoever heads your home) AND CHRIST JESUS... because HE+ gave those words to The Apostle Paul as part of the GOD-breathed Scriptures for us to follow.
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For some, the passage is not clear in 1 Corinthians 11.

Here is why:

The key is how one reads his writings.

To get to the core, the kernel, of his basic instructions to the primitive churches, it is often necessary to set aside for a moment his sometimes elaborate reasonings and explanations. THEN, ONE CAN SEE THE CORE OF HIS INSTRUCTIONS.

The Apostle Paul was a very learned man. Throughout his letters to the primitive churches, the Apostle draws examples and parallels from the Old Covenant and Jewish history.

This is how he teaches. He also draws from the example of natural things, things in nature, which he assumes everyone would know.

Let us momentarily set aside those illustrations, allusions, and examples from the Old Covenant and from nature which the Apostle uses in 1 Cor. 11. Then, we can clearly see his basic instructions to the primitive church.

After we comprehend clearly the import of his directives, we will add the illustrations, etc., back into the reading to understand his reasoning behind his instructions.

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Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered or veiled dishonoreth his head.

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But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered or unveiled dishonoreth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

For if the woman be not covered or veiled, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered (veiled).

Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?

But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

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The remaining the verses in this passage (from 1 to 16), including his examples and reasonings for this instruction, draw from the Old Covenant references and from nature.

Before adding his explanations back into his words, however, let us take a look at what is the gist of his instructions in this adapted reading.

We see here that he is re-establishing both his authority and his reason for writing this epistle to the primitive church.

The Apostle Paul then clearly and plainly states the way it is: If the brothers cover or veil their heads while praying or prophesying, it shows they are dishonoring the authority line which the Apostle just stated as fact.

If the sisters have their heads UNcovered or UNveiled during praying or prophesying, it also dishonors the authority line.

The Apostle goes on to give his directive to the sisters who will not cover or veil their heads: shave the hair off and go bald.

This is rather humorous!

If a sister refused to cover or veil her head and would rather show her head in the assembly, The Apostle says, in essence, “Well then, let her show her bald head instead and see if she is still proud.” Likely, any sister would hasten to cover her head appropriately, due to the shame of being bald-headed! That measure would have dealt effectively with any spirits of worldliness and pride lurking in the assembly.

[Now, this is not as improbable as it may sound. The Apostle had to deal with proud spirits amongst the various factions in that very church, the letter reveals, chapter 4. It is within reason to think that the sisters had been subjected to spirits of pride, also. ]

The Apostle Paul appeals to their sound judgment of propriety when praying to the Living GOD, the Maker of the Heavens and the earth: is it right that a woman pray to GOD uncovered (unveiled)?

Well, he answered this question earlier by teaching them that it WASN’T right to dishonor the authority line, so he assumes they know the correct answer: NO.

The Apostle addresses the issue of disagreement or contention with this set of instructions. His last remarks were in a question form: Is it right that a woman pray unto GOD uncovered ? He plainly says NONE of the primitive churches have such a custom… and that settles the discussion.

The confusion amongst modern readers is that the words: "such a custom" refers to Christian sisters praying uncovered or unveiled. The Apostle said neither we nor any other of GOD’S churches had a custom of sisters praying unveiled.

This is the reasonable understanding of verse 16; otherwise, it makes the Apostle Paul contradict himself from what he stated as facts and directives in the immediate preceding verses! We know that the Apostle Paul was NOT confused, but rather, the western church’s perspective might be in want.

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(To be continued)


Anonymous said...

Excellently written and discerned. Very clear for the confused. Brief, respectful, and straight to the point. Worth printing out to hand to those who inquire, who have contrary interpretations. Thank you. ( One could also mention the angels, outside of the timeline and exterior to cultures and dates.)

Sister Judith Hannah said...

Dear Anonymous Friend... Thank you again for your supportive response.

And, you are quite right about the angels being outside of the timeline and exterior to cultures and dates.

That is WHY the Apostle's words about the head-covering are STILL APPLICABLE today.

Thanking you kindly, again.
Sr. Judith Hannah + + +