In my opinion, the speaking in tongues has got to be one of the most confusing mysteries of God.
Tomorrow we’ll look at…
1 Corinthians 11
The Covering of Woman’s Heads
1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
Notice the order: (1) Christ is the supreme example; (2) Christ’s apostle follows His example; (3) we are to follow the apostle’s example.
2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.
11:2-16 – Paul is not correcting belligerent Christian women who are coming to the assembly with their heads uncovered, for the praises them for doing what they have been taught (v. 2). Rather, he wants them to understand why (v. 3) it is that when praying or prophesying men’s heads are to be uncovered and women’s covered.
Due to God’s creation plan for man and woman as evidenced in the creation order or Gen 1-2, the distinctions in male and female roles need to be observed at those times during which God allows women to perform seemingly male roles of leadership and teaching (see 1 Tim 2:12).
So when leading in pubic prayer and when exercising the spiritual gift of prophesying, women are to demonstrate the authority which is over them. This passage does not teach that women when they go to the church must have their heads covered.
It does however reveal role differences that are as old as humanity. Paul’s arguments are not based upon culture or first century practices, but upon God’s plan at creation.
God did not place women below men, as men have like to believe. The veil over a woman’s head is just that, nothing more. For example, only women can give birth, that does not place them below men, if anything it would place them above. God has made men and women to be equal.
3 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.
4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.
9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
“Power on her head” – understood by some refer to the woman’s authority as co-ruler with man in the creation (Gen 1:26-27). Others take the phrase to refer to the man’s authority as property recognized by the woman in her had covering.
“Angles” – perhaps mentioned here because they are interested in all aspects of the Christian’s salvation and are sensitive to decorum in worship (cf. Eph 3:10; 1 Tim 5:21) and were observers of God’s creation plan (Job 38:7).
11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.
13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
11:13-14 – “Comely…nature itself” – believers must be conscious of how their actions appear, in light of what is considered to be honorable behavior.
14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.
In worship services, Paul and the churches in general followed the common custom of the men wearing short hair and the women long hair. Paul was basing his remarks on common custom in the churches.
17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.
18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
“Divisions” – the divisions Paul is talking about is religion, God in the Old Testament and Jesus also spoke against religion. Jesus Christ never preached about a certain religion, He preached the word of God and His kingdom. Man created religion.
19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.
21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.
“Is hungry…is drunken” – the early church held the agape (“love”) feast in connection with the Lord’s supper. Perhaps the meal was something like a present-day potluck dinner.
In good Greek style they brought food for all to share, the rich bringing more and the poor brining less, but because of their cliques the rich ate much and the poor were left hungry.
22 What? Have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.
23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
“In remembrance of me” – as the feast of passover was a commemorative meal, so also the Lord’s Supper is a memorial supper, recalling and portraying Christ’s death for sinners.
25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
Paul is not saying we are to make a show of this but to honor Jesus at all times in all that we do. Jesus told us not to live by the traditions of the Jews (Matt 15), as the Catholics do.
27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
“Examine himself” – a person should test the attitude of his own heart.
29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
“Chastened” – as God’s redeemed children we are disciplined – just as a human father disciplines his child – so that we might repent of our sins and grow in grace (2 Pet 3:18; Heb 12:7-11).
33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.
34 And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.
in Christian and Pagan Worship
Speaking in tongues was a recognized part of the life of the early church. In Acts 2 tongues are identified as foreign languages understood by the various pilgrims in Jerusalem,
In 1 Corinthians, however, it is unclear whether tongues were unlearned foreign languages, angelic languages or inarticulate groanings “that words cannot express” (Rom 8:26).
Whatever the case may have been, Paul desired that tongues be translated so that all present might benefit.
Some argue that there were parallels to tongue-speaking in the pagan world, but these supposed correspondences can be misleading.
It is true that other cultures knew of various sorts of ecstatic speech, which could sometimes include either unintelligible speech or foreign words and phrases.
Some pagan rites (with the aid of alcohol or drugs) worked people into a state of delirium.
At pagan oracles, ecstatic priestesses sometimes delivered messages purported to be from gods. People would describe these priestesses as “raving,” but that usually referred to the fact that their meaning was obscure.
A pagan oracle might have been delivered in everyday Greek, but its meaning might still have been puzzling or confusing, even to but Greek-speaking audience.
The words were understandable, but their message was unclear.
A famous example concerns the legend of Croesus, king of Lydia, who sought the advice of the oracle at Delphi regarding whether or not he should wage war against Persia.
He was told that if he did, a great kingdom would fall.
Croesus attacked, believing that the oracle was signifying his own victory, but he was defeated and his own kingdom fell.
Thus, although the priestess at Delphi may have spoken in an ecstatic manner, the real issue was the ambiguity of her message.
This form of ecstatic speech must be distinguished from the Christian practice, in which the unknown tongue would evidently be immediately translated into speech understood by the congregation.
Of course, the unrestrained use of tongues in worship may at times have resembled the rantings of pagan worshipers.
This may have accounted for Paul’s concern in 1 Cor 14:23, where he pointed out that an unbeliever might enter the service and hear uninterpreted tongues and “say that you are out of your mind.”
…the gifts of wisdom and knowledge.