Call To Worship October 18 2020

Thoughts on 1 Corinthians 11:1-16

In the short space given here it is not possible to fully comment, exposit, or exegete this section of scripture. Although these passages are somewhat difficult, the overall meaning of this section is fairly plain. The verses concern an overarching issue of authority, order, distinctive genders and roles in God’s plan. “But I want you to understand,” Paul wrote, “that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:3 NAU). Some of the women in the church had taken their liberty beyond its natural order in creation. They put aside God’s order in authority and were not functioning in proper order in the Corinthian church of their day (vs. 4-10). So Paul cautions the women in the church. They must recognize their order in creation, as the man is the head of the woman. Therefore when they are functioning in church life they should act, even in prayer, in a submissive way before the Lord. They should be submissive in their marriages. Also he warns them against using their liberty as a tool to gray the lines between the genders. Men and women by nature were created as two distinct genders. So even their appearance is noticeably different for a reason (vs. 14-15).

Man and Woman’s distinct differences did not change their essence as created beings by God. Also both believing men and women are equal in Christ, but not equal in roles. Women are not inferior because they are women. They are to be submissive in role because of God’s plan and command. Men were created to lead God’s people in specific ways, to lead their marriages in Christ, and to be men before God. Yet, men could not claim complete independence from women, or approve any abuse of women (11-12). So for either man or woman to stray from their God-ordained roles is a departure from God’s design. Therefore, neither man nor woman can claim the highest place of authority-that is God’s crown and His alone. God has authority over all creation to ordain His will and purpose in all creation. This includes any authority structure between two distinct genders in the one human race. Since God is over mankind, both men and women, then He alone has the right to distinguish an authority structure between those genders, whether in the world, in the church, or in marriage. May we remember that God did not give us free reign of liberties to dismiss or to abuse one another.  Yet, God commands us to live graciously with one another inside His ordained authority structures in life, in Christ’s churches, and in marriage. Soli Deo Gloria!