God’s goal for your life is that you would become more and more like Jesus! So Paul says, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1
Can you imagine being able to say that? “If you want to know what Jesus is like, just watch me, and do what I do!” That’s a big statement! But, you may be the only Jesus that some people will ever see.
The second part of 1 Corinthians deals with some really practical areas, especially when it comes to how Christians should worship. Paul was writing this letter to answer some specific questions that they asked, because they were having some problems in their worship services.
We still have problems in worship services today. We’re still trying to work some of those out. In fact, sometimes things get so bad, they call it Worship Wars! I know that’s crazy, but churches fight about the practice of worship.
Some of the problems include: “The lights are too bright. It’s too dark. It’s too loud, it’s too boring, the sermon is too long, too shallow, new worship music or classic hymns.” There are all kinds of reasons that we fight about worship today.
But we love to worship! In fact, we were made to worship God and bring Him glory! It’s a big deal!
1 Corinthians 11:1-10
2 I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you. 3 But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. 6 For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.
7 A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9 neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own head, because of the angels.
In verse 3, Paul is talking about authority issues. We all have some authority issues, and we are all under authority. But we don’t like to submit to authorities. And yet, we have to learn to submit.
Remember putting your face above a headless frame painted to represent a muscle man, a clown, or even a bathing beauty? Many of us have had our pictures taken this way, and the photos are humorous because the head doesn’t fit the body. If we could picture Christ as the head of our local body of believers, would the world laugh at the misfit? Or would they stand in awe of a human body so closely related to a divine head?
Ultimately, the Head of Christ is God. It’s not an issue of value or worth, or intelligence, or talent. Obviously, Christ and God the Father are equal.
We should make a willing choice to follow someone else. It’s not enforced authority, it’s the way we choose to relate to each other.
Both men and woman are made in God’s image.
So the question they were asking is, “Should a woman cover her head in the worship service?” This wasn’t when she was worshipping on her own, but when she was in a worship service with other people.
Some of the women realized that since they were free in Christ, they didn’t have to wear these veils over their heads. So, they started going to the worship service and uncovering their heads.
Now, when I was reading about this, of course, this isn’t an issue in our culture in America, but it did remind me of the issue we face today about whether or not we will wear a mask in our services.
But what was happening in the church in Corinth was that there were two cultures that came together. You had the Romans and the Greeks together. And the Roman men covered their heads, and the Greek women covered their heads. In fact, in the Greek culture, if a woman was caught in adultery, they would shave her head as a sign. Your hair told people something about you. In their culture, prostitutes didn’t wear veils.
So, for them, women covering their heads was a sign of authority. And even though they were free to uncover their heads, their freedom looked like rebellion to people who were seeing them.
So, it comes down to not just, “What are your intentions?” but, what are you saying to others? In the process, they could draw attention away from God and onto themselves.
We have to remember that when we worship, it’s not just about us.
Paul was saying that we are free, and we need to use our freedom in worship to serve others.
We have freedom to worship God and we have freedom in worship, but worship isn’t a free-for-all, where everyone does whatever they want.
A true believer should never let an attitude of rebellion or to take a hold in his life.
We do need to consider how we dress as followers of Jesus. We shouldn’t dress in a way that unnecessarily attracts attention to ourselves, to dress just to be accepted by others, or just to follow the fashion trends if they aren’t acceptable.
The deeper principle here is that we have a responsibility to each other.
Rules don’t work for relationships.
The Bible changed the attitude of the world toward women and elevated them to a higher position.
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28
1 Corinthians 11: 11-16
Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12 For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.
We are dependent on each other. Men and woman need each other.
13 Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15 but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. 16 If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.
Have you ever met someone who was just looking for an excuse to ignore the Bible? Well, here is one of the most overlooked chapters in the New Testament. “That’s just a cultural thing,” we tell ourselves. “We don’t have to take this part of the New Testament seriously.”
This chapter is dealing with the framework of Corinthian culture. As a result, its specific teachings are directed toward their situation. Still, when we dismiss this chapter as merely cultural, we lose sight of its lasting and universal principles.
So, there are definitely some cultural issues, but the problem was, they were being contentious about the issues.
How can we be contentious that way today? When we put our preferences or rights over our consideration fo God and others around us.
Lots of things could be distracting. We are not here to argue and fight over things that don’t matter. We have a big mission. There are too many desperate people in the world who are dying from hunger, thirst, poverty, disease, and sin—too many who need our help—for us to become involved in arguing over personal rights and these trivial things that don’t matter.