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Are men and women EQUAL in everything?

"1 ∂ Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. 2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. 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. 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? 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." (1Co 11:1-16 AV)

Preface

With the advent of Democracy and its daughter, Feminism, the notion that man and woman are equal in every aspect, and not different, has made great strides, even in the church. The Word of God has a more complete approach to the matter and makes a difference for He made them male and female (Mat 19:4). He created man and quite sometime later extracted woman out of man. In essence the Word says that man and woman have equal access to salvation through Christ (Gal 3:28) BUT the purpose of man and his functions are clearly different than the womanís.

Indeed woman was made for the need of man, woman exists in function of the man and that without man there would not have been a need for woman, as the above verses testify.

In this excursion, Paul explains clearly the relation between man and woman, in what they are equal and in what they are not.

Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
Here Paul states that what he is saying is not an invention of his, but that he had received directly from Christ as he records elsewhere: "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;" (1Co 15:3 AV)

Clearly Paul requires of his people no further to follow him than as he followed Christ: nor indeed ought any man to require more of those that are under his charge, than to follow him so far forth as he imitates the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul here is not asking to be followed blindly neither. He encourages neither implicit faith nor blind obedience. He would be followed himself no further than he followed Christ. Christís pattern is perfect and we should follow no leader further than he follows Christ. We must not follow those that deviate from the example of our Master and the clear teaching of Scripture. Of course there are many voices and all claim to follow Christ, the safe check is to compare their teaching with that of Scripture, the Spirit and the Word must agree on every point and private interpretation is to be rejected, (2Pe 1:20).

Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you
It seems as the Apostle here is speaking somewhat ironically for in this chapter he has many things to reprove them. No doubt this opening is designed to raise their attention to what he was about to say, and to prepare their minds to receive it, and to take it in good stride. What he should say by way of rebuke; so they could not well be angry when he praised them for what was praiseworthy in them, and reproved them for that which was blameable.

He recognises that they are disposed to regard his authority and seek his direction in all matters pertaining to the good order of the church and they had in general observed them, and were disposed still to do it. There can be little doubt that they had consulted him on issues in their letter (1Co 7:1) such as the proper manner in which a woman ought to demean herself if she was called upon, under the influence of Divine inspiration, to utter anything in public. The question seems to have been, whether, since she was inspired, it was proper for her to retain the marks of her inferiority of rank, and remain covered; or whether the fact of her inspiration did not release her from that obligation, and make it proper that she should lay aside her veil, and appear as public speakers did among men. To this the apostle refers, probably, in the phrase "all things," that even in matters of this kind, pertaining to the good order of the church; they were disposed to regard his authority. This cannot be said the same for modern churches all over the world. You have come a long way Virginia, in decadence and rebellion.

To make sure they understood the position of man and woman as ordained by God the Apostles then supplies a clear doctrinal exposition concerning the functional aspects of the matter.

But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ;
Paul does not at once answer the inquiry, and determine what ought to be done; but he invites their attention to a series of remarks on the subject, which led them to draw the conclusion which he wished to establish. The phrase here is designed to call the attention to the subject, like that used so often in the New Testament, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."

The Corinthian women, on the ground of the abolition of distinction in Christ of sexes and social position, as far as salvation is concerned, claimed equality with the male sex, and, overstepping the bounds of propriety, came forward to pray and prophesy without the customary head-covering sign of submission of females. Paul reproves them here and grounds his reproof on the subjection of woman to man in the order of creation. (1Ti 2:13,14) And in order to make way for what he had on his mind to reprove them for, and admonish them about, he observes the hierarchical order in Godís creation, viz that as God is the head of Christ, and Christ the head of every man, so the man is the head of the woman.

Christ is the head of every man. in particular, and Christ is also the head of every individual human, as he is the Creator and Preserver of all men, and the donor of all the gifts of nature to them; of the light of nature, of reason, and of all the rational powers and faculties; he is the head of nature to all men, as he is of grace to his own people: and so he is as the Governor of all the nations of the earth, who whether they will or no, all are subject to him; and one day every knee shall bow to him, and every tongue confess that he is the Lord of all. He is the one, and only head, and an ever living and everlasting one.

To be noted that Christ did not choose any woman as His disciple; and reserved His most formal doctrinal teaching only to men.

and the head of the woman is the man;
The man is first in order in being, was first formed, and the woman came out of him, she was made for him, and not he for the woman, and therefore he must be head and chief; as he is also with respect to his superior gifts and excellencies, as strength of body, and endowments of mind, whence the woman is called the weaker vessel (1Pe 3:7); likewise with regard to pre-eminence or government, the man is the head; and as Christ is the head of the church, and the church is subject to him, so the husband is the head of the wife, and she is to be subject to him in everything natural, civil, and religious (Eph 5:24). Moreover, the man is the head of the woman to provide and care for her, to nourish and cherish her, and to protect and defend her against all insults and injuries. This is the order that God has established, but lately mankind thinks himself better than God and tries to reverse this God given order by adopting Democracy in order to achieve it. Similarly someone in Heaven thought of himself better than God, and considering himself Ďthe captain of his soulí he did it "his way" but he did not fare too well.

and the head of Christ is God.

And the head of Christ is God; that is, the Father, not as to his divine nature, for in respect to that they are one: Christ, as God, is equal to his Father, and is possessed of the same divine perfections with him; nor is his Father the head of him, in that sense; but as to his human nature, which he formed, prepared, anointed, upheld, and glorified; and in which nature Christ exercised grace on him, he hoped in him, he believed and trusted in him, and loved him, and yielded obedience to him; he always did the things that pleased him in life; he prayed to him; he was obedient to him, even unto death, and committed his soul or spirit into his hands: and all this he did as to his superior, considered in the human nature, and also in his office capacity as Mediator, who as such was his servant; and whose service he diligently and faithfully performed, and had the character from him of a righteous one; so that God is the head of Christ, as he is man and Mediator, (1Ti 2:5) and as such only.

So we see here that God has established a hierarchical order in His creation for all times, irrespective of any culture: God is the head of all and all, Christ is the head of man and everybody, man is the head of woman and children. There is no such thing in Godís creation as egalitarian order, everything and everyone has a clearly specified role.

Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
This is to be understood of praying and prophesying in public, and not in private. A man dishonoreth his head (the principal part of the body) by wearing a covering or veil, which is a mark of subjection, and which makes him look downwards instead of upwards to his Spiritual Head, Christ, to whom alone he owes subjection. Why, then, ought not man to wear the covering in token of his subjection to Christ, as the woman wears it in token of her subjection to man? "Because Christ is not seen: the man is seen; so the covering of him who is under Christ is not seen; of her who is under the man, is seen"

The natural head, taken in a literal sense, is rather meant; and the sense is, that by covering it, it looks as if he was guilty and ashamed, and in subjection; whereas to appear uncovered expresses freedom, boldness, and superiority, like himself, who is the head of the woman; whereas to be covered, as with a womanís veil or hood, is effeminate, unmanly, and dishonourable.

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
Activity in family life is recognized in Christianity (and also with heathens) as most accordant with the destiny of woman. This passage does not necessarily sanction women speaking in public, even though possessing miraculous gifts; but simply records what took place at Corinth, without expressing an opinion on it, reserving the censure of it till 1Co 14:34,35. Even those women endowed with prophecy were designed to exercise their gift, rather in other times and places, than the public congregation.

A woman that pray or prophesy without a veil acts against the divine ordinance and the modest propriety that becomes her: in putting away the veil, she puts away the badge of her subjection to man, which is her true "honour"; for through him it connects her with Christ, the head of the man. Moreover, as the head covering was the emblem of maiden modesty before man (Gen 24:65), and conjugal chastity (Gen 20:16); so, to uncover the head indicated withdrawal from the power of the husband, whence a suspected wife had her head uncovered by the priest (Num 5:18).

As womanís hair is given her by nature, as her covering (1Co 11:15), to cut it off like a man, all admit, would be indecorous: therefore, to put away the head-covering, too, like a man, would be similarly indecorous. It is natural to her to have long hair for her covering: she ought, therefore, to add the other (the wearing of a head-covering) to show that she does of her own will that which nature itself teaches she ought to do, in token of her subjection to man.

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
That is, if her head is not covered with some sort of covering, as is the custom of the place where she lives, let her also be shorn; let her hair be cut short; let her wear it as men do theirs; and let her see how she will look, and how she will like that, and how she will be looked upon, and liked by others; everybody will laugh at her, and she will be ashamed of herself: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven: as it is accounted in all civilized nations: the very Heathens speak of it as a thing abominable, and of which there should not be one single dreadful example: then let her be covered; with a veil. Alas, this ashamedness is not so anymore in these evil days.

Let her wear the customary attire indicative of modesty and a sense of subordination. Let her not lay this aside even on any pretence of religion. This is what it is meant by the head covering, but in these evil days very few woman wear a veil in or out of the church, does this mean that women have discarded submission to man. Yes, it does, and it is so much encouraged in the Democratic society we live in, there is no such thing as woman submission to man, indeed the very mention of that causes violent reactions.

It is interesting to note that during the war the first thing they did to female spies to put them to shame was to have them shorn, but in these days it is quite common to see women wearing hair like men by their own choice. Indeed now we have female preachers and many with short hair. Are they submitted to man, or even to God?? Methinks not.

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
A man indeed ought not to cover his head. That is, with a veil; or in public worship; when he approaches God, or when in his name he addresses his fellow men. It is not fit and proper that he should be covered. The reason why it is not proper, the apostle immediately states:

Forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God. The phrase "the image of God" refers to the fact that man was made in the likeness of his Maker, (Gen 1:27, in chapter one the general description of man is made, whilst in chapter 2 the specific creation is given) and proves that, though fallen, there is a sense in which he is still the image of God. It is not because man is holy or pure, and thus resembles his Creator; but it evidently is because he was invested by his Maker with authority and dominion: he was superior to all other creatures, (Gen 1:28). This is still retained; and this the apostle evidently refers to in the passage before us, and this he says should be recognised and regarded. If he wore a veil, it would be a mark of servitude or inferiority. It was therefore improper that he should appear in this manner; but he should be so clad as not to obscure or hide the great truth that he was the direct representative of God on the earth, and had superiority to all other creatures.

Here by glory it is meant, splendour, brightness, or that which stands forth to represent God, or by which, the glory of God is known. Man was created first; he had dominion given him; by him, therefore, the Divine authority and wisdom first shone forth; and this fact should be recognised in the due subordination of rank, and even in the apparel and attire which shall be worn. The impression of his rank and superiority should be everywhere retained in all times.

But the woman is the glory of the man. The honour; the ornament; etc. She was made for the man; she was made after he was; she was taken from him, and was "bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh." All her comeliness, loveliness, and purity, are therefore an expression of his honour and dignity, since all that comeliness and loveliness were made of him and for him. This, therefore, ought to be acknowledged by a suitable manner of attire; and in his presence this sense of her inferiority of rank and subordination should be acknowledged by the customary use of the veil. She should appear with the symbol of modesty and subjection, which are implied by the head being covered. This sense is distinctly expressed in the verse following.

"This is the woman who is the glory of man"; but why is she to be covered when the man is to be uncovered? It is to be observed, that it is in the presence and worship of God that the one is to be uncovered, and the other required to be covered; the one being the glory of God, and therefore to be uncovered before Him; and the other the glory of man, and therefore to be covered before God; and especially, since being first in the transgression, she who is manís glory has been the means of his shame and disgrace. A question is asked for the reason of this difference: "why does a man go out with his head uncovered, and a woman with her head covered?" It is answered: "it is like to one that has committed a sin, and he is ashamed of the children of men, therefore woman, the first sinner, is required to go, Ďwith her head covered.í"

For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man
Here the apostle proves what he had before said of the womanís being the glory of the man; the woman was made of the man; the man was not made of a rib taken out of the woman, but the woman was made of a rib taken out of the man; we have the history (Gen 2:21,22) and from hence the apostle proves her subjection to the man.

Referring to womanís original creation, "taken out of man" (Gen 2:23), the woman was made by God mediately through the man, who was, as it were, a veil or medium placed between her and God, and therefore, should wear the veil or head-covering in public worship, in acknowledgement of this subordination to man in the order of creation. The man being made immediately by God as His glory has no veil between himself and God.

The woman was made out of the manís rib, and took both her name and nature from him; God was the author, and man the matter of her being; her original under God, is owing to him; and therefore as he was first in being, he must be superior to her: this serves to prove all that has been as yet said; as that man is the head of the woman, the woman is the glory of man, what he may glory in as being from him; and therefore there should be this difference is carried out in all aspects of life, especially in worship.

Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
This has roots in Gen 2:18, where God said: It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. God did not first create the woman, and then make man a meet help for her; but he first made the man, and then, later, the woman, that she might be a meet help for him. Now it is a rule in reason: that whosoever or whatsoever is made for another person or thing is less excellent than that person or thing for which the other is made.

The man was not created for the sake of the woman; but the woman for the sake of the man (Gen 2:18,21,22). Just as the Church, the bride is made for Christ; and yet in both the natural and the spiritual creations, the bride, while made for the bridegroom, in fulfilling that end, attains her own true "glory, " and brings "shame" and "dishonour" on herself by any departure from it (1Co 11:4,6).

The man was not created for woman; for she was not in being when he was created; and though it is the proper business of man to provide for, take care of, and defend the woman, as the weaker vessel, yet these were not the original ends of his creation; he was made for God, for His service and glory.

Woman was made for the comfort and happiness of the man. Not to be a slave, but a help-meet; not to be the minister of his pleasures, but to be his aid and comforter in life; but to be his friend, to divide his sorrows, and to multiply and extend his joys; (Pro 31:12) yet still to be in a station subordinate to him. He is to be the head; the ruler; the presider in the family circle; and she was created to aid him in his duties, to comfort him in his afflictions, to partake with him of his pleasures. Her rank is therefore honourable, though it is subordinate. It is, in some respects, the more honourable because it is subordinate; and as her happiness is dependent on him, she has the higher claim to his protection and his tender care. The whole of Paulís idea here is, that her situation and rank as subordinate should be recognised by her at all times, and that in his presence it was proper that she should wear the usual symbol of modesty and subordination, the veil.

For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
Most interpret the word "power" over here meaning "a veil" as a covering as it is proper for a woman the emblem of "power on her head"; the sign of her being under manís power, and exercising delegated authority under him. Paul had before his mind the root-connection between the Hebrew terms for "veil", and "subjection".

We are surrounded by angels and they delight in the orderly implementation of Godís ordinances in the several ranks of His worshippers in their respective places, the outward demeanour and dress of the latter being indicative of that inward humility which angels know to be most pleasing to their common Lord (1Co 4:9 Eph 3:10 Ecc 5:6).

As the angels are in relation to God, so the woman is in relation to man. Godís face is uncovered; angels in His presence are veiled (Isa 6:2). Manís face is uncovered; woman in His presence is to be veiled. For her not to be so, would, by this indecorous behaviour, offend the angels (Mat 18:10,31). She, by her weakness, especially needs their ministry; she ought, therefore, to be the more careful not to offend them.

Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
Lest the man, upon the apostleís discourse of his pre-eminence and dignity over the woman, should wax proud and insolent, and carry himself too imperiously, the apostle adds this, that neither of them could well be without the other. They are equal in the Lord as to a state of grace, for in Christ, salvation is for all independently of sex or social status: though there is difference between man and woman in other things, and the man hath the priority and superiority; yet when we come to consider them as to their spiritual state they both are heirs together of the grace of life.

The design of this verse and the following is to show that the man and woman are united in the most tender interests; that the one cannot live comfortably without the other and that though the woman was formed from the man, yet it is also to be remembered that the manís body comes to this world through the woman. She should therefore be treated with proper respect, tenderness, and regard.

For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.
Augustine put the matter rather crudely but effectively to bring things into prospective: "Both man and woman are born the same way, i.e. between faeces and urine".

To be noted that here the physical body is in question, not the soul or the spirit of man, those God gives directly.

The body of a man is formed inside a woman; he is incubated by one, and brought physically into the world by one. This is the way in which mankind is propagated, the species preserved, continued, and increased; and therefore there is no reason why the woman should be despised, or the man should be lifted up beyond measure, since they are so dependent upon, and so useful to each other, and so determined by God.

Both the man and the woman are of God; they are made by him, that the man is the image and the glory of God, and the woman the glory of the man; the authority of the man over the woman, and the subjection of the woman to the man, are of God, and according to his constitution and appointment; as also that the woman should be of the man, and for his sake, and that the manís body should be by the woman, and neither should be without the other: these are not things of human constitution, but are settled by the wise counsel of God, and therefore to be cheerfully submitted to, as the best order of things.

But all things of God.
ALL things were created and arranged by Him. This expression suppresses any spirit of complaint or dissatisfaction with this arrangement; to make the woman contented in her subordinate station, and to make the man humble by the consideration that it is all owing to the appointment of God. The woman should therefore be contented, and the man should not assume any improper superiority, since the whole arrangement and appointment is of God.

Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman prays unto God uncovered?
The apostle having gone through a variety of reasoning and arguments, showing the superiority of the man to the woman, by which he would prove, that the one should be covered, and the other uncovered, returns to his subject again, and appeals to the common sense and understanding of the Corinthians, and makes them themselves judges of the matter; suggesting that the thing was so clear, and he so certain of what he had advanced being right, that he leaves it with them.

No man is truly and thoroughly convinced of an error, till he is convicted by his own conscience. It is therefore very usual in holy writ for God to make appeals unto menís own consciences, and put them to judge within themselves, to examine a thing by their own reason, and according to the dictates of that to give sentence for or against themselves. The thing as to which he would have them judge within themselves, and accordingly pronounce sentence, was, whether it were a decent thing for women to pray to God without any covering for their head and face.

By rejecting the emblem of subjection (the head-covering), woman passes at one leap in praying publicly beyond both the man and angels.

Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
The apostle arguing, that as the male and female sex are required to be distinguishable by garments (Deu 22:5), and it was the will of God they should be so, so they should also be distinguished by the wearing of their hair; and it was no less shame for a man to wear his hair like a woman, than to wear garments like a woman.

The will of God in this matter, is:

  1. That men and women should so order their hair, as by it to preserve the distinction of sexes.

  2. That men should not wear their hair after the manner of women, either dishevelled, or curled, and tricked up about their heads, which speaks too much of an unmanly and effeminate temper, especially those who claim to be Christians.

But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
If a woman wears long hair, without cutting it, as men do, it is comely and beautiful; it is agreeable to her sex, it becomes and adorns her. Her hair had been given as an ornament and for beauty and it would be improper for her to remove the veil (symbol of submission) and long hair did not replace the veil, as we preach today. Long hair is an indication that they need another covering for their head, because it is indecent that their long hair should be seen.

Jewish women used (and the orthodox one still do today) to esteem it an immodest thing for their hair to be seen, and therefore they took care, as much as possible, to hide it under another covering.

But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God
The Apostle concludes in saying that if womenís are praying or prophesying with their heads uncovered (as we do today), or menís praying or prophesying with their heads covered; we (the Apostles) have no such custom; neither any of the churches of God.

Paul is saying: "If any man, any teacher, or others, is disposed to be contentious about this, or to make it a matter of difficulty; if he is disposed to call in question my reasoning, and to dispute my premises and the considerations which I have advanced, and to maintain still that it is proper for women to appear unveiled in public, I would add, that in Judea we have no such custom, neither does any of the churches of God."

With this the Apostles concludes the argument on the basis of his early premise that he has received what he is preaching directly from the Lord.

Conclusion:

Paul had received from the Corinthians a series of question and one was the question as to whether or not it was proper for a woman to retain the marks of her inferiority of rank and remain covered; or whether the fact of her equal access to salvation did not release her from that obligation, and make it proper that she should lay aside her veil, and appear as public speakers did among men. 

The Apostle takes this opportunity to expound the relationship between men and women as decreed by God, for all times and all cultures.

Men and women are NOT equal in all things.  They are equal in what concerns salvation but there is a difference in what concerns functional roles, by Divine appointment.

In a nutshell:

  1. What Paul is saying, he has received directly from the Lord

  2. God has established an immutable hierarchic order in His creation for all times and cultures:
    God is the head of Christ,
    Christ is the head of Man,
    Man is the head of Woman.

  3. With the advent of Christ everyone has equal access to salvation independent of social status or sex

  4. However the hierarchical functional order mentioned above is not changed and remains enforce till the end of time

  5. Man was created as the image and glory of God, he was made for God, for His service and glory

  6. Woman was made as the glory of man with the function of being a help-meet to him.

  7. Woman exists in function of the man, without man there would be no need of woman

  8. The whole of Paulís idea here is, that womanís situation and rank as subordinate should be recognised by her at all times, and that in his presence it was proper that she should wear the usual symbol of modesty and subordination, the veil.

  9. Both the bodies of men and women are born of woman, between faeces and urine

  10. ALL things were created and arranged by Him. This expression suppresses any spirit of complaint or dissatisfaction with this arrangement; to make the woman contented in her subordinate station, and to make the man humble by the consideration that it is all owing to the appointment of God. The woman should therefore be contented, and the man should not assume any improper superiority, since the whole arrangement and appointment is of God.