Christian Marriage Part 2 1 Cor. 11.1-16
Rev. David Wm. Gibson
Sermon: Christian Marriage
First Corinthians 7:10-16
January 14th, 2007
Loving Order at Home and in Church 1St Corinthians 11:1-10
Today is the second of a two-part series on marriage and a specific practice of order that God has given to the family, to the church and to society. We will use 1 Corinthians 11:1-7 to understand what the Apostle Paul is teaching us about the roles of men and women in the church. We will determine together what is cultural, symbolic and applicable truth for us as men and women and members of the body of Christ. But first we will look at where Paul derives his theological understanding of order in marriage, and the roles of men and women.
My hope is, women of PBC, that at the end of last and this week's sermon that you will desire what God has given us, that you will see its blessing to us, and its glory to God. And men, my hope is that you and I will more deeply understand what it means to be a godly man and husband. Lets take a look at the account of the creation of man and woman in Genesis 1:26-28:
26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28 God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
In this account of mankind, we see three things shared by the male and female: they were created by God (in His image), God blessed them, and they were given joint dominion over every living thing that moves on the earth. There is no doubt that those created male and female were created in equality.
But how doe we act this out? How do we do this with order, because without order we'd look like the Three Stooges! We'd be bumping into each other and knocking each other down. So God creates order and we are going to look at that today.
For us to rule over creation, we were given different roles. We are of the same essence in our creation, we are just given different roles. Look at the trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit: three persons or roles, yet equal in essence- they are one God, just different expressions of God. And there is an order in the function of these roles: The Father sent the Son (John 20:21) and the Son sent the Spirit (John 16:7).
Let's move along to Genesis 2:19-20:
19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.
This takes place prior to the creation of Eve. Adam is given the task of naming all the living creatures, not just a task, but also an authority that Eve does not share in. I say an authority because it is a Hebrew practice that the male name their children. Remember the priest Zechariah who was to name his son John. Remember God telling Jacob, "Your name will now be Israel." Remember Jesus telling Simon, "Your name will be Peter." Thus, Adam names Eve.
The ability to name someone is an expression of authority. Culturally we express that, no doubt originating from this biblical practice, when a woman takes her husband's name in marriage. I have a newspaper article here about a man who desires to take his wife's name as his new last name. (Portions of article read here.) And of course, he has enlisted the help of the American Civil Liberties Union because it is not a common thus not an easy thing for him to do legally.
Let's look at 1 Timothy 2:9-14. Now this one may hurt or be uncomfortable, but we have to deal with what's in scripture.
1 Timothy 2:9-14
9 Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, 10 but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. 11 A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.
13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
Who is Paul saying was the first to sin? It was Eve. So, Paul is putting the priority of teaching on the man because the woman was the first to fall.
Let's go back to Genesis 3. We cannot return to the First Corinthians 11 without understanding Paul's interpretation of Genesis. Moses begins the idea of male leadership when we look at the Hebrew word ?a·?am. It is not only the name of Adam, but it is the word we define as mankind. The word itself indicates to us the intention that man is to have the leadership role in the relationship. When I was in Seminary, I saw the affects of the Feminist Movement when I had one of the first papers I handed in come back with the word "mankind" circled in red. It came with a note from the professor saying that it was an "offensive" term and that as a developing scholar I was expected to use the word "humankind" or "humanity". This is why the church is weakening. Remember, as goes the seminaries, so goes the church, so goes the family, so goes society.1
Yet, I believe the word mankind can also teach us that, spiritually, in our essence, we are equal. Paul tells in Galatians 3:28 that man and woman stand as one and the same before God in Christ. So, we are equal in creation and redemption.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
However, something changed this co-leadership God intended us to share over creation, and it was the Fall. Another indication of the leadership of man is that Adam was given the instruction regarding what trees to eat from, and which one not to. This instruction was given to him before the creation of Eve. I understand it this way: Adam was to teach Eve. It was his responsibility to pass on and reinforce this instruction. However, Eve questions God's teaching at the temptation of Satan, as we learned last week. Yes, we need to recognize that Adam not only followed his wife into sin, but blames God for giving her to him (3:12)! However, Eve was the first to sin. And the co-leadership over creation was abandoned.
Genesis 3:16-17 (NASB95)
16 To the woman He said, "I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you."
17 Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat from it'; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.
Let's look at the second part of verse 16: "Your desire shall be for your husband. And he shall rule over you." This desire is not intimacy. Intimacy in itself is not a punishment from God, is it? No. This desire will be woman's desire to rule over man... "but he shall rule over you." And next we see that Adam is punished because he heeded the voice of his wife (v17). However, none of this affects their equality as persons before God, and before each other. God is describing the desire of the woman as a result of her sin. Part of her fallen nature is going to want to lead her husband. God is simply explaining that this is going to be a struggle, "You are going to want to lead your husband, when I have created an order that has him leading you, though you are both equal in essence before me and in my heart."
Then to Adam God says, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife and eaten from the tree I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it.'" So, where Adam fell was not in listening to his wife. It is not saying that we are not to share opinions and decisions with our wives. It is nothing like that. God put order in the relationship. If it comes down to a split decision: the husbands says go left, the wife says go right, the husband makes the final decision. But Adam followed his wife into sin, so he was in a little trouble there.
Now let's go to First Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 11:1-3
1 Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.
2 Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.
3 But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.2
Paul transitions from a teaching on Christian liberty with the instruction:
"Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ" (v1). In this statement, he first introduces the idea of order. Christ of course is above Paul, so Paul uses Christ as his model for behavior, while subjecting himself to Christ in this relationship. He then commends the Corinthians for keeping the traditions, specifically the teachings, commandments, narratives of the Old Testament scriptures (v2) 3. It is our tradition to carry out the Word of God. Here Paul introduces another source of authority: God's Word. So, already we have two ideas established. Jesus Christ and the Scriptures are the two sources of authority that the church is to derive its structure from.
Now Paul is going to enter a specific teaching: "But," he says. "But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of every woman is man, and the head of Christ is God." Lets look at that last clause "the head of Christ is God." Paul is telling us that God the Father and Creator is the source of all authority on earth, and that it comes down from Him, to Christ, to man, and then to woman.4
But there is a beautiful positioning here in verse three that I think we need to look at a little more closely. There is Christ, then man, then woman, then God.5 And God is the head of Christ. So, He brings us full circle. He boxes us in, man and woman, between Christ and God the Father. So, what I think Paul is saying here is, "I am trying to show you that this order is a safe place to live! When you are in the midst of God's Word and difficult scripture, I promise you that you are living right smack in the middle of God's will." We are in the midst of God when we are living out scripture.
1 Corinthians 11:4-6
4 Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head.
5 But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved.
6 For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head.
Now, also know that, in this context when we are hearing woman, I believe he is speaking about husband and wife. He seems to be bouncing back and forth from "Woman" to "husband and wife", "wife" and then "woman". The Greek word Paul uses here, gune, that is translated woman, is used by Paul with one exception, for "wife".6 Let's also remember the context of marriage and his references to Adam and Eve, not as a man and a woman, but as husband and wife.
"Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head." It dishonors his head because he is in the image of God. Now remember this is a chapter in which Paul is teaching order. Now "every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head." Let's keep inmind the good news here, the women in the church were praying and prophecying, outloud. This is not about when Paul is teaching Timothy that women are to remain silent. There he is talking about when we discuss doctrinal issues and we try to figure out what exactly God is teaching us in this word, he is telling the women to remain silent. Now that may be hard to swallow, but the fact is, it is feminism is in the seminaries, it is feminism that came into all the studies of the books of the bible, it is feminism that said, "This isn't fair, it is subjugating women." And things began to go awry in what was taught in the seminaries. Again, Now "every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved." Why would a woman have her head shaved? Remember, Paul has recently planted this church in Corinth. There are a lot of doctrinal arguments going on. One group is displaying manifold gifts of the Spirt, there is another group that is extremely asthetic, and they are having disputes on who is saved and who is not saved, and sexual immorality is taking place and no one is holding it accountable. And probably some are saying that women ought not pray or prophecy outloud, and Paul is disagreeing, because it is a gift of the Holy Spirit and they are able to exercise those gifts. But they are to do it with their heads covered. A shaved head was what one donned when she was caught as an adulteress. Her head was shaved. It was like the scarlet letter worn by Hester Prinn. The pagan temple prostitutes also had very short hair. So Paul wants the church to be separate from the world around them, to keep them from being identified with the cultural and pagan practices in which this church existed. These are the cultural influences surrounding the church of Corinth. And as a pastor, when we prepare a sermon, we need to find the truths that we are to take to the pulpit, and what the cultural influences are that we can lay aside.
"For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man" (vv6-7). Ladies you are also the glory of God, just as the men are. We have established that fact. Paul is once again speaking about order. We must look at this in the context of order and leadership in the home. Now we have to understand the meaning of glory. Do men receive something from God that you do not? No. But in this leadership order, man is the object, as a leader, of God's love, and it is my responsibility that I turn and that my wife experience my glory-my and God's love for her. So it is God's love for man, and then it is man's task to convey his love and the love of God to his wife. Isn't that beautiful. It tells us men that our wives are to experience God's love through the husband. Now look at that verse in that understanding. "For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man." This is about giving love and it is about receiving love.
Paul explains this dynamic further in Ephesians.
22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.
24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
Paul gives us some specifics regarding a wife submitting to her husband in Ephesians 5. Verse 22 defines the manner of submission: "wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord." Sometimes it is hard to submit, isn't it? Paul draws our attention to the fact that for each of us to fulfill our roles in this relationship is in essence, to submit to the Lord.7 This is what Paul is telling us back in the beginning of 1 Corinthians 11. Paul then gives us our motive (v23): "For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the Church; and He is the Savior of the body." Our motive is the authority of Christ. Notice our home relationships are not separate from the church, but the church defines our entire lives! And last, Paul gives us the model for wives to follow (v24): "Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything."
Wives, I cannot stress the blessedness of following God's word in this. Remember Paul's idea of imitating Christ in 1 Corinthians 11:1? Wives, you can be imitators of Christ, by imitating the very actions of Christ in relationship to His Father: "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross" (Philippians 2:5-11)! Recognize and understand your equality as Christ did, and share in His humility in obedience to His Father's word.
Then, verses 25-27 in Ephesians 5 continues, "Husbands love your wives as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her." That he might set her apart, and cleanse her with the washing of the water of the Word of God." That he might present her to Himself a glorious church." Husbands, our relationship with our wives, in our position as head or leader is one in which we are to present Christ to them, we are to minister to them in the Word so that we will present our wives to Christ as someone beautiful and glorious. Quite the opposite of what Adam did. That is the ultimate purpose and desired outcome of our leadership. The desired outcome of too many men is, "Wife, you just do what I say and shut-up." Our headship requires us to be in the Word, because we cannot wash or lead our wives in the Word if you and I are not studying his Word. It is all about presenting you and your wife to God beautifully.
Those of you women, who are not married yet, seek a man who understands this. One that will help you pursue Christ and make you beautiful before Him because of his fellowship with you. Young men who are not married, get into the Word of God. When you get married, you are going to make a vow that you will make with God and your wife that we spoke about last week and your duty to God is your duty to your wife-to lead her to a deeper faith and love of Christ.
I have taken the scenic route to understanding 1 Corinthians 11 by first going through Genesis, and then Ephesians. But I think this has made Paul's teaching in Corinthians more palatable and easier to understand. And we can now understand what Paul means by scriptural tradition when he writes: "...I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of every woman is man, and the head of Christ is God" (v3).
1 Jay E. Adams. Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible. (Michigan: Zondervan, 1980) 4.
2 New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.
3 William Arndt, F. Wilbur Gingrich, Frederick W. Danker and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature : A Translation and Adaption of the Fourth Revised and Augmented Edition of Walter Bauer's Griechisch-Deutsches Worterbuch Zu Den Schrift En Des Neuen Testaments Und Der Ubrigen Urchristlichen Literatur (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996, c1979). 615.
4James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Greek (New Testament), electronic ed. (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997). GGK3051.
5 George W. Knight III, "Husbands and Wives as Analogues of Christ and the Church," Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, ed. John Piper and Wayne Grudem (Illinois: Crossway Books, 1991) 170
6 Blomberg, Craig L. The NIV Application Commentary. Michigan: Zondervan, 1994. 210.
7 George W. Knight III, "Husbands and Wives as Analogues of Christ and the Church," Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, ed. John Piper and Wayne Grudem (Illinois: Crossway Books, 1991) 167-169.