1 Corinthians 11:2-16
When we started 1 Corinthians, we made the point that one of the main topics that are woven throughout the fabric of this letter is the unity of the church. Paul has addressed some specific sins that were in the church that were threatening the unity of the church. He also has addressed some questions that this church had concerning different relationships and some instructions that Paul had already given them. As we start chapter 11 we begin a section on the order that is to be in the church. A disorderly church would lead to unnecessary divisions. As we start chapter 11, we must admit that this passage has caused a quite amount of debate in the church. That is not necessarily a bad thing because most of us want to make sure that we are following the word as closely as possible. Those that are teaching want to make sure that we are teaching what is right and true. We don’t want to add or subtract from God’s word. And so as we approach this section know that this does take work to understand. We must be careful of the presuppositions that we bring to it. Everyone does, but we must do our best to align those with the chapter, the book as a whole, and how this book fits in with the rest of Scripture. This paragraph is about head coverings for men and women. And it also talks about hair lengths. As we read over this did you see any specifics mentioned? What kind of covering is Paul talking about? Is there a certain size, shape, or style? Does it cover the face or can that be seen? What about hair lengths? He mentions long and short, but how does one determine that? Did you see the listing of appropriate lengths in inches? The topic of head covering for men and women must have been a topic of debate in the church at Corinth which is why Paul is addressing it. Much like the other topics Paul has already addressed, this one also has some timeless principles that help guide the church in practical matters. It seems to me that this passage breaks down into four parts. It begins with a commendation by Paul. Then he talks about the topic of headship, followed by the creation order of authority, and finally, he points to nature.