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God’s Word for You

1 Corinthians 11:11-15 All things come from God

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, April 19, 2023

11 Yet 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 all things come from God. 13 Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Doesn’t the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is glorious for her? For long hair is given to her as a covering.

There is no flaw in the Word of God. The only flaw in the roles of men and women is in the sinfulness within men and women. The roles, head and subordinate, would be perfectly acceptable and perfectly carried out by men and women just as they were by Adam and Eve, up until the temptation and fall. But the fall into sin was a real fall; we lost the image of God, and we battle against our roles on account of the sinfulness that plagues us. Yet God gave Adam and Eve to one another in marriage, and men and women are not separate from one another.

Paul explains the unique relationship of Adam to Eve as opposed to all other people. Adam came from no person at all; he was shaped and given life by God. Eve was taken from Adam, shaped and given life by God. But from them, the sexes have continued as they still are now: men impregnate women and women give birth to children. Even our Savior allowed himself to be subject to this arrangement, except that for Jesus there was no human Father. “What was conceived in her was from the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20).

Some ancient religions (and perhaps some modern ones) believed that women were not worthy of entering into heaven. But of course, men and women are linked together through God’s design of human biology and by God’s holy will. Spiritually, we are equal: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). All have access to eternal life through faith in Christ, otherwise Jesus would never have said to the woman with the flow of blood, “Take heart, daughter, your faith has healed you” (Matthew 9:22), or to the woman who anointed his feet, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:50). Nor would he have offered the living water to the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:10). And of course, the New Testament shows that women were brought to faith and forgiveness through baptism (Acts 16:15, 16:33). And Jesus describes both men and women in heaven (Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25; Luke 20:35-36). Therefore, being co-heirs of eternal life, we must never look down on one another nor covet one another’s position.

Now, Paul has expressed this with great patience to the Corinthians, and he asks them: Is it proper for a woman to behave in a way that does not show her submission (that is, with her head uncovered)? What he is saying is that men and women should be conscious of how their clothes, actions, mannerisms, words, and other expressions appear in the culture that they live in.

Do we give God glory, and do we show our submission to him and to his will with our words and actions? Or do we challenge God’s authority and rebel against him? Isn’t rebellion against God the devil’s own work? Rebellion against God by any means is wickedness (Daniel 9:5). “The Lord is righteous, yet I rebelled against his command” (Lamentations 1:18). So whenever men look down on women, the very ones they should love and protect, they sin. Whenever women covet the role of men, the very ones they should submit to and honor, they sin. But Christ came to atone for the sins of us all, the one man for all mankind on the cross (Hebrews 10:10).

Verse 14 has a caution for us here. Long hair in men is not a sin, nor is short hair in women a sin. We do not know how long our Savior’s hair was, despite centuries of paintings and sculptures. Many people assume that Jesus would have followed Leviticus 19:27: “Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard,” but Jesus in other places describes the fulfillment of the law of Moses (Mark 7:18-19), and it’s within reason to assume that he might have followed this with regard to his own hair as well. Since there is nothing else in Scripture about this, there is nothing more definite to say.

We should show our love for God and our love for all people, especially the saints, by acknowledging our place in God’s plan and by living and serving in that place or that position, whatever it is, with joy. Ask God to forgive the mistakes of the past and avoid those temptations in the future with the help of the Holy Spirit, “because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God” (Romans 14:18).

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith
About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please visit the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church website.


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