Wednesday, January 20, 2010

1 Corinthians 11:3, Reflections on "Equality"

"Now 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." 1 Corinthians 11: 3

It truly saddens me when I hear people speak of the bible as being in some way sexist. The modern woman rebells vehemently against the idea of being created second, of being called to submit to her husband, and yet what she does not realize is how much the bible truly cherishes the female sex. Not being married, it is rather easy for me to promote the idea of wifely submission, after all, I don't have a husband I have to submit to at the moment, but I pray daily that if and when I do get married, God will grant me the strength to do so. Scripture provides extensively for women, especially during a time period where they were viewed as possessions rather than individuals, but one of the most incredible passages of scripture to me is 1 Corinthians 11.

At first glance, most modern women (who I have perhaps not so lovingly dubbed feminazis) recoil from the phrase "the head of the woman is man", and I can, in a sense, understand their reaction. It sounds as if Paul is saying women are second class citizens, that we do not share in the kingdom the same way as men, even that we are not as valuable. But if we remember to take scripture in context, if we remember to consider all the verses, we might remember what Paul said in Galatians 3:28, that "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Clearly, Paul had a very high view of both men and women. Therefore, we must come to an alternative conclusion.

This summer I taught a Junior High bible study that consisted of both boys and girls. The book we studied was 1 Peter and, not surprising, we came across the section that spoke about wives submitting to their husbands. My personal convictions aside, I knew I would need to make this accessible not only to Junior highers (who have the attention span of a teaspoon for the most part) but also to the post modern mind. However, the most important lesson I wanted to teach the was that the bible is the source of truth. I began searching through scripture to find verses that would corroborate the passage in Peter. It was then that the Lord lead me (with the help of my trusty commentary) to 1 Corinthians 11:3.

What struck me about this verse, and what I tried to make clear to the kids I was teaching, was the very end of the verse, "and the head of Christ is God." Immediately I realized the implication. Christ is God, He is equal to God (Philippians 2:6-11), and yet He submits to the Father. If that is the case, then what Paul is saying is not that women are inferior to men, or that they share any less in the kingdom. Rather, Paul is describing the roles we were created to take. Christ takes the role of the Son in the Trinity and therefore submits to God the Father, and if He can do that without losing any of His worth or value, then why can't we as women accept the idea of submitting to our current or potential husbands? The clear answer is sin, our flesh refuses to do what it was created to do (Romans 7:14-21). Thankfully, God does not leave us here, rather, He changes us, gives us a new heart (2 Corinthians 5:17), and then works with us to become more holy daily (Ephesians 2:10).

May God continue to work in our hearts and advance His kingdom.

1 comment:

Kiki said...

Hey--nicely written! I've been enjoying your "expository" posts on passages lately, just so you know!