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1 Corinthians 11:8-16 & 1 Timothy 2:8-13 by Robert Dean
Series:1st Corinthians (2002)
Duration:1 hr 9 mins 25 secs

Role Distinctions and Women Pastors. 1 Cor 11:8-13; 1 Tim 2:8-13

Prophesying as a temporary gift is no longer in effect for today, so this does not apply. We will also hear a lot of pastors teach that Prophesy is not only foretelling, i.e. telling the future, but it is also forth telling, i.e. proclaiming the truth, an so that means the foretelling aspect is no longer in effect but the forth telling, the preaching aspect is, and they want to equate prophecy to preaching. That is about the worst form of exegesis and biblical study you could ever come up with. Prophesy is not preaching. So this does not in any way give woman authorization to preach as long as they seem to have a hat on their head. Prophesy was a spiritual gift given to specific individuals in the early church for the purpose of revealing truth related to church age dynamics and was necessary because the canon had not been completed. In the Old Testament it wasn't a spiritual gift, it was an ability and an office that was given to certain individuals and was limited to that period. So this is not talking about Old Testament prophesy, it is talking about the New Testament gift which died out in 90 AD.

The nature of the controversy seems to be that there were three groups in the congregation in Corinth who were trying to apply the general principles that Paul had taught. Apparently there was some confusion, which is why he doesn't castigate them too much in the passage, in fact in verse 2 he praises them for trying to apply the principles, they had just got out of line in the process. So he is somewhat gentle in contrast to what he is going to say in v. 17 where he is going to confront them and correct them. The first group were all women who now thought that now that they were all one in Christ there was no distinction between male and female, therefore because there is no difference they didn't have to abide by certain cultural standards for distinction between men and women. There was a second group that continued to wear their hair up, as was the cultural norm of that day, and then the third group which took a sort of an extended position and they wore a literal shawl over their head, which they would have picked up from culture.

The basic question here: Should a woman pray and prophesy uncovered? The contrast was with a man, that if a man made a prophesy with his head covered it would dishonour his authority. So the issue that runs through this whole passage is how the different sectors demonstrate through their dress styles and their hair styles their authority orientation. This is the bottom-line issue in this passage: the demonstration of authority orientation in terms of individual roles as God has created them. So Paul recognizes that they are trying to apply the principle, they are just a little confused, so he has to come back and straighten them out. Without addressing each particular group he gives them the principle again, and he does this in such a way under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit so that these principles can be applied across the board culturally throughout the centuries of the church age.

One of the problems with the modern feminist movement is that they want to take one verse—there are only about five or six key verses in the New Testament that deal with these role relationships between men and women—and in Galatians 3:28 there is a passage that relates to the baptism of the Holy Spirit: "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." The modern feminist's interpretation of these passages wants to take that verse, blow it way up, and use that as the grid to which all of the other verses are interpreted. That is sloppy hermeneutics. You never take any one verse in Scripture and make it the grid through which everything else is interpreted. That is how you end up with false teaching and distortion of Scripture. That verse is not talking about functional relationships between men and women in every days society, it is talking about the fact that in the body of Christ there are no economic distinctions as there were under the Mosaic law, there are no distinctions in the sexes as they were under the Mosaic law, and there are no distinctions in relationship to Jew or Gentile as there were under the Mosaic law. Now there is complete equality in the spiritual life in terms of access to God because of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. There is an equality there in terms of our position in Christ, and that is not in contradiction to a distinction in roles. Paul reinforces these role distinction in 1 Corinthians 11, 16, and 1 Timothy2.

Paul always addresses men first because leadership begins with the men and women have a soul that is designed to respond, and most of modern feminism is the result of a complete failure of men in society to be men. When men quit paying attention to their wives and to their families and put the almighty dollar and career ahead of everything else, then what is a woman to do? Women react when they are ignored and shunted side and treated in an illegitimate manner, and therefore this war between the sexes is created.

1 Timothy 2:8 NASB "Therefore I want the men [ANER = males] in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.' This is an emphasis that needs to be placed that in corporate worship the men need to get together and pray. Lifting up holy hands without wrath and dissension doesn't mean a form or manner of praying here in terms of a physical posture. The emphasis isn't on raising hands, it is on raising holy hands. The issue is on the word holy and that means confession of sin and being in fellowship. It is defined in the prepositional clause there, "without wrath and dissension," i.e. you have laid aside your sin, confessed your sins, there is restoration to fellowship, and so there can now be genuine fellowship with God which has a resultant fellowship with man.

1 Timothy 2:9 NASB "Likewise, {I want} women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments." That emphasises the fact that women were not to come in wearing things that were immodest in church. "Braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments" looks like four things in the English, but in the Greek it is only two things. Braided hair and gold is a hendiadys structure in the Greek, i.e. you take two nouns and join them by a conjunction "and," take the two nouns with one article and they are viewed as going together. This was typical of especially the higher-end prostitutes in Greek culture, they would braid gold into their hair so that it was pretty obvious who they were. So, once again, Paul is saying don't come to church dressed like a prostitute. With pearls or costly garments the emphasis is on what you have and displaying your wealth in church, this is not to be a fashion show. This does not mean dressing well, it going to the extreme of showing off to show just how expensive a fashion you could have. Women should dress well in church and should dress as though they were going to have an audience with the president because they are going to have an audience with God. Today we have an informal culture which thinks we can dress just any old way any old where, and it is a sign of deterioration in a culture when you dress that way. 

1 Timothy 2:10 NASB "but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness." Rather than emphasising your physical attributes, your dress and your fashion sense, character is the issue, spiritual maturity is the issue, not how you dress.

1 Timothy 2:11 NASB "A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness." In the assembly the women were to remain silent, they were not to talk out loud, they were to receive instruction in a manner of submission.  This was in contrast to what happened in pagan temple worship.

1 Timothy 2:12 NASB "But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet." It is interesting the controversy that this verse has developed and the ways that many people have tried to distort its meaning in the original language. In fact, Paul sets this up in a construction in the Greek that is a little awkward in order to make his point. He starts off with the infinitive of purpose to teach. "I do not allow, neither to exercise authority over a man." He sets them up to make it clear that he is emphasizing both activities. Both are prohibited. This is why women cannot serve on deacon boards or have any position in a church where they have authority over a man, or be in a position to teach over a man. One of the things that has been suggested as a way of getting around the clear teaching of this passage is that what Paul is really saying is: "I don't allow women to teach in a domineering way." This is the way that most feminists try to use and it is completely false. The other way that is used is that this was just a problem in Ephesus that Timothy was facing and this doesn't have universal application. That would be true if Paul's argument had to do with culture but he never mentions a specific problem in the church in Ephesus. Furthermore, he never appeals to Greek culture, Greek ways in which the women were dealt with in society. In Greek culture women were very much second class citizens, barely about the level of a slave. Paul never treats women in this manner. He always goes to creation to substantiate his point, never to what is practiced. He always says we do it this way because of what happened in the garden and because of the order in which God created the man and the woman. 

1 Timothy 2:13 NASB "For it was Adam who was first created, {and} then Eve." This verse begins with the Greek word GAR [gar] which indicates an explanation. His reasoning for prohibiting women from both teaching and exercising authority over a male is that Adam was first created, then Eve. That is true for everybody, it is not culturally nuanced. This refers to their functional differences.

In Genesis 1:26-28 men and women are ontologically equal; they are both in the image and likeness of God. However, in Genesis 2 where we have the creation of the woman as the assistant to the man and is taken from his side, we see the breakdown of how they were created, and in that chapter they are function ally different. If Paul has used the phrase "image and likeness" in 1 Corinthians 11:7 then he would be going to Genesis 1:26-28. But he doesn't say that, he says that man is the image and glory of God. In the imageness aspect, i.e. to represent God to something, there is something authoritative in the idea of being an image bearer; you are over something. So under God he is the image of God to the creation and as he carries out that role he glorifies God. The woman, though, doesn't function towards the man as the image of God. She functions to the rest of creation as the image of God and in doing that glorifies her husband to whom she is the help, the assistant, and she glorifies God. So by using the terminology of image and glory we see that Paul is not talking about the ontological equality but the functional distinction. Both are to exercise dominion over creation but they are to do it in different ways. The man is the leader, the woman is the one who assists him.

1 Corinthians 11:8 NASB "For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man." He is talking about the original creation, that man didn't come from the woman. In other words, we have to go to the created order. He is dealing with Genesis 2 function, not Genesis 1 ontological equality. [9] "for indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake." This is the reality: the woman was created to be a helper or assistant to the man. That is the role. The male sets the agenda, not the woman. [10] "Therefore the woman ought to have {a symbol of} authority on her head, because of the angels." Therefore, because of this created order. Notice he didn't go to Greek or Roman or Jewish culture, he went to the order of creation before the fall. In perfect environment there was a role structure, an authority structure, when there was no sin on the earth. Adam was the head of the home and therefore it was Isha's responsibility to assist him in carrying out his God-given responsibilities. This isn't just a functional issue of marriage and the family, it is an angelic conflict issue. This is because the ultimate issue in the angelic conflict is authority. Satan rejected the authority of God, rebelled against God, then when man was created he enticed the woman to rebel against her husband. Ladies, if you want to turn back the effects of the fall and to regain a testimony in the angelic conflict you do it by demonstrating that, unlike Eve, you are going to be authority-oriented to your husband. This has a testimony to the angels. Furthermore, it is a training ground. If you don't develop authority orientation today in relationship to your husband then remember that Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6 that we are all going to judge the angels when we get to heaven. So how are you going to learn to judge the angels if you don't learn authority orientation in basic training while you are here on earth in phase two.

Part of the job of the woman because of the problem of Genesis 3:16, that she is going to desire to usurp the authority of her man, in terms of her sanctification and spiritual growth she has to deal with that trend and through application of doctrine learn to be authority oriented to her husband. And this is training and preparing her so that in the eternal state when we are judging angels she has a frame of reference for doing it and is qualified to do it. Otherwise there is a loss of reward and a loss of position and responsibility because she hasn't properly trained herself for that role.

1 Corinthians 11:11 NASB "However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman." Now Paul goes back and reminds them of the ontological unity of the man and the woman. He has talked about function but now he says that doesn't give the man the right to be some kind of tyrant in the home. Just because God gave the man a different role it doesn't mean that he is better than the wife. What Paul means here by "in the Lord" is not because you are saved. He is talking in terms of when you are walking by the Spirit and applying the principles of God's Word you have to recognize that there is a corporate reality here. The man and the woman are mutually dependent; there is a unity in the marriage, but even though there is a unity and equality as a person there is still a distinction in role. [12] "For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man {has his birth} through the woman; and all things originate from God." In these two verses Paul reminds them that there is the interdependency and that should be a basis for mutual respect and honour and love inside the marriage.

1 Corinthians 11:13 NASB "Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God {with her head} uncovered?" Let's make a decision. You have raised the question: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered. Now that I have laid out the principles—a) there is an authority structure even in the Trinity; b) the head of every man is Christ; c) the head of every woman is the man; d) the head of Christ is God. Therefore everything in life where there is more than one entity involved has an authority structure.

1 Corinthians 11:14 NASB "Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him." What does he mean by "nature"? Some people think that this refers to custom. That would make it a culturally relative principle. But that is not what "nature" means. It is the Greek word PHUSIS [fusij]. Others get the idea that this is Mother Nature, but it is not talking about the creation. It is talking about the created order. That is how PHUSIS is used, and the most clear example is in Romans 1:26 NASB "For this reason God gave them [homosexuals] over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural [PHUSIS] function for that which is unnatural." PHUSIS there refers to that which God established at the beginning of creation in terms of the sex roles for men and women—heterosexual principles. Romans 2:14 NASB "For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively [by nature: PHUSIS, created order] the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves." Norms and standards were instilled into man from the very beginning of creation. So PHUSIS is a word that has to do with God's original created order. So Paul says: "…if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him." It is an act of disrespect to himself and to God.


1)  Cultures have hair styles as well as dress that are distinctively feminine and distinctively masculine.

2)  Each sex should dress according to those standards. One of the ways Satan is using to break down our culture is to get people to think that sexes are interchangeable.

3)  To cross-dress dishonours the authority established over each from creation. When a woman dresses in a masculine way it dishonours her husband; when a man dresses in a feminine way it dishonours God.

4)  Generally this means that the issue isn't really the length of hair but hair style. Though this does mean that men should have relatively short hair, it doesn't necessarily mean a crew cut but a distinctively masculine hair style.

1 Corinthians 11:15 NASB "but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering." We have to correct the translation here. Her hair isn't given to her for a covering, the word has to do with a shawl. It is the word PERIBOLION [peribolion]. It should be "instead of a shawl." Tat addresses the third group who thought maybe women should be wearing a veil or a shawl. He is saying it is the hair, the hairstyle, given to the woman instead of a literal covering.

1 Corinthians 11:16 NASB "But if one is inclined to be contentious [argumentative], we [the apostles] have no other practice, nor have the churches of God." This is apostolic ruling.

What about women prophesying in church? Prophesy was not an inherently authoritative act. The authority came from God. A prophet was simply a mouthpiece. The prophet is not interpreting and explaining what God is saying, he is simply repeating what God is saying. Therefore the act of prophesy in and of itself is not authoritative.