MORE-LESS. That is my theme for 2014. More self-less. More quiet, less running off at the mouth (just because I have an opinion doesn’t mean I have to share it, especially if it is not beneficial to those who hear me). More gentle, less abrasive. More kind, less blunt. These are all qualities I aspire to with the help of the Holy Spirit. Most importantly though, is I want More of Him and less of me. That is, after all, what it is all about.
In conjunction with the above, I have made a decision that is, for me, life altering and bold.
The Lord has recently laid upon my heart a passage of Scripture that I can no longer ignore or excuse away. If you are a Christian and have read the first book of Corinthians, you may recall 1 Corinthians 11: 3-16:
But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. 6 For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. 7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. 10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. 12 For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.13 Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? 15 But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her[a] for a covering. 16 But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God. NKJV
Ouch, yep, THAT verse. To be honest, I always skipped over that verse because I, and my church leaders, always focused on verse fifteen. There, a woman should have long hair and that is her covering as mentioned in verse five. Thus, the Amish, Mennonite and other Christian groups that instructed women to wear a kapp, veil or lacey-doily thing on her head were legalistic and misinformed.
Aw, how painful it can sometimes be when the Lord removes the scales from our eyes. Especially when this new “sight” focuses on something completely contrary to not only one’s culture at large, but also one’s family suppositions. I have always been taught that a woman’s long hair is her covering, so these verses were never given any thought beyond that.
I am not sure how the Lord first brought these verses to my attention, I just know that one day I suddenly had a strong curiosity as to what they really meant. I admit to you I “fussed” at God quite a bit because I thought He was being cryptic and speaking in riddles. After all, the first portion of those verses seem to be very obviously speaking about a literal head covering in the form of a cloth, hat, etc. but then there is VERSE 15 waiting to throw a wrench in that thought. So, I prayed and prayed and prayed for wisdom…reminding God that I have the purest of intentions and demanded that He just tell it to me straight (yes, those were my exact words to Him. I told you above I can be a bit blunt and abrasive, even with the Creator of the Universe). My husband was honest enough to admit he didn’t know. He suggested I ask someone older. Since EVERYONE in my circle of mentors held strong to verse fifteen, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get the answers I sought. Now, mind you, I was A-OK with verse 15 being interpreted the way I was always taught…a part of me wanted it to mean just that, but I still had to know for sure for rightly dividing the Word of Truth is of utmost importance to me. Then I happened to think of my great-aunt. I did not know her very well, but I did remember a time when I saw her wearing one of those lacy-doily things. So I jumped on FB and asked her for more information: why she did it, etc. She said she would send me some pamphlets regarding the matter. Meanwhile, I did what most of us do nowadays when we want to find more information on a subject: I “googled” it.
As usual, the information was overwhelming. Both interpretations (yes a woman should have covering, no a woman does not have to) were presented with intense fervor. I was more confused than ever, so back I went to whining to God. I understood every thing the passage tells us, about headship and glory, but VERSE 15 plagued me. THEN FINALLY! God cued the angelic singing and He gently reminded me that He always tells it to us straight, we sometimes need to endure the prelude before getting to the story because it can be just as beneficial and informative.
The scales are removed:
So what cleared up the matter for me? I finally found someone smarter than I (most people are, btw) that did all the hard homework for me. This someone took the time to study/dissect the passage in its Greek form.
The “covering” mentioned in verses 4 and 5 is katakalupto which means to veil, cover up one’s self. The “covering” in verse 15 is Peribolaion which means to wrap around (as in peri-meter).
Why would Paul have used two different words if the Holy Spirit had wanted him to mean the same covering?
So what does it all mean?
This clears up the matter for me but also raises an interesting discussion on the rest of the passage…in ins and outs, why and wherefores. I am excited to discuss this with you, but in another post.
Thanks for tolerating this long post! See you soon, Lord willing!