Headcoverings, Headship & what’s Natural

1 Corinthians 11:2-16 (Audio Sermon)

When Paul said long hair is natural for a woman, he obviously wasn’t thinking of Sub-Saharan Africa. Here in Kenya a woman’s hair isn’t naturally long. In fact selling hair extentions and wigs made with Indian or Brazilian hair is big business. Paul also could not have been thinking of this part of the world when he said a woman should cover her head in recognition of her husband’s headship. Here female headcoverings have nothing to do with male headship. In this sermon we discuss how to apply Paul’s instructions in a culture that is very different from the one he was preaching to. Click the arrow to play –

Speakers notes follow –

Headcoverings, Headship & what’s Natural

1 Cor 11: 2-16

India: shaving head good sign – ancient Greece: bad sign (6)
Amma – family’s bad luck. “I decided to go to the temple and shave my hair. The gods will bless me and my family” “If it makes someone else look beautiful then I am happy” (BBC)
Roman law: adulteress shaved

Scripture has cultural context – must know culture to apply
Direct translation doesn’t always work – ‘You are of where?’ (Swahili)
Direct application doesn’t always work – Offensive to not feet-wash then – offensive to do it now! ‘You have a problem with my feet? Wash your own feet?’

Headship (3) – God head of Christ – Christ of Church Bride (sanctified man) – Husband of Wife (Greek allows – context – first man n woman)
Reflects Creators nature – Father & Son equal as God, but Son operates in Fathers authority – husband & wife equal as humans, but not authority

Headcovering (5) – veil or shawl – women in public only – hair in bun – covered – Rebecca meeting Isaac (Ge 24:65)
Man not to cover (4) dishonors head – pagan priest covered to distinguish themselves – paganism dishonors Christ (head)
Woman to cover – Loose hanging hair – flaunting sexuality – inviting men – reserved for husband – submission vs provocation of husband – dishonoring
Uncovered same as shaved (6) – Romans: adulteress shaved – Jews: exposed her hair – sexuality exposed – flirter is adulterer
Corinth had immorality problem – loose men and women – synagogue/church – loose hair causing problems in relationships

Creation order (7-12) woman helper for man – husband reflects God, wife reflects husband

Angels (10) present in worship – recognize rebellious/adulterous/unloving hearts  – wrong attitudes in church affect angel ministry – anointing

Husbands to love (Eph 5: 21-30) As Christ: leaders initiate love – wife will easily yield to loving husband

Natural (13) men short hair – women long – a natural covering – we (apostles) have no other practice anywhere
Read as ‘natural’ to culture – not all ethnic groups have long hair – or veil like hair – short hair not natural if cutting involved

So should woman cover? Should men keep it short?
Direct translation doesn’t work
– cultural significance of coverings different – but removing your ring while your partner is away is similar – provoking jealousy – having personal friends of the opposite sex
Honoring the marriage union – respecting husbands authority – husbands loving wives – transcultural

God is a God of order – Keep the order

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