Study Sheet for I Corinthians 11:2-16 (click here for Study Notes)
I praise you for remembering me in everything
and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.
Paul begins his directives for worship practices by commending the Corinthians for "holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you."
1. To what teachings is Paul referring? (see ver. 17, 22, 23; I Cor. 4:17; 15:2,3; W Thess. 2:15; 3:6)
2. What authority does Paul claim for expecting the Corinthians to follow his teachings? (see v. 1)
"I want you to realize," Paul says, "that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God."
1. What does being the "head of" mean? (see Eph. 1:22-23; 5:22-23; Col. 1:18; 2:10; Ge 3:16; I Cor. 3:23)
2. How is the role of men similar to the role of Jesus? How is it different?
3. How is the role of women similar to the role of Jesus? How is it different?
4. What implications do these similarities and differences have for men and women?
Paul's discourse on women covering their heads and men uncovering their heads grew out of the eastern rules of dress. A woman's veil was a sign of her submission. A woman with her veil off was considered immoral and/or rebellious against her husband. A woman with a shaved head was either being disgraced for something shameful she had done or she was being rebellious. A man who might cover his head would have been considered weak or non-authoritative. Also, in Paul's day men uncovered their heads during worship as a sign of respect for deity.
1. Considering the discussion from Day 2 regarding "head of", what double meaning may be implicit in verse 4 when Paul says that a man who prays with his head covered dishonors his head?
2. How would a man with uncovered head dishonor his "head"?
3. Even though Paul explains that men and women have different roles, what similarities between them does this passage confirm? (see also Acts 11:27; 21:9; Deut. 21:12)
4. Why would Paul insist to a group of Christians who are free in Christ that women should wear "a sign of authority" on their heads?
Paul says in v. 7 that a man "is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man." He also says that woman came from man, and woman was created for man.
1. What is the significance of Paul's statement, "Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man"? (see Gen. 2:18; Prov. 31:11; I Tim. 2:13)
2. What does it mean for man to be the glory of God and for woman to be the glory of man? (Prov. 12:4)
3. What might Paul mean when he admonishes women to "have a sign of authority" on their heads "because of the angels"? (see Ephesians 3:10; I Timothy 5:21)
"In the Lord," Paul now says (v. 11), "woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman." He goes on to say that just as woman originally came from man, man also is born of woman, and "everything comes from God."
1. How does being "in the Lord" affect man's authority over woman and woman's submission to man? (Genesis 2:24; 3:16; Ephesians 5:1-2; 22-33; I Cor. 7:12-16; Col 3:18-19)
2. What is significant about woman coming from man, man being born of woman, and everything coming from God? (Romans 11:36; Gal. 4:4)
3. How do you reconcile Paul's teachings about male/female relationships and interactions with his comment in Gal. 3:28, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus"? (Gen. 1:27; 5:2; Joel 2:29)
4. What principle (not necessarily related to hair) can we deduce from Paul's question about "the very nature of things" teaching that long hair on men and short hair on women is disgraceful, followed by his statement, "We have no other practice-nor do the churches of God"?
1. How do Paul's instructions in this chapter regarding the roles of men and women agree with your perceptions? How do they differ?
2. In what ways would the application of Paul's principles change your life?
3. What elements of Paul's descriptions of masculinity or femininity do you resent or try to rationalize?
1. What men or women in your life do you resent?
2. How is your resentment related to some misuse of masculine or feminine authority?
3. What relationship in your life do you need to present to Jesus, asking him to heal the dynamics and to show you how to be a Christ-following, Spirit-led man or woman toward the other person?
4. Ask God to show you where your masculinity or femininity has been
wounded. Ask him to heal your wounds and to make you a man or woman of authority,
filled with his Spirit, honoring and glorifying Him in your relationships.
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Studio, Redlands, CA USA. All rights reserved. Revised June 22, 2000.