1 Corinthians 11:1-3
1Co 11:1 Become imitators of me, like I seek to imitate Christ.
1Co 11:2 Now, I appreciate the fact that you have all remembered me and, are trying to hold to the traditions, in the same way that I passed them on to you,
1Co 11:3 but I want you to know what I meant when I said “the head of every husband is Christ, and the husband is head of a wife, and God is head of Christ.”
headship and heartache
The church in Corinth had really missed Paul’s point about headship. Today’s church consistently does the same thing. Just like first century Corinth, we are so used to thinking of marriage as a hierarchy that we use Paul’s words to defend our traditions rather than seriously considering what he actually said. As we will see over the next few days, even the Bible translators have missed the point of this passage.
Let me just say at the outset that the Bible is not the problem here. As much as we might pride ourselves on being independent thinkers, we are all victims of our culture, and because cultures are made up of sinful humanity, they often steer us wrong. Take today’s text for example. Do you see a hierarchy in verse three? Many preachers do. They (often passionately) proclaim that according to this verse, God has a pecking order, and that it is him first, then Christ, then males, then females. Readers who have grown up in hierarchical cultures will probably admit that they read verse three that way.
Here is the order of the subjects of verse three: the head of every husband (Christ), the husband, God. If verse three represented a hierarchy, the subjects are out of place. If we wanted to talk about a hierarchy, wouldn’t we start with God and then go down to the females? But, no. That is not what Paul was doing. He is not to blame for our hierarchical thinking. We have caused our wives a lot of heartaches thinking and teaching that way.
What Paul taught was not hierarchy but headship, and there’s a difference. More on this tomorrow.
LORD, forgive us for reading our cultural biases in the text of scripture. Help us to get closer to your heart, and avoid giving our loved ones heartache.